10 Holiday Gifts Under $100 for the Home-Lover You Love

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is already upon us (even if some stores would have you think the Christmas season started in August). The winter months are the perfect time of year to re-imagine your interior spaces…and a great source of ideas for loved ones you are looking to shop for!

Here are ten of my favorite decorating finds (all under $100) that make great gifts this time of year (or really any time)!

  Agate Cheese Board (Anthropologie) - $78   A cheeseboard is a great gift, but one can only have so many. What I love about this chic option is that even if your gift recipient has one, it can be used as a decorative item on a coffee table (put a few votives on it) or on your vanity. Lots of options to choose from, too!

Agate Cheese Board (Anthropologie) - $78

A cheeseboard is a great gift, but one can only have so many. What I love about this chic option is that even if your gift recipient has one, it can be used as a decorative item on a coffee table (put a few votives on it) or on your vanity. Lots of options to choose from, too!

   Enamel Coated Mango Wood Canisters (VivaTerra) - $99   Decorative and functional for the kitchen, but also consider using in the bathroom, home office or as decorative pieces on a bookshelf.


Enamel Coated Mango Wood Canisters (VivaTerra) - $99

Decorative and functional for the kitchen, but also consider using in the bathroom, home office or as decorative pieces on a bookshelf.

  Windowpane Pitcher and DOF Set (Mark & Graham) - $89   Mark & Graham is known for lots of quality gifts that can be monogrammed, like these pitcher and glass set (which I actually prefer without the monogram). This set will get a lot of use for everything from juice at breakfast to homemade cocktails!

Windowpane Pitcher and DOF Set (Mark & Graham) - $89

Mark & Graham is known for lots of quality gifts that can be monogrammed, like these pitcher and glass set (which I actually prefer without the monogram). This set will get a lot of use for everything from juice at breakfast to homemade cocktails!

  Opalhouse White and Gold Polka Dot Vases (Target) - $14.99-$24.99   Give one or more of these fun vases to the home-lover who splurges regularly on fresh flowers and is a fan of great lines.

Opalhouse White and Gold Polka Dot Vases (Target) - $14.99-$24.99

Give one or more of these fun vases to the home-lover who splurges regularly on fresh flowers and is a fan of great lines.

  Embroidered Letter Pillow Cover (Serena & Lily) - $88   This pillow cover adds a tasteful touch of personalization to a living room sofa, master bedroom or even a nursery. (Note: Pillow insert sold separately.)

Embroidered Letter Pillow Cover (Serena & Lily) - $88

This pillow cover adds a tasteful touch of personalization to a living room sofa, master bedroom or even a nursery. (Note: Pillow insert sold separately.)

  Your Hometown Puzzle (Sundance) - $44   This Thanksgiving, I had a chance to do something I hadn’t down for 20+ years…put together a puzzle. It’s a great indoor activity and even more fun when the image is your hometown. It even could be framed and become wall art when you finish!

Your Hometown Puzzle (Sundance) - $44

This Thanksgiving, I had a chance to do something I hadn’t down for 20+ years…put together a puzzle. It’s a great indoor activity and even more fun when the image is your hometown. It even could be framed and become wall art when you finish!

  Voluspa Maison Candle (Anthropologie) - $68   Candles may not be a unique gift, but an amazingly scented candle in a decorative container is the perfect hostess gift (and has life beyond that of the wick). If you are worried about choosing the wrong scent, stick with safer choices featuring vanilla, citrus and other crowd-pleasers.

Voluspa Maison Candle (Anthropologie) - $68

Candles may not be a unique gift, but an amazingly scented candle in a decorative container is the perfect hostess gift (and has life beyond that of the wick). If you are worried about choosing the wrong scent, stick with safer choices featuring vanilla, citrus and other crowd-pleasers.

  Textured Oil + Vinegar Set (West Elm) - $39   For the foodie or home chef, this set adds some fun to the countertop. Sadly, they won’t ship until next year but they were too cute not to feature. Consider  these as an alternative !

Textured Oil + Vinegar Set (West Elm) - $39

For the foodie or home chef, this set adds some fun to the countertop. Sadly, they won’t ship until next year but they were too cute not to feature. Consider these as an alternative!

  Barefoot Dreams Contrast Trim Throw (Amazon) - $99.99   What’s winter without a cozy throw? I am a big fan of Barefoot Dreams for their softness, stretch and washability (I even have a larger version of this one on my couch now…received as a gift).

Barefoot Dreams Contrast Trim Throw (Amazon) - $99.99

What’s winter without a cozy throw? I am a big fan of Barefoot Dreams for their softness, stretch and washability (I even have a larger version of this one on my couch now…received as a gift).

  Faux Fur Hot Water Bottles (World Market) - $33.98   Even with more high-tech, longer-lasting options, there’s nothing like a hot water bottle to warm your bed in the winter or soothe an ache. Add in a soft faux fur case and your warm and stylish.

Faux Fur Hot Water Bottles (World Market) - $33.98

Even with more high-tech, longer-lasting options, there’s nothing like a hot water bottle to warm your bed in the winter or soothe an ache. Add in a soft faux fur case and your warm and stylish.

And, if you still can’t decide how best to delight that home-lover in your life, consider giving them expert help with a gift certificate for decorating services from At Home DC…available in the DC area and for remote consultations!

Amber Harris is the owner of At Home DC, an interior decorator and a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties working with clients in DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

'Trading Spaces' Tidbits: Lessons from Our Favorite TV Designers

 Photo Credit: TLC

Photo Credit: TLC

While I've always been interested and invested in interior design on some level (i.e.,I would redecorate my room as often as my mom/budget would allow in middle school), there's no doubt that the debut of Trading Spaces on TLC in 2000 was a big moment for me and millions across the country (and later around the world).

As a junior at Georgetown University, TLC was always on in our dorms and living rooms (can't forget A Baby Story and A Wedding Story, too), and Trading Spaces had a great role in making interior decorating accessible. Fast forward to today where stores likes Home Goods  and Wayfair and platforms like Houzz and Pinterest help individuals pull together their perfect space or, at the least, articulate their vision to a decorator or designer.

Little did I know in 2000, that I would be working for the company responsible for TLC and Trading Spaces two short years later. Over 14 years, I worked my way to VP and also had a chance to meet a range of talent, including a few of the original designers. With the return of the series earlier this month, I thought it would be fun (and informative) to reflect on a few design lessons we can gleam from the cast (and that often come up as I'm consulting with clients).

 Photo Credits: VernYip.com, LaurieHSmith.com & GenevieveGorder.com

Photo Credits: VernYip.com, LaurieHSmith.com & GenevieveGorder.com

Vern Yip: Timeless Design Doesn't Have to Be Boring
While there were always designers you loved to hate, I found myself drawn primarily to Vern Yip's work. Last month, I had a chance to meet Vern (again) at the Washington Design Center's Spring Market, where he gave the keynote, and his approach to timeless design remains. Trends will come and go, but classic lines, patterns and finishes aren't the opposite of "on trend." When creating a space, bigger spends are best spent on furniture and accessories that will pass the test of time. Layer lower cost, trendier pieces on top of those (think an accent table or decorative object) if you want to be "of the moment"...then you won't feel guilty when you want to move on.

Laurie Smith: Beautiful Fabrics Can Elevate Any Space
Laurie Smith was well known for spending the largest portion of her limited budgets on fabrics, adding color and pattern through silks and other luxe textiles. Throw pillows are a great way to update a space, whether a living room, bedroom or dining nook and you can find new and vintage fabrics to make custom pillows or search your favorite store for pre-made covers that make a statement through color, texture, pattern or special details like trim, fringe and beading. 

Genevieve Gorder: Fun is Part of Function
When choosing someone to partner with on your space, you want to have good communication and good energy, and Genevieve Gorder definitely always (and still has) both. Gorder always brought an energy to the rooms she designed not taking herself or the task at hand too seriously. Your home should bring you joy....so ditch that expensive white sofa that you hover over when guests sit down with wine and find furniture and accessories that are stylish and livable.

Were you a fan of the original Trading Spaces and/or are you watching the reboot? If so, what are the tidbits you've taken away and from whom?

Amber Harris is the owner of At Home DC, an interior decorator and a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties working with clients in DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

Bathroom Makeover: Small & Green to Spa-Like & Serene

Even if we only spend a fraction of our day there, we place a premium on bathrooms. It's not uncommon for many of DC's row homes to lack a dedicated master bathroom but, often when they do have one, it's hardly a spacious five-piece en-suite. 

My clients recently had the chance to move to a larger home in the Brightwood Park neighborhood of Washington, DC, but their new-found master bath was dated and hardly a retreat (see below). While the small space meant there weren't any options for reconfiguring the layout (without undertaking a major renovation), we were able to radically change the feel of the space with new tile, new fixtures and combining some Scandinavian inspiration with natural elements.

 Before...

Before...

You can see the end result further down, but I wanted to share a few tips and tricks that helped us create this miniature master spa bath:

  1. Keep your color palette simple. Less is more in terms of color when creating a serene space, especially a bathroom. While white is the go-to for a spa-like feel, adding a contrasting but muted color (in this case a lighter shade of Sherwin-Williams Bonsai Tint, created by mixing in a little more white to tone it down) with a lighter wood tone (via our tile) takes this bathroom from basic to custom.
     
  2. Limit the type of tile (color, size and shape) to create a more spacious feel. For this bathroom, we used a 6" x 24" Driftwood tile (in Greywood) from Architectural Ceramics. Meant to simulate wood planks, the tile was laid vertically in the shower to make the tight stall feel larger and horizontally along the floor to make the space feel wider. We did use a smaller scale 2" square tile for the shower floor, but you also could up the spa-feel by opting for a pebble floor (check out Island Stone's awesome options).
     
  3. Choose smart storage options. While less than 19" deep, the vanity selected features plenty of storage - concealed behind doors and using the open shelf at the bottom. While it may be tempting to add shelves above the toilet (as before), these would contribute to making the space feel smaller; alternatives, like a multipurpose baskets (as pictured below), allow you to store extra towels and toiletries in a stylish, mobile and contemporary way.
     
  4. Blend modern lines with organic materials and shapes. A clean-lined vanity and rectangular tiles could easily read cold but adding in natural textures, such as the twig-based wall art and the rope details on the waste basket and accompanying storage basket (all from HomeGoods), off sets the harder edges without going too country or rustic.

All in all, I just love the way we were able to create a personal spa in such limited space for these deserving clients. 

Amber Harris is the owner of At Home DC, an interior decorator and a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties working with clients in DC, Maryland and Virginia.