If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you would remember that the first home tour I ever featured was of my friend Chan’s verdant apartment oasis. If you haven’t read that yet, click here. Well, Chan is easily one of the most productive creatives I know. She is always experimenting and creating beauty in and out of season. Imagine my delight, then, when I peeped Christmas decor happening at her place through her Instagram stories! You can follow Chan on Instagram (@Introvertlybubbly) here.
By God’s divine providence, Chan made me privy to her process, and when I saw all the fantastic behind the scenes action, I made an immediate booking to view her Christmas decor for myself in the flesh. Let me tell you guys: when I walked in the mood was so brooding, tropical, and downright lovely that I simply HAD to share! So here is a bit of my account of a taste of Christmas with Chan, but first, coffee.
CHAN’S CHRISTMAS COFFEE
First of all, Chan is a coffee lover. I mean, her Instagram is littered with cosy snaps of coffee brewing from all angles, with images so rich that seeing is tasting. It was natural, therefore, that I requested a coffee tutorial with this visit.
Chan taught me coffee two ways today:
VERSION #1: THE CHEMEX METHOD
In this case, Chan showed me how to brew the coffee by weight using the Chemex. Steps are as follows:
Dampen and “rinse “ Chemex filter with hot water
Put Chemex on a scale and measure out ground coffee beans into the filter
Pour over hot water into beans via weight, uniformly saturating the contents of the filter
Wait for the brew to finish, while keeping beans saturated
Pour out brew to serve, adding cream and sugar to taste if desired
I found this method to be both ritualistic and aesthetically enriching. I definitely want to purchase my own Chemex and incorporate this into my self-care routine.
VERSION #2: The AEROPRESS METHOD
Chan told me that this was her preferred method of coffee prep at the office. She would get to work an hour early to allow herself time for an early morning coffee ritual before start of day. Steps are as follows:
Assemble the AeroPress with a paper filter inside the cap and drizzle a little warm water in to wet the filter.
Measure out the ground coffee beans with the Aeropress scoop and place into the Aeropress . The Aeropress should be inverted for this step
Add water to the beans to the fill line of the Aeropress,allow ground beans to bloom, and then stir briefly with a paddle stirrer or spoon.
Cap the Aeropress with the cap and filter and place over a mug, filter side facing the opening of the mug.
Press using a plunger to extract the goodness of the ground beans.
As if that process wasn’t fabulous enough, Chan introduced me to a custom creaming method she learned from her brother, using unsalted, grass-fed butter and MCT (medium chain triglycerides ) oil which apparently has a host of energy and brain boosting benefits. Chan added the butter and oil to her magic bullet along with the coffee, and out came the creamiest, frothiest concoction, which tasted like regular coffee with a lighter milk taste (similar to almond milk). My mind was sufficiently blown.
Anyway…enough of that beautiful distraction. On to the business at hand - CHRISTMAS DECOR!!!
Chan is bit of a DIY master, and her intense desire to create was a product of both necessity and curiosity. Formerly an avid traveler, Chan chose the path of frugality when she decided to choose staycations over vacations to accomplish some key financial and life goals. Her wanderlust never abated, however, and so she decided to satisfy her thirst for novelty and discovery through creating an Instagrammable haven in her own back yard. As such, Chan’s studio is always changing. She intimated with shining eyes that she changed around her bedroom quite a bit as a child. We both laughed at the fact that little has changed with respect to that.
DIY: TROPICAL TABLESCAPE
Chan and I frequently swap design inspiration, and this year Chan was obsessed with the idea of a tropical Christmas table arrangement. She used a candelabra as her starting point with design. Chan and I consulted virtually, and I suggested incorporating mason jars along with bottles of varying heights for a staggered look. A few weeks prior to today’s visit, Chan sent me pictures of her tools and accessories.
progress shots supplied by Chan
Chan’s first order of of business was to obliterate that super shiny look of the candelabra. She opted for spray painting it forest green and gold. She originally wanted a bit of a distressed look, but went for a more uniform green in the end.
progress shots supplied by Chan
Next, she played around with the various jar and bottle heights with the candles, and she scoured her backyard for airplants and other epiphytes to intersperse throughout. I offered my two cents at this point, and we both agreed that she needed more lower-level greens. Her final touch to the tablescape was a garland of Christmas lights which gave the room a seductive amber glow.
AFTER: tablescape with epiphytes,candles etc.
Chan’s next absolutely stunning DIY was a custom wreath that featured clay ornaments that she fashioned herself using air-drying clay and cookie cutters. Using a rolling pin to lay out the clay, She used cookie cutters of various designs to set her ornaments, leaving little holes for stringing them up later, and allowing them to air-dry.
Progress pics supplied by Chan
For the wreath, Chan used a macrame ring as her structure, and used fresh greens from her yard, twine, and her clay ornaments to create a minimalist/boho look.
She opted to use stars only on the wreath and was originally intending to leave them all white and clustered at the base, but then she consulted with me because she found it looked like it was missing something.
I suggested a touch of gold to add a festive contrast to the forest green wall. She opted to paint some stars gold in a distressed style and she showed me assorted nuts (in their shells) that she planned to add into the wreath for interest. I suggested that she paint those gold as well.
Finally, to give it a finishing WOW factor, I suggested that she stagger the stars a bit more so that each star could shine in its own right. the results of her completed wreath were nothing short of stunning.
With the remaining clay ornaments, Chan used substantial twigs and twine to create these simple but effective mobiles.
For a better look at the mobiles, follow Chan on her Instagram feed and stories at @Introvertlybubbly.
Things I love about Chan’s Christmas decor:
The tropical theme of the greens was truly unique. I loved how she celebrated our Caribbean context in her choice of holiday greenery.
The DIY approach: Chan infused her design perspective and personality into her decor by making things herself. I feel inspired to attempt a similar approach this Christmas in my personal space.
Her choices were budget friendly: Using mostly affordable items and objects found at home, Chan created a truly high style look for a fraction of the cost.
Design details: Chan added unexpected flourishes (like this Christmas tree cutting-board) which eliminated the need for a cumbersome tree in her small space.
THE FINAL LOOK:
The final look is tropical, festive, and decadent, without being pretentious or too rigid. I love the Jungalow aftertaste.
Are you into Christmas decorating? What is your decor strategy for the season this year?