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How an Old Box Became My New Favorite Christmas Decoration

The story of my new favorite Christmas decoration began last year on Christmas day. After a fun afternoon of enjoying my family’s famed potato soup, eating too many cookies to count, opening gifts, and the annual visit from my uncle Santa…

…my Aunt Margie surprised my cousins and me by inviting us around the dining room table. Years earlier, my Gram handed down a box of old family ornaments that had been passed down to her. 

The box contained beautifully tarnished orbs, in different shades of antique glass, and my aunt announced that she wanted each of the grandkids to have one of the ornaments for our trees. I was ecstatic! I was so excited to not only have a piece of our family’s history, but since we decorate our tree in glass ornaments I knew it would be a perfect addition to our home. 

To maintain order and fairness (our German ancestors would be proud), the cousins drew numbers and then in the order of our numbers, each selected an ornament to take home. We selected until the ornaments were all claimed, and I ended up with a beautiful pink ornament, smaller in size, with a beautiful old silver cap.

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About Ashraf Akkilah

Ashraf Akkilah
Architecture and design is my passion. I'm an architect who is interested in building design and decor trends. I'm also interested in sculpture design and landscaping. I'm "outdoor" architect who love to be involved in the project site and supervise finishing and final touches works. I had contributed to many construction and decor projects.

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When Alex and I moved into our first apartment, we were decorating novices. While we tried our best, we came up short in many ways, the most obvious being that we were so anxious to have our new home "finished," that we rushed out and bought what we needed. This resulted in a cookie-cutter straight-out-of-a-catalog look that did little to reflect our personalities, hobbies, or style. 

As the years have passed, I've learned to better appreciate the approach of curating a carefully selected mix of both new and old. Working in vintage finds, souvenirs and art from our travel adventures, and pieces passed down to us from family and friends along with new pieces creates a more layered, inviting, and less cookie cutter look. It's ultimately a formula that I've found results in the successful completion of a space that is comfortable, interesting to look at, and reflective of our personalities and who we are. 

Now that the majority of our focus is on renovating, decorating, and projects in our new home, my approach to its decor is to heavily use these lessons I've learned over the years. While many people's first reaction in a new space is to run out and buy as many news things to fill it as they can, we're taking a much more measured (and budget friendly) approach to our home's decor. We've been extremely fortunate to have many friends and family members gift furniture and accessories that they could no longer use. So last year when our neighbors offered us a pair of vintage garden chairs that didn't quite work in their home (and couldn't be returned), we jumped at the chance to become their new owners.

As you can see, this pair of vintage metal arm chairs have a beautiful patina and I loved the blend of several shades of green and turquoise. However, they were pretty rusty, so I knew I wanted to clean them up while still preserving much of the original paint. The goal was to both seal them to better protect them from outdoor weather while preserving their patina, and also preserving the pants of anyone that might choose to sit on these beauties. 

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