Every year friend and designer Carey Karlan goes all out creating themed holiday decorations for her charming 1926 cottage-style home. Past years have included odes to Mad Men, Literary, Russian, Musical and Scottish Highland Christmases, the last landing on the cover of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens several years ago.
two photos above by Keith Scott Morton for CTC&G
This year, the decor was inspired by one of my favorite novels, James Hilton’s utopian fantasy Lost Horizon. Based on the Tibetan locale, Carey created a Shangri-La ambience with snowy whites, green and gold.
It all started with a jacket Carey inherited from her mother, which she wore every year at the holidays. The Asian styling and pale colors brought to mind the setting for the book and it took off from there.
The bust is a staple in Carey’s holiday decorating schemes and this year was painted white and adorned with frosty accoutrements.
Tinsel and metallic tones were incorporated with abandon to emulate the Himalayan paradise.
And on the mantel, giant silver acorns, spray painted pine cones and greens add to the feeling of abundance.
Carey’s house includes a small conservatory which each year, including this one, she fills to the top with a full and festive tree.
Carey’s holiday celebration always include a seating dinner coordinated with the theme
including the invitation. This year, the invite to Shangri-La came rolled on a scroll with a scene and quote from the book ,”If we do not find the heaven within, we will not find the heaven without.” A wonderful sentiment for this holiday and throughout the year!
all photos by Stacey Bewkes for Quintessence unless otherwise specified
19 thoughts on “Christmas in Shangri-La”
Thank you Stacey! A high compliment. So pleased the lure of Shangri-La called to you as well!
Would love to have seen the Russian Christmas décor at Shangri-La.
It’s all so stunning and the acorn ornaments on the mantel are so special. Thank you
Thank you Stacy,for sharing such wonder with all of us.
The quote is perfect for this season and always.
Enjoy your holiday….
You bring such beauty and joy to all .
This display of Joy is inspiring me to dig a little deeper. Thank you. Merry Christmas. xo Mary
Beautiful!Thanks for your inspiring ideas!
Delightful and SO inspiring!
I LOVE THE WAY SHE THINKS!!!! (and decorates!!!) franki
One of my favorite homes in Darien…Carey always makes her place
so gezellig (as the Dutch say) and inviting!! Love seeing this! Thank you!
Carey’s home is enchantingly gorgeous and I love the invitation too! Thanks for sharing with us Stacey and happy holidays!
What a treat to see such elegance and opulence, the mantel decor is so stunning and the elegant use of Tartan plaid is stunning.
Great idea! I love this Shangri-La theme! Gorgeous decorations!
Enjoyed this post so much as I enjoy a coffee break before launching into some Christmas baking. Amongst all the delights, the dinner plates caught my eye–maybe I’m hungry. Perhaps you will give us a menu report later😎
Could not be any more beautiful and the quote too is womderful.
I loved seeing the difference in decor between the Tartan Christmas decor and the Shangri-La decor. Very educational and both were enchanting!
So glad you shared these spectacular photos of Carey’s ‘enchanted space’…certainly a heaven within. Love the way you captured and used the light from the window!
Where did you get the bust?
I am not the designer. You would have to write Carey at CAREY@LASTDETAILINTERIORDESIGN.COM