Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Thanksgiving (yep, Thanksgiving!) Before & After

So, I don’t really “Do” Halloween. I’ve never been a fan of “Spooky”. I don’t care for spiders, witches, ghosts or goblins… unless they show up on my doorstep begging for candy. Then they’re adorable. But I just really don’t decorate for Halloween. I’m more about Fall, overall.

So, it should come as no surprise that I’m bypassing Halloween altogether and jumping ahead to Thanksgiving! I should say, I’m jumping ahead… with a look back.

Last year, we hosted our very first major holiday, ever! We alternate Thanksgiving every other year between my family and Mr. V’s – and his family rotates hosting duties each year between the 6 siblings
See?  There are a LOT of people so it’s good that one family doesn’t have to take on the entire gang every year.

I can say we definitely have more space in this house than in our old place, but creating a nice space for 20 people to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner all at once is a tough job in most homes, I think!

Now, we don’t have a formal dining room. The space in our home’s floor plan that would typically be a dining room seemed too small for the kind of dining space I would have wanted, so we opted to enclose that space with french doors and make it our office. I love it… but we can’t have Thanksgiving in there.

And if you’ve ever tried to prepare a meal for 20 people, that’s a lot of food. And wine. And more food. Plus a gigantic turkey. And dessert. Even if I’d wanted to set up the dining space somehow in the kitchen/living area, there just wouldn’t have been room.

That left…. The basement.

Our unfinished, concrete floor, short-on-natural-light, insulation-lined basement.
(I think the giant dog kennel is a nice design touch, don't you?)
I knew the space could be transformed – I mean, spend a couple thousand dollars and hire an event specialist to Martha-ize the place, and we'd be in business, right? 
But..... that wasn't going to happen.
So, I got to work.  I built my entire look around natural elements because they are timeless in style, beautiful this time of year, and if you look hard enough... Free. :)
I did end up renting folding tables and chairs, but the rest came from the V Side, and a dizzying array of sales and coupons.
First we had to work with the room itself.  (And hide that elliptical!)

I took a king-sized white sheet and created a "wall" hoping to blend in with the white insulation on the walls (I used curtain clip rings hung on nails to hang the sheet)
I used simple paper lanterns to cover the exposed light bulbs, then some smaller LED lanterns hung on fishing line to create some height differences.

For easy votives with texture, I used nuts - pecans in the shell and acorns from my parents' backyard (in the hurricanes)- as well as lentils and navy beans to hold the tealights in place in the smaller votives. 
By using all clear glass for all the holders, and natural elements for all the fillers, the overall effect was cohesive, with the feel of "harvest".
And never underestimate the power of crisp, white linens!
I had the chair covers left over from a couple different bridal and baby showers I've thrown, but I would urge you to look online for basic table linens before shelling out big dollars at a department store.  For these 3 banquet table linens I paid $5 each.  With free shipping, WOOT!

So, Before:

And After:

I hope this started the wheels in your head turning about how to transform your space this Thanksgiving!
Hey, if we can make my basement work... you can make ANYTHING work!


  1. The transformation is beautiful and so creative. I am a new follower from the Wed. blog Hop.

  2. Looks amazing! I have been hosting Thanksgiving for 6 trick is a turkey in the oven and one in a roaster in the garage. Your car smells yummy when you head out for all the great sales the next day too!

  3. You did a fantastic job of transforming your dreary basement into something elegant but simple. I bet everyone was thrilled to sit altogehter.
    Great job!

  4. this is beautiful... love the clean lines! thanks for joining is at a crafty soiree... can't wait to see what you share on thursday (-:

  5. What a transformation! Your room looks beautiful. Like Christine said - elegant but simple. Great job!!