Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays: Natural Home Decorates Blair House and U.S. State Department

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A birch bark tree adds to a recurring theme of Christmas trees throughout the room.
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A recycled glass chickadee vase invokes thoughts of peace this holiday season.
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The Blair House’s traditional annual 9-foot Christmas tree is visible to passersby on Pennsylvania Ave. We decorated it in eco-friendly style with natural quartz crystals and LED lights.
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Cotton buds and pussy willows from a local florist and mistletoe kissing balls soften the marble mantel in the Jackson Conference Room.
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Decoupaged 1960s bulb ornaments are just one of many handcrafted decorations.
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Natural Home and Associates III decorated the Jackson Entry with Dried Flower Mistletoe Balls from Ten Thousand Villages. The mistletoe balls are handcrafted out of eucalyptus, wheat, caspia and salal by artisans in Lima, Peru.
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Natural Home’s theme for the room was one of conscientious, simple luxury.
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Reclaimed metal temple bells, oil drum angels made in Haiti and holiday centerpiece made with organic, wild-harvested cedar and hydrangeas—all from Viva Terra—showcase a perfect blend of elegance and sustainability.
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Our handmade recycled newspaper tree crowns a table of gifts in recycled and reusable wrapping. Our recycled cardboard trees, “planted” in terra cotta planters, add a touch of whimsy.

Natural Home magazine is proudly participating in the Magazine Publishers of America’s Magazine Holiday Design Showcase at the State Department’s Harry S. Truman Building and the Blair House, the president’s guest house across from the White House. Natural Homedecorated the Blair House’s Jackson Conference Room and Jackson Entry; in the Harry S. Truman Building, we decorated the Monroe Room and shared the honor of decorating the Adams Room with sister publication Mother Earth News. The decorations were presented at a December 7 reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honoring the families of diplomats unable to leave their posts for the holiday season.

Natural Home worked with our talented designers–Washington D.C.’s J.D. Ireland Interiors and Denver’s Associates III–to honor the beautiful and historic spaces while conveying our own values of sustainability, artistry and natural beauty. Our simple design honored the beautiful spaces while displaying eco-friendly, handmade, fair trade and natural festive holiday décor.

We incorporated handmade elements we’ve featured in the magazine, including citrus-slice ornamentsreusable gift wrap and decoupaged vintage ornaments. Handmade felted wool doves alluded to the State Department’s goal of international peace and diplomacy.

Christmas trees–traditionally a symbol of peace and unity–also played a large role in our design. Fifteen live trees from nearby Merrifield Garden Center were bedecked with LED lights and handmade or recycled ornaments. We were honored to decorate the Blair House’s traditional 9-foot tree–visible to passersby on Pennsylvania Avenue–with natural quartz crystals and LED lights. We also made a few trees of our own: Our newsprint Christmas tree garnered a lot of attention, as did our recycled cardboard trees, “planted” in terra cotta planters.

Natural Home‘s design incorporated many fair trade and reclaimed items. Reuse supports our philosophy of light-on-the-earth decorating, while fair trade helps promote the well being of artisans in countries across the globe–many from countries whose diplomats may visit these spaces during the holiday season. Some of our favorite companies–our main sponsor, Viva Terra,  Ten Thousand Villages and Rawganique–provided artisan-made, fair trade décor to help us create luxurious yet conscientious spaces.

We were honored to participate in this monumental project with our sister publication, Mother Earth NewsMartha Stewart LivingThis Old HouseTraditional Home; and Better Homes and Gardens. We thank the Magazine Publishers of America for inviting us to participate.

Find out more about “Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays”

• Get instructions to make all of our handmade ornaments.

• Find out where we got all of our festive, eco-friendly decorations.

• Read more about the Magazine Holiday Design Showcase.