Christy Ford on interior decorating and home improvement | Home Front

Dec 15, 2011

Christy Ford, a Charlottesville resident who runs the home furnishings shop And George, joined Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza on the weekly Home Front chat. Together, they gave advice on interior decorating and home improvement.

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Hi, everyone. Today's guest is Christy Ford, shop owner of And George, a very cool home furnishing shop in Charlottesville that she runs with her mother. Christy graciously let us photograph her beautiful home so we could share the easy and elegant way she decorates for the holidays. Be sure to check it out. In the meantime, let's get started on the quetsions.

What is the best way you have found to hang stockings, without doing damage to the mantle? Ours is quite thick, and the hangers I have found barely hold on.

This is a great question. There are special stocking hangers, which are weighted hooks that sit on the mantel. I think these candy cane shaped ones at the Container Store are really cool. They hold up to ten pounds and are $10.99. Some people screw in small hooks. What other ideas do you have?

Thanks for the beautiful pictures and excellent article this morning - Ms. Ford's use of fruit and natural materials has totally inspired me. Heading out to the grocery store right after work! Have a question on window treatments/bedding options. Our bedroom has three windows - two have radiators below, and our four poster bed is in front of the third window (no other way to arrange the room). Walls are currently RH Silver Sage, furniture is primarily med cherry, and there are woven wood shades on the windows. I'm desperate t soften the look - drapes are out, but thought roman/london shades may work. Would like to keep the look neutral, as I've grown tired of the sage. Thoughts and suggestions for both the windowns and bedding options would be greatly appreciated. Happy Holidays.

I like  to keep  bedrooms very quiet, serene and simple.  I think some linen roman shades with some white sheets would give you that soft look you are looking for.  You can then accent with a couple pillows or a great cashmere throw at the foot of the bed.

I'm getting a new bed (iron, canopy) delievered after the Holidays. I prefer all white bed linens. Does anyone have a source for good-quality linen duvet covers, euro shams etc that don't cost more than the new bed? Thanks.

Restoration Hardware's linen bedding is really nice. It can be pricey, but if you watch for their sales, you can get it at a discount. They were running a friends & family promotion (20% off), but I think it may have ended yesterday. worth giving them a call.

I love the fresh fruit idea but how do you preserve them for as long as possible? Also how do you suggest they be arranged and where do you get green moss? Thank you

Well, I have to say this year with it being so mild, I have for the first time noticed the fruit not lasting as long as it has in the past.  I would recommend paying close attention when you are buying the fruit to make sure to get the least ripe fruits.  The green moss we find in the woods all around us and Michael's has great green reindeer moss that lasts forever!

Hello! I just unpacked a lot of white and light colored shirts after months sitting in suitcases. They have that dingy look to them. Is there a booster I can put in the laundry to remove the dinginess? Or something I can soak them in? They are otherwise nice shirts, I would hate to throw them out. Thanks!

Add a little white vinegar into your next cycle and see if that helps. 

Where do people hang stockings when they don't have a fireplace? Last year I used those removable hooks to hang them along a wall, but I wasn't thrilled with the look. Am considering not hanging them at all this year and just laying them beneath the tree once they're filled... Hoping you might have better ideas. Thanks!

This is a great question. You could hang them off a garland or twine you looped on a wall. You could also hang them from a stairway. Or if you have a coat rack in your foyer you could hang them there, or on peg rack someplace. Any other ideas?

The fruit is beautiful but how often do you have to replace?

Typically I do not replace the fruit.  We usually decorate for 

Christmas the end of the first week of December and aside from the occassional kumquat or clemintine going bad they really do last until after Christmas.  The pommegranates, pears and crab apples lasting longest.

With this winter being so mild the fruit has been more perishable.

Good Morning: Great article this morning... just curious: why no red holiday decorations? We actually do the same thing, although there's no major reason... Thanks.

I love the color red but not to wear or decorate with.  I prefer to grab colors from nature that are more harmonious with all of our collections. 

Hi there! I desperately need a kitchen backsplash. The problem is that I can not figure out the right color. I have beige walls (BM Monroe Bisque) and triple glazed cream colored cabinets with oil rubbed bronze knobs. My countertop is a light colored granite. I do not want a modern or busy backsplash. I'm thinking subway tile, but can I do white tile with cream colored cabinets? (I have white trim and crown molding around) or do I do cream tile or even grey? What about the grout color? Any help would be greatly appreciated - thanks!!

Really hard to say without seeing the space, but white subway tile is always a good choice.  I think it would look nice with your cream cabinets. 

Hoping you can help here...I'm at an impasse with my husband over how to refinish the interior doors in our home. The stain they currently have is badly damaged so they have to be redone and I'm advocating for them to be painted white (to match the existing trim) but my husband thinks we should restain them. What's your take? If we stain them do we do it to match the floors? If it helps part of the reason we are doing this is to stage our home for sale within the next year or so. Thank you!!!

My vote would be to paint them the color of your trim. I think it is a more modern than staining.  I also love when they are painted black!

We have a nativity scene that needs some repairs, the pieces are hollow but seem to be made of a plaster-type material. The paint colors are matte and subdued and we do not think we could match them. Can you please recommend a professional restorer in the area that might be able to assist us? Thank you.

You probably need someone who does art restoration or sculpture. You might call the Corcoran College of Art + Design to see if a teacher or student might do it. Or you could put an online plea out on Craigslist. Any other ideas?  I know there are many people who have treasured family creches and nativity scenes who hand them down for generations. 

You know those cute little gadgets to hang your purse on the table so you're not sitting it on the floor in restaurants, etc.? Bet those would work for stockings, too!

Yes! Good idea.

other than in raven's stadium? i painted my kitchen a buttery warm yellow. before this i wanted to paint the entrance hall just outside the kitchen a light purple. but now i'm wondering if the two will go together. i don't know the name of the yellow paint because it was discounted "mistake" can.

The combination sounds very Easter-y to me. I would consider a different color for the entry. But, if you like the way it looks you should go for it.

In our first apartment, we hung them on our book case shelves. Worked really well.

Also a good idea. Thanks.

I always used a table when I didn't have a mantle - end table, coffee table, dining table. Other spots are the TV table or credenza or a counter or a shelf.


Love the chats! I have paint chips pasted all over my walls. I am trying to find a cool gray, not a muddy gray for a white kitchen. My counters are Minsk granite (a dramatic blueish greenish grey with white) . Not a lot of wall space so the color needs to pop. Ben Moore Metropolitan? Stone Harbor? My dining room is Ben Moore Hawthorne yellow and the kitchen opens up to it. thanks!

If your countertops are dramatic, do you really also want a color that "pops" on the walls and competes with them?  Here are a few grays to check out: Horizon by Ben Moore, Pearl White by Pratt & Lambert and Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams. I would also take a look at Light Blue by Farrow & Ball.

Christy, did you grow up in Vienna? I did, too (OHS, '87). I really liked this article, mostly, I suppose, because it mirrors my own approach to Christmas decorating. Lots of greenery and natural items. Reading through, I made a new realization. I've been trying to get rid of my milk glass collection for some time (nobody wants the stuff anymore), but I just realized that it would be perfect for Christmas decorations, so I think I should just move it all over to the Christmas decoration boxes. Also, last week someone made the comment that they have a hard time with red and green--I try to keep my Christmas color scheme to cream, pine, and gold. It's easier to blend it in with existing items.

I did and I too graduated in '87 (roden is my maiden name).

Obviously I have quite an obsession with the french opaline/milk glass, we enjoy it all year round but pulling it

out for Christmas could be a new theme for you.  We have alot going on in our house so I try to keep the colors rather neutral and harmonious with each other hence not using primary colors in my decorating.  I try to introduce colors that almost come across as  "non colors", so your eye doesn't dart around

too much.



After 16 years, I am finally finishing my basement. I plan to put a sectional in the rec room area. I have been looking at sectionals and they all look so nice in the store . I want something that can withstand a family of four. Is Pottery Barn good quality? Is there a brand that you would recommend? Thank you.

Yes. Pottery Barn's should be good quality. Also Crate & Barrel, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Arhaus and Ethan Allen.

Good morning! I have perhaps an odd question - don't know if you've ever addressed it before. When guests use my powder room, I hear more than I'd like to hear. Obviously soundproofing is incredibly expensive. Is there anything I can do - besides putting a rug in there - that can help insulate the sound? I thought of wallpapering the room with felt :) Thanks!!

Install a fan that goes on automatically when you turn on the light. White noise is fabulous.

I have a 15 by 20 bedroom. All the linens and the queen anne chair are white. This room connects to a study and a dressing room. Currently it is carpeted in a beige (The furniture is a mahogany 4 poster and matching pieces). The problem is that the carpet gets quite soiled in the traffic areas. How can I keep that warm feeling that one gets from carpet and do the floors in dark hardwood to match the hall? My only thought is a very light blue oriental rug? I am open to other ideas.

Why don't you try a wool rug in an off white or light blue.

We have wool in our house and it is a great work horse and because of the natural fibers the stains come up easily.


Here's a shoutout for the commenter who bought a nice yellow paint in the "mistake" bin at the store. Good on ya for repurposing something, getting a deal and opting for a cheerful yellow kitchen! That's a three-way win.

Win win win.

Totally hate subway tile in bathrooms - kitchens even worse! The cream-colored cabinets and light countertops in the kitchen might look good with a multi-colored tile panel, like the sea glass min tiles in natural hues (gray green, gray, tan, mid-teal.) Or textured tiles in a neutral color, which are not blah due to non-smooth finish. Subway tiles were old hat five years ago. Plus dull....#Fail how do you really feel about subway tiles? There are subway tiles that are textured and come in different sizes as well, so there is some variety available within the style. And disagree with you about them being dated. I don't think they will ever go out of style. They are a classic and safe choice and always look good.

My BFF bought a taupe sectional from JC Penney about six years ago. Two teen boys sat, slept, ate and movie-watched on it, with their friends and a small dog. It looks great and has held up well. On sale it was a deal and the clean lines are just fine for most family rooms. (I have bought lamps there but not furniture.)

Thanks a lot. Good to know.

Hi! The kitchen in my 1920s bungalow was redone in perhaps the 1970s because the counters are royal blue, cabinets a light brown, and knobs are white. Luckily, dishwasher and stove are stainless steel... The overall look is actually cheery but outdated in my opinion. I only have the money for one improvement and I'm thinking countertops. What color? Black would look a bit too slick I think... thanks ....

Why don't you paint your cabinety a good off white (Benjamin Moore's old prarie), a nominal expense that will make a huge improvement and then do honed nero black granite or even cheaper honed slate.  

I like them ... and they are easy to keep clean... Adding a strip of coloured tiles (glass, agate, whatever) makes the dead-white-London Underground look disappear., without incorporating something that the next generation will want to rip out. (Pink Sink, anyone?)

Yep. Though I prefer that look in a bathroom rather than the kitchen. thanks.

Years ago I used a European paint (Dutch?) by Schroeder/Schrader/?. (the "gallons" were actually in liters). The magic was that the enamel trim paint (you could get VERY high gloss, Not so high gloss, or no gloss) dried within hours.. so fast that professional painters had to be warned. It was absolute magic. But I can no longer find it, and wondered if the brand has been re-named?

Are you thinking of Fine Paints of Europe? It's made in Holland.

I have a large basement rec room that will ultimately be used as an office in which I will meet with clients. It has only one small window, and little natural light. The couch in it is a muted kiwi green. The other furniture is maroon leather and dark wenge brown. The walls are currently a horrible beige that looks terrible with the couch. I'm not sure what color they should be though. White seems so dull, but nothing else seems correct. Is there maybe an appropriate gold-type color out there? Other ideas?

Why not a silvery grayish blue,  Ben Moore's November Rain is a favorite.  It is not much color but will give a nice warmth down there and keep it bright and light.  

Just a note for the person that has a milk glass collection - milk glass has been a huge trend the last few years in more casual, natural, outdoor weddings. Brides use them to line tables with smaller bouquets of wildflowers. If you decide to eventually sell some or all of it, try selling it on ebay or google around for wedding blogs that have marketplaces (100 Layer Cake comes to mind.) P.S. I'm a fellow Oakton grad, too. Go Cougars!

Go Cougars.

When we celebrated Christmas with family in the UK, stockings (and they were real socks!) were hung from the bedroom door-- and dragged down in front of the tree for opening. Here in the US, I screwed small cup-hooks in the underside of the wooden mantle... not visible from the floor, held up the decorative stockings, and later held swags etc.

Love that idea.

One of my end-of-the-year home projects has been to sort through my book collection. I have a number of vintage children's books that are worth a fair amount. Can you or the chatters recommend a used book store that purchases vintage children's books? Bonus points if it is within a reasonable drive from Arlington. Thank you!

Anyone? Good idea for extra holiday cash!

Also dislike the London underground subway tile look. BTW - does the backsplash have to be tile? Metals look good for some kitchens, or wavy glass.

No, a backsplash doesn't have to be tile. You're right, metals and glass would also be good choices. Paint works, too.

We're out of time today, folks. Thanks for joining us today, and thanks to Christy for joining us, too. Be sure to take a peek inside her home in our online gallery. Have a great weekend and chat with you next week.

In This Chat
Christy Ford
Christy Ford lives in Charlottesville where she runs the home furnishings shop And George with her mother, Jan Roden, an interior designer. Originally from Vienna, Ford has an interesting approach to holiday decorating (no red, no decorations supply, lots of fruit). Her home is featured in this week's cover story by Terri Sapienza.
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

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Terri Sapienza
Terri Sapienza is a staff writer for The Washington Post's Local Living section.
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