You Must See This Colorful Home Bursting With Christmas Cheer

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Decorated for Christmas with Lemon Wreath on the Front Door
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Step inside the world of Natasha Lawler, an exemplary hostess who designed her Charlottesville, Virginia, home with festive parties in mind. From the exterior to the cohesive interiors, this home has personal touches that make it a welcoming space for guests and a comforting space for the individuals who call it home.

Every room outfitted to accommodate a crowd has several staging areas to encourage an excellent crowd flow throughout the house. From the kitchen to the mudroom, this expertly prepared house ensures it's the best gathering space for family and friends during the holidays and all year long.

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Ready to Entertain

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Decorated for Christmas with Lemon Wreath on the Front Door
Hector Manuel Sanchez

For Natasha Lawler, her love for hosting dictates her interior decor. "I really like entertaining," says the woman who cites a crown roast as her go-to crowd-pleaser. "It's easy. Ask the butcher to tie up a rack of pork like a crown. Then just bake it like a roast." Not surprisingly, Lawler works in event planning and public relations. In 2013, she moved from Hong Kong with her husband and their oldest son into this 1929 Charlottesville, Virginia, home.

"Except for a bad 1970s paint job, it hadn't ever been updated. There was no air-conditioning. The grass outside was six feet tall. I wanted to keep it traditional but still relevant for today," says Lawler. To preserve the house's charm, she maintained as many original details as possible (down to the window hardware) and only updated what was necessary.

They renovated the kitchen, where the family spends the most time together, and added air-conditioning. "My mom wasn't coming until that was done," she admits. During the holiday season, it takes Lawler about 100 lemons, 30 rolls of striped ribbon, a scattering of boxwood wreaths, and a massive tree to get her home ready for Christmas. Read on for her fabulously festive ideas.

02 of 22

Claim Your Favorite Color

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Green Sunroom
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Since they've been married, the Lawlers have hosted a blowout every Saint Patrick's Day—she went to the University of Notre Dame, and her husband is from Boston—so they invite everyone over for corned beef and cabbage.

When it came time to paint the sunroom, Lawler knew there was only one color it could be: green. She played off the bold color choice with Schumacher's Citrus Garden fabric in the sectional sofa.

Paint Color: House Plant (SW 6727);

03 of 22

Just Add Sunshine

Lemon and Citrus Christmas Tree
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Lawler goes all out for this Christmas tree, with zesty motifs inspired by her sectional sofa's fabric. "I had a friend sew a tree skirt to match my sofa, and then the lemons just kept spreading throughout the house," she explains. Lawler ordered decorative ones for under one dollar each and tied everything together with the tree's giant bow.

04 of 22

The Bar Beckons

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Green Sunroom Built-in Bar
Hector Manuel Sanchez

She added the bar in the sunroom. Inspired by old New York City pubs, she wanted a brass countertop. "If you leave a glass, it creates a permanent ring," she explains. "When you look at it, you can see all the parties past. My grandmother tells me to clean it, but I say, "The marks are the point!"

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Secret Santa

Natasha Lawler Christmas Decorating Ideas
Hector Manuel Sanchez

She used some remnants of the Citrus Garden fabric to create little "packages" to fill in the tree and place throughout the sunroom. Lawler wrapped a plastic foam ball with fabric and a little blue ribbon. "I didn't even sew the edges," she says.

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Personalized Packaging

Natasha Lawler Personalized Christmas Wrapping Paper
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Lawler uses the outtakes from her family's Christmas card photo shoot to create a collage of wrapping paper by Minted. "We don't even have to put our name on it!" she says.

07 of 22

Leave a Good Thing Alone

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Formal Living Room
Hector Manuel Sanchez

The formal living room showcases the best of the home's details, like the original happy blue walls, which Lawler says make the perfect backdrop to the antique-filled space and provide a nice segue into the green sunroom. The French doors are also original, but she moved them from elsewhere in the house and painted them black to make the living room look even more refined.

08 of 22

Silent Night

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville House Decorated for Christmas with Stockings by the Fire
Hector Manuel Sanchez

"I like subtle decorations in formal rooms," Lawler says. "The stockings are neutral. It just takes a few pops of red to feel spirited."

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Designed to Entertain

Natasha Lawler Charlottesvile Home Decorated for Christmas Dining Room
Hector Manuel Sanchez

"I didn't want to use anything in this room that could constrain a colorful table," explains Lawler about her dining chairs and versatile greige-colored walls. "I can go with a red-themed table for Christmas or pink for Easter."

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Zingy Place Cards

Natasha Lawler Lemon and Clove Place Cards for Christmas
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Spell out guests' initials with cloves on lemons to make aromatic holiday place cards. (She pokes tiny holes in the lemons with a meat thermometer to map out each pattern before she inserts the cloves.)

11 of 22

Warm Up Your Gathering Space

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home with Gray Kitchen
Hector Manuel Sanchez

The kitchen was split into three rooms with low metal cabinets before renovating. "We really live in this space, so it had to be redone," says Lawler, who removed walls and matched the new floors and cabinets to the adjoining rooms' original woodwork. She painted the cabinets Chelsea Gray (HC-168) by Benjamin Moore. The glass-front ones at the top match the transoms over the doors and hold her rarely used vases.

12 of 22

A Gleeful Gallery

Natasha Lawler Butlers Pantry Christmas Garland
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Lawler puts the season's Christmas cards on display each year by hanging them from the original pantry cabinets using Glue Dots and ribbon. Choosing a black ribbon prevents the mix of cards from seeming too cluttered or loud.

13 of 22

Give Yourself Room to Play

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Breakfast Nook
Hector Manuel Sanchez

"All of the original hardware in the home is brass," says Lawler, who outfitted the breakfast room with a brass table, an orange accent wall, and a chandelier. "I wanted a color other than black and gray in here. These are really flexible accessories. If I decide to change out the orange, I can do it easily," she says.

14 of 22

Bucket of Cheer

Natasha Lawler Homemade Ice Bucket
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Copy Lawler's ingenious ice bucket by filling a clean, empty gallon paint bucket with two inches of water and then freezing it. Next, insert a sand-filled two-liter plastic bottle into the bucket.

Place leaves, berries, lemon slices, and two more inches of water around the bottle, and freeze. Repeat until fruit, and frozen water fills the bucket. Let it sit in the freezer for two hours. Allow it to thaw just enough to remove the bucket and bottle.

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Tin Can Vases

Natasha Lawler Tin Can Vases for Christmas Decorating
Hector Manuel Sanchez

She orders Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes online and uses the bright yellow-and-red cans for holding poinsettias and orchids. No replanting is required. Just drop the plastic containers right into the cans.

16 of 22

Coat Check

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville House Mudroom
Hector Manuel Sanchez

In the mudroom, a row of hooks and built-in cubbies shifts to become a self-service cloakroom during parties, while everyday use increases the odds that the kids will put away schoolbags and jackets. The hand-printed wallpaper, made by Marthe Armitage in London, echoes the equally graphic prints featured in the kitchen backsplash and the farm sink's skirt.

17 of 22

Prepped to Party

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville House Mudroom Farmhouse Sink
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Lawler was lucky that a farm sink was original to the house, located right off the dining room. She stylishly added a skirt to conceal the extra storage underneath and admits it's a game changer for hosting. The DIY entertainer loves to create floral arrangements, and the sink makes prepping the blooms a snap. "Beforehand, I'll fill up buckets with water and flowers. Then I'm able to arrange them right there," she says.

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Winter Greens

Natasha Lawler Preserved Boxwood Wreaths for Christmas
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Lawler likes to order preserved boxwood wreaths so she can pull them out yearly. These, in particular, are going on their fifth Christmas.

19 of 22

Pull Inspiration from Your Past

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Master Bedroom
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Their Charlottesville primary bedroom, dubbed the "monkey room," thanks to the wallpaper's motif, is a close re-creation of the couple's old room in Hong Kong. "I loved it so much that I just brought the look here," Lawler says. The print is Frutto Proibito from Cole & Son, and the rich plum walls are painted Bottle of Bordéaux (1357) by Benjamin Moore.

20 of 22

Experiment with Color

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Red Boys Bedroom
Hector Manuel Sanchez

The idea for a bright red bedroom started when she had a quilt made for each of her children when they were born. Her son's quilt was red and white, which inspired the high-gloss cabinets.

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Age with Grace

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Red Boys Bedroom
Hector Manuel Sanchez

She covered one wall of her son's room in a bold print (Battle of Valmy 1792 by Brunschwig & Fils). "I love pattern in general, but wallpaper is such an investment," she says. "I was careful to pick things that would grow with the boys and not just be for the baby stage."

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Tiny Traditions

Natasha Lawler Charlottesvile Home Decorated for Christmas Son's Red Bedroom
Hector Manuel Sanchez

She collects Nativity scenes and sets one up in each boy's room yearly. The children also dress up a miniature artificial tree with ornaments they've made or picked out.

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