The Style Report

Top 2013 Holiday Decor Styles

Realtor Interviews:
Insights From Industry Leaders on 2013 and 
The New Year 

Make Your List:
Our Top Gifts for the Holiday Season    

Making A Difference:
Contributed By Josh Reese, Camp Courant

Upcoming Events:
Our Picks In Art, Culture, Design & More Across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts 


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Special Issue 
Photo Credit: Jeff Kaufman Photography
It is hard to believe the holidays are upon us. At this writing, I have taken on the long awaited task of remodeling our master bathroom -- with Thanksgiving only three days away (Thanksgivukkah in my family). However, I promised myself that I will take a step back from the dust in my house, and truly enjoy the spirit of the season. I have many things to be thankful for -- my family, friends, clients and colleagues. Our company has had a remarkable year and we attribute our success to all of the people we have worked with.

In this Special Holiday Issue of  The Style Report, we hope to inspire you with holiday decorating ideas, our list of the top gifts for the season, and some wonderful events that are taking place throughout our region. We also are thankful to have a wonderful contributing writer, Josh Reese, Executive Director and CEO of Hartford's Camp Courant, to remind us that this is the perfect time to think about those in need.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season filled with sparkle, good cheer, and family and friends.

Here's to a Happy New Year!

Let PJ & Company Dress Your Home In Style  
This Holiday Season
Complete Holiday Design and Installation Available 
If you you have run out of time or energy (or both) this holiday season, our team of stylists can help you dress your home for the holidays. Whether using your existing decorations or working with you to create a new design, we will add warmth and festivity to your home for family and friends to enjoy. Please call 203-640-3262 for more information. 

Decorate For The Holidays In Style
Holiday decor and accents can transform your home during the holidays. For many though, finding just the right holiday style that matches your home's existing decor and taste can be a challenge. We've featured two of most popular holiday decor styles - Vintage Holiday and Rustic Luxe - below. 

Vintage Holiday

Vintage inspired holiday decor reminds us of holidays from years past. Muted colors, natural tones, sparkling metallics and bright whites define this more elegant and warm style for the holidays. Traditional textures, mercury glass, classic ornaments, simply decorated trees, antique glasses, touches of evergreen and nostalgic decor define this style. Group vintage accents and accessories together and pair with a few clean, modern elements to create an updated look.

Rustic Luxe

Rustic Luxe decor is the perfect pairing of a mountain lodge and NY penthouse. Defined by mixing and matching elements inspired by nature with shimmery metallics, rich textures and elegant styling this look creates a warm, glamorous style perfect for holiday decor and entertaining. Mix warm woods and earthy elements with silver and gold. Accents and decor including animal themes and feathers layered with modern touches complete this look. 

"Pivotal" 2013 Housing Market Brings
High Expectations For 2014 
Improving. Strong. Energized. Pivotal. We asked a group of realtors and agency leaders across Connecticut to share a one word recap of the 2013 housing market and gathered together their insights. The consensus - 2013 was a year of change and growth that many hope will carry into the New Year.

"2013 showed a marked increase in sales and expectations," according to Joel Grossman, sales manager of Calcagni in Wallingford. "2014 will continue the trend with increased sales in both our resale and new homes divisions. Both buyers and sellers will fare well as we expect interest rates to remain low," he adds.

While Connecticut's housing recovery has lagged behind much of the country, 2013 gains have the state's housing market finishing with slow and steady growth.

The Warren Group, which collects data on the New England housing market, recently reported that Connecticut demonstrated a jump in sales growth and pricing for September - the best September since 2007. That momentum has given many realtors we've spoken with a brisk start to the fourth quarter and hope for the future.

PJ Louis, sales manager of the William Raveis office in Avon, expects 2014 to be better than 2013 as the economy and new construction numbers improve.

Tight Inventory Conditions Questionable for 2014

We've said it over and over again in 2013 - buyer traffic is outpacing seller traffic and tight inventory is boosting pricing. Both in Connecticut and nationally, inventory shortages have been a key marker of the housing recovery.

According to NARS Chief Economist Lawrence Yun's Housing Marketing and Economic Outlook, in 2014 home pricing could either slow or accelerate - the housing starts will be the deciding factor. He adds that the industry needs to reach 1.5 million starts soon or face a persistent shortage that will impact pricing and affordability.

Staging Gives Sellers a Market Advantage in 2013 


This year's inventory shortages provided sellers with a market advantage in many areas and those sellers who staged their homes were able to leverage that advantage further and capture buyers. The year got off to a busy start and from January on PJ & Company worked on over 25 homes, with many selling in record time after staging.  


Statistics released throughout the year also continued to support the benefits of staging. New figures from the Real Estate Staging Association and Staged Homes reinforced that if you want to sell, stage it first.  


As the market evolves in 2014, we asked realtors why staging a home for sale will continue to be important in today's real estate market.  


"A home that is staged or as I like to say, "romanced", stands out from the competition. There are many benefits to staging a home for sale besides exciting the agents in the community to show and sell. A staged house is memorable, a staged house is often "move-in" ready and perceived as a great value."

- Joel Grossman, Calcagni, Wallingford 


"For my sellers staging brings the most value in the shortest amount of market time over their competitors. Staging makes the home appealing to the largest variety of buyers." 
- Lorraine Amaral, William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty, Danbury 

"Today's buyers demand clean, fresh, organized homes to become excited in their purchase process. Sellers who fall into distressed, tired home syndrome will be rejected by buyers unless very low priced. A home is either really exciting or boring! Anyone can list a home, not all can get it SOLD! A staged home is exciting!"

- Ruth Ratner, CT Properties/Keller Williams, Cheshire 


Hopeful for 2014


As we look ahead to 2014,the biggest hope for many is that the housing market will continue to recover to stable levels analysts will define as healthy. Ruth Ratner of CT Properties/Keller Williams shares with many in the industry hope for continued increases in listings and sales that will drive the market and allow buyers to find affordable, move-in ready homes. 
Top Gifts For The Home
From fine mercury jars to a clever chalkboard wall calendar, we've compiled some of our favorite finds for the home your friends and family will love to unwrap this season. 

1 Mercury Jars, Jayson Home / 2 Patent Vinyl Placemats, Neiman Marcus / 3 Mason Jars and Stands, Pottery Barn / 4 Softest Throws, West Elm / 5 Moxie Showerhead and Wireless Speaker, Kohler / 6 Personalized Wall Art, Etsy - Near and Dear Designs / 7 Cast Iron Fondue Set, Crate and Barrel / 8 Wine Tags, Crate and Barrel / 9 Flannel Sheets, Garnet Hill / 10 Owl Pillow, Dwell Studio / 11 Vinyl Chalkboard Calendar, Etsy - Walls Need Love

Making A Difference Starts With YOU and
Continues One Person At A Time

Contributed By: Josh Reese, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer,  

Hartford's Camp Courant


It is the holiday season. You are filled with cheer and excitement, and in your heart you want to make a difference for someone who is less fortunate. Here at Hartford's Camp Courant, this feeling is contagious and something we are proud to say truly makes a difference not only for the young people we serve in Hartford, but for each and every charitable organization throughout the country.  


We have been blessed here at Camp with the opportunity to assist children to new levels of success through a FREE summer sanctuary where Hartford's youth can develop positive relationships, learn, and most importantly have fun.


This plain and simply does not happen without driven and dedicated individuals who reach deep into their pockets, sacrifice their time for others, and have a passion for altering the future for someone who needs their help.


The partnership of giving is necessary not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year with equal responsibilities for each 'side'. Funders provide a direct gift, volunteer their time, donate a raffle prize, and attend events in support of the causes they love to support. It is the nonprofits responsibility to be proper stewards of these financial gifts, continue to create engaging opportunities reaching their supporters, and consistently reiterating their mission AND opportunities of change they provide. 


This is not an easy task for either side. A changing world economy and a future financial outlook that is bleak often times will make funders apprehensive to support a cause that they are so passionate about. This makes the competition for every dollar a nonprofit receives even tougher in hopes of keeping its doors open and mission alive.


That is why the holiday season often times provides a lifeline for nonprofits to succeed in creating building blocks for success later on in the fiscal year. There is no doubt that a funders mindset will change as the shopping malls fill with lights, ornaments, and religious symbols of celebration. We commonly hear stories of a funder who just spent so much in gifts and meaningless purchases, that they will send us a greeting with the satisfaction that their contribution will make a difference in someone else's life.


So my friends, as you read this note, we encourage you to reach out to that nonprofit that is very close to you heart. Give that gift that you know will change someone's life. Make sure that you keep tabs on the charity throughout the year and that they are doing their part in making sure your dollars are spend correctly. 


The holiday season is the perfect time to make a difference - it's a connection that is year round that will truly alter the future!    

For more information on Camp Courant, visit 
Upcoming Events
Throughout the holiday season events across the region invite us to celebrate this special time of year. Here are our top picks for December.

December Deluxe: Wine Tasting Class and Dinner - December 7, 2013 

The Boston Wine School is putting special session featuring a two-hour class as well a wine tasting. Become familiar on the ways to best pair wines with food. Click Here For More Information


Mark Twain Holiday House Tour - December 8, 2013
Visit the Mark Twain House as well as five other elegant homes in the Hartford, CT area this holiday season. They will be bursting with festive holiday decor, and proceeds will benefit continued restoration of the Mark Twain House. Click Here For More Information


Grand Central Holiday Fair - Thru December 24, 2013

Located between Vanderbilt and Lexington Avenue, the elegant market is featuring 76 mini-boutiques this year. There will be everything from contemporary art, to African crafts, and upscale kitchen products.Click Here For More Information   

Creative Arts Workshop - Thru December 24, 2013

Located in New Haven, CT over 300 artists are represented at this annual exhibition and sale of fine crafts including fine jewelry, glass, ceramics, furniture and more for purchase. 
Click Here For More Information
Festival of Silver Lights - November 26, 2013 - January 7, 2014
A spectacular display of 200,000 white lights in trees, on ponds and nestled throughout the natural habitat plus more than 300 lighted characters throughout Hubbard Park in Meriden, CT.  Click Here for More Information
First Night Hartford 2014 - December 31, 2013
Start off the New Year at Hartford's premier New Year's Eve party. Featuring a family friendly environment, there will be professional musicians, performance groups and exhibits to help ring in the New Year. There will also be two fireworks shows so this is not an event to miss.

Holiday Windows in New York City - Thru January 1, 2014

Take a stroll down Fifth Avenue and admire the fine decorations in the shops' windows. Stores from Macy's, to Tiffany's to Bergdorf Goodman will be featuring decorations in their window displays this year, each with their own theme and charm. Click Here For More Information


Christmas at the Newport Mansions - Thru January 5, 2014

See the mansions decorated with silver and gold for the holiday season. Music and tours also highlights of the holiday season. The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House are all on display this holiday season. Click Here For More Information

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park - Thru January 5, 2014

Join over 125 of the city's finest artisans for the 12th annual outdoor market. Pick up some last minute holiday gifts, including rose-gold necklaces, hand painted lamps, and unique clothing and accessories. Click Here For More Information

We welcome your feedback. Please feel free to send your thoughts, comments, or questions to

The Style Report is PJ & Company Home Styling's e-newsletter designed to inform, entertain, and engage our clients, colleagues, friends, and other style followers about topics in interior design, fashion, and special events.