It’s the time of year for favorites. One of my favorite holiday songs is “A Blue, Blue Christmas” by B. B. King, and a favorite holiday photo shoot is Don Brady’s own Salt Lake home featuring blue and white tones and the careful coordinated detailing for which he is known in his interior design practice (Don Brady Design, Inc.). Entering the home, the gilt lettering on the wall welcomes visitors in from the cold with a promise of some very special holiday moments.

And special it is. All the decorations follow a tight design theme that celebrates the home’s white accents. Brady had updated his home before the Christmas shoot by opening the ceiling to the rafters, installing skylights, and painting the ceiling a glazed white to create a light airiness that carries through the open plan.

I found my eye galloping around the room, taking in how element after element tied the design together as a whole. There’s a strong Nordic influence, which is no coincidence, as Sinikka, Don’s wife, is a native of Finland.

The fresh flowers in naturalistic arrangements added an unanticipated touch to the table and resonated fragrance throughout the room.

Wrapped gifts served as place cards. I kept searching, but there wasn’t one for “Scot.” Perhaps I would have had a better chance if I spelled my name with two “Ts”.

The cold dinner entrees on the table visually enhance the centerpiece.

Sinikka prepared Finnish specialties for the dessert bar, and Don presented them on pedestal plates of varying heights.

Even the turrets of the birdhouse followed the holiday color theme. The whitened grain in the wooden floor resulted from a coat of white paint that Don applied and wiped while still wet.  
As you probably noticed, I tried to match the blue outside with the blue inside by waiting until twilight to take the overall photos. I stopped before the sky deepened to cobalt blue. The Magic Hour isn’t an hour, but just a precious few minutes. It’s a small envelope of time to get the important shots. I make certain everything is set, pick my shots, take my detail photos, and when the Magic Hour arrives, I order the candles lit and boss people around like a tyrant. It’s really not my nature, but like all photographers, it’s about the photos.

Genuine candles burn in the snow-covered holly of the outside entry chandelier, and it seems like the perfect image to wish you a happy Winter Solstice. May the sun return and bring you the light of love, compassion, and hope. And happy holidays!
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