Wentworth resident Kim Shand turns up the warmth with her holiday style

PHOTOS BY STEVE SMITH, VISIONFIRE STUDIOS

When it comes to decking the halls and creating comfort and joy at Christmas, Kim Shand is all in.
The Wentworth Valley, NS woman annually transforms the year-round, chalet-style home she shares with husband Andy Shand into a Christmas card-worthy retreat as she swags foraged berries, evergreen boughs and as many natural pieces as possible, displays antique and prized ornaments, and gets to work creating a setting for special times, for welcoming friends, family, and favourite people in fellowship.
“I try to do a lot of natural-looking décor. I forage in the woods, trying to find goodies such as natural pine and cedar, and red holly berries to augment store-bought garland with many natural touches,” says Kim who likes that the décor’s go-to natural palette works well with the rustic ski chalet-style ambiance of the two-story, three-bedroom property they’ve called home since 2008.

Kim steps out into her own winter wonderland.

The couple, who operate Maritime Diamond Drilling (an exploration company), and are partners in Seafoam Campground, bought the house built in 2004 from a friend who had put it up for sale. They were already living in Wentworth (Kim is a former Ski Wentworth ski director) and were drawn by the appeal of the airy, open-concept design and the living room’s 16-foot-by-16-foot windows; a dreamy spot for gazing out over snow-covered maples to watch the sun rising over the Cobequid Mountains and beyond into the Wentworth Valley.

Set back on a small hill, surrounded by spruce and maple trees, the house spans more than 4,000 square feet and exudes a woodsy lodge feel with walnut kitchen cabinets and ceilings and trim done in pine. The tone-on-tone beige exterior siding and trim play into the peaceful surroundings where, over the years, they’ve planted grasses, shrubs, and evergreens to complement the yard full of native trees.
Step inside and you’ll see crisscrossed antique skis hanging over a large faux river stone fireplace and sheepskins on cushions scattered in front of the hearth. An ample and roomy brown leather couch and distressed black leather chairs add to the relaxed, homey feel.

Kim adds a little bit of bling and festive spledour to her rustic décor.
Kim Shand likes to keep things warm and inviting for the holiday season.

CELEBRATING THE SEASON


For decorating, no two years are ever alike.
“Every season I change it up,” says Kim, who studied landscape horticulture in school and worked for years in landscape design. She’s always been a fan of Christmas and has been collecting ornaments for 30 years, starting in her 20s.
“My parents always loved to decorate and entertain in their home for the holidays, and my sister and I got the bug,” she says. “We first started out helping, and when we moved to our own homes, we started collecting for ourselves. Christmas gets the most attention, but I look forward to changing things up with each season.”
Kim admits she never thought her Christmas decorating would grow as much as it did.
Every other year, a lot of their friends will come over for a big Christmas decorating/dinner party. Andy will throw a brisket on the barbecue and there’ll be plenty of good cheer. This past year, while they still celebrated with a brisket, the party was toned down due to COVID-19. In normal years, they’d also usually host a Christmas Eve party and Christmas Day dinner for their family.

Après snowshoe with a latte. From the left Kim Shand, PamEisner, Karen Mason and HelenSteeves.

BRINGING THE OUTDOORS IN


Getting Christmas-ready for the couple means that decorating starts in mid to late November, with the more natural elements added in December.
The chalet-chic feel extends from the outdoors in with the blue spruce and
maple trees in the front yard adorned with stars (that Andy made), lit with white lights that send a little Christmas glow out onto the property.
Kim brings festive splendour to the entryway, changing up the look of the front door porch each year. This past year, she made a pine wreath to go behind the bell wreath her mother gave her for Christmas a few years ago. Pots filled with pine boughs, dogwood, rhododendrons, ribbon, lights, and a few berries stood beside a beckoning rocking chair. “It was hard to find deciduous holly berries this year. They are biennial so I am hoping that next year we will have lots to forage for.”

A field stone fire place reaches the top of the cathedral ceilings inside the chalet. Garland drapes across the mantle and along the second-story loft wrapping the room in festive hug.

Continuing the aesthetic inside, she strung greenery, antique red birds, and white lights into the faux deer antler chandelier hanging above her dining room table. Garland wound along railings and was swagged over the mantle, where stockings are hung—thoughtfully and with care.
A cast of deer statues peeked out amongst the decorations, highlighting the winter wonderland feeling.
Typically, Kim will add table-top and metallic feather trees (they
are little, artificial, sparse trees that originated in Germany in the late
1880s, made initially out of green-dyed goose feathers.) This past Christmas, she did five little trees—one with antique-only ornaments, three with birds, and one with pewter ornaments mostly from
Seagull Pewter.
The main tree is traditionally about 12-feet high (and usually cut down at Scothorn Farms) and the rest of their ornaments are reserved for it.
One year, their Christmas tree soared to the ceiling of the living room (which, at its peak, is about 20 feet)—and they had to use a ladder on their second-floor landing to decorate the top branches!

LOVE FOR HOME
Kim and Andy originally met in Truro, where they’d both grown up. They found their way to Wentworth as they wanted to live in the country, and with their jobs at the time, they could live anywhere—Andy was working away as a diamond driller and Kim worked seasonally in landscape horticulture and in winter as a part-time ski instructor and then ski director at Ski Wentworth. Wentworth appealed, in part due to its proximity to the alpine ski hill.
Their attachment quickly grew.
“I could live here forever,” says Kim. “We fell in love with the area. It’s absolutely beautiful here, especially in the fall and spring, driving through the valley, seeing the mountains.”
As outdoor enthusiasts, they love that the area provides many opportunities to be active, from gorgeous hiking trails (including in Wentworth Provincial Park and behind the International Youth Hostel) to mountain biking to waterfall chasing. Once avid skiers, the couple are now into snowmobiling come winter.

Many of their friends live in the area, and they enjoy being part of Wentworth’s robust dinner party crowd.
“The nature is so beautiful,” says Kim, who can often be found out hiking or snowshoeing with girlfriends.
“We’re so lucky to live here. I appreciate it, even more so with COVID, to have a wide-open countryside to explore. We enjoy all of it. We feel very blessed and lucky.”
What about the Christmas season speaks to her? What does she enjoy most?
“Spending time with our friends and family, creating a wonderful meal for them to enjoy and making an environment that is warm and cosy.”

Out of the woods. Kim and friends trekking the backyard trails.