Nov 28, 2012

A Storybook Christmas Story - Bartow Pell Mansion

As many of you may remember, in May of this year, several of us bloggers banned together to help a local historical home win a fantastic grant to help restore their gardens...
Bartow Pell Mansion in the Bronx,  is one of the few remaining hidden jewels in this area and they are getting ready to spread the holiday cheer as they do every year.

What's different this year?

Lynn Byrne and the team from Bartow Pell have invited me, Tamara of Nest by Tamara Blog, Bryant Keller, among others, to decorate gorgeous 8 foot Christmas trees with a Storybook theme based on favorite children’s stories.

Fresh off the heals of my trip to London for BlogTour, how could I not choose a childhood favorite: "Paddington and the Christmas Surprise Storybook by Michael Bond" as the story to illustrate my Holiday decorations? It is the story of a lovable bear found in Paddginton Station in the heart of London and taken in by the Brown family, and all the mischief that he gets into with the children Jonathan and Judy. Simply could not resist! 

Paddington Bear knows just what he wants for Christmas and is anxious to make sure Santa Claus knows too. A trip to Santa’s grotto at the department store is his perfect chance to make his wishes known – but not everything goes quite according to plan!

Once, my room was chosen, I had the added surprise of learning that Santa himself will be visiting all the children in my room and making sure they get their special gift on his shopping list, while they take a picture.

So of course, the instant theme was an English inspired, plaid / tartan themed color to fit in beautifully with the classical design of the room.

Curious? Here are a few of my inspiration pictures from Pinterest that kick started the design.

Come back tomorrow, to see the big reveal and final results of the Paddington Bear Christmas tree.

Want to know more? There are events scheduled throughout the month of December with the Gala on December 1st to open the event as well as raise funds for this wonderful organization and all that it does to help the community.


  1. Holiday Luncheon - Friday, November 30, 11:30 a.m.–2 p.mBooksigning and demo by paper artist Pamela Dalton, New York Times award-winning children’s book illustrator. Call 718.885.1461 for details
  2. Annual Holiday Family Day - Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m.–1 p.mHoliday spirit abounds during this fun-filled day. Children will delight in a shadow puppet show, A Year with the Bartow Family, by French artist Caroline Borderies.
Professional photographs with Santa (additional fee) DECEMBER 1, holiday shopping, caroling, and more. Puppet shows at 10:15 and 12:15; puppet making with Caroline at 11:15. Other holiday crafts and photos with Santa on-going. Space is limited, registration required. Cost $20 children one year and up; member children $15 (adults and children under one year free)
  1. Holiday Evening Celebration - Saturday, December 1, 7–10 p.mSupport the museum while enjoying cocktails and holiday fare, caroling, and more! 
  2. First Friday! with the Metropolitones - Friday, December 7, 5:30–8:30 p.mExperience the magic of the mansion decked out for the holidays and delight in the festive, fun sound of the a cappella Metropolitones. Do a little holiday shopping and enjoy refreshments. The free Bronx Seaside Trolley makes a continuous loop from the #6 Pelham Bay Park subway station to BPMM to City Island. Registration requested. Cost $10 adults; $8 seniors & students; members free 
  3. Bronx Arts Ensemble Holiday Concert - Saturday, December 15, 1 and 3 p.mThe Bronx Arts Ensemble and Singers present a wonderful holiday concert with music for St. Nicholas. Concert is free, but space is limited and tickets are required. Call Bronx Arts Ensemble at 718.601.7399 for tickets. The museum will not be open for tours on Saturday.
  4. Holiday Candlelight Tours and Victorian Carolers Saturday, December 15, 6–8 p.m. Experience the mansion by candlelight with costumed docents highlighting 19th-century holiday traditions. Victorian carolers add to the festive atmosphere while you enjoy light holiday fare and wassail in the Orangerie. Christmas trees throughout the house evoke beloved characters in children’s books. Reservations required. Cost $12 adults, $8 seniors& students 
  5. Bronx Arts Ensemble Holiday Concert Sunday, December 16, 1 and 3 p.m. The Bronx Arts Ensemble and Singers present a wonderful holiday concert with music for St. Nicholas. Concert is free, but space is limited and tickets are required. Call Bronx Arts Ensemble at 718.601.7399 for tickets. The museum will not be open for tours on Sunday.


  1. Merry Christmas, Curious George Storybook by H.A. Rey; Tree design by Bartow-Pell docents Linda Sacewicz and Christine Williams
  2. Eloise at Christmastime Storybook by Kay Thompson, tree decorator; City Island artist Anoosh Donahue
  3. Paddington and the Christmas Surprise Storybook by Michael Bond; Tree design by interior designer Jennifer Mehditash
  4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas Storybook by Dr. Seuss; Tree design by New York artist Mary Rumser
  5. The Velveteen Rabbit Storybook by Margery Williams; Tree design by interior designer Tamara Matthews Stephenson
  6. Babar and Father Christmas Storybook by Jean de Brunhoff; Tree design by City Island artists Mary Colby and Marguerite Chadwick-Juner
  7. Christmas Eve Blizzard Storybook by Andrea Vlakhis; Tree design by artist and Wave Hill Family Art project manager Ilse Murdock
  8. Raggedy Andy Stories Storybook by Johnny Gruelle; Tree design by interior designer Bryant Keller

For more: visit Bartow Pell or call: 718.885.1461 for details


  1. Congratulations Jennifer, what an honor!!! I look forward to seeing your tree!


  2. Congrats, congrats, congrats Jennifer!!! Can't wait to see your room and tree!!! I'm really feeling tartan this Christmas season, so so glad you are using it!



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