In our Style Challenge series, we ask some of our favorite bloggers from around the web to surprise us with their ideas for creating a stylish and functional space using Home Depot products as a starting point.
For the Holiday Edition of the Style Challenge, we sent a big box of Home Depot Christmas decorations to Ashley and Greg Brown of the blog 7th House on the Left. They came up with one of the most clever and amazing outdoor Christmas decorating ideas we’ve ever seen. Their attention to detail in this retro-TV Christmas yard art is impressive, and they explain how they did it, from start to finish. Ashley has the beginning of the story …
When the folks at The Home Depot asked us to be a part of the Holiday Style Challenge, I knew this was indeed going to be a challenge for an obsessive planner like me. It sounded like a fun challenge though, and it was the type of project we hadn’t tackled before, so we threw our hats in the ring! When we were assigned the front yard, we were really excited and anxious all at the same time. Last year, we were knee-deep in a huge kitchen renovation, and the year before, we were just moving in. This year is the first year we’ll have ever decorated the front yard for Christmas.
When we opened the “mystery box,” we found a large sparkling pine wreath, pre-lit garland with multi-color lights, a large box of colorful ornaments, one spool of ribbon with built-in LEDs and several boxes of mini white lights. Oh, and a fun bonus item for Greg, a Yoda … which we write about in another Holiday Style Challenge post.
When I first saw the collection of ornaments included in the box of goodies, the colors immediately reminded me of the classic 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Who doesn’t love Rudolph?! It’s no doubt the quintessential classic Christmas movie for Greg and me. (Right up there with White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut.) We thought it would be a great challenge to try to capture the movie in a fun, vintage way outdoors. Having a vintage vibe on the outside of the house ties in nicely with our indoor Christmas decorations, while showing off our love for classic movies. Thus, the idea for our outdoor Christmas TV project was born.
We couldn’t have a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV set without the proper characters, so we ordered Bumble and Rudolph outdoor Christmas decorations from HomeDepot.com. Bumble is roughly 62 inches tall, so that meant in order to keep the whole thing in proportion, the overall size would have to be roughly 7½ feet wide and 6 feet tall. That’s really big! We still wanted it to look vintage, so with it being so big and boxy, color and finishing details would be key.
Once the plan was ironed out, we put together a list of supplies and a “cut list.” For this part, I’m going to hand the post over to Greg …
Our initial version of this plan included a lot of 2x4s to make a frame, then plywood for the “walls.” While we’re pretty sure it would have worked just fine, Ashley’s dad happened to have some metal shelving that he was getting ready to get rid of, and being the semi-DIYers that we are, we jumped at the chance to repurpose the pieces to make the structure of our giant TV. Once we’d built the frame, we attached a few smaller 2x4s to the frame for added stability and support for the walls.
For the walls, we used hard board rather than regular plywood. Hard board is a lot thinner and lighter than plywood, which made it comparatively easy to work with. Once we’d attached all of the walls and structure, we added a piece of pegboard for the speaker grill and several pieces of 1×4 trim to make the front look nice and finished.
At this point, we’d been working on the TV with it laying on its back. But now, it was time to sit it right side up. It still ended up being quite heavy, and we were concerned about how we could move it around when necessary. But my brilliant significant other came up with a great idea: casters! We had a bunch from our “future project stash,” so we attached them to the bottom.
Once we lifted it right side up, the casters made it much easier to move around the carport as we worked on it. We also added four 1×8 boards inside the “screen” area to make it look like the plastic surround you would see on a CRT television. (The technical term is “bezel.” I think it’s Ash’s new favorite word, haha!) For a bit of extra detail, we scalloped the top and bottom pieces using a jigsaw.
Next up was our favorite step: painting! I say it was our favorite because after this, everything just started falling into place. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? We painted the outside of the TV Behr’s Bison Brown, while the inside is Martha Stewart’s Cloudless Day. The bezel and speaker grill are Martha Stewart’s Carton Interior, and we used Martha Stewart’s Vintage Gold Metallic Paint for the “cloth” texture behind the knobs.
To give the inside of the TV a soft glow, we wrapped two strands of mini lights just inside the bezel. You can’t see them from the front, but it gives the TV a great glow — just like a real TV. Here’s a shot with just the mini lights on …
Pretty cool, right? Once the entire TV was painted and the inside lights were in place, it was time to take it out to the front yard for the finishing touches. We set the TV on some cinder blocks that we painted matte black, but I don’t want to go too far! Ashley wants to fill you guys in on some of the more detailed parts of the project, so I’m going to hand the post back over to her …
Alright! The fun part … details and finishing touches!
1. We needed our old-fashioned bunny ear antenna to be heavy enough not to move around or get knocked over in the wind, so we used an old light fixture that we already had on hand and two pieces of conduit. My dad, being the ever-vigilant problem-solver, came up with this excellent idea (and already had the parts on hand!). To add a bit of large scale Christmas decor, we added the wreath that came in the “mystery box” around the antenna.
2. Included in the ornaments that came in the box from The Home Depot were some snowflake ornaments. I painted them metallic silver using Martha Stewart’s metallic paint and hung them from the “ceiling” of the TV using clear fishing line. We love how the light makes snowflake-shaped shadows on the walls of the TV!
3. We made Bumble’s Christmas tree out of a wire tomato cage, the garland sent in the “mystery box” and a few wire ties. It was so easy and we were able to make it the height we needed — perfect for Bumble to put the star on top.
4. For the “snow,” we simply used a white drop cloth from the painting section. If leaves were to get inside, all we have to do is move our characters and the tree, take out the drop cloth, shake it and put it back. It ended up being a much easier and manageable solution than using cotton or batting of some sort.
5. For the knobs (my favorite feature!), we used two plastic buckets we found in the painting section at Home Depot and cut about 2 inches off the top of the bucket to make them a little shorter. Then, we spray painted them with Textured Black Metallic Spray Paint. Once they were dry, I used a silver metallic paint pen to draw the ridges and detailing on the front. We attached them to the TV using a super-long screw. We didn’t plan it this way, but you can totally turn the knobs left and right! haha
6. The final finishing touch, the legs. I wanted them to be a slightly different shade than the rest of the TV, so we left it natural. To give it that classic “retro” look, I painted the bottom of the legs with the same metallic gold paint we used for the snowflakes.
We finished off the house with icicle lights (it took 8 boxes to do the front of the house), window candles, and wreaths on the windows. To tie in the “Rudolph look,” we used a fun Martha Stewart Living wreath on the front door and the matching garland to dress up the window wreaths. We also wrapped the light post with some pre-lit garland and the LED ribbon that came in the “mystery box.” Yep, we used all of the items in the “mystery box”!
Overall, we’re really happy with how the outside of the house turned out. It’s the “fun vintage” Christmas look we were going for, and we’re definitely excited to show off at our Christmas parties this year! And it all started with a set of ornaments …
7th House on the Left is where Greg and Ashley Brown talk about renovating, decorating, and living in their first house, a 1970s brick ranch in Hanover, Virginia. Greg and Ashley have been featured on Apartment Therapy, Design*Sponge, RHome Magazine and many other media outlets. They were voted as one of the top eight home design blogs in Apartment Therapy’s Homie Awards and the best remodeling blog in Jackson Design & Remodeling’s Industry Blogger Awards in 2011 and 2012. Thank you, Ashley and Greg, for your inspired outdoor Christmas decorating ideas.
Ashley and Greg included the following Home Depot products in their Christmas yard art:
- GE 36 ft. Pre-Lit Holiday Classic Garland with Multi-Colored Lights
- GE Clear String-A-Long 100-Light Strands
- Martha Stewart Living Christmas Collectibles Collection 100-piece set
- Martha Stewart Living 36 in. Pre-Lit Sparkling Pine wreath
- Melio Creations 9 ft. LED-lit ribbon
- Kurt S. Adler 36 in. Star Wars Yoda Lawn Decor
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 60 in. Pre-Lit 3D Tinsel Bumble
- Kurt S. Adler 100-Light 26 in. 3-D Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Tinsel Yard Scultpure
- BEHR Premium Plus #780-B7 Bison Brown
- Glidden DUO #MSL154 Cloudless Day
- Glidden DUO #MSL079 Carton
- Martha Stewart Living 10 oz. Vintage Gold Satin Metallic Paint
- Gilbert & Bennett 54 in. Tomato Cage
- Rust-Oleum 12 oz. Textured Metallic Spray Paint
Read more great Christmas décor ideas in our Holiday Style Challenge series.