Is it the North Pole? No, its North Burlington!


This gorgeous, family-friendly estate went big for the holidays for a big cause.

OUR HOMES Oakville-Burlington-Mississauga Holiday/Winter 2018/19A version of this article originally appeared in the Holiday/Winter 2018/19 issue of  OUR HOMES Oakville Burlington Mississauga, p.18. Find local businesses in our Oakville directory. 
The Christensen home was on the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington's 35th Holiday House Tour of Distinctive Homes, held annually in early December.  The League acts as a bridge of hope by providing the gift of leadership, resources and solutions to empower individuals. Contact Dianne Brown, House Tour Co-Chair at if you would like to offer your home for next year’s tour. 
Nelly and Derek Christensen's 40-acre North Burlington estate might be stylish, but “a show home it isn’t,” says Derek. “We have four kids, including a foster child and two dogs. It’s a home for family and friends and we like to live in it. The kids and I do hoverboard on the main floor, so there are plenty of nicks and dents on the baseboards.”
The house took six years to build, and the couple were quite frugal. They bought wholesale when possible. Kijiji finds are paired with auction or garage sale finds. Although they lead busy lives, they did a lot of the work themselves. When it comes to the holidays, Nelly and Derek, who aren’t phased by entertaining 300 people, simply pick up the pace. In 2017, the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington asked them to put their home on the Annual Holiday House Tour of Distinctive Homes.
For two days, the family moved out and the Junior League’s team of decorators moved in. They rearranged furniture, added pieces and worked like elves to get it done on time.
Josette Giacalone of JAG Design Group created a whimsical storybook wonderland in one of the bedrooms with swings covered in faux fur and an elf swinging from the pendant light. It’s a fun, magical holiday oasis.
Holland Park added fresh greens to the entry, staircase and living room, scenting the home with evergreen. 
Inside, Derek laid the hardwood himself. The dining room’s accent wall is another DIY project. Nelly found shades she liked in the returns section at the paint store, purchased stencils online and watched a YouTube video on how to do it. The stunning five-foot teardrop crystal chandelier over the table cost $2 at a garage sale.
In the kitchen, the table was painted, and Nelly made her own chalk paint. “If you look closely, it’s not perfect,” she says. Style Expressions Staging and Dal’s Home Furnishings were the creative muses behind the staging of the family room with its 25-foot ceiling. Rich jewel tones in hues of blue were an upbeat choice for a space that, next to the kitchen, would see most of the holiday entertaining.