Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

First published in 1922, Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit is one of the best known children’s stories. The tale is of a Boy who  receives a stuffed Velveteen Rabbit one Christmas.  Initially he snubs the rabbit in favor of more modern wind-up toys.  But one evening, in the absence of the Boy’s usual toys, he is given the Velveteen Rabbit. The stuffed rabbit soon becomes the Boy’s constant companion. They become inseparable playmates and love the woods, where the Boy “always made the Rabbit a little nest…[as] he liked the Bunny to be comfortable.”

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

In lieu of giving away the very charming ending of this tale, I encourage you now to bookmark this childhood classic here and re-read it when you have a few minutes.  If you remember, in my “Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum’s 2012 Storybook Christmas” post on November 30th, I described how every December the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum’s holiday celebrations center around “A Storybook Christmas” theme, a concept to promote New York City youth literacy and festive flare. In that post I then introduced the eight New York City Artists and Interior Designers who have translated beloved children’s storybooks into magical story-telling trees for the Season.

Today my spotlight is on the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum’s North Parlor Velveteen Rabbit Storybook tree design by Interior Designer Tamara Matthews-Stephenson. For her design, Ms. Matthews-Stephenson transformed her tree into the very wood (referenced in the passage pictured above)  where the Boy and the Velveteen Rabbit spend their playtime.

Let’s take a look:

Here we have the gorgeous tree, stunningly lit and decorated. Presents overflow from underneath, and there, on the child’s rocking chair, sits the velveteen rabbit.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

He looks like he’s ready to play. Amongst the tree branches note the antique gold ornaments, green velvet ribbon blows, deer ornamens, and frosty white sticks of berries.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

Here, a darling nest ornament, complete with speckled eggs, that the Boy might have modeled his nest for the rabbit after.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

The rabbit and his divine velvet fur. He is absolutely adorable!

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas
Woo wooo – a little owl ornament peers out of the tree’s forest.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

The tree truly looks as if it was always meant to be in this room, as the Mansion’s decor flows seamlessly with the tree’s decorated palette.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

Another species of owl holds court over the holiday gifts, nestled between pine cones.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

And the storybook itself sits under the tree.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

The Museum’s Storybook Christmas guide provides a glimpse into the Holiday tale.

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum Storybook Christmas

To learn more about interior designer and freelance writer Tamara Matthews-Stephenson, I invite you to visit her lifestyle blog, Nest by Tamara.


The logo is actually a little nest, that reminds me of her beautiful Storybook Tree.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Photography by Sarah Sarna.

xo, Sarah

P.S. Please consider supporting this blog business of mine by clicking my links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon*, Nordstrom*, Shopbop*, and west elm*. I truly appreciate your support!

P.P.S. For more decorating ideas and style ideas, find me on Bloglovin, Facebook, Feedly, INSTAGRAM, Pinterest, SnapchatTumblrSHOP SARAH SARNA, and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!

Author: Sarah Sarna

Interior Designer and Author at, empowering women to decorate and dress with confidence.

  • Sarah – you have a wonderful way of story telling and thank you very much for giving the back story about the tree I decorated. As always, I love popping over here to see your musings. xoxo tamara

  • I absolutely agree Karolyn. I re-read the book last night to write this post and it was so heart-warming and sweet – it’s a timeless tale.

  • Karolyn- The Relished Roost

    One of my favorite books! I loved the movie too and there something so endearing about a velvet bunny! Love it,thanks for sharing!
    Karolyn- The Relished Roost