The Elf Shop | Inspiration Board

In How Snowball Stole Christmas, Lara Wolfe has moved to the small mountain town of Braunfels to follow her dream of opening a brick and mortar toy store. She’s found the perfect space too. The Victorian Inn, Weber Haus, has retrofitted its original barn and carriage house into a series of shops. And that’s where she’s put The Elf Shop!

I wanted to make this toy store a wonderland. Lara hand makes a lot of her toys and that seemed to fit so well with the Victorian inn setting, so most of my inspiration leaned toward Dickensian and even Rockwellian images. I pictured a more old-fashioned feel–all dark wood shelves and decorated front door, beautiful display windows, and the cozy feel on the inside.

However, I also something that kids would to love to explore. I based the layout on All Things Kids, an adorable toy store local to me, with a front room, a second room, and the store rooms and offices even further back. It also has the ice cream counter in that second room, so of course I used that too.

Then I added elements that would make you feel like you were in another world. In particular, the tree which I based on several library reading tree images I found online. And Christmas as the theme, of course. I mean the book is a Christmas-themed book, and the toy store is called The Elf Shop. But Lara is a savvy businesswoman so she made sure to include plans for the store to suit other seasons as well.

Here’s what Lara ended up with…


The inside of the store was practically a play land.

The main part of the store looked like Santa’s toy shop, with elves all over. There were all the toys, arranged not only in tall dark-wooded shelves around the walls, but in oblong tables with more shelves throughout the middle of the floor. The cash register was on a counter tucked against one wall toward the back of the space, forcing customers to walk deeper into the store to check out.

An arched entryway, with massive doors covered in glitter that he suspected really did open and close, led to the next room beyond. That space which was set up with long, communal tables, where she could hold her toy-making and crafts classes for both children and adults. In addition, when not in use for her workshops, the tables could be used to sit at and enjoy the handmade ice cream set up in a refrigerated glass display to one side, along with old-fashioned candy chutes along one wall and a few more shelves of toys.

It was also decorated to look like the North Pole, with snow, including glittering flakes, hanging from the ceiling. And the ceilings in this shop, once part of the Weber Haus barn, went up to the second story, so in one corner she’d had what looked like a real Christmas tree with its limbs hanging out, the piney branches covered in bright-colored lights, ornaments, and what appeared to be fluffy white snow that actually seemed to sparkle.

Meanwhile, both inside and outside the North Pole were decorated for Christmas with garlands and wreaths and lights everywhere.

A decorated door at the very back looked as though it led to an ice cave, but really took them to private workspace, mostly storage and her office.

“Will the tree stay snowy year-round?” Peter asked.

That had Lara grinning. “Of course. The North Pole is always winter,” she said. “But I will change out the decorations seasonally.”

“Really?” He eyed the tree doubtfully.

“Mm-hmm. I found a post online with the idea with different Christmas tree decorations for each month. You know . . . hearts at Valentines, shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, that kind of thing.”

Wouldn’t you want to visit a toy store like that?!?!

Read more about Lara, Peter, and The Elf Shop in
How Snowball Stole Christmas now!



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