Holiday Décor Done Right
by caroline cunningham
photograph by michael j. lee
Every Christmas, family and friends gather together in this gorgeous home in the western suburbs of Boston. The house always seems to sparkle with happiness and love, but perhaps never more so than during the holiday season. White lights twinkle gaily from trees and shrubs, beribboned wreaths hang in the windows while garlands wind up the stairway; evergreens decorate the family and living rooms; and a charming Santa Claus figurine keeps watch by the stone fireplace, where the stockings are hung with great care. The staff at Bow Street Flowers decks the home’s halls each season with fresh pine boughs and Frasier Fir trees that they deliver the second week of December. They hang the trees with the family’s heirloom ornaments and new Christmas balls and bells they source yearly. The company artfully adorns the mantle with deep green and glossy magnolia leaves that harmonize with the color scheme of the home. The generous spirit of the owners can be seen in every detail—it’s elegant exuberance at its very best.
But the vibrant spirit isn’t reserved just for Christmas. The home, an unassuming builder’s Colonial on a quiet residential street, was completely renovated in 2002 by architect John MacDonald, of Morehouse MacDonald & Associates. MacDonald opened up the back of the house to the lovely gardens beyond and created dynamic new areas for the couple and their four children, including a breakfast room, conservatory, and family room. Light pours through an oculus at each end of the house, and the pattern in the trussed ceiling, rendered in rift white oak, echoes the shape of these dramatic windows, connecting the rooms from above in a continuous, cylindrical plane.
|Crisp whites complement the natural light in the conservatory.|
The task of finishing all the interior spaces was given to designer Mollie Johnson. She and the owners have worked together for a long time; in fact, Johnson’s first project, when she launched her own company almost 20 years ago, was for their original home. They’ve become good friends since, and the owners’ trust in Johnson’s confident style is reflected in every corner of the house.
The tone is set from the moment one enters the front foyer and sees a beautiful silver bowl, planted with a white amaryllis, on a Directoire table from Andrew Spindler Antiques. Damask wallpaper in pale gray and white from Brunschwig & Fils and a floral patterned carpet on the stairs give warmth to the double-height space; an antique gilded chandelier hangs above.
A rich palette of caramels, burnt orange, and soft browns fill the family room just beyond. Magnificent Hudson River School landscape paintings adorn the walls, and in a clever mix of form and function, an antique chest from M-Geough is used as a side table.
The light-filled conservatory and breakfast room share the same serene color scheme and gracious furnishings, including an exquisite chandelier and bookcase from Niermann Weeks of M-Geogh. The house combines subtle luxury and comfort throughout. It’s the perfect place to celebrate family and friendship—at Christmas, and all year round.