Forget virtual bulletin boards. Local interior designers and talented homeowners have creative ideas of their own to share for decking the halls during the holiday season.
Sometimes an ingenuous holiday decorating tip is just a mouse click away. However, for those who prefer a little more stirring all through the house to gather ideas, the Augusta Ballet Guild Holiday House is better than Pinterest. In fact, it might even be better than a visit from St. Nick himself.
This year the third annual Holiday House, which benefits Augusta Ballet, will be held 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, November 21 and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, November 22 with a tour of homes in Summerville. Tickets, which are $20, are available at the Augusta Ballet office, at interior designers’ locations and online at augustaballet.org.
“We want people to come and celebrate the season with us,” says Jan Hodges Burch of the Augusta Ballet board of trustees. “It’s a gift to the community. A lot of people work very hard, and it’s just a beautiful event.”
Last year’s tour, which featured Christmas décor in three homes in West Lake, showcased the talents of a dozen area interior designers at the home of Paige and Brad Bertram. The tour also included visits to the homes of DaNelle and Julian Murphey and Tina Kelley and her late husband, Rusty, who passed away this September.
Photography by Haley Lamb
The Bertram Home
At the Bertram home, the outdoor décor by Southern Landscaping & Lawncare Inc. welcomed guests to the front porch and back patio. The swag around the front door featured red and green ornaments, oversized snowflakes and elves. Packages wrapped with shiny green paper and tied with bright red ribbon sat outside the door.
Greenery with white lights, along with large red and green bows, adorned the stair rails to the back patio while lanterns along some of the steps illuminated the way. Cheerful holiday pillows lined the curved couch by the fire pit. Red berry wreaths hung on the doors to the breakfast area, while green wreaths with red berries brought holiday greetings to the sunroom doors.
Tomato stand planters formed Christmas trees adorned with red lanterns, cardinals, red berries, magnolia leaves and white burlap poinsettias trimmed in red. On the patio table, red cardinals perched on a wire orb centerpiece that was filled with greenery surrounding a small white tree.
Design Images & Gifts decked the front hallway with a white Christmas tree that showcased silver snowflakes. Styrofoam balls of various sizes surrounded the base of the tree in a clever and inexpensive way to create a tree skirt. A reindeer wearing black boots with red laces sat on an upholstered bench to welcome visitors.
The dining room, decorated by The White Crane, brought an outdoorsy feel to a Thanksgiving table. A centerpiece of feathers and greenery sat in the middle of the round table, which was covered with a tan leather tablecloth. Candles and decorative gold acorn ornaments surrounded the centerpiece, and brown and green napkins were tied with twine and acorn napkin rings.
Natural light seeped into the French doors and two-story high arched windows of the living room, where Signature Interiors decorated a tall Christmas tree with gold, green and brown balls, pine cones and cascades of gold ribbon to complement the earth-toned décor. A giant bow of brown and cream-colored ribbon topped the tree.
In the study, LMT Designs offset the deep rich tone of the wood-paneled walls with greenery on the fireplace mantel. Magnolia leaves and plaid ribbon brought a decorative touch to the greenery.
Cynthia C. Balentine Interiors used a back-to-nature approach to set the scene in the keeping room and the breakfast area. Brown and beige bows accented grapevine on the fireplace, while greenery was interwoven in the chandelier. An apple-filled bowl sits on the table, and dried beans in clear candleholders surround beige candles.
The natural hues continued in the breakfast area, where earth-toned wreaths, which had either orange slices or a pear hanging from them, hung in the bay windows. Beige stockings filled with greenery and red berries hung from each of the four upholstered chairs.
From a pair of elf legs dangling in the window to a wooden toy soldier standing sentry in the corner, a touch of Christmas whimsy highlighted the kitchen. Decorated by Design Dilemmas, the kitchen also featured illuminated red presents on the granite countertops and greenery and red ornaments in the pendant lights above the island. Santa stood with his sleigh by the sink. The island chairs were decorated with silver ribbon, greenery and signs that said Peace, Noel or Joy.
Local interior designers made sure the Christmas joy could continue even if holiday revelers were nestled all snug in their beds. In the master bedroom, Mish Mash laid greenery on the dresser and adorned it with large snowflakes and balls, tan bows and white lights. A red skirt with white polka dots wrapped around the base of a skinny revolving Christmas tree trimmed with small red balls and oversized green and white balls. In the adjoining sunroom, a collection of Christmas pillows accented the couch. Decorative white trees sat on the coffee table where a whimsical elf kept an eye on holiday treats.
In the master bath, which was decorated by Interiors by Roger, a white-flocked wreath on a shutter brought Christmas cheer to the space.
The upstairs bedrooms were decked out as well. In one bedroom, Villa Interior Design, Décor & Details hung wreaths with magnolia leaves, giant pinecones and ribbon from a corner of the windows. Strands of small snowflakes, made of thin reeds by Augusta Training Shop employees, hung atop the floor-length, paned windows while large reed snowflakes hung on the pictures and armoire.
Clara from “The Nutcracker” couldn’t have dreamed up one of the other bedrooms better herself. Brittany Wallace Interiors hung a stocking in the shape of a pink ballet slipper from the armoire. Ballet slippers – along with pink-and-green-striped ribbon, giant pink and green snowflakes, and green and pink balls – accented a white Christmas tree in the corner.
MAC & Company brought splashes of teal, red and lime green to a third bedroom, where a tree was decorated with balls of the bright colors. A teal tree with gold sequined picks and chevron-striped red and green ribbons accented a tree in the adjoining bath.
The Murphey Home
Christmas decorations do not have to be brand new to celebrate the season, however. DaNelle Murphey has accumulated holiday décor through the years, and most of it has been given to her by friends or been passed down from family members. And now a new generation can enjoy the holiday heirlooms.
“I do it for my grandkids,” DaNelle said. “They come in, and their eyes light up.”
With greenery, red and gold balls, a red bow and a gold bow on the mailbox, the Christmas cheer began before anyone set foot inside. Greenery filled with red and gold balls also surrounded the front door. Two black planters on the front porch were filled with greenery and small red and green balls, while bright red packages sat on the porch. White lights brought a soft glow to the greenery and porch décor.
A four-foot St. Nick greeted guests in the foyer, and lighted greenery, interspersed with red ribbon with polka dots and gold trim, beaded garland and red poinsettias, adorned the stair rails.
Every year DaNelle puts up three big Christmas trees, as well as trees in the bedrooms, and last year Southern Landscaping helped her with the trees. Her friend Karen Thomason helped her decorate as well.
Each room has a theme, and DaNelle said it usually takes her about a month to decorate. The finishing touches are always ready in time for the Murpheys’ annual holiday party.
A nine-foot tree in the family room had a theme of Santa and nutcrackers. The tree also featured red and gold ribbon as well as ornaments that the Murphey children and grandchildren made. Two nutcrackers stood tall on the fireplace mantel, which also was draped with beaded garland.
Two nutcrackers stood on the step to the family room, which adjoined the snow-themed living room. Snowmen and snow villages made the room look like a winter wonderland, and a giant hat tree topper put the finishing touch on the flocked, revolving tree.
The dining room featured a nativity and angels theme. DaNelle set the table with her grandmother’s Wedgwood china, circa 1930. “The pattern is so old it doesn’t have a name,” she said. “It has a number.” Red wine glasses completed the table setting, while dishes from another Christmas pattern filled the china cabinet.
Even though the kitchen walls are painted red all year long, the festive shade brought brightened the yuletide season. Greenery on top of the cabinets accompanied Santa and Christmas trees, and Christmas treats were plentiful throughout the room. A gingerbread house occupied the desk, while bowls of candy canes and Hershey’s Kisses on the counter were replenished throughout the holidays.
A kitchen window opened into the sunroom, where a nature theme blended perfectly with the backyard that is visible through floor-length, arched windows. A bespectacled Santa in a brown fur coat stood in a corner, and a pair of reindeer nestled together on a glass-topped table among big green balls. The Christmas tree featured gold balls, feathers and birds’ nests.
On the covered porch, a bird theme brought bright red cardinals to roost in the greenery along the rails. Cardinal-decorated pillows were propped on the furniture.
The Kelley Home
At the Kelley house, Santas and elves, wreaths and trees, ribbons and bows set the scene for a holly, jolly Christmas. “I love to share my love of Christmas with others,” Tina said.
Two giant nutcrackers stood at attention by the front door, where garland adorned with red and green ribbon and red berries surrounded the doorframe.
A four-foot Santa, who had a golden reindeer at his feet, greeted guests as they came inside. Greenery and burgundy ribbon added holiday cheer to the stair railing. Tina gets a new elf or St. Nick figure every year, and the North Pole denizens were tucked throughout the house.
In the piano room, greenery and a pair of red goblets sat atop a baby grand piano. On top of a chest, a nativity scene with Hummel figurines from Germany, which once belonged to Tina’s great-grandmother, served as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.
Burgundy balls decorated the tree in the living room, where a pair of golden reindeer settled down next to the arrangement on the fireplace mantel. In the dining room, china and flatware that Tina received for her high school graduation topped gold chargers. The china belonged to her grandmother, and each bowl contained a burgundy and gold ornament that was tied with a gold bow. Another pair of gold reindeer nestled in an arrangement of greenery and pinecones on a chest. Three gold trees of staggered heights stood in a corner.
Tina trimmed a wreath, which hung on the office door, with gear that she found in the fishing tackle box that belonged to Rusty’s late father. She continued the theme in the office, decorating the tree with ornaments shaped like fish and fishermen.
Decked out in lime green and red, the sunroom had St. Nick’s imprint everywhere. A large Santa head and his skinny legs poked out from the tree, where an elf held a long list of Christmas wishes. Signs with Santa’s signature “Ho, Ho, Ho” phrase were scattered throughout the tree as well. Next to the tree, Santa had parked his red sleigh that was overflowing with shiny red packages tied with green ribbon.
An oversized elf leaned against a chair in the breakfast area, and wreaths hung on each of the arched windows. A tipsy elf climbed a ladder to the built-in wine rack in the kitchen, and greenery, wide ribbon and beaded garland hung from the pendant lights above the island. An arrangement of red and green ornaments dripped down like icicles above the sink.
Of all the beautiful Christmas trees throughout the home, Tina said the tree in the bonus room was her favorite. “This tree is in memory of all the pets we’ve lost,” she said.
The tree featured ornaments shaped like dogs and bones, while the bow at the top was tied with wide ribbon that was covered with paw prints and said “Santa Claws.” A stuffed dog wearing a Santa hat peeked out from a green and red doghouse at the foot of the tree. And no doubt, this tree was the perfect place for Santa to leave presents for Tina’s Maltese, Sophie.
The garland along the stair railing was decorated with red-and-white-striped bones, and pictures of past family dogs in Christmas frames lined a table.
Outside, a gazebo on the back deck was draped with strands of greenery and red bows. A decorated sleigh, which belonged to Rusty as a child, stood by the gazebo next to a container for hats, mittens and scarves and a pile of “snow.”
We may have to settle for days that are merry and bright, but it never hurts to dream about having a white Christmas, does it?
By Betsy Gilliland
Photography by Haley Lamb