Shawn Eagleburger and Chase Sechrist live by the mantra “celebrate everything,” so it's no surprise that when the holiday season rolls around the two don’t just put up a tree and some lights and call it decorated. They splash special seasonal spice around every inch of their historic Webster home. Frequent entertainers who often host family and friends, the two decorate first for their own delight.
“Our mindset in our home décor, holiday season or not, is always to first host ourselves,” explains Chase. “When we get home at the end of the day, we want to walk into our home and be excited and comfortable.”
In the fall of 2015, the newly married couple started a search for their first home that led them to the little old farmhouse in Webster. It was built in 1907 on land purchased in 1904 by Margaret Walch Smith, whose sister owned the home across the street, where she lived with their two siblings. Shawn and Chase loved the home because of its history and character, but most importantly it was a place they could make their own to celebrate family traditions, both new and old. “The celebration of family has been rooted in the history of this home since its beginning,” says Shawn.
This year brought the couple a special opportunity to grow their family and share their home with foster children, making the holiday season even more meaningful. Shawn describes their décor as personal and traditional. “Not traditional Christmas by any means,” he laughs. “But everything has a connection or meaning to us to bring back memories of the past.”
For example, in the entryway, images of childhood visits with Santa invite guests into the home, where the senses are immediately excited by the smell of fresh cedar and boxwood garland draped on the staircase. Shawn says Christmas is the time of year one can really go overboard with fresh flowers and greens, and that little touch makes all the difference. A more formal tree swagged in gold ribbons sets the tone for the festive color scheme, which complements the existing everyday décor and furnishings.
In the living room, the sofa is filled with oversized tartan print pillows and warm throws with touches of blue and gold that are also found throughout the home. The large tree in the living room is filled with blown-glass ornaments the couple has collected during their travels and meaningful life moments. They fill each other’s stockings with new ornaments each Christmas morning and keep a book marking where they got the ornament and why each holds special meaning. “Every year it is fun to unpack the ornaments and look back at the memories we’ve made,” Shawn says. Circling the tree is a train set gifted to Chase from his grandfather.
Connected to the living room, the dining room is set and ready for holiday guests. As the physical center of the home and one of the first spaces that catches the eye from the front door, the dining room tablescape had to be spectacular. There was no question the floral centerpiece would include hydrangeas, because if the couple has fresh flowers in the house it is always hydrangeas. They love the way they go from fresh to dry, and the arrangement lasts through weeks of celebrations. Shawn purchased reindeer candlesticks and was just waiting for the perfect setting in which to use them. Their gold flatwear and china represent a memory from their wedding in front of the Art Museum on Art Hill. “I love how some of the pieces on the table arrangement could have been on that table back when the original homeowners celebrated the holidays more than 100 years ago,” Shawn says.
Honoring and respecting the age of the home has always been at the forefront of Shawn and Chase’s minds as they’ve renovated and decorated the house. Extensive renovations they mostly completed themselves have made the home modern and comfortable to live in but they’ve maintained little touches of the Edwardian age, such as picture rail, brass hardware and the doorbell turn.
“We have experienced so much joy in getting to know about who built the home and their story,” Shawn says proudly. “We haven’t been the first to live here, and we won’t be the last, but we get to take care of this home for a while while we have it.”
Throughout the rest of the home are joyful decorations that simply make them happy. They bring out their favorite treasures during the holidays believing if you love it, it all goes together.
“To us, the holidays are a reason to celebrate,” says Shawn, “to open our doors to family and friends, to enjoy traditions and to dream about all that’s to come.”