Holiday Classic with a Contemporary Touch

Building on childhood memories, this Frontenac homeowner is creating a traditional Christmas with modern elements.

By Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Anne Matheis


Everyone has memories of Christmas growing up. Whether it was leaving cookies and milk for Santa, putting your favorite ornament on the prime spot on the tree or stringing popcorn for garland, some holiday traditions carry over from year to year. After moving into their new Frontenac home, the owner wanted to incorporate touches of her childhood Christmases into her family’s contemporary-styled residence, keeping things fresh with just enough tradition.

“For us, the holidays are all about building memories,” she says. “I want my kids to remember what their Christmases were like growing up so that they can incorporate elements into their own traditions one day, just like I have done.” Pulling from her expansive collection as well as mixing in new pieces from holiday selections at places such as Savvy Surrounding Style and Enchanted Embellishments, the homeowner spent a week transforming her home into an elegant holiday retreat.

“I pick up pieces as I go,” she explains. “If I see something I like, I buy it because once the season is over it will be gone.” While she doesn’t always know where each ornament or accent is going to go, she buys what she likes and finds a place for it. It is really all about playing around with the décor, she says. “I just keep adding until I feel there is enough to make the space look complete,” she explains, which is the hardest part.

Last year, the homeowner worked with a designer at Savvy Surrounding Style to bring in fresh ideas as well as new décor.  Her ornaments are more customary, while fillers such as feathers and other accents bring a more contemporary feel. Basing her design on the traditional holiday scheme of red, green, silver and gold, she tried to keep each room in one color scheme. “I like the old traditional colors I remember growing up,” she says.

A wall of squared cutouts gives holiday guests a peek into the chic dining room with seating for 12. The red and silver theme is carried throughout the space with a centerpiece made up of candles and ornaments. “The table is a hodgepodge of various elements,” she says. “My original plan was too sparse, so we added to it." With such a large table, the centerpiece needed to make a statement.

Silver reindeer candleholders combine with silver-wrapped gifts, glistening red trees of varying heights and greenery. Black glitter placemats sit on top of the black runner custom made to fit the table. Mixing textures and heights gives the tablescape dimension.

Across from the dining room, the entry seating area glistens in gold and platinum, which complement the room’s existing furnishings and décor. Highlights of the space include two gold reindeer from Savvy Surrounding Style sparkling in silver-lined niches, glittered cone-shaped trees and a grouping of gifts and ornaments on the glass table. The focal point of the space is a tree decked in shades of gold and silver ornaments with feathers and ribbon. “It is fun to bring in a lot of textures and varying sizes,” the homeowner says.

The adjoining kitchen and family room blend red and gold, a color scheme the homeowner’s mother always had growing up and which was important to her to incorporate. In the kitchen, glass containers are filled with ornaments from years past. To add color against the dark counter, the homeowner added a swag of red fabric. On the kitchen table, more ornaments pair with ribbon and a gold spiral tree. Reindeer again make an appearance in the kitchen, as two stand tall on the dining table.

The family room features a cheerful, friendly Santa purchased 10 years ago at Macy’s. “Santa has made an appearance somewhere in our home every year for the past 10 Christmases,” the homeowner says. On the tree, clusters of luminous ornaments in reds and golds vary in size as your eyes travel around the tree.

Drawing on inspiration from childhood as well as holiday tradition, this Frontenac homeowner has created a contemporary holiday home filled with texture and shining with Christmas color. This holiday season is sure to bring even more family memories and traditions.