Homes for the Holidays
Three houses, three different styles, all festive and fabulous
Shauna Glenn, designer and lover of all things bright and colorful, embraces every holiday with the same passion she has for her interior projects. Christmas is no exception, and with her newly remodeled midcentury home, she now has a different playground.
As Glenn was prepping for this year’s decorating extravaganza, we visited about her distinctive style. Her home is ablaze with color year-round so, for December, she adds complementary decor to mix and match.
“I’ve always loved everything blue and have worked it into my Christmas scene for the past 20 years. And now there are so many more options than red and green. It’s fun to do the unexpected.”
Glenn carries her theme throughout the house, from the patio to the paper she uses to wrap gifts. Of course, she’s always looking for something new. “The two pink trees I ordered just arrived. Now we have to make room for them somewhere.”
Ann Williams’ Fort Worth home is a visual wonderland year-round thanks to her incredible collection of art, antiques and unusual vintage finds.
During the holidays, she gets to put her seasonal treasures on display.
Her love for Americana, folk art and vintage Christmas decorations comes from the 18 years she lived in Fredericksburg with her husband, Mike, and their two daughters, Emma and Hannah. “I grew up in Dallas, but Fredericksburg is truly my hometown. And it’s where I learned to appreciate older things.”
She started a blog, Hill Country House Girl, to chronicle life in a small town as well as all her interesting finds. The moniker has stuck, and she now uses it for social media.
“I’ve loved decorating for the holidays for a long, long time, but when we moved to Fredericksburg in 1995, we didn’t have room for a big tree in our small home. That’s when I learned about feather trees.”
German in origin, the artificial trees, originally made of goose feathers, had widely spaced branches to display ornaments. Williams also collects vintage bottle brush trees. While new versions are ubiquitous these days, they originated in the 1930s.
“Old bottle brush trees, old ornaments; it’s how I decorate. I buy what I love,” says Williams. But she’ll mix in new finds from stores such as Anthropologie, which carries unique holiday decor. She also likes themes and groupings. She has a collection of ornaments made of vintage Santa artwork adorned with bits and pieces of ribbon and paper.
“They might look crude to some people, but I prefer things that are primitive and where you can see the hand of the artist.”
Williams has been busy this year with a new grandchild and putting her home back together after post-freeze flooding renovations. “My daughter convinced me to decorate last year, and she’s coming back again. She loves tradition and pushes me even when I get complacent.”
Once upon a time, Rick Maxey and Gary Blake celebrated Christmas with the usual: traditional decorations, a nice artificial tree and lots of red and gold.
But when they bought an architecturally significant 1953 home known as the Fuller House, their holiday trappings changed along with much of their interior style.
The architect, A. Quincy Jones, was a California modernist and had been commissioned to build the house for a Fort Worth family (we wrote about the home in our September issue). It had lots of floor-to-ceiling windows, original woodwork and terrazzo floors, plus much more of a presence than the couple’s previous home.
Maxey and Blake worked with an interior designer and local retailers to help furnish the home, careful not to obscure the design elements that made the house special.
When it came to Christmas, Maxey also wanted an update while keeping some of what they already had. So he turned to that expert source we all rely on: the internet.
“When we bought the house, I knew we had to have some type of modern decorations, so I Googled ‘Modern Christmas Trees’ and, lo and behold, there was actually a website for a company by that name.”
A cool detail: The Modern Christmas Tree made its debut in 2011 at the Denver Modernism show and was an instant hit. Go to modernchristmastrees.com to learn more.
There, he found trees with tulip-style stands inspired by Eero Saarinen. Available in several sizes including a 10-footer, they came with uplights, hand-cut glass chandelier crystals and glass ball ornaments. And they stored easily, a feature that’s always a plus.
Maxey puts several tall trees throughout the house, along with a tabletop one in the library.
For the hallway and dining room, he opts for a bit more glam, taking advantage of large mirrors hanging in each of those spaces. Red and gold ornaments mix with slim-branched trees tipped with LEDs.
The dining table, a hand-me-down from Blake’s family, is set with more gold and red ornaments along with a row of Simon Pearce crystal trees. “I’ve been collecting those for years,” says Maxey. With a crystal chandelier and a pair of sconces casting soft light on the table, the trees glow from all angles.
“We also light up the perimeter of the backyard in red and white,” says Maxey. “It all makes Christmas much more special.”