Slowing Down with New Christmas Traditions in Texas
After 13 years of exhausting Christmas treks from their tiny New York City apartment to visit family in Dallas and Chicago, Kristin and Greg Gish were ready to get out of the Big Apple, buy a home, and host their own holidays. Other cities were in the running, but when the Gishes discovered a quaint street in the Austin suburb of Tarrytown, they were ready to put down roots. Before the family settled in, Kristin called on New York friends Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham of the design firm Tilton Fenwick to help her create a fun, pattern-packed home that matches the family's energetic lifestyle. Of course, new traditions come with the new home – like strolling as a family two blocks to their church for Christmas Eve service before dinner, and enjoying Kristin's egg soufflé Christmas morning.
Tackle an Oversized Space
To make this large-scale room feel more intimate, the designers broke it up into two separate sitting areas with back-to-back sofas. They also paired the straight-lined sofas with rounded coffee tables and skirted settees.
Adding Festive Touches to the Focal Points
In the living room, even the elk antlers above the mantel get festive attention.
Sprigs of seeded eucalyptus and magnolia, inserted casually into the pre-made bay laurel-and-cedar garland, add zip to ordinary fireplace décor.
Star Light, Star Bright
Texas stars embellish the tree, a playful nod to the Lone Star State. Air plants take a turn as ornaments. Larger lightbulbs burn brighter than mini bulbs.
Newly house proud, Kristin Gish of Austin, Texas, wraps her gifts with paper that match her living room's color scheme. Sprigs of fresh greenery add life and aroma.
Taking only about 1 1/2 hours to create, this wreath is easy: Sketch the shape in plastic foam, cut it out, attach bay leaves with wire, and tie on ribbons.
Embrace the Crowds
"It's so comfortable to sit here; we live around this table," says new homeowner Kristin Gish of Austin, Texas. Thinking this may happen, the desginers laminated the banquette's fabric (customlaminations.com) to protect it from spills. Two table leaves extend for entertaining.
Pile on the Prints
There's a method to successfully mixing and matching patterns: "We always start with a large-scale statement print before choosing smaller supporting patterns," explains designer Anne Maxwell Foster. "We choose patterns within the same color palette and then vary scales and motifs."
Instread of using a potted poinsettia, try a loose arrangement of assorted greenery, like cedar and begonia leaves mixed with blusing bride and amaryllis.
Replace traditional candles with small succulents atop brass candlesticks for an edgy but also feminine arrangement.
A ribbon wraps around a mini ornament with bunches of cedar and bay clippings. Straight pins attach foliage to chairbacks without damaging fabric.
A halo of cedar placed around the light fixture adds a loose and romantic atmosphere for dinner parties and emits a woodsy scent.