Home At Last
Home for the Holidays
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 for themselves and their two daughters, 4-year-old Teddie and 3-year-old Cecily.
After the couple found their perfect home in Austin, 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.
Homeowner Greg Gish's favorite room was made decidedly simpler than the rest of the home—no patterned wallpaper or drapery. Rusty colors and plaid accents add a masculine touch. "I'm totally outnumbered by women in our household. This is my refuge!" he jokes.
The Living Room
In the living room, even the elk antlers above the mantel get festive attention.
The Living Room
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 strong, straight-lined sofas with rounded coffee tables and skirted settees. "It's important to have a mix of lines and curves in your furniture choices," says Cunningham.
Sprigs of seeded eucalyptus and magnolia inserted casually into the premade bay laurel-and-cedar garland add zip to ordinary fireplace decor.
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 wraps her gifts with papers that match her living room's color scheme. Sprigs of fresh greenery add life and aroma.
Taking only about 1½ 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.
The Dining Room
There's a method to successfully mixing and matching patterns: "We always start with a large-scale statement print, like the curtain fabric here (Sissy in Lapis; duralee.com), before choosing smaller supporting patterns," explains Foster. "We choose patterns within the same color palette and then vary scales and motifs. Different textures—wovens, velvets, stripes—make a room feel lived-in, rather than flat."
Instead of a potted poinsettia, try a loose arrangement of assorted greenery, like cedar and begonia leaves, with blushing bride and a few amaryllis.
A halo of cedar placed around the light fixture adds a loose and romantic atmosphere for dinner parties and emits a woodsy scent in the air.
Replace the traditional candles with local warm-weather succulents atop brass candlesticks for an edgy but also feminine little arrangement.
A ribbon and mini ornament tie together bunches of cedar and bay clippings. Straight pins attach foliage to chairbacks without damaging fabric.
"It's so comfortable to sit here; we totally live around this table," says Kristin. Predicting that this might happen, Tilton Fenwick laminated the banquette's fabric (customlaminations.com) to protect it from spills. Two optional table leaves extend the surface space for entertaining.
In daughter Teddie's room, a gingham carpet, ticking-stripe twin beds, and striped hydrangea wallpaper feel soft and sweet, thanks to the lavender-and-pastel green palette. "I think it's safe to say this is just about everyone's favorite room," says Cunningham. Teddie's little sister, Cecily, agrees—she sleeps in here more often than in her own bedroom.
The Master Bedroom
Without the Bohemian headboard fabric and whimsical wooden mirror, the balloon shades and wallpaper in an iconic Sister Parish pattern (Kinnicutt in Brown) would have made the bedroom feel too traditional. "Mixing modern and classic elements keeps a room from leaning too heavily toward a certain style," explains Cunningham. The design duo also added red piping around the shades for contrast from the walls and chose crisp white bedding to brighten up the dark room.