This Charleston Colonial Was Transformed With Outdoor Celebrations In Mind

South Carolina Colonial
Photo: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Event designer Calder Clark believes that a good party begins with great ambiance, and her family home holiday makeover established just that with a warmth that's inviting and Christmas decor ready for any outdoor party. She began by transforming one of the most coveted spots in a Southern home with delightful Christmas outdoor decorations – the front porch. Clark placed a large Christmas wreath on the front doors and windows and added touches of red throughout for an even more festive ensemble. She also took her holiday backyard to the next level, adding a festive, outdoor Christmas tree by her backyard fireplace. If you're looking for unique holiday décor touches this season, you're sure to be inspired by Clark's front porch Christmas wreath ideas and festive Christmas outdoor decorations.

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Get in the Holiday Spirit

02 of 11

Set the Scene

South Carolina Colonial
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Ask event designer Calder Clark what's most essential to a good party and she'll tell you it's a warm, inviting setting. "Setting is synonymous with ambience, and ambience is everything," she says. So when she and her husband, Chauncey, bought a less-than-charming seventies-era house with little curb appeal, closed-off rooms, and an unlandscaped dirt pit of a backyard, she knew an overhaul was in order. They focused their efforts and budget on the spaces most critical to entertaining—the kitchen and outdoor living areas. She finished off the redo with a face-lift for the facade and porch, which now greets guests with a hefty dose of farmhouse style.

Builder: Bart Beasley;

03 of 11

Choose the Right Exterior Touches

What She Did: Front Porch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Before: Victorian railings and columns, concrete floors, and unsuitable shutters created a style mishmash.

"The original railings just felt out of place and were unwelcoming, and we realized we didn't need them," says Clark. In keeping with the more streamlined look, she also replaced the original columns with larger, squared-off ones that have a simpler, bolder presence. Next, she focused on brightening the entry. After experimenting with several shades of orange, Clark settled on a seafoam hue for her front door to hint at her coastal location. More modern galvanized sconces and metal house numbers replaced traditional brass versions.

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Put Pressure on Paint

What She Did: Front Porch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

For inexpensive upgrades to the porch's plywood ceiling and concrete floor, Clark brought on the color by giving the ceiling a coat of classic "haint blue" and the floor a bold cabana-stripe pattern. She also swapped the exterior's yellow-and-cream scheme for a fresher pairing of warm grays.

Siding paint: Fawn Brindle (7640); floor paint: Fawn Brindle (7640) and Worldly Gray (7043), and door and ceiling paint: Waterscape (6470); Sconces: The Original Wall Sconce and house numbers: Sofas: Rustic;

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Give Shutters the Special Treatment

What She Did: Front Porch
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Clark traded the too-narrow, fixed-in-place shutters for operable plank ones she had crafted from basic yellow pine that was pressure washed to bring out the grain. A decorative artist limed them to achieve an aged look.

Shutters: custom, through Andrew Wall; 843/442-8757. Shutter faux finish: Suzanne Allen of Wall Candy, Inc.;

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Expand the Kitchen

What She Did: Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Before: A tight kitchen with dated materials, inadequate storage, and minimal lighting made serving a crowd difficult.

Dufford Young Architects designed the plan to enlarge and open up the small kitchen by leveling the wall between it and an adjacent den as well as the wall (with a pass-through window) between the kitchen and dining room. A hidden steel beam framed into the ceiling joists eliminates the need for a load-bearing wall. With double the square footage, the kitchen now has enough space to accommodate a large central island (about 7 by 3½ feet), ample prep and storage space, and plenty of room for friends and family to congregate.

Pendant lights: For a similar look, try the Carlton Pendant by Arteriors; Stools: Twist Swivel; Island corbels: Antiques Market; 843/849-8850.

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Emphasize Natural Light

What She Did: Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

"This isn't a bright house, so we wanted to make the most of available natural light," says Clark. Mirrored backsplashes and cabinetry inlays reverberate light and help the room feel more spacious. To get the look of antique mirrors, she hired a local craftsman to age new ones. "I wanted that mercury-peeled, imperfect look found on mirrors that have been around forever," she says.

Mirror panels: custom, by Countertops: Carrara honed marble; Range and hood: Professional Series;

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Customize Cabinetry

What She Did: Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Clark wrapped the room with chalky gray, floor-to-ceiling Shaker-style cabinets and used matching paneled overlays to disguise the appliances. Vintage corbels and X-shaped details give the island an extra layer of farmhouse charm. Every surface is topped with honed Carrara marble for a seamless design.

Wall paint: Pavilion Gray (242), reduced 50%; ceiling paint: Pavilion Gray, reduced 90%; and trim and cabinet paint: Pavilion Gray, 100%; Cabinetry: custom, Disher Cabinets; Cabinet pulls: Normandy (M592) in Pewter; Sink: Shaws Original Single Bowl Fireclay Apron and faucet: Bridge Kitchen with Sidespray;

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Make Space for Dining

What She Did: Kitchen
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Squaring and bumping out the original bay window allowed the space to accommodate a large farm table capped with punchy slipcovered wing chairs. A trio of new elongated six-over-one windows floods the area with light.

Table: Windwood Antiques; 828/295-9260. Host chairs: Pascal Arm; Slipcover fabric: Seafoam Ikat and window treatment fabric: Dots in Turquoise, both by Domesticate; Window-treatment fabrication: Chandelier: Luigi Lantern;

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Build an Outdoor Room

What She Did: Backyard
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Before: An empty plot of dirt left the Clarks without space for outdoor living and lacked charm—and grass!

Open to the elements and topped with a standing-seam metal roof, the new 15- by 17-foot structure is a year-round getaway. The stucco fireplace keeps it warm and cozy during the winter, while the 16-foot-high vaulted ceiling helps with airflow during warmer months. To add visual texture, Clark had the backer board of the far wall painted turquoise. Taupe-colored planks were then applied to the wall with enough space between them to allow a bit of the blue to peek through.

With its plush seating, dimmer-controlled chandelier, and flat-screen TV (to the right of the fireplace), this outdoor room has all the comforts of its indoor counterpart. On the left of the fireplace, a built-in cabinet with a 2 3/4-inch-thick soapstone counter houses a bar on top and a stocked mini-fridge below.

Chandelier: Regina Andrew Wooden Quatrefoil; Fireplace: Isokern Outdoor Fireplace; Seating: Rustic;

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Create a Patio for Dining

Standout Accessory
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Clark skipped grass and instead created a classic paved patio. "We were pushed to take the less expensive route of stamped, stained concrete," she says. "But the moment I saw this bluestone paver, I was sold." Paths of bricks crafted from antique molds add texture, pattern, and contrast to the gray stone. Centered on the patio, a farm table can serve as a buffet and (with its added leaf) can seat 10 to 12 people. Calder left a 3-foot perimeter around the table to allow both congregating and trike riding.

Dining table: Hampstead Teak; Host chairs: Isola in Kubu Gray by Artesia; Side chairs: Marais A in Hot Dipped Galvanized;

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