This Cozy Spartanburg Tudor Is All Dressed Up For Christmas
Katherine and Bert Barre are getting a do-over this Christmas. Last year, for the family's first holiday spent in their newly renovated home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, decking the halls didn't go quite as planned. "We were out of town during Thanksgiving and got back by the first week of December. People decorate early here, so only the scrawny trees were left on the lot. It was a debacle," says Katherine. "Every time I looked at our tree, I cried." For a woman who loves hosting "big, spontaneous parties" and is known for leaving a full candy dish on the bar for any children popping by, a sad tree wouldn't do.
This December, though, things will be different. Designer Charlotte Lucas, who has worked with the Barres since they bought the house, trimmed it out with mix-and-match wreaths, glittery birds, and quirky elements (like big plastic ornaments!) that are right in line with the homeowners' eclectic decor (and delighted their kids: Sallie, 12; Martha, 10; and Dixon, 7). "We are so excited to entertain this year—doors open and people everywhere," says Katherine. The house was designed for just that. During the renovation in 2015, the Barres—with the help of Charlotte and architect George Crow—doubled the square footage by opening up the kitchen and adding a family room and outdoor living areas. "We bought the home on a whim," says Katherine. "It's set on a secluded lot in the middle of town. Bert grew up in Spartanburg but didn't know it existed." The architecture spoke to them—both Katherine and Bert lived in Tudor homes as children; their church is that style too—but the house's dated redbrick exterior was in need of a fresh touch. Charlotte suggested painting it a light tan, which set the modernized-classic tone that she carried throughout the interior. There are traditional French antiques mixed with eye-catching serpentine Murano glass chandeliers, just-loud-enough wallpaper, and a palette inspired by Katherine's favorite color: a deep teal blue. "I love it when a client gives me a specific thing they like and the look evolves from there," says Charlotte, who stuck with turquoise as a dominant Christmas color too.
Katherine says she wouldn't change a thing about the renovation. "I wanted something unique, and Charlotte has that gift of bringing it to life," she says. "Now, we don't even want to go on vacation. We just want to be at home." For Christmas, especially.
Props for Paneling
Everyone agreed that the original wood paneling in the living room was too special to paint. "We brought it to life with fresh varnish," explains designer Charlotte Lucas. To keep the space from feeling too library-like, she utilized soft shapes and fabrics: a peachy velvet on the vintage tuxedo sofa, open-armed accent chairs in a bold turquoise hue, and an olive green vintage Murano glass chandelier to stand out amid all the dark wood in the living area.
Make a Simple Swag
"With all the rich wood, we needed to add some glitz," says Charlotte. A natural garland decorated with a variety of oversize plastic ornaments (athome.com) and a few birds did just the trick. "The balls were as big as my head, and at first, we worried they'd be tacky," she says. "But a room of this size can handle it. Christmas is not a time to be timid." Inside the fireplace, Boccie-size concrete balls provide a more streamlined look than typical faux logs.
A Touch of Blush
The pale pink silk covering the walls provides a muted contrast to bolder areas of the home. The table, a piece the Barres already had, is combined with a set of mod new chairs. "A dining table can sometimes get lost when seating a crowd. If you're going to purchase something new, invest in fun chairs instead," advises the designer. To adorn sconces, snip through one side of each wreath, drape over sconces, and let the cut ends of the wreaths hang at the bottom. She draped the mantel in garland and added a few mercury glass ornaments and a pair of birds. When company comes, the Barres can add arrangements of pale pink roses for an extra touch of color. The table centerpiece is simple: a compilation of antique brass candlesticks with pastel tapers in varying colors picking up on the room's color palette. Some greenery, a few mercury glass votives, and gold starbursts complete the look.
Warm and Bright
"This room was too big to do a traditional all-white kitchen. It would have just expanded forever," says Charlotte. So kitchen designer Caren Bistany of Bistany Designs in Charlotte, North Carolina, installed subtle gray cabinets (built by Dutch Made Inc. Custom Cabinetry) that are a nod to the Tudor's typical stained-wood style. Because the kitchen is a central hub without its own dedicated window, Charlotte strategically added four clear glass pendants across the ceiling to exude a maximum amount of light in the space. To add a little touch of holiday to the room, Charlotte tucked greenery and ornaments into a nook so valuable workspace isn't compromised.
Little Bit of Happy
The small bar tucked into a hallway is outfitted in Katherine's favorite shade of blue (River Blue [2057-10] by Benjamin Moore) and beloved wallpaper (Channels by Kelly Wearstler). For those special holiday occasions, she pulls out the vintage glasses her great-great-great grandfather brought home from Russia back in the 1870s.
Room for Friends
The mandate for the breakfast nook? "That each of the three kids could have a friend over, and there would be room for six," says Lucas. The faux leather on the banquette (Streetcar in Halstread by Brentano) is sprayable, wipeable, and virtually indestructible, and the Saarinen table is a midcentury icon that goes with anything. Simple clusters of Christmas balls adorn the greenery up the staircase. Instead of fussy bows, loose streamers of ribbon create a casual look. Charlotte also hung a "wreath gallery" above the table using evergreen and bay leaf wreaths at different heights to fill the space.
Katherine loved this bold wallpaper (Jardin D'Osier by Hermès) for the powder room under the stairs. "Because we didn't want to play up any more of the turquoise in the trim, we went with purple," explains Charlotte, who chose Purple Lotus (2072-30) by Benjamin Moore. The vintage chest turned vanity was low to the ground, so she mounted the brass sink on the surface instead of nesting it inside to add a few inches of height to the sink. A small wreath with a peach ribbon and bird is hung high on the mirror to add a holiday touch without impeding a guest's reflection.
The Grand Outdoors
The patio addition gives the family a large entertaining area. "We've done a big oyster roast out here, and we can host outside even in December," notes Katherine. The ample seating on the outdoor sofas is helpful because, as she says, "We have an open-door policy." The Hamilton lantern from The Urban Electric Co. is a dramatic focal point overhead. Hanging garlands over the arches highlights the architectural elements.
During the renovation, the couple added a tray ceiling to the master bedroom and then selected an elegant four-poster bed (Baldwin Canopy Bed by David Iatesta) to take advantage of the additional height. "Most bedrooms for couples tend to lean more feminine with soft, soothing colors, so the black nesting tables give a grounding, masculine touch," the designer says. The pale lavender Fortuny fabric on the pillow shams is one of Katherine's favorites and works well in the room. "It's a dusty lavender, which keeps the atmosphere from skewing nursery," says Charlotte. Simple drapes let the trademark Tudor windowpanes stand out. A wreath of bay leaves with lavender sprigs nestled throughout adds color, texture, and a calming scent to the bedroom.
All the King's Men
When Charlotte first proposed this wallpaper (Battle of Valmy 1792 by Brunschwig & Fils), Katherine asked if they could use it only on an accent wall. "But I said it was all or nothing," says Charlotte. Now, it's one of the family's favorite rooms. "My daughter Sallie worried Dixon would be scared of the soldiers, but instead he said, "No, they're on my team, and they're protecting me!" This room is cozy and fun, and it will be great for him to grow into," says Katherine. The trim in Van Deusen Blue (HC-156) by Benjamin Moore works by tying in the plaid curtains and beds, defining the space, and finishing the look. A kid's Christmas tree is the ideal spot for school-made ornaments and a playful Rudolph-inspired topper