When it comes to decking the halls at home, luxe neutrals add a festive finish to elegant interiors.
On the dining table, natural pine cones and fresh magnolia leaves mingle with sparkling holiday ornaments in place of a traditional table runner.
With swanky galas filling the calendar from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Washingtonians know a thing or two about celebrating the holidays in style. Still, when it comes to keeping the holidays at home, how do you get in the spirit without feeling as though you’re living in a Christmas Tree Shop?
Julie and Mike Holmes put this question to interior designer Kelley Proxmire (Kelley Interior Design, 4519 Wetherill Road, Bethesda, 301-320-2109), who did the original decorating for the Vienna, Virginia, home they share with their children Bridget (6), Charlotte (4), Annabelle (3), and Bradley (6 months). “I’ve been working on the Holmes house for several years,” says Proxmire, who brought an eye for colorful, tailored rooms to the residence. Vivid hues run through the house by way of upholstery, furnishings, and wall treatments. The dining room walls have a faux-linen finish in bright blue, for example, and the foyer is wallpapered in alternating lemon and chiffon stripes. “I love color,” says Julie Holmes. “It’s cheerful, has a great energy, and makes me feel alive.”
So when it came time to decorate for the holidays, Proxmire took a slightly different approach. “The house is already so colorful that I didn’t want to introduce more color,” she says of the seasonal décor. “Instead, I came up with a neutral palette of gold, silver, and white.” Now, the home is holiday ready from the foyer, with its staircase festooned in a faux pine garland and large gold bows, to the family room, where the mantel’s seasonal décor includes fresh magnolia leaves. “They have this gorgeous magnolia right outside their front door,” Proxmire says. “I think for the holidays it’s nice to work with what you have. The tree has lovely leaves that can be easily used.”
An antique settee upholstered in coral lends an already-there festive flavor to the foyer.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the dining room, where Holmes serves her annual turkey, with all the trimmings, including sausage-and-apple dressing. “Christmas is such fun for our family,” says Holmes. “We do the typical things like baking cookies, making gingerbread houses, seeing The Nutcracker. But everything culminates in a special Christmas dinner in our dining room. We get dressed up, and all the grandparents come over.”
Here, Proxmire keeps the table sophisticated with white placemats and napkins, and the family’s fine china, sterling silver, and crystal glasses. Still, she couldn’t resist a pop of green in the plate chargers. An all-white centerpiece of stock, Gerber daisies, and lilies adds a nice fresh element. Her user-friendly tip? “Figurines that the homeowners have don’t have to be placed in the same spot every year,” Proxmire says. “You can be creative with them, try them on a mantel one year, on a table the next.” One thing is for certain: The Holmeses never look more at home than they do in their house decked out for the holidays.