Traditional and whimsical décor blend together in Friendswood holiday home
This year, Sandy Carney has cut back on the number of Christmas trees she plans to decorate. She’s down to three. But her Friendswood home is still aglow with festive lights and decorations — many that dazzle and some that are reminders of Christmases past.
“I still decorate the entire house, but not as much as I used to,” Carney said. “With two grown sons and three grandchildren who live miles away, I’ve scaled down.”
Still, the holidays fill her with excitement, she said.
“I love this time of the year,” Carney said.
As the owner of The Clotheshorse Boutique, a women’s retail clothing and accessory store in League City, Carney looks forward to Christmas, she said.
“It’s a happy, festive time, so, I start thinking about decorating in September and bring out the boxes from storage in October,” she said.
For the past five years, Carney has worked in tandem with Wanda Dinklage, owner of House of Interiors in La Marque, usually buying something new each year to add to her assemblage of holiday décor.
“Wanda comes over when I’ve got most of the decorating done, but she always entices me with something new and shiny that I can’t resist,” Carney said. “Like the centerpieces on the dining room table.”
The centerpieces consist of two silver candelabras resembling thistle flowers with gold and gray embroidered bows resting atop a beaded and jeweled runner.
Two gold deer with towering wire antlers in front of two statuesque gold-leafed trees on the buffet are items Carney already had in her collection.
A silver and gold theme is evident in the more formal rooms of the house, but red and green become the dominate colors in the family room and kitchen areas.
“I’m big on neutrals and have a lot of neutral tones in my house, so when guests walk in, I want them to see the beautiful sweeping staircase all in silver and gold,” Carney said.
Dinklage draped the entry stairs with bows made of gold rope and hung supersized silver and gold ornaments from the chandelier in the entry hall.
To the left of the staircase, a white-clad Santa designed by artist Karen Didion stands on a side table surrounded by glittery poinsettias and two silver-tipped, shiny gold trees.
Dozens of silver and gold ornaments, oversized bows and poinsettias cover a 12-foot Christmas tree, flanked on each side by angels holding white candles decorated with white magnolias.
The color scheme flows into the sitting area, where a garland of greenery with pine cones, acorns and silvery white bows hang over the fireplace. Four woodsy flower arrangements, above and at the base of the fireplace, add a warm touch.
“My manger scene is one I bought when we were in Budapest,” Carney said. “I even met the lady who was sitting there making it. I think of her every year when I put this on display.”
The master bedroom, where the second tree resides, evokes a coziness with its mauve, teal and bronze colors. A Santa with pine cones and greenery on a side table and a basket full of pears, grapes and velvet bows add to the ambience.
As the family room and kitchen come into view, so does the change in décor.
“I like something more whimsical in this area,” Carney said. “So everything is bright red and green. This is where my husband, Chuck, and I hang out, along with the rest of the family, so I went for something less formal.”
The tree is loaded with red, green and gold ornaments, many handmade by Carney’s children when they were young.
Stockings hang under the fireplace mantle decorated with garlands of striped red and green bows and glittery poinsettias. The same matching garland hangs above the kitchen stove and wine grotto where a ceramic waiter in a Santa hat playfully holds a wine bottle.
Various nutcrackers are scattered about, and an assortment of family photos are reminders of good times. Santa cookie plates, Christmas mugs, a Fitz and Floyd Santa cookie jar and a Mark Roberts collectible Santa have their own special places.
A Santa with a fur-lined plaid coat stands tall at the base of the backstairs, which are decorated with a swag of plaid bows, greenery and holly. Nearby, the kitchen table is set with nutcracker dinner plates atop plaid place mats.
A long-standing tradition of family members wearing matching pajamas will continue this year; Carney knows everyone’s sizes.
“My two sons always got matching pajamas on Christmas Eve, so since our family has grown, I’ve incorporated the daughters-in-law, grandchildren and the other set of grandparents — when they are able to come — into the mix,” Carney said.
In January, all the glitz and pretty decorations go back into their boxes, but for now, the holiday lights sparkle and Carney never forgets to count her blessings, she said.
“This Christmas is going to be tough for a lot of people due to Hurricane Harvey,” she said. “So, I think we all need a little merry and bright in our lives this year.”