Decorations at this Bayou Vista home are a blend of heirloom and traditional
Penny Salter grew up loving Christmas, a trait she inherited from her mother.
“Everything had to be perfect — from the outside to the inside,” Salter said. “We had a formal foyer that curved toward the staircase and the tree had to go in that same spot every year.”
Salter also puts her 7-foot-tall tree in the same spot every year in her Bayou Vista home, where she has lived since 2009.
Although Salter lives in a neighborhood known for its many canals where coastal décor is the norm, she prefers to keep to the traditional theme when it comes to the holidays, she said.
“A lot of my furnishings came from my previous home in Houston, which was very traditional, so I feel comfortable with that,” she said.
The exterior stairs of the three-story home all are aglow with lit garland, in every direction, wrapped around handrails and balusters.
“I usually start with the outside lights by the end of October, and I do it all myself,” Salter said. “I begin on the third floor, climb ladders, hang all the garland, and work my way down. It takes me about a week nonstop. I usually have a house full of glitter until March.”
Greenery adorned with red ornaments, pine cones and red bows offset the front door that’s flanked by glittery faux gifts and two potted Christmas trees.
Inside the foyer, guests are greeted by Santa holding a shimmering sack of gifts sitting beside an entry table adorned with sparkly poinsettias, a silver sculpture wall tree and an angel
candleholder that belonged to Salter’s mother.
Ornaments dripping with ribbons hug the interior stairs leading to the second level where an abundance of decorations are displayed.
“Everything you see is from a collection over the years, with a lot of it coming from my mother,” Salter said. “I’ve kept it all and add more each year. A good friend comes over and decorates my tree and it’s full to the brim with colorful ornaments, ribbons, bows, pine cones and a spiky red tree topper.”
Which ornaments bring her most joy?
“The reindeer, rocking horses and angels that belonged to my mother are always on display,” she said. “I’ve had them for so long and they will always have a place here.”
Santa in his sleigh pulling a reindeer, sitting above a cabinet is also a favorite, she said.
Because Salter likes the color red, her bright red sofa and chairs are the perfect backdrop and seem tailor-made for this time of year.
A tablescape atop the dining table features an arrangement of red cherries and green ornaments, surrounded by poinsettias, gold grapes, pine cones and lime-green bows, flanked by candles and two tall, beaded tree sculptures. Tiebacks on dining room chairs match up beautifully with the colors of the tablescape.
A nearby curio cabinet holds many heirloom pieces, as well as the angels displayed on top that belonged to her mother, Salter said.
Above the bar that divides the kitchen and dining room are three eye-catching, oversized hanging balls of green, red and silver suspended from the ceiling. Bar stools decorated with mini pillows embossed with “Naughty or Nice” are comfortable seats for viewing all the décor above the kitchen cabinets. Atop the counter is where Salter displays her very favorite holiday find.
“It’s an ornate candle holder featuring ceramic pears that I’ve had for 25 years, and is a treasure to me,” she said.
Salter will have her son and two granddaughters over for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and will make her famous dessert — pecan pie made with Golden Eagle Syrup, made in Alabama.
“It has a different flavor similar to honey, and has to be ordered as it’s not sold in local stores,” she said.
As a busy Realtor for 46 years, Salter manages to juggle work demands while making her home a holiday showplace.
“This is the one time that I really go all out,” she said. “I don’t decorate for any other holiday, so this is my big project. I don’t know what I might add next year until I see something that catches my eye, and then I think, oh yeah, there is definitely a spot where I can put this.”