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Holiday Home Dressed in Shades of Blue
Holiday decor happily plays the blues in an airy Atlanta home that bends tradition in light, bright style
Christmas Eve is here, and the scent of gently bubbling beef bourguignon greets Lisa Jackson, her husband, Rick, and their three children as they bustle through the door, just home from church. Dinner, as always, will be served on-Chickadee & Holly fine bone china that once belonged to Lisa’s grandmother; it will be eaten with sterling silver flatware that graced that same grandmother’s dining table decades ago. The meal has been planned for more than a month and will be shared, as always, by 15 members of Rick’s family.
“We do the same things every year,” Lisa says with a laugh. “We love our traditions.” Among her favorites? Her annual pre-Thanksgiving holiday kickoff trip to New York—or sometimes, Chicago—with teenage daughters Sara Elizabeth and Parker “to shop and get in the spirit,” Lisa says.
Produced by Lisa Mowry
Photography: Emily Jenkins Followill
Architect: Stan Dixon, D. Stanley Dixon, Architect, Atlanta; 404/574-1430; dsdixonarchitect.com.
Designers: Will Huff and Heather Dewberry, Huff-Dewberry, Inc., Atlanta; 404/355-7600; huffdewberry.com.
So spirited are the Jacksons that friends joke they know the holidays have arrived once armloads of greenery and twinkling lights festoon the symmetrically dormered windows, 11-foot French doors, and urn-capped gateposts of the family’s Atlanta home—an eclectic mix of French and Belgian architecture designed by architect Stan Dixon.
“This house is very special to me,” Dixon says. “It draws on the edited approach to traditional architecture that I practice and love. Also, it was newly constructed within a 1920s revival neighborhood, and I’m proud to say it fits seamlessly with the historic homes that surround it.”
A masterful display of old and new influences, the Atlanta home is by architect Stan Dixon, who created a custom blend of pigments to achieve the mottled exterior. Cedar shingles crown the roof.
Lisa was thrilled when she and Rick were able to buy the house five years ago. “I love everything about it,” she says. “It’s so light, bright, and airy. It’s wonderful for gathering people together.”
Especially during the Christmas season. First, there’s the holiday party hosted by the Jacksons each year for more than 150 donors and board members of Annandale Village, a local nonprofit dear to Lisa’s heart.
Lamps encrusted with metallic stones illuminate a concrete console table by Bradley USA. Lisa’s ever-growing collection of crystal Christmas trees by Simon Pearce through Erika Reade amplifies the sparkle.
Twin bergères are upholstered in Brunschwig & Fils “Teal Green” silk taffeta. “It’s a bit fragile, but it’s so gorgeous and was definitely worth using,” designer Will Huff says. The Magni “Jewel” coffee table, he says, “is truly the jewel in the room.” Custom tuxedo sofas add panache.
Ornamented with beading and crystals, Kim Seybert for Neiman Marcus stockings await Christmas morning surprises.
Stockings by Kim Seybert: Neiman Marcus; 800/825-8000; neimanmarcus.com (product line varies).
Sofas custom: Allan Knight Upholstery, Dallas; 214/741-2227; allan-knight.com.
Fabric for sofas “Dune” in Elephant Grey from the Colony collection: Scalamandré; 800/932-4361; scalamandre.com.
Fabric for sofa pillows discontinued, similar items available: G.P. & J. Baker, available through Lee Jofa; 800/453-3563; leejofa.com.
Bergères antique, oil painting in gilt frame, glass artwork on mantel antique Murano glass: homeowners’ collection.
Fabric for bergères “Ninon Taffeta Silk” in Teal Green: Brunschwig & Fils; 800/538-1880; brunschwig.com.
Black-and-white framed artwork: Peggy Everett; peggyeverett.com.
Coffee table “Jewel” in custom size: Magni Home Collection, Los Angeles; 424/274-3854; magnihomecollection.com.
Christmas Eve dinner comes next, quickly followed by Christmas Day celebrations—which never, ever vary. “We open presents in the library in the morning and have my family for dinner in the evening,” she says. “The menu is always the same—beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, a big green salad, creamed spinach with artichokes, and peppermint ice cream with chocolate sauce—and we often have as many as 15 people spending the night.”
Exuberant but exhausted, Lisa vows each year to end her celebrations there—but never does. “We always end up having friends from Chicago and Chattanooga visit for New Year’s Eve,” she says. “We love to cook, and we love to entertain. We feel so fortunate to live in a house that makes that possible.”
Beneath a pair of pendants crafted from the ends of a drainpipe, Lisa and Parker discuss plans for the day as Lisa prepares her grandmother’s recipe for cinnamon rolls, a family favorite.
A chalkboard wall broadcasts holiday cheer into a nook outfitted with a Julian Chichester table and armchairs by Holland & Company.
Wooden chairs: Holland and Co., 800/446-5526, hollandandcompany.com.
Breakfast table: Julian Chichester, High Point, North Carolina; 336/886-2454; julianchichester.com.
Vinyl for breakfast bench: Duralee; 800/275-3872; duralee.com.
Pillow fabric with circles “Mevlevi” in Mallard: Lee Jofa; 800/453-3563; leejofa.com.
Blue-and-yellow pillow fabric “Hicksonian” in Teal and Lime: Groundworks, available through Lee Jofa; 800/453-3563; leejofa.com.
Formal Dining Room
Indeed, the welcoming nature of the home extends to its decor. Awash in a relaxing mix of cool whites and grays augmented by all manner of blues—from indigo and sky to navy and turquoise—rooms bear the hallmark of Lisa’s favorite color, and the approach of designers Will Huff and Heather Dewberry of Huff-Dewberry.
Metallic grass cloth—Donghia’s “Hemp II” in silver—climbs dining room walls; a New Classics custom walnut pedestal table with perimeter leaves expands to seat 12. “A square room calls for a round dining table,” Huff says.
Chandelier custom: Jean De Merry; jeandemerry.com.
Dining table custom “Walnut Three-Footed Pedestal Table” with perimeter leaves: New Classic Furniture, Fontana, California; 909/484-7676; newclassicfurniture.com.
Dining chairs “Louis XVI Side Chairs” in Gray -Connoisseur finish: Louis J. Solomon, Inc., New York City; 212/545-9200; louisjsolomon.com.
Fabric for inside seat and back “Geofret” in Silver Blue: Fret Fabrics; fretfabrics.com.
Wallcovering “Hemp II” in Silver: Donghia, Inc.; donghia.com.
Antique coal hod on table, mirror over buffet circa 19th century: Parc Monceau, Ltd., Atlanta; 404/467-8107; parcmonceauatl.com.
Custom linen placemats and napkins: Julia B.; juliab.com.
Custom menu card, custom wine gift bags: Maison de Papier, Atlanta; 404/382-5647; maisondepapier.com.
“I watch what my clients wear and design my houses to match what they feel good in,” Huff says. “Lisa is often dressed in blue. I wanted her to feel as comfortable in her house as she does in her clothes.”
A sweet settee provides additional seating in the dining room.
Warm Wooden Den
Equally comfortable are the choices Huff made for fabrics and furnishings—an inspired blend of clean-lined, contemporary pieces that team easily with treasured antiques and heirlooms, such as a pair of antique gilt bergères Lisa inherited from her grand-parents.
Walls clad in stained Southern pine set off a painting by Ruth Barrett, its colors a complement to the home’s palette.
Painting by Ruth Barrett: represented by Lansdell Galleries, Atlanta; 404/876-4466; Facebook: Ruth Barrett at Lansdell Galleries
“What I love most about this house is it’s a perfect balance between traditional Southern style and punched-up contemporary flair,” Huff says. To wit: A painted gray finish tames the formality of reproduction Louis XVI dining chairs; living room sofas are clad in velvet—but it’s “100-percent synthetic, durable, and very family- friendly,” Huff notes. Kitchen bar stools wear easy-wipe vinyl; a sisal rug “tones things down so you don’t feel afraid to enter the dining room,” he adds.
The powder room features a cherry blossom wallcovering and a round window.
A devotee of upholstered furnishings, designer Huff adorned the master bedroom in Mark Alexander fabrics, including the custom headboard and bed skirt. The bedside chest is from Joseph Konrad Home Furnishings. Lisa’s grandmother’s chair is freshened with Galbraith & Paul’s “Ovals” fabric.
Headboard fabric “Cartouche” in Arran Grey, dust-skirt fabric “Retro” in Khaki, banding “Vintage” in Gunmetal: Mark Alexander through Romo Fabrics & Wallcoverings; romo.com.
Bedside chest antique: Joseph Konrad, Atlanta; 404/261-3224; josephkonrad.com.
Antique bench, framed intaglios above bedside chest, lamp made with antique Italian architectural fragment: homeowners’ collection.
Fabric for bench “Striae Velvet” in Sterling Blue: -Scalamandré; 800/932-4361; scalamandre.com.
Fabric for chair “Ovals” in Robins Egg and Graphite: Galbraith & Paul; galbraithandpaul.com.
Commissioned artwork above bed by Thomasa Seymour: represented by Gregg Irby; Atlanta; 404/941-9787; greggirbygallery.com.
“Everything in this house is lush and beautiful, yet also practical and functional,” says Huff. Nowhere is that more true than on the veranda, where a Christmas tree decorated to create an ombré effect beckons the Jacksons. “In the South, it’s entirely possible to spend Christmas outdoors,” Huff says. “All these ornaments are plastic, so if it rains or gets windy, no harm done.” Huff’s pragmatic approach is also open-minded. “I love Christmas decorating that has a pulled-together, elegant feel. Although traditional reds and greens certainly have a place, there are so many more options for holiday decorations. It’s why we filled the Jacksons’ house with blues and popped them up with chartreuse.”
Sofa, chairs, and ottomans by Janus et Cie are covered in the company’s “Spinnaker” fabric. An arched, mirrored wall—and the massive fireplace it reflects—elevates the Jacksons’ outdoor gathering experience, making the veranda as inviting for cocktails and conversation as the house itself.
Sofa, chairs and ottomans similar items available, fabric “Spinnaker” in Pebble: Janus et Cie; 800/245-2687; janusetcie.com.
Fabric for blue pillows: “Velvet” in Deep End, pillow trim: “Borderline Patina”: Perennials Outdoor Fabrics, Inc.; 888/322-4773; perennialsfabrics.com.
Fabric for club chair pillow: “OD Biarritz” in Taupe: Clarence House, Inc.; clarencehouse.com.
Concrete side tables: Kolo Collection; 404/355-1717; kolocollection.com.
Lamps, artwork above fireplace: homeowners’ collection.
Trimming the Tree
Lisa considers his viewpoint a gift. “Blue is bright and happy,” she says, “just like Christmas."
Rick, Sara Elizabeth, Richard, Lisa, and Parker Jackson hang the last of their blue and silver (plastic!) ornaments on the Christmas tree decorating their veranda.