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A winding staircase and arched niches, ideal for holiday decor in a 1928 Tudor
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Knowing their four young children will be up any minute, ready to race to the tree, Katie and Scott Reynolds begin December 25 early, braced with good, strong coffee and adult-size servings of wide-eyed wonder. With children ages 2 to 12, there's plenty to marvel at. This year, they anticipate what toddler Luc will make of the family room's crèche as the story of the miraculous manger birth begins to take root.
"The children wake to the smells of fresh coffee and a hot grits-and-egg casserole, a Christmas tradition in our family for generations," says Katie, a full-time mom and church volunteer. "They leap out of ?bed and stack themselves at the top of the stairs. We love watching their expressions as they rush to find out what's under the tree."
Ten years ago, Katie and Scott's real estate agent loved watching their expressions when they first entered the 1928 Tudor's graceful, arched foyer. With its winding staircase and architectural niches, the entry inspired Katie with visions of fresh holiday greens and a growing family to appreciate them. "Two steps in, we were smitten," she recalls.
Though at the time they only had one child-George, now 12-the house represented an investment in their family's future. The handsome residence sat in the Dallas Highland Park area, which included good schools. Their smart thinking: Buy now, decorate later.
Later came after six years. "I met Scott when he came to my shop looking for office chairs for his advertising business," notes interior designer Lisa Luby Ryan. "He introduced me to Katie, and we began the design in stages, starting with the downstairs."
Ryan's vision included her trademark calming effect-in this instance, unruffling the interior's furrowed stucco finish. "The biggest challenge was convincing them it was OK to smooth out the original stucco. Once they saw the results, they had no reservations." She added calm with a uniform pale palette. "It was important to have one continuous color on the walls to help the rooms flow." It was also important to squeeze out space for a breakfast area and a family room. Ryan opened the sun porch to the kitchen, creating a sunny great room. The space lets Katie interact with the children while she cooks. "Scott came up with the idea of placing the TV inside the island," praises Ryan.
Delivering functionality with finesse was the goal. "Because this is a family house that sees a lot of activity, it had to be livable and durable," Ryan says. "But Katie and Scott are hip and sophisticated. Their surroundings also needed to be smart and lovely."
The unlikely springboard for that aesthetic was old botanical prints Ryan chose for the dining room. "These were the inspiration for the whole house," she says. And she's the first to admit this is a departure from design protocol, which typically touts an important textile, often a rug, as the ideal element for grounding and growing a design. But Ryan likes flouting rules. Details are her signature flourish.
"When there are too many focal points," she observes, "the eye doesn't know where to land." But even decorated for Christmas, the living room's original mantel remains clean, with only a pair of mercury-glass vases augmenting the cut greens and pinecones. More antique mercury glass is displayed en masse on the coffee table.
"The first thing I do is group accessories and art," says Ryan. For drama, she salutes solos: "I like fewer but more important pieces"-like the living room's Swedish grandfather clock. "I found it in France and knew it was perfect for Katie and Scott. Finding one-of-a-kind pieces is my passion." Uniqueness is also observed in such small accessories as oatmeal-hued Christmas stockings. "They're hand-stitched from old French textiles and vintage lace."
Function and fashion meet in major furnishings like the breakfast table. "Absolutely nothing the kids can do can hurt its zinc top, and it's timeless," promises Ryan. "It will look just as good in ten years."
That's music to Katie's ears as her family begins its second decade in the house. "For the past 10 years, this is where we've been privileged to hear the whispers, tears, squeals, and giggles of our children," she reflects. "Lisa understood the fabric of our family. She made our home an even more special place for creating memories."
And some of the best memories are being made right now.
Photography: Werner Straube
Produced by: Rebecca Shrerman
Interior design: Lisa Luby Ryan, Vintage Living, 6701 Snider Plaza, Dallas, TX 75205; 214/360-4211, lisalubyryan.com
Floral design: Adam and Alicia Rico, Bows and Arrows, 1925 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75206; 214/828-2697, bowsandarrowsdeluxe.com
Holiday greenery: Andrew Lenz, Southern Botanical, 525 Hinton St., Dallas, TX 75235; 214/366-2103, southernbotanical.com
Holiday greenery: Brenda Lyle, Vintage Living, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
A garland of magnolias, cedar boughs, and lavender thistle winds down the banister, while an 18th-century putto stands amid greenery in a niche.
Carpet on stairs (Broadway Collection): Merida Meridian, 800/345-2200, meridameridian.com
Chandelier (antique, French); carved console (antique, French); alabaster lamp (vintage): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Statue in niche: owner’s collection.
Mercury glass trees on console; antique silver and gold gilt reliquary above console: Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Framed pencil drawing on console: owner’s collection.
The console table is 19th-century French.
Carved console (antique, French): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
A reproduction santo seems to bless the holiday scene around the lavishly decorated Fraser fir before the family opens gifts on Christmas morning. The mercury-glass floor lamp is by Oly.
Sofas (“Greyson”); sofa fabric (Libeco Lagae Mill-Washed Belgian Linen): Bobo Intriguing Objects, 404/355-2309, bobointriguingobjects.com
Striped pillows on sofas (“Chivari Stripe”/Robins Egg #NC0604-294): Nancy Corzine, 212/223-8340, nancycorzine.com
Coffee table (custom, iron): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Mercury glass floor lamp (“Lucille”); shade (custom): Oly, 775/336-2100, olystudio.com
Chest of drawers: owner’s collection.
Mirror above chest (“Milano”): Dennis & Leen, 310/652-0855, dennisandleen.com
Table lamps on chest (“Blue Square”): Allan Knight & Assoc., 214/741-2227, allan-knight.com.
Large mercury glass vases on mantel (vintage): Bobo Intriguing Objects, 404/355-2309, bobointriguingobjects.com
Stocking holders (iron); stockings (vintage French linen); garland of magnolia leaves and pine cones (custom): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Area rug (“Porto Roca”/Endive): Mark Inc. Fine Carpets, 800/227-0927, markinccarpets.com Paint: custom.
Mantel: original to house.
Art over mantel (by Mel Dewess); mercury glass objects on coffee table; bucket holding firewood (vintage): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Chartreuse-and-turquoise-striped Roman shades add fresh color to the living room’s soft neutrals. The mercury glass objects on the coffee table are vintage.
Drapery and Roman shades (“Cosimo Stripe”/Celadon #10854-02): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, cowtan.com
Drapery trim (“Bluebell”): Travis & Co., 404/237-5079, travisandcompany.com
Coffee table (custom, iron): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Mercury glass objects on coffee table: Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Mirror (“Milano”): Dennis & Leen, 310/652-0855, dennisandleen.com
Sofa (“Greyson”); sofa fabric (Libeco Lagae Mill-Washed Belgian Linen): Bobo Intriguing Objects, 404/355-2309, bobointriguingobjects.com
Striped pillows on sofa (“Chivari Stripe”/Robins Egg #NC0604-294): Nancy Corzine, 212/223-8340, nancycorzine.com
On the mantel, a pair of large mercury glass vases are embellished with a garland of hand-woven magnolia leaves and pine cones, and custom-made iron stocking holders and stockings.
The quietly pretty holiday stockings are custom-made from vintage French linen.
The chandeliers and bakery cupboard in the dining room are 19th-century French. Custom linen draperies and the Swedish-style dining table are from Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan. Chair fabric is by Cowtan & Tout through Culp Associates.
Table (Swedish, Gustavian); chandelier (antique, French): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Chairs (“Sophie Side Chair”); chair-seat fabric (mohair): Oly, 775/336-2100, olystudio.com
Chair-back fabric (“Sevigny”/Pistachio #10784-01): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, cowtan.com
Drapery fabric (“Sophisticated Linen”/Seafoam, discontinued): Verellen Home Collection, 336/889-7379.
Cupboard (antique, French); botanical prints ( vintage): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Area rug (Broadway Collection): Merida Meridian, 800/345-2200, meridameridian.com
China (“Fleur de Lis” by Spode); crystal (by Gorham); crystal (antique Waterford); mercury glass salt cellars (vintage); ironstone butter pats (vintage); silver candlesticks (antique): owner’s collection.
Flatware (“Chantilly”): Gorham, gorham1831silver.com
Placecard holders (gold leaf, antique Italian fragments mounted on fossils, rock crystal): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348.
Hurricanes on table; Christmas trees on table: Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Floral centerpiece (king protea peonies, hydrangeas, dusty miller, silver brunia, privet berries, leucadendron, green tricks, hanging amaranthus, eucalyptus pods, pine): Bows and Arrows, 214/828-2697, bowsandarrowsdeluxe.com
Spode china in “Fleur de Lys” mixes beautifully with Gorham crystal and antique Waterford goblets inherited from homeowner Katie Reynolds’s grandmother.
A close view shows the intricate details of one of a pair of antique chandeliers.
Lavish bouquets include king protea, peonies, hydrangeas, Green Tricks dianthus, eucalyptus pods, and pine.
The one-of-a-kind placecard holders are made from gold-leaf 18th-century Italian fragments mounted on fossils and rock crystal.
An old pigeon cage on casters serves as a coffee table in the family room. Arched windows are original to the space. Lee Industry tub chairs join a slipcovered Quatrine swivel chair and a custom slipcovered sofa from Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan.
Tub chairs (#5089-01): Lee Industries, 800/892-7150, leeindustries.com
Sofa: Quatrine Custom Furniture, 800/407-5120, quatrine.com
Sofa fabric; pillows: Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348.
Santa pillow: owner’s collection.
Coffee table (“Pigeon Basket Coffee Table”): Bobo Intriguing Objects, 404/355-2309.
Paperwhites; vintage wire basket; art (framed coral): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348.
Slipcovered swivel chair; slipcover fabric: Quatrine Custom Furniture, 800/407-5120.
Area rug (“Links”/Butterscotch, Core Natural Fibers Collection/Textured Sisal): Merida Meridian, 800/345-2200.
Side table (Gustavian); balustrade lamp (custom); sconces (antique): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
A custom zinc table is illuminated by a Niermann Weeks chandelier; the natural-fiber rug is by Merida.
Table (custom, zinc): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Side chairs (discontinued): Oly, 775/336-2100.
Drapery (“Manchester”/Bevetta #85000-03): Rogers & Goffigon, 203/532-8068.
Chandelier (“Rivoli”): Niermann Weeks, 212/319-7979, niermannweeks.com
Topiary: Thompson + Hanson, 713/622-0602, thompsonhanson.com
Hanging above the custom linen headboard, a wreath brings the holidays to the master bedroom. The bench is a signature piece the designer tries to include in all of her projects.
Headboard (custom); side tables (custom); table lamps (modernized vintage lamps): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Headboard fabric (“Celtic Linen”); drapery (“Celtic Linen”/Haze #0570204): Vervain, 800/611-8686, vervain.com
Euros pillows (white linen); duvet and quilted coverlet (white linen): Bella Notte Linens, bellanottelinens.com
Faux zebra pillows: Oly, 775/336-2100.
Patterned pillows: owner’s collection.
Monogrammed pillow: Ryan Studio, 703/830-6818, ryanstudio.biz
Bench (custom); bench fabric (“Woven Thistle”): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Vanity cabinetry: custom.
Shades (“Celtic Linen”/Haze #0570204): Vervain, 800/611-8686.
Vanity chair (custom): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Chair fabric (“Herringbone”): Verellen Home Collection, 336/889-7379.
Wire caddy: Wisteria, 800/320-9757, wisteria.com
Area rug (“Pipeline”/Oatmeal, Core Natural Fibers Collection/Textured Sisal): Merida Meridian, 800/345-2200.
A slipcovered custom chair and a small Global Views table beckon at the fireside.
Chair (custom); chair fabric (Libeco/Oyster): Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Table beside chair (“Twig Table”/Nickel #8977): Global Views, globalviews.com Chest; onyx lamp: owner’s collection.
Café curtains (“Celtic Linen”/Haze #0570204): Vervain, 800/611-8686, vervain.com
Shells in antique frames: Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348, lisalubyryan.com
Mantel: original to house.
Mercury glass balls (antique and vintage) on mantel; mercury glass Christmas trees: Vintage Living/Lisa Luby Ryan, 214/202-4348.
Fresh swags: Bows and Arrows, 214/828-2697.
Fresh swags mix it up with antique and vintage mercury-glass balls and new mercury-glass Christmas trees on the mantel.
The home’s Tudor facade lends itself to the holidays.
Scott Reynolds with Luc, 2, George, 12, Catherine, 7, Katie, and Ben, 9.