My New “Old Kentucky Home”

When asked to be a part of a Christmas decorating event in Kentucky, I was first intrigued and then foaming at the mouth nearly to get started. The project would include outrageously talented designers, a venue with historical provenance, social circles this Farmer could only dream about, and Southern hostess the likes of which will always bring a smile to my face (and pang in my heart to not be with them every moment of every day…these ladies endeared themselves to me ever so dearly.) My “Old Kentucky Home” whirled throughout my mind that week and I had to amend it just a tad – so that the fair commonwealth would be my “NEW Kentucky Home.”

It is not everyday this Farmer gets the opportunity to work with a design hero and friend as well. Jon Carloftis is such a fellow, and I had the amazing task and pleasure of decorating for Christmas The Old Kentucky Governor’s Mansion in Frankfurt, Kentucky, last December. What a blast!! Jon, Dale and their crew made “work” way to much fun as always –such an awesome time!

We divided and conquered the stately home’s rooms and kept the décor sensible to the home’s legacy – elegant but not fussy – thus granting a bit of holiday frosting on this handsome home. Jon took the Main Dining Room, Sun Porch, Foyer and Kitchen and yours truly took on the Formal Parlor and Family Dining Room. Jon’s mini-horse farm down the dining room table was absolutely awesome!

I was inspired by the color scheme and fabulous murals in the home and thus kept my tones in the salmon, apricot and coral hues with pops of red for Yuletide glam for the Formal Parlor. French tulips, amaryllis, roses, golden cones and pods all played off the stark white Casa Blanca lilies – filling the rooms with a heavenly fragrance of their sweet perfume melded together with pine, fir and cypress greens. I truly love a twist on tradition and the use of the salmon toned flowers with burst of red and gold will always be haute couture for any room.

For a more relaxed tone in the Family Dining Room, I took a few of my favorite Southern classics such a pine and magnolia and accentuated the horizontal pier mirror over the fireplace with a banquette of greenery and cones. A miniature forest of cypress and ivy reindeer topiaries on a bed of moss decked the tabletop and luscious place settings loaned from the eponymously fabulous store of LV Harkness in Lexington.  I cannot thank them enough for their generosity.

Thankfully, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has a wealth of silver julep cups (highly apropos) and thus I filled each and every one I could find with roses, sprigs of cypress, tulips, eucalyptus and winter berry. Again, I adore using corals and the like at Christmas for the tones look so sharp with the varying greens of the season but contrast with accents of red so well. Even a silver bowl here and there filled with Kentucky Bourbon Balls made their way onto the scene… those that didn’t get devoured namely!

Another one of this Farmer’s faves for holiday décor is the combo of orange and brown – citrus and nuts in particular. Whether the duo is mixed together in a fine silver bowl or a piece of pottery, these crops of Dixieland fill the season and are simultaneously earthy and elegant. I was once asked if my decorating schemes ever have trademarks – I answered yes, the mix of high and low, fun and festive with formality makes for divine combinations. Take the mix of fine silver, delightful flowers and whimsical clear glass ornaments – or the nuts and citrus again mixed with silver – high and low just makes such a statement! A complementary array such as this is charming and chic and I relish every opportunity to use such elements.

Now the Christmas season is upon us, yet I still have pumpkins on my porch. Being reminded of the delight Christmas décor brings inspires me – whether you twist your traditional color scheme, mix the highs and lows together or simply deck your halls with boughs of holly, I wish the very best this season!