This Elegant Atlanta Home Is Decked with Shades of Blue for the Holidays
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.
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 features a custom blend of pigments to achieve the mottled exterior. Cedar shingles crown the roof.
Light and Bright Living Room
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.
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.
Cheery Breakfast Area
A chalkboard wall broadcasts holiday cheer into a nook outfitted with a Julian Chichester table and armchairs by Holland & Company.
Blue Christmas Decor
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.
"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.
Mixed Design Styles
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 grandparents.
Classic Bar Area
Walls clad in stained Southern pine set off a painting by Ruth Barrett, its colors a complement to the home's palette.
Unique Powder Room
"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.
Neutral Master Bedroom
A devotee of upholstered furnishings, 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.
"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.
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.