Have you secured your tickets to the Scottish Christmas Walk Home Tours, taking place this Saturday from 11am-4pm? Hurry and get them here (before the prices go up by $5 on Saturday) if any of the following categories apply to you:
- You enjoy learning about Old Town’s history.
- You’ve always wanted to see inside Old Town’s beautiful historic homes.
- You’ve long admired Old Town’s residential architecture.
- You love interior design.
- You love holiday decorations.
- You’re feeling festive.
- You’re planning to attend the SCWW Parade but don’t have any plans after.
- You’re planning to attend the SCWW Parade and have plans for lunch after but don’t have any plans after that.
The list could go on and on, but the bottom line is that if you can make it to these home tours, you won’t be sorry. One ticket will grant you access to five fabulous homes, as well as to the joyously adorned St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Christ Church. Having toured two of the houses early so I could share a sneak peek with our Stylebook readers, I am stunned by all of the hard work that the homeowners, designers, florists, and Junior Friends of the Campagna Center coordinators put into preparing these homes for the tours and know that you will leave with high spirits after seeing them all decked out for the holidays.
208 N Royal Street
Designer: Patina Polished Living
Florist: Free Spirit Floral
This end-unit row house was built in the late 18th or early 19th century and was once the home of George Washington’s godson, Ferdinando Fairfax. Thoroughly remodeled in the last year, 208 N Royal Street is a breathtaking mixture of old and new. The chimneys are original, for example, but the wood floors have been whitewashed, with the stunning result of accentuating the home’s expansive and well-distributed layout. It does not have the same shotgun style that you see in many of the residences in Old Town, and the owners enhanced this in their renovations by opening up the archways and playing up the height of the ceilings.
In their designs, Patina Polished Living went off of the cues given by the architecture and by the clean, elegant and minimalist feel of the owners’ décor. The white floors gave the designers a blank canvas with which to work, and the perennial black and white color scheme was easy to build upon with the addition of jolly reds and browns. Free Spirit Floral also chose to highlight the home’s character, saying, “It was fun to bring the splash of holiday color and greens but add an unexpected element—something out of the ordinary that captures the eye. We wanted our floral designs to reflect the personality of the homeowners.”
As you’re walking through, keep an eye out for Zack the Zebra, a constant in the casually elegant living room, as well as for the simple wreaths and roses in birch containers and the ways in which Patina kept the decorations in tune with the house and its history. Also note the crown and dentil moldings; glittery and white birch reindeer; the combination of crystal and English tableware in the dining room; military influence and naturalized, woodland feel of the study; and intentional absence of swags on the mantels. And just wait until you see the remodeled kitchen. It is incredible.
407 Duke Street
Designer: Claire Schwab
Florist: Greenstreet Gardens
This stately home was built circa 1872. B.F. Price, a leading local architect in Alexandria who designed and remodeled several residential, commercial, and religious buildings in the area in the 1870s, built it in keeping with the architectural styles and features that were in vogue during that time. Still referred to as the William Lambert House after its first owner, a banker and vestry member at St. Paul’s, the house was converted into a boarding house in the 1920s, when Alexandria fell on hard times, and was not converted back into a single-family home until the 1980s.
Stop by on Saturday to see every room on the first floor of this grand home, complete with 13’ ceilings and a 13’ Christmas tree to match. Designer Claire Schwab has been working with the owners since the 1990s—they were her first clients, in fact—and knew that the decorations would need to be comfortable and in keeping with the family’s love for casual, lived-in, but classic interiors.
The focal point of the decorations is undoubtedly the 13’ Fraser fir that scales all the way to the ceiling in the double-parlor living room. When the owners first walked into the home, they knew that the Christmas tree would go in the bay window, and it has every year since. Adorned with homemade and nostalgic ornaments, the tree’s decorations offer a sense of tradition that echoes in the mix of greens, candles, collectible Santas, and Christmas cards stylistically placed throughout.
Claire’s challenge in decorating this grand home was filling the nooks and crannies with holiday décor. When working with 13’ ceilings, she said, scale is very important, so stems of flowers, candles, and garlands need to be sized accordingly. She also decorated doors and mirrors to embrace the season and continue the festive look. While you’re there, look for inspiring and creative ideas that you can use as traditions in your own home!
If you don’t have a chance to buy your ticket in advance, don’t worry! Tickets will still be available at The Campagna Center and at any of the houses on Saturday. All sales go back to The Campagna Center and its core programs, which provide support, enrichment and guidance to local children, teens, and adults.