Make Yourself at Home

An amaryllis showcases Frankum’s love for bright, popping color against traditional neutral tones. Don’t let your tree be the only “living” element in your décor, she advises.

CH&L: During the holidays, most of us spend more time at home. What is life like at your house?

An amaryllis showcases Frankum's love for bright, popping color against traditional neutral tones. Don't let your tree be the only “living” element in your décor, she advises.

CH&L: During the holidays, most of us spend more time at home. What is life like at your house?
Homeowner Kristy Frankum: I've always been casual. I have three little boys, and we live in every square inch of our home. No one has to take shoes off—just throw your feet up on the sofa. But at the end of the day, I like an orderly house; I like my pillows fluffed.

Tell us how you would define your style.
Traditional meets contemporary bohemian. I try to marry the two with, say, a contemporary piece of art over an 18th-century sideboard. I like things that are out of proportion, like a large sofa with a child's chair next to it. I keep French, Spanish, English and American antiques, but I'm always moving them around to new places. I like to reinvent my style, and I'm always looking for a new project.

One of those projects was a full home remodel.
Yes, our home is a Denver Square that was built in 1905. It was a fixer-upper, but that's why we bought it. We knocked down walls, put in a new kitchen, repainted everything, replaced all the bathrooms. Then we had our first baby, then a second baby—and when we found out we were having our third baby, we knew we either had to move or create an addition. So in 2006, we added 3,000 square feet.

The master bedroom captures the essence of Frankum's design style: clean lines, neutral hues and brightly colored accessories she can rearrange as she pleases.

You're pretty invested in your entire home, but do you have some favorite elements?
I think what I like the most is the great room right off the kitchen. It has tall French doors that open up to a flagstone patio. The first of April, the doors open, and they don't close until the last day of October. Everybody's in and out, and leaves are blowing in; sometimes I feel like it's an open-air house. Our house has a real sense of indoor-and-outdoor living.

Your home seems so… alive. Tell us about how you add holiday traditions and décor to your space.
Three years ago, our friends invited us on a trip to cut down our own Christmas tree. We trekked up to the mountains, and we cut down the ugliest tree you have ever seen—the Charlie Brown tree. But we were so excited about it. Now every year we cut down a tree. We look for one that's about 10 feet tall, and it has to have a lot of imperfections. Our annual tree-hunt has taught me to love the imperfect, and now it's our favorite Christmas tradition.

Another Hal Schwartz painting blends well with the kitchen's earth tones. The kitchen's large French doors and windows give the space plenty of natural light, perfect for showing off beautiful art and décor.

The tree is the centerpiece. But you have other traditional Christmas decorations around the house.
Our tree is the contemporary piece; everything else is very traditional. We get paperwhites and an amaryllis every year. I buy so many of them that the whole house smells like paperwhites. I like boxwood garland and bowls of pine cones on my mantle. We have traditional stockings that were hand-needlepointed, and I do one big white poinsettia.

The live décor gives your home a fresh feel.
I love stocking up on fresh flowers; it reminds me of North Carolina where I grew up. Plus, I like to move the decorations around. For instance, if I'm entertaining, like at our annual Christmas party, the paperwhites sit on my kitchen island so that everyone can smell them. I like to place the amaryllis in a prominent spot because the color is so strong—it exudes Christmas. And white poinsettias look fantastic under the tree or in a fireplace.

Do you have any tips to share for incorporating your casual style when decorating for Christmas?
Every month I scour interior design magazines, and when the holiday issues come out, I feel some of the homes are overdone. I like simple, classic and to-the-point. For example, we have a boxwood wreath, and on this I use only one gold bow. To me, less is more, especially during the holidays.

Categories: Entertaining, Furniture & Accessories, Interiors