Feast your eyes on the four homes decked to the Yuletide nines for the 2017 Kappa Kappa Gamma Holiday Homes Tour.
The 2018 Kappa Kappa Gamma Holiday Homes Tour will take place Wednesday, December 5 and Thursday, December 6. For more information, go to kappahomestour.com.
Don White and Greg Thurman gutted their Modern English home in recent years and designed the interiors with a cool, masculine vibe. Because the Brookside home’s palette was so neutral, floral artist Craig Sole ratcheted up the red for the holiday homes tour.
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The bold color “looked incredible because there was nothing fighting it,” Sole says.
The living room tree was a dynamic eye-catcher, along with the corresponding mantel garland. There were also traditional red poinsettias throughout the house.
The homeowners’ contemporary art collection was powerful enough to stand on its own, so Sole didn’t mess with it. A painting above the fireplace was a perfect complement to the holiday decor, so Sole didn’t even consider a wreath.
“The brilliant colors lent themselves to Christmas,” he says.
Sole is a big fan of an unexpected element — like a 4-foot tall glittered and jeweled reindeer — but he doesn’t like excessive clutter.
“You always want a focal point, not just Santas and elves randomly around,” he explains. “You don’t need stuff everywhere, especially in a house this fabulous.”
He tinkered with unique ideas, such as the bar’s “topiary” made of wine corks, as well as a marshmallow wreath, complete with torched edges, above a secondary fireplace.
“Because it was so not traditional,” Sole says, “you really noticed it.”
Sole also put a twist on the traditional bannister garland.
“We made this really magnificent, over-the-top garland with 36-inch icicles and frosted branches,” he says. “And we made it droop big-time so you could still use the handrail.”
He didn’t forget the outdoors: A lighted birch arch illuminated the path for visitors as they made their way home.
The historic house of John Schuppan had just undergone Scottish-style renovations and was ready to make a debut, with or without holiday decorations.
The home near Loose Park had masculine furnishings that provided the right counterpoint to festive embellishments that were large and lovely, but not over the top.
Schuppan had a personal connection to the Kappas: his mother was one. He had also previously worked with Dan Meiners Studio, so when the team came to set up, they already knew the home and its owner.
“He’s fun, so we put up fun things like the penguins,” Meiners says of the trio of birds resting on whitewashed birch wreaths in the sunroom, where Schuppan spends most of his time. The narrow room is beautiful by day, filled with natural light, but Dan added lights so the wreaths would also glow at night.
Other than that bit of humor, Meiners’ theme was natural and neutral to blend with the home’s everyday elegance.
“There are pops of color in the artwork, so we didn’t want to take away from that,” he says.
The home itself was painted in light and dark grays, with white woodwork. Meiners used the same subdued hues in his arrangements.
“There weren’t a lot of pinks or reds,” he says. “We kept a neutral tone, with silver, gold and green.”
Birch, used in many variations, was also a consistent material choice. Fresh flowers scented the spaces. An urn on Schuppan’s entry table featured orchids, roses and gold branches.
Schuppan’s study, filled to the ceiling with books, featured a pair of reindeer overlooking a row of white poinsettias perched in the windows. A second, larger pair of reindeer were poised at the front entrance.
The stunner of the home was the entry’s Christmas tree, shining in golden sunbursts and pine cones, plus copper-colored marbled glass balls. Against the dark green of the tree, Meiners added bright green glass teardrops.
“Right when you walk in there’s this grand staircase and two stories of Christmas right in your face,” he says.
Because visitors toured only the first floor, Meiners used a gold chain to rope off the staircase. Along the bannister, he inserted gold leaves and pine cones into garland, and mixed in fresh, aromatic branches of evergreen.
On the exterior of the front windows, Schuppan hung his own wreaths, while Meiners added to the spirit with 60-inch wreaths at the street gates.
Katy and Josh Weber wanted their newly built Shingle style home in Fairway to have that cozy, lived-in feel for the holiday season.
So they turned to Zakk Hoyt of The Polished Rake — the family’s interior designer as well as the tour designer — to decorate their house and then deck their halls.
“We brought in heirlooms and antiques and supplemented with things from all over KC,” Hoyt says.
The Webers have two elementary school-age daughters, so they wanted an upscale vibe that was appropriate for all ages.
Hoyt, a triple threat who is an opera singer, a visual associate at Hallmark and a designer for Nell Hills, used his creativity and experience in all things beautiful to create a luxurious environment complete with sumptuous drapes, punchy wallpaper and “super-heavy chinoiserie.”
“It definitely has a traditional spin but nothing that takes itself too seriously,” Hoyt says. “We wanted to showcase beautiful pieces but also have fun.”
With the house’s interiors just completed — builder Skip Hensler was finalizing details up to the week of the tour — Hoyt rolled right into holiday decor.
The dining table was set with vintage silverware and mixed plates from Anthropologie. The sterling silver placard holders were shaped like rickshaws. Fresh orchids and persimmons played off the dark walls and vintage fruit print drapes. A glorious solid crystal chandelier above the table didn’t require any accessorizing.
A green bonsai tree on the piano in the music room stood out against the bold red backdrop of Thibaut Janta Bazaar wallpaper — an homage to former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland’s New York apartment.
“It was a fun experience to play off the bold, dramatic colors,” Hoyt says.
The designer also dressed up the casual screened-in porch with a woodland-themed tree and accessories, plus nutcracker figurines flanking the outdoor TV.
In the upstairs study loft sat a touching sentimental gesture: Josh bought Katy a vintage silver tree that reminded her of the one her grandmother used to own.
“A drum stand rotates the tree and the lights change colors,” Hoyt says.
Even the girls’ rooms received the holiday treatment, with their own miniature trees decorated with a mix of handmade objects and jewelry.
Once the house was suited up and sparkling for the season, Hoyt recommended that the Webers immediately host their house-warming party.
“I said, ‘As soon as the tour is over, you should plan a party,’” he says. “And they did.”
The holiday decor at the Leawood home of Lori and Matt Keenan was as good as its weight in silver and gold.
That classic pairing was the winning combination within the traditional framework of their Neoclassical house.
“We wanted to keep to classic Christmas colors, some reds, but mostly silver, gold and greens,” says florist Chuck Matney of The Little Flower Shop.
“The homeowners were just lovely to work with,” Matney says. “Any idea we came up with, they were right there with us.”
He started with the homeowners’ belongings and built from there.
“She already owned a lot of holiday stuff that we helped put out, including several beautiful nativity scenes,” he says. “We focused primarily on fresh flowers.”
In the living room, Matney created an attention-grabbing, piano-topping arrangement featuring fragrant Casablanca lilies. A small bouquet of peonies adorned the coffee table.
The vaulted great room, saturated in natural light, was the perfect place for poinsettias and paperwhites. The Christmas tree in the corner showed off all of the family’s favorite ornaments.
A garland decorating the newel post featured oversized ornaments.
“Some were beaded and some were like mercury glass,” Matney says. The dramatic garland also incorporated large pine cones and a silver and gold velvet ribbon.
Matney played off the formality of the Keenans’ silver table setting by hanging a boxwood wreath on the sideboard’s mirror, above a scene of Santas and bottlebrush trees. A centerpiece of roses and hydrangeas brought a touch of red to the table, while magnolias on the mantle underscored one of Lori’s painted landscapes.
“The palette of the house was soft and pale,” Matney says. “Wherever we put something, it just popped.”
At the informal natural wood breakfast table, the florist dabbled in bold reds, staging glittery beeswax candles amid nutcracker-print cloth napkins and a centerpiece of peppermint-striped amaryllis.
Some winterberry at the front door, along with pomegranates and artichokes in a window wreath, punched up the white exterior of the house and celebrated the simple beauty of the season.