Southern Simplicity at Christmastime

living room with Christmas tree
Photography by Michael Hunter

Text by Andrea Fanning

Born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, Donna Rabalais is Southern by nature, and she wanted to find a home that was as well. Her search kept coming up short, and when she discussed her disappointment with friend and interior designer Melinda James of M. James Design Group, a change in course occurred. James took Rabalais to a home that had been on the market for a long time in the established neighborhood of Thomas Park and explained her vision for the dated property.

Christmas tree and presents next to white desk and gallery wall
Photography by Michael Hunter

“The previous homeowner liked really dark, bold hues. Every wall and ceiling was a different color,” says James. “There was also glitter on the ceiling. But if you could get past all of that, you could see that the home had character and really great bones, including two fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views.”

James and her team had worked with Rabalais on several projects prior, so a solid foundation of clear communication was already established. Says Rabalais, “I prefer things that are soft and simple, so this house wasn’t my taste. But I loved the area, and I knew Melinda could do something really great with the place.”

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