Text by Robert C. Martin
On any given day, Duane and Lynn Randleman’s Southern Colonial–inspired home is a vision of well-appointed rooms and imposing features. As December 25 nears, though, it becomes a scene reminiscent of a Currier & Ives painting. Sharing a fondness for fresh greenery and flowers associated with the holidays, this enterprising couple leaves no mantel unadorned and no space untouched with seasonal reminders. “Invariably, each year as we’re finishing our Thanksgiving lunch, my kids start asking Duane and me about when we’re going to decorate for Christmas,” Lynn says. And like clockwork, the Randlemans go that very day to their favorite tree lot. Once the selections have been made, the Randlemans head back to their lovely, shingle-style residence and launch into full decorating mode.
Designed by architect David Baker, a partner at McAlpine, the home didn’t always have such gracious appeal; rather, it started out as a nondescript abode that greatly needed renovation. “When they bought the place, Duane and Lynn were first and foremost enamored with the property,” Baker remembers, “but the existing house missed the mark in accommodating the needs of their active family.” In response, the architect designed a home that would grow with the Randlemans and that reflected their amicable personalities. With its sweeping gambrel roofs and weathered cedar shakes, the house has taken on a pleasing, well-established patina that has only enhanced its earthy character. Coupled with interiors that were largely furnished and arranged by well-known designers Richard Tubb and Gary Olivieri, the home resounds with an upbeat, sophisticated flair.
During the holidays, guests are greeted before even entering the house by illuminated cedar trees that line the meandering drive. Large, magnolia-leaf wreaths highlighted with golden bows adorn both the home’s oversized casement windows and Juliet balconies. Swags of boxwood garland drape the fieldstone landscape walls that define the pea-gravel parking court. Just up the steps to a side porch, an outdoor tree festooned with bird’s nests, feathers, grapevine, pinecones, cotton stalks, and pomegranates sets the tone for homespun elegance. As an added touch, vintage lanterns line the landscape walls and the base of the tree, bathing the scene in candlelight.
Inside, soaring spaces lend themselves beautifully to tall Christmas trees laden with mementos and keepsakes from holidays past. Local floral designer Carole Sullivan with Lagniappe Designs artfully intermixed the family’s ornaments with her wintry decorations. “The house is already stunning,” she remarks, “so our work was made much easier by using the Randlemans’ cherished items as a starting point.”
Bathed in an abundance of natural light, the Randlemans’ living room is crowned with a lofty ceiling that’s formed by sloping gambrel roofs. To keep from overpowering this refined simplicity, floral designer Carole Sullivan added touches of greenery and holiday-evoking flowers where most impactful. Tasteful accents like a boxwood garland draped over the bare stone fireplace wall, as well as pots of white amaryllis and an arrangement of white roses and magnolia leaves placed on the central coffee table, echo the earthy character of the room’s woodplanked walls and ceiling.