Story: Laura Keech Allen |
When she began creating the holiday décor for a relative’s river cabin, Jo Buttram, a certified Arkansas master florist and owner of Shirley’s Flowers in Rogers needed to look no further than the home’s beautiful setting on the White River for inspiration. Designed and built by Michael Johnson of MCR Enterprises, the wood and stone cabin is constructed of hand-hewn white cedar siding and custom beams. “The best spot is really in the living room, which has enormous walls of windows, so you can enjoy views of the river and countless deer and birds,” Jo says.
Planned as a getaway from the world, the home was also designed to be as maintenance free and ecologically responsible as possible. From the use of sustainable materials to a geo-thermal heating and cooling system, every effort was taken to ensure that the home would impact its wooded setting as little as possible.
Nature takes a leading role in the holiday decorations as well, which are crafted of fresh greenery and flowers, including a live tree outside adorned with honey and birdseed ornaments and topped with a bird feeder. Inside, this gentleman’s retreat required decorations that were rich and textural in tones that still bear the touch of autumn. “I wanted the color scheme to be warm and cozy with a masculine feel,” Jo says. “We used dark chocolate browns and accented them with gold, orange and deep red.”
To make the most of the open floor plan, she continued this color scheme throughout most of the home’s public spaces. Swags on the rough-hewn wooden staircase blend beautifully with the trees in the living and dining rooms and the fireplace mantel. Fresh greenery is accented with natural pinecones and feathers along with ornaments and silk greenery in muted metallic tones.
Adding a whimsical, lighthearted touch was essential, however, so Jo created floral sculptures in a variety of shapes, including wrapped packages, snowmen and fish. Displayed on the coffee table, the fish are made of button mums, hypericum berries and sunset safari leucodendron and are a nod to both the trout that populate the waters of the White River and the stained-glass fish on the cabin’s front door, which was custom designed by her husband Randy Buttram.
In the dining room, Jo took a more formal approach, while still utilizing the same color scheme and natural materials. The table is dressed in orange and brown with a decorative iron tree dressed in gold glass ornaments and fresh orchids in the center. She even added a Western touch by filling cowboy boot-shaped mugs with individual flower arrangements at each place setting.
Since the cabin was completed last Thanksgiving, it’s been the setting of many new memories for Jo and her family, made even more special by the stunning décor. “The whole scene just makes you smile,” she says.