Date: December 7, 2012 | Story: Deana Nall | Styling: Mandy Keener |
When you visit Anna Dickinson’s home during the holidays, you will likely find her baking bread for friends, while her husband Thomas prepares a batch of his famous beef jerky. While their traditions may be tried-and-true, their holiday décor is anything but. “I really don’t go for the traditional green and red,” Dickinson says. “I want it to be unique and different. I don’t want someone to walk into my house and say ‘I have that.’” With an eclectic mix of vintage folk art and minimalist European style, the home and its seasonal décor are a true reflection of the pair’s style and the way they live.
Built in 1932, the couple’s charming cottage-style home, which they share with their young daughter Evelyn, is located in the Heights neighborhood of Little Rock. The home’s interior features brilliant white walls and warm wood floors—a perfect neutral backdrop for their cheerful Christmas décor.
When planning her holiday scheme, Dickinson prefers to create a unique blend of new and old. For example, the stockings are a recent purchase from Pottery Barn Kids, while the wreaths on the exterior windows have been a part of her family for years. “A lot of décor was passed down from my grandmother and mother,” Dickinson says. One special piece is a log-cabin music box, which she says is more than 75 years old. It plays Christmas music and belonged to her grandmother. “My grandmother also collected Christmas folk art,” Dickinson adds.
Throughout the rest of the home, wreaths made of vibrant blue, green and red yarn accent interior doors and windows, while knit stockings reminiscent of cozy winter sweaters hang above the fireplace. On the mantel, colorful Chindi-wrapped reindeer, anchor one end of a magnolia-leaf garland, while a trio of vintage metallic trees and a pair of birds anchors the other. “Christmas decorating is important to our family,” Dickinson says. “It’s something we do together.”
The Christmas tree—from Thomas’ family’s Christmas tree farm—is a focal point in the Dickinson home, and they adorn it with ornaments collected over the years. A bright blue parasol with tropical flowers, which sits atop the tree, stands out from the themed décor, but to Dickinson, its spirit and palette fit right into the scheme. “I like ornaments that remind me of the travel adventures we’ve had,” she says. “The parasol is from a trip to Hawaii.”
When it comes to holiday entertaining, Dickinson’s minimalistic preferences cast a low-key elegance across her table. Instead of a lavish centerpiece, she chooses single stems of white flowers and displays them in shimmering mercury glass vases. Mixed among Waterford crystal and Spode dinnerware are tiny pine- tree place-card holders, which add a touch of the outdoors to the non-traditional and understated tabletop’s style. “I don’t want anything at the table to be overwhelming,” Dickinson says. “I keep everything very low to allow for conversation and for guests to see one another. You never want the décor to take away from a good dinner conversation. I really believe that less is best.”
Additionally, much of the everyday décor in the Dickinson home is naturally from White Goat, the European furniture, accessories and gifts store Dickinson co-owns with her sister-in-law Eleanor Dickinson. The store specializes in hard-to-find items and even functions as a paint studio, teaching patrons the techniques to create their own beloved whitewashed furniture or colorful pieces like the ones found in the Dickinson home.
Design consultants Karen Welch and Kennon Bednar, Room Works, (501) 681-3149
Kitchen design Bill Wrape, Distinctive Kitchens and Baths, Little Rock, (501) 666-7756, kitchensofarkansas.com
Accessories, art, holiday décor Full Moon, Little Rock, (501) 663-4367; Tipton Hurst, locations statewide, (800)666-3333, tiptonhurst.com; White Goat, Little Rock, (501) 603-9460
Fabrics Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com
Furniture Marshall Clements, Little Rock, (501) 663-1828, marshallclements.com; White Goat, Little Rock, (501) 603-9460
Lighting (kitchen) Light Innovations, Little Rock, (501) 223-9026, light-innovations.com