Date: December 7, 2012 | Story: Tiffany Burgess | Styling: Diane Carroll |
For Ellen and Lex Golden, the holidays are all about tradition and spending time with family. Whether it’s addressing cards to loved ones, baking cookies with their six granddaughters or simply listening to the sounds of the season, their home seems to overflow with timeless Christmas traditions.
In much the same manner as they celebrate the season, the Goldens have furnished their home in storied pieces of classic antique furniture—including a number of French pieces. As the owner of Ellen Golden Antiques in Little Rock, she has amassed a collection of furniture, mirrors, artwork and accessories from her frequent buying trips abroad. As a result, the couple’s home exudes the elegance and grace characteristic of French Period pieces and culture.
To accentuate these pieces for the holidays, Golden enlists the help of Cabbage Rose Florist, which is located in the same building as her Heights antique shop. “They know my tastes and style so well, and they always do a beautiful job,” she says. In keeping with her traditional red, green and gold color palette, Golden uses cherished holiday décor, which she has collected through the years. “Although I love to use the same pieces each year because of the meaningfulness each one has, I still want to keep it fresh and interesting,” she says. “The Cabbage Rose team amazes me with the different placements and schemes they come up with—it’s like a whole new display every year even though the essential pieces haven’t changed,” she adds.
This timeless approach and style is carried throughout the home during the season. Treasured ornaments from both her son and daughter’s childhoods, as well as newer ones made or discovered by her grandchildren adorn the home’s Christmas tree. As a nod to her profession and her love of French antiques, Golden also mixes in symbols iconic of France, including miniature Eiffel Towers. Interestingly she notes items such as these are more readily available in the U.S. than France, perhaps due to many Americans’ love of the region.
Since no family’s holiday is complete without a feast, Golden goes all out when it comes to a festive holiday tabletop. Her Royal Doulton china pairs brilliantly with a set of soup bowls from Limoge, which were an antiquing find for her. Iconic Italian crystal with a gold band and Grand Baroque silver complete the formal dining display. However, Golden doesn’t feel that all holiday dining has to be formal. “When you purchase new decorative items, I think it’s very important to think about how they play into what you already own. For example, sometimes it’s OK to mix casual Santas with more formal pieces because the seasonality ties them all together,” she says. In a similar fashion she uses these elegant pieces in the dining room for formal dinners, but prefers to use her Spode Christmas Tree pattern for more casual holiday gatherings.
In accord with her desire to put a new spin on each year’s décor, Golden also decorates with an abundance of fresh greenery, classic holiday plants—including amaryllis, poinsettias and paper whites—and even fresh fruit. “Fresh greenery is a must have for my décor. It adds so much life and I love the smell. If it starts to droop a few weeks into the season, we’ll replace a few of the pieces to give it a boost that lasts throughout the holidays,” she says. Always one to use her collections, she pots many of the flowering plants in antique French jardinères. She also extends this fresh approach to her home’s patio and her husband’s beloved wine cellar. “No room in the house goes without a touch of the décor,” she says.
To go along with this timeless theme, the Goldens plan a variety of parties and dinners for both family and friends. “We love to cook and get together with loved ones,” Golden says. It has become an annual must to have a cookie decorating party with her six young granddaughters, who take turns making treats for Santa. Their extended family also gathers at the Golden’s home on Christmas morning for a quick breakfast, a much-anticipated gift exchange and a home-cooked lunch all enjoyed amidst the beauty of this red, green and gold backdrop.
Interior Design David Kirkpatrick, Cabbage Rose Florist, Little Rock, (501) 664-4042, cabbageroseflorist.com
Floral Design Felecia Pleis, Cabbage Rose Florist, Little Rock, (501) 664-4042, cabbageroseflorist.com
Contractor Jack Hartsell, Little Rock, (501) 376-2871
Accessories Ellen Golden Antiques, Little Rock, (501) 664-7746
Art Arden Boyce and Barry Thomas, Ellen Golden Antiques, Little Rock, (501) 664-7746
Fabrics Joyce Holt’s Window Works, Little Rock, (501) 219-1500, windowworksdesign.com
Furniture Ellen Golden Antiques, Little Rock, (501) 664-7746
Upholstery Pettit’s Upholstery, Hensley, (501) 888-4494