Elegant Holiday Magic

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A mix of contemporary and classic styles combine with a timeless holiday aesthetic to transform this Mills Farm residence into a brilliant Christmas landscape.

Story by Jeanne de Lathouder    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

The one thing that stood out when Overland Park residents Lori and Dan Sheldon chose their home was a flowing open floorplan that would allow all their family members to gather in one place for the holidays. Tucked within the quaint neighborhood of Mills Farm, the couple’s new home offered them an idyllic setting in which to host their extended family dinners, where everyone enjoys talking together, telling stories, and playing games for hours on end. 

“The floor plan lets us get together in one place, rather than being spread out in different rooms,” says Lori. “My sisters and I like to bake together with our daughters and make Christmas cookies every year, and all our holiday traditions truly center around spending time with family,” she adds. 

With an affinity for beautiful, classic spaces that can still be lived in and welcoming, Lori wanted her holiday décor to mirror the overall look of her interiors. So, she enlisted Kristeena Budig, owner of Designs by Kristeena, whom she has known for many years. 

“I have to be honest here — I am terrible at decorating,” laughs the homeowner, “and I have forever been in awe of Kristeena’s design capabilities. Her home always looks absolutely stunning, so it was a privilege to have her working with me on my own home. I trust her completely to pick out items that will look great, and she has all the decorating done while we are gone. We get to come home to an amazingly beautiful scene,” she adds.

To complement an eclectic mix of modern, traditional, and global styles mingling throughout her décor and household finishes, Lori aspired to generate a holiday look that would match the color scheme of each area of their home. Kristeena chose traditional reds for their basement and gold and bronze metallics for the main living area. Her design philosophy? Pairing classic red shades with less traditional colors of the season would create a lively palette that would also befit the home’s timeless aesthetic.

“I meet with the homeowners to first define the holiday style for their home and to plan specific themes for the décor,” says the designer. “In this case, the color scheme was the determining factor in my design plans. I always begin with the tree décor, as this is the focal point of the room, followed by garlands for mantels and staircases,” she sums. 

Creating magical holiday spaces for families and decking the halls for businesses is one of Kristeena’s favorite aspects of being an interior designer. The number one design mistake she believes most people make when decorating for Christmas? Hanging all the ornaments on the perimeter of the tree. Instead, the designer advises you to always start from the inside of the tree, begin hanging décor from the center, and work your way to the outside to ensure the entire tree is decorated to the fullest.

Awash in a serene neutral palette accented with Old World–inspired furnishings, Lori’s main living spaces receive a tasteful treatment of holiday shimmer in silver, gold, and bronze ornaments along with glamorous ribbons, twinkling lights, and the romantic glow of candlelight. Fragrant green garlands, pinecones — both fresh and glittered — and other natural elements temper the look and bring an organic elegance to the home. Rich splashes of red in the kitchen and on the lower level give a joyful punch of color that pays homage to the nostalgic, traditional Christmas hues we all know and love.  

“It brings me so much joy to bring a space to life for a family to create unforgettable holiday memories,” says Kristeena. “This client is one of my favorite families to work with, and I enjoy styling their home and porch for several seasons throughout the year. I don’t think there is anything more welcoming than a beautiful front porch decorated for the season and festive décor throughout the entire house. I love pulling in my favorite holiday staples while adding glitzy and fun accessories to make a bold statement,” she adds. 

“The holiday designs for our home are what I would consider simple yet elegant,” says Lori. “The golds, mixed with silver and reds, create an inviting warmth rather than appearing overdone. The designs are lavish but not intrusive. We typically have family spread out around the house, and I do not want to lose the functionality of all of our space due to an overabundance of décor,” she adds.

What Lori and Dan both enjoy most about their home during Christmas and the overall design is the effortless ease of entertaining. Even though beautifully decorated from wall to wall, their house doesn’t lose its airy spaciousness, and they still have room for everyone to spread out, relax, and spend time together in luxurious comfort. Although the couple spends most of their time unwinding with family and friends over the holidays, they have enjoyed hosting a few office parties here as well. “One year, we had a casino night where we brought in dealers and tables — win or lose, everyone went home with prizes no matter how they did gambling,” jokes Lori. “It was a fantastic time!”

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