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A Contemporary Christmas
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
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A Norwalk homeowner takes a sleek approach to holiday decorating.

Wendy McKinney, who lives in the Ridge at Echo Valley development near Norwalk, likes to take a spare and sparse approach to decorating for holidays. That doesn’t mean, however, that she cuts back on the sparkle and shine. Far from it.

“I like the clean lines of contemporary, yes. But that look can also have a warm feel,” says the office manager with Buyers Realty Inc.

Wendy is a longtime friend of Kris McVicker, owner of Marc Kris Modern Homes of West Des Moines. “Kris knows my taste, and she thought I might fall in love with this home, which was in the HomeShowExpo 2014. I was very stressed about building a home, and she was absolutely right. This one was move-in ready.”

The home is subtle, not overdone, and has a quiet and peaceful appeal. “This is a whole new approach from my previous home, which had lots and lots of oak, and I did Christmas decorations in red, green, and gold,” Wendy explains. “This is a completely different look, and I love it.”

Elegant tree

The centerpiece of the great-room is an 8½-foot tree, decked out in sophisticated gold and white, which fits beautifully in the black, white, and gray color scheme of the interior.

The tree is slightly flocked and embellished with gold and silver ribbed and wired ribbon. There are simple gold and white balls, plus small nutcracker ornaments. Shiny gold and silver packages are arranged under the tree. Wendy says she’s always on the lookout for new and unusual ornaments to add for the next year.

“At night this big tree just dances,” Wendy says with pride. She called on the ideas of JKJ Designs, Jennifer Janes, and Katie Ireland, to help carry out the elegant theme.

Nearby, a Lucite coffee table is decked out with silver, white, and clear trees and a white ceramic snowman.

Dining area

In the dining room area of the great-room, another tree is decked out with white, silver, and clear glass ornaments. Frosted snowballs and silver chain garlands carry out the contemporary theme.

On the dining table two silver reindeer are in charge, and a clear globe sparkles with silver and clear ornaments and a clean-lined silver tree. In another dining area corner two tall columns are filled with white and silver flowers, ornaments, and spike accents.

On open shelves in the kitchen a ceramic snowman family celebrates winter. And in a powder room off a hallway a funky green arty tree adds a touch of whimsy. On the open stairway, leading to the lower level, there is a flocked grapevine wreath with a white furry “muff.” A showy contemporary teardrop chandelier lights the way.

True colors

Kimberley McKinney, Wendy’s sister, has her bedroom suite downstairs. In the family room on that level, the sisters show their true colors, and we’re not talking red and green. This is the Iowa Hawkeye room.

“Neither of us went to school there, but it’s in our blood,” Wendy says. “Our parents and grandparents are longtime fans, and so are we.” And, yes, the sisters went to Pasadena last year, when the Hawks played in the Rose Bowl.

A white sofa, big chair, and ottoman offer a neutral background for black and gold pillows and other accessories to shine. The Hawkeye tree is chock-full of Tiger Hawks and other symbols of Hawkeye pride. Even the tree skirt is made from the appropriate fabric, and gold chain garlands pull the look together.

Over the kitchenette and bar area, a fun spot for game watching and other gatherings, there’s a framed glass cutout of the Tiger Hawk symbol. It was a housewarming gift.

Another area on this level shows off another tall tree trimmed with oversize white bows, red and gold trims, and wide ribbons. It’s the tree that Wendy had in her previous home.

Even though it’s pretty easy to tell, Wendy confirms the notion: “Christmas is for sure my favorite holiday. I just love it.”


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