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Eclectic and Fun
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
HOME FEATURE December 2018/January 2019
home :: home & garden :: featured homes

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Ankeny woman creates a colorful and inviting home full of Christmas joy.

Colorwise, you might think that Marlene Fisher of rural Ankeny is a Christmas elf all year-round. She uses red accents in her open-plan home throughout the year. Her television room/den has a wall of red-and-green plaid wallpaper. Even the laundry room has red walls.

But come the holidays, she adds layer upon layer of Christmas joy with her large number of details and festive items. “Christmas is special,” she says. “I love the whole feeling, and I love the giving. There’s just nothing I don’t love about Christmas.” It shows.

Her husband, Ron; three children; and six grandchildren can vouch for that. The home she and Ron built 21 years ago is a vision of old and new ornaments and holiday trims.

“I admit it. I just can’t stop shopping. I’m always on the lookout for new items,” Marlene says.

The main tree

A colorful tree commands the attention of visitors. Classic black-and-white checked MacKenzie-Childs ornaments add a bright drama. Other seasonal ornaments, many with built-in music or lights, are hung low so that grandkids can turn them on for some interactive fun. Not too far away is a subtle, smaller feather tree with silver, sparkly, and clear-glass ornaments and old photos for a vintage touch.

Yet another tree on the main floor is in the den. It features old-fashioned ornaments and even tinsel to try to put back in the box when the tree is taken down.

The mantel has a formal look with two Father Christmas figures and white chunky candles.

Whimsical table

A colorful table is set for company. It features a round snowflake tablecloth and a red-and- white runner. Black-and-white chargers with red plates with a red border and salad plates with greenery and berries add a festive look. For a mix-and-match style, Marlene uses coffee cups and saucers with gold stars. A large clear apothecary jar in the center holds candy. Large red and green lollipops are on the table, and little red packages with silver toppers decorate each place setting.

Not far away in the kitchen eating-bar area are red chairs and place mats that encourage diners to “Put the Fa in Your La La La.” Even the inverted bucket-style pendant lights over the kitchen island are decorated with greenery and pinecones.

Open shelves in the kitchen display Marlene’s large collection of snow globes. Plates hung on the walls with red and white winter scenes are from the Juliska china pattern Country Estate.

Details around the house, including the newel post on the stairway to the lower level, are Marlene’s acorn adornments. “This country property is known as Five Oaks, so that seemed a natural motif to use,” she says.

Lower level

The lower level, for relaxing and sharing family time, features more trees, including one with a snowman theme and one depicting The Nutcracker, complete with ballerina and toe shoe ornaments.

Ron teases Marlene about her Christmas compulsion, but he good-naturedly goes along with it. In fact, when they built their home, he made sure there was a long walk-in closet under the stairs for her to store her holiday stash on open shelves.

Although he enjoys giving her a bad time about her love of Christmas, he has a bit of a color connection, too. The former owner of a large body shop still restores cars, including a 1934 Chevy and a 1947 Chevy. And do you know what? All the cars he has restored for himself are—you guessed it—red!


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