Design & Décor, Entertaining, Holiday, Living with Style, Seasonal


Parterre at Christmas

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This year, 2021, I must say I’ve loved getting ready for Christmas…just enough hustle and bustle to remind me that it’s the holidays (but not too much) and planning way ahead (even I surprised myself) so that I wasn’t stressed…plus the wonderful inspiration I enjoyed via Texas and Newport. Now if the Buche de Noel will just arrive in time for a celebratory dinner with friends.

So, welcome to Parterre. And what was upper most on my mind as I set about the decorating for Christmas? Stretching the imagination to create different scenes for the same rooms in the house while always coming up with one new spot to dress up…as in the pair of front courtyard urns.

Bellevue Avenue is very understated in its decorations to the point of often not having any, so our front door decor is a bit of a departure for us. The little trees started as two metal tuteurs from the garden which we then wrapped in dried grapevine, and twined in lights. We like this concept of recycling summer accessories for December decorations. The additional light these trees supply (including the two in the second floor hall window) is so warm and welcoming!

The entry hall, designed around an iron staircase that our architect had saved from a demolished Upper East Side townhouse, is a big focus of my design interest. I love the grace of its curves, from the first steps with their flare to the sweep up the three flight of stairs. And, too, the ceremony of descending and ascending a beautiful staircase has always fascinated me, so dressing it for the holidays deserves some thought.

The French marble mantel in the oval salon is always awaiting its statement-making moment…and I’m “crazy about red!” One of a pair, I will separate the gold pine cone trees if the situation calls for it…and it was obvious as this vignette was coming together that a small tree would provide just the right centerpiece.

This year, also, I was determined not to overlook one of my smallest but very cherished design details in this home that we built twenty-two years ago…the niches above the curved doors of the oval salon (not an easy task to curve doors!), dressed for the holidays.

The tree this year, a Fraser fir, was a whopper–the tallest (11′) and fullest we’ve ever brought into the house. Running out of ornaments slowed us down a bit…but any excuse to go shopping. I love how the tip top nestles into the ceiling’s curved dome.

Viewing it from the Fountain Garden at night is one of the new additions to my Christmas image archives.

And one last must do…make sure we’ve configured a place under the branches at the back of the tree for our kitty, Clicquot’s, bed (if she’s not happy, we’re not happy).

From our home to yours, sending warmest wishes for the jolliest of holidays and a spectacular New Year. Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

17 thoughts on “Parterre at Christmas

  1. Elegant beauty. Bettie, you have a great eye for design. So wonderful of you to share your home with the public. May your 2022 be safe and healthy. EE

  2. Such a bright and beautiful display. Thank you for sharing your magic. Experiencing all the beauty of all the homes and gardens through your eyes and words has been so uplifting and much appreciated. Merry Christmas Bettie!

  3. The tree is magnificent! Thank you for showing us your beautiful home decorated for Christmas. It really is the most beautiful time of the year! Blessings to you in 2022.

  4. Beautiful and Awe-inspiring! Merry Christmas to yours and Newport!! Magical is my final assessment!!!!

  5. Beautiful! Surprised to see the gourds around the bottom of one of the trees, gives me something to think about for next year.

  6. This is perfection at its finest. Extremely tasteful, simple, and elegant. Christmas decor as it should be.

  7. Oh, how lovely. I absolutely love your niches in the salon room. My favorite posts are when you share your home with us. What a treat! Merry Christmas!

  8. Thank you for graciously showing us your beautiful Christmas decor. Blessings to you and yours.

  9. Your mantle decorations-both living room and den- are spectacular!!! Your front steps/entrance should put other Bellevue residents to shame!! It’s so tastefully done, celebra-
    tory, yet understated. LOVE your lanterns. What a special home, and what a special owner & hostess you are!

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