Text by Bethany Adams
For the Shirah family, there’s often a bit of magic involved in the Christmas season. In November, while the family of four is on vacation, interior designer Lisa Lester is hard at work transforming their home into a wonderland of greenery, lights, and ribbon—from the front door to the back porch. “They’ll usually go on a trip and come back when it’s done,” says Lisa, who started working with the Shirahs shortly after they moved into the home in 2015.
Krystie and Stirling Shirah brought much of their furniture from their previous home, but when they approached the decorating process for their first Christmas in the new space, Lisa says they mostly started from scratch. Incorporating a handful of collected items—like Krystie’s Santa figurines—Lisa layered new pieces together with carefully selected faux greenery that can last both the season and the weather. “As much as I love to use fresh greenery, I like using faux better,” she says, noting the cost-effectiveness of elements that can be used year to year.
The lush accents interweave seamlessly with bits of sparkling ribbon, which Lisa uses liberally on each of the home’s trees. And while this design choice is a common theme from room to room, both Lisa and the homeowners are quick to note that each space has its own personality—like the formal living room, which takes its cues from the artwork above the mantel.
The splashes of aqua blue tucked in among more traditional reds and silvers are a favorite of Lisa, who refers to the color as a “statement.” In the family den, however, a more country cottage approach prevails, with woodland-inspired elements and touches of gingham making an appearance on the tree.
The master bedroom, as well, features its own twist on the season’s charm, translating it into a soft and subdued color palette. “I really tried in the master bedroom to bring out a snowy feel,” Lisa says. In addition to the tree wrapped in creams and winter whites, she included touches like stockings hung from the bedposts to soften the look of the dark wood. “I feel like you have to go with the vibe of the room, and that room is romantic itself.”
The children’s rooms each feature their own festive, personalized touches, and even the guest room receives the holiday treatment—a necessity, given that the Shirahs host plenty of guests during the season. “I’ve got five brothers and sisters, and my wife has a lot of extended family . . . who will also come and spend Christmas with us,” Stirling says. “So, we usually try to be festive and host as many people as we can every year.”
And while the living and dining areas provide lots of room for both family gatherings and the various events they host for neighbors and coworkers, the Shirahs also love making use of their outdoor spaces, which Stirling notes are effectively extensions of the home’s interior. “We keep the doors open whenever we have Christmas parties, so people go out there and mingle,” Krystie says. Along with heaters, the space is kept cozy by a scattering of cheerful pillows paired with sprays of greenery.
Whether they’re inside or out, the Shirahs want to make sure their guests share in the magic of the season—and of their home’s décor. “Really and truly,” Stirling says, “we want it to say, ‘Come in and feel at home.’”