Text by Katie Ellis
When Dave and Judi Nebergall moved into their elegant home nestled in an upscale suburban neighborhood 16 years ago, they made it a point not to feel influenced by their new surroundings. Instead of opting for a look that felt chic but a bit too contemporary for their tastes, Judi found comfort in classic, sophisticated style that charmed her deeply Southern heart. “I’m very traditional,” Judi says. “I grew up in Mobile, Alabama, so I have Southern roots that go really deep.” Those roots have continued to guide her decorating style year after year.
Tastefully layered within the home are troves of antiques, family heirlooms, and unique pieces Judi has acquired throughout the years. “Even though I’ve done interior design work off and on through the years, I don’t go with trends for my own home,” she says. “I just kind of stick with traditional style. It’s not a trendy kind of home.” Remaining true to that traditional decorating style, it’s no surprise that the Nebergalls’ holiday home is laden with a classic Christmas color palette of red and green. For a fun twist, Judi likes to add a bit of bling as well as fresh greenery and a pop of color with ornaments.
Judi decorates two trees each year. “One is very traditional,” she says, but the other takes cues from the living room, donning bronze and gold baubles to coordinate with the room’s existing palette. In contrast to the more formal living space, the den offers a cozy retreat and a place where Judi finds a delightful holiday respite. Candles, tartan, and rich evergreen garlands create an inviting room that captivates the senses. “I use candles all year round, but they come out in full force at Christmastime,” Judi says. “I just think everything is so much warmer and prettier with candles and a fire in the fireplace and the Christmas tree lights turned on.”
One of her favorite things about the season is pulling out the family silver that has been passed down through generations. “I actually sort of enjoy the process of polishing and getting it ready for the holidays,” Judi says. Her love of silver is showcased in the family’s dining room with a vignette of trays and silver platters. “I had a hard time letting the silver [in the dining room] go dark,” she says with a laugh. “Before it got to its dark stage, it was really hard not to get it all off the wall and polish it, but that’s the look I was going for, so I basically just avoided going in the dining room until it got there.”
In true Southern fashion, Judi highlights hospitality as one of the most important elements of the holidays. “I want my home—any time during the year, but especially during the holidays—to be very warm and welcoming. I want everybody who comes in here to feel comfortable and never feel like there’s anything in this house they can’t touch or that there’s a single room you can’t go in,” she says. “I just want them to make this their home while they’re here, whether it’s just for dinner or it’s weekend guests. That’s my philosophy on entertaining.”
And while creating a traditional space where guests feel welcome isn’t an ideal that’s uniquely Southern, the Nebergalls embrace their heritage and proudly share their home with all who enter. “I just want people to enjoy being here and be glad they made it a priority to share the holidays with us.”