Text by Katie Ellis
When Stephenie and Justin Ragan purchased their historic home in Wrightsville, Georgia, they called on the expertise of interior designer Maggie Griffin to help give their Southern charmer a fresh new life while making sure their young family felt right at home. “It’s not every day we get the opportunity to do a house that’s over 100 years old,” Maggie says with delight. “It was such a fun project, and [Stephenie’s] just such a great client.”
Beginning in the winter of 2019, the team dreamed up fresh, contemporary finishes and classic design elements that were completed in time for the Ragans to celebrate their first Christmas at home. “When we came in early November (2020), it was a winter wonderland,” Maggie says of the Ragans’ holiday home. “It was perfection. [Stephenie] had done all the coordinated wrapping paper and ornaments, and she had taken so much care and time. [She] wanted the first Christmas in their home to be special.”
The holiday magic begins well before you enter the Ragans’ historic abode. The deep front porch wraps around the home’s exterior, beckoning friends and family inside for a seasonal delight. From the street, the home itself looks like a festive package—with life-size nutcrackers flanking the front door and green wreaths topped with vibrant red bows adorning the windows.
As you step across the threshold into the home, the beautiful, long center hall opens to a series of welcoming rooms on the main level and leads directly to the back door. The front rooms serve as a sitting room and a study. The sitting room is a perfect space for Stephenie to entertain, and it’s a relaxed living space for the entire family. “We chose a fun, silvery-gray grass cloth on the walls and carried it all the way up the stairs onto the landing,” Maggie says. “It looks so beautiful paired with the dark stain of all the original moldings in the house.” Across the hall, the cozy, green study serves as a playroom for the Ragans’ two young sons, and it’s also a space for the family to wind down at the end of the day.
Also on the main level is the heart of the home. The kitchen had already been renovated to have a modern, clean aesthetic with marble countertops and white cabinets, and Maggie says that “a white kitchen still feels very historic.” The only things she changed in this space were the pendant lights over the island and the kitchen sink. “[Stephenie] swaps out her décor seasonally, so [the kitchen] was the perfect backdrop for a family-friendly Christmas,” Maggie says.
The dining room gleams with a festive red tablescape arranged beneath an eye-catching chandelier. “All the lighting is brand new in the home,” Maggie says. “When we went shopping for the lights, [Stephenie] gravitated more towards a borderline-glam look, which I thought was really fun and interesting for this house.” Stephenie regularly hosts her extended family, so having a formal dining area was a must-have for the design scheme.
In addition to updating the home’s interiors, the Ragans made some thoughtful renovations as well. Upstairs, they reconfigured the four existing rooms to create a primary suite by combining two bedrooms. “We had to modernize that for [them], so the primary bathroom and closets were reworked from a previous bedroom,” Maggie says. Stephenie wanted a calm color palette in her bedroom, so she selected a neutral grass cloth for the walls and opted for a large four-poster bed, fluffy white linens, and big nightstands. On either side of the fireplace, the team created a built-in desk area and a built-in coffee bar—complete with a drink fridge and a coffee maker.
The Ragan family home is as festive as a life-size gingerbread house—and it’s only year one. Between the many cozy fireplaces and countless glistening Christmas trees, it’s a space for years of family memories to be made. “[Stephenie] must have 30 nutcrackers—they were everywhere, and it was so cheerful. The memories her children will have of this home will be magical,” Maggie says. “We lost count of how many trees were in the house, and they were all perfectly decorated in every room in the home!”
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