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A French Modern Estate Gets a Stunning, Sophisticated Christmas Makeover

A North Scottsdale estate with a sophisticated modern French aesthetic gets a tasteful Christmas glow-up.

By Lauren Tyda | Photography by Austin Larue Baker

You can almost hear the distant croon of Bing Crosby over the crackle of the fireplace. 

During winter parties, this home is gleaming with candles that flicker against golden and crystal embellishments. Live foliage mixed with deceptively real-looking faux garlands delivers a fragrance of fresh pine. “It’s just romantic and beautiful,” says interior designer Jaimee Rose.

The story of this captivating transformation begins with a couple who relocated from two distinct worlds—Amsterdam and New York. In their new Arizona abode, they wished to evoke a sense of nostalgia for Old Europe while embracing the cosmopolitan atmosphere of The City That Never Sleeps. “The original home was a dated Tuscan,” Rose recalls. “But it had a lot of beautiful elements that we could work with.” The designer and her team replaced fixtures and hardware, whitewashed the walls and outfitted the home with modern French aplomb. “In the Haussmann buildings of Paris, you have these ornate architectural elements, but the furniture is very contemporary, which is what the wife wanted,” Rose notes.

The owners were so pleased with their newly renovated estate that they asked Rose and her team to decorate their home for the holidays. “I rarely do Christmas transformations for clients,” she says, “but we had such a great relationship, I couldn’t resist.”

Rose specified a neutral palette of blush, beige, white and champagne to keep the decor classy and not cartoonish. “We wanted the house to reflect the owners,” she says. “They are well-traveled, very sophisticated people—red and green are just not colors that would ever enter into their consideration or ours.”

Every detail, from the accessories to the throw blankets, reflects the owners’ vision of a modern yet inviting space. “We wanted to make sure that every room had a little touch of the holiday spirit: miniature trees on nightstands, fresh greens—anywhere we could add a little spot  of something festive, we did,” Rose remarks.

The designer says the secret to articulating quiet luxury during the holidays is trading Santa ephemera for greenery—“as much as possible, everywhere,” she notes, from festive fir garlands and juniper-wrapped railings to pine-scented table toppers and spruce-filled vases.

“I think a neutral holiday scheme is a lot more elegant if it’s embedded within the home,” Rose explains. “We rely on the greenery in what we do. That way, we can trickle foliage from room to room and have one scheme blanketed throughout the house. It feels more romantic—like you just stepped out for a walk in the woods, went foraging and decked your halls with things you gathered from outside. It brings the outdoors in, which always makes us feel happy and calm.”

Rose and her team meticulously curate their holiday laurels to look and feel authentic, often combining and hand-laying several different kinds to create the perfect drape.

1. A fir in the foyer is adorned with gilded, blush and white embellishments. “Using birds and nests is one of my favorite tricks,” Rose says. “I love to put a long feather tail on the tree. It brings the outdoors in and makes it feel like partridges in a pear tree.” A silver sleigh and splays of garland continue the enchanted forest aesthetic. 2. The design team sourced 44-inch minimalist white nutcrackers to add scale to the double-high ceilings in the foyer. 3. In the dining room, Rose incorporated clear illuminated globes and champagne-hued ornaments that add an opulent glow underneath the glass-orb chandelier.

“We kept things neutral and focused on reflective surfaces and sheens—things that catch the light.”

—Jaimee Rose, interior designer

“A regular store-bought garland doesn’t have the organic weight or shape, so nailing the right silhouette takes most of our time,” she adds. “The rest is easy. The other secret of greenery is using a mix of styles. We use Norfolk pine, snow-tipped fir, all different kinds, so that it helps trick the eye into thinking it is real.”

Instead of filling the home with string lights, Rose suffuses sparkle through more subtle means.

“We brought in a lot of reflective surfaces in different tones of metallics, sheens and gloss levels—things that would catch the light in different ways. That all combined to create that feeling of glow when you walk into the home.”

1. “We envisioned the lounge area by the bar as a hotel lobby,” says interior designer Jaimee Rose. Garlands and throw blankets give it a cozy yet sophisticated Christmas feel. 2. The great room reflects the owners’ modern French aesthetic—ornate details, such as crown molding and soaring archways, pair effortlessly with clean, contemporary furniture. 3. “It’s like you’ve gone to heaven,” Rose says of the spacious guest room, which is decked in ethereal cream tones. The door is original to the home and sourced from a castle in France. Tiny shimmering ivory Christmas trees on the nightstands add a festive note. “We wanted to make sure every room had a little touch of the holiday spirit,” Rose explains. 4-5. The incorporation of antlers in the office and game room add a rustic nature to the home and reflect the husband’s  passion for hunting.

To add depth to the Christmas decorations, the design team included nostalgic elements, including a collection of candy bowls cherished by the wife, which they filled with new and vintage Christmas ornaments. “The dishes remind her of family,” Rose says. “Our memories are what make the magic of Christmas, our remembrances of our childhood. I always want interiors to have a sense of history, and I don’t think that stops at the holiday.”

After the last bauble was hung, the designer relished the joy she manifested for the couple in their new home, which balances tradition and modernity, Old World and New World, past and present. “It’s fun leaving this backdrop for people’s memories,” she says with a smile. “After I left, the owners told me they turned on the record player (Bing Crosby, of course), poured Champagne and danced together in the living room next to the fireplace. It was so sweet—just like a holiday postcard.”

Sources

Interior designers: Jaimee Rose and Robin Norwood, Jaimee Rose Interiors, Phoenix, jaimeerose.com. GREAT ROOM—Coffee table (custom): Sólido, Phoenix, solidollc.com. DINING ROOM—Globes with twinkle lights: anthropologie.com. BAR AND OFFICE—Cabinetry: AllHaus, Scottsdale, allhaus.com. Ornaments: cb2.com.

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