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.
“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.”
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.”
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.