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Inside a Scottsdale Family’s Cozy Christmas Home

Accented by soothing shades of blue, the living room exudes a grown-up, sophisticated look. The Christmas tree placed directly in front of the window sets the tone for the festive season.

Old-fashioned traditions, festive decor and a dash of Hawaiian flair make the holidays a highly anticipated event for one Scottsdale family.

By Nancy Erdmann | Photography by Mark Lipczynski

It’s beginning to look at a lot like Christmas at the Conover residence, where seasonal decorations come out the weekend after Thanksgiving and the fun of unpacking and reliving holidays past begins. “Trimming the tree is an all-day affair for us filled with love and laughter,” says Alexandra Conover. “In the first week of December, our house comes to life.”

Tastefully spruced up in golds, reds and greens, the home is adorned with family favorites such as toy soldiers, gingerbread houses and stockings. “My mother always builds the gingerbread houses with the kids and gives them a beautiful chocolate Advent calendar that they cannot wait to start opening as they count down the days,” Alexandra confides. Every year, the family makes an ornament from their Christmas card picture with the year marked on it so that whenever they trim their tree, they are instantly reminded of years past.

Having spent her childhood in Honolulu, and after living in California’s Bay Area with husband Craig and their two children, 10-year-old John Stephen and 6-year-old Charlotte, Alex wanted to meld Pacific Island culture into their Scottsdale home when they moved there four years ago. “There are starfish in most rooms along with tropical plants, plus we have framed photos of our time spent visiting Hawaii,” she says. “At Christmastime, we pull out our Elf on the Shelf, whom we named Stewart. He is very tan, so we always say he’s from Hawaii.” 

Their Santa Barbara-style home holds up well to a busy and active family life, notes interior designer Lynne Beyer, who worked with the couple on pulling the home together and adding the finishing touches. “Alex and Craig love all things colorful and bright, with crisp neutrals mixed in. They have fantastic taste, love fabric, and they weren’t afraid to go bold on both.”

1. Brimming with holiday cheer, the kitchen is where family traditions come to life as gingerbread houses are assembled, cookies are baked and the spirit of the season is everywhere you look. 2. The candlelit farmhouse table is elegantly set with blue and white china on loan from Alexandra’s mother, who brought it from Germany, where it served as her everyday tableware growing up. 3. The fireplace mantel is festooned with traditional greens and reds, plus stockings for the whole family. 4. Grandmother Suzanne Haniotis shares the joy with her granddaughter, Charlotte. Alexandra and Craig and their dog, Kona, a flat-coated retriever, join in the fun. Young John unwraps a gift chosen expressly for him. 5. Keeping with a simple color palette, the Christmas tree is adorned with gold glass ornaments, white feather balls and spiraled gold ribbons. A giant gold snowflake topper is the finishing touch.

On the living room’s main wall, for instance, Beyer chose a graphic wallpaper that punches up the space. “Alex was crazy for the abstract pattern and instantly fell in love with it,” she recalls. Its shimmery blue design on a white background sets the stage for the couple’s eclectically designed interiors. Other examples include a turquoise-painted accent wall in the dining room and a black wall with gold accents in the master suite.

“I really wanted to be true to the Santa Barbra style so bringing in different shades of blue was not only a natural color scheme, but it’s also my favorite color,” Alex remarks. “Lynne was able to use much of our existing furniture and move it around our home to make it all come together.” The designer recalls, “I scoured all of their storage areas and found some fabulous pieces in the garage that were brought in to enhance the eclecticism of the interiors. Both new and existing pieces were married together.”

1. A rich shade of ocean blue on the dining room wall plays perfectly into the couple’s island style and echoes the hue in the commissioned painting by Hawaiian artist Lau Chun, which depicts Alexandra Conover and her sister, Jessica. 2. “Alexandra and Craig love color and pattern and were not afraid to use it,” says interior designer Lynne Beyer. In the living room, a geometric-themed wallpaper serves as a bold backdrop for a contemporary credenza and a contemporary oil painting by Tross. Seasonal tabletop decor mirrors the gold in the picture frame. 3. Craig Conover and son John share a fireside moment.

Beyer also helped orchestrate the home’s holiday decor along with Alex and the children. “Our family room is dedicated to our Hawaiian and more
family-oriented decorations. The words “Mele Kalikimaka” (“Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian) can be spotted all over the room, along with many items I had growing up and have collected through the years,” says Alex. Christmas Eve is also an important time for the family, notes Craig: “We always spend the evening with family sharing a beautiful meal with endless toasts and shared blessings of the past year.”

Although they often visit Hawaii, the couple says they make it a point to be in Arizona for Christmas. “We celebrated as a family in Hawaii one year, but for us, being home is very important. The children waking up on Christmas morning and walking into the living room might be my favorite day of the year. Seeing the joy and amazement in their eyes is so incredible,” Alex enthuses. “I always remember the many years we spent in Hawaii waking up on a warm Christmas morning and feeling the exact same wonderment that I get to share with my children. It is also a wonderful time to celebrate and remember the reason for the season. What a blessing!” 

Interior designer: Lynne Beyer, Phoenix, Lynne Beyer Design. 
For more information, see Sources.


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