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Merry Manor


CASA FRONT DOOR

F
or more than two decades, Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CASA) has been showcasing homes lavishly decorated for the holidays in the area’s most beautiful neighborhoods as a way of raising money to support their programs and to offer holiday inspiration to visitors who then take the great ideas back home into their own decor. The 2012 tour included six homes in Lake Pointe, Sweetwater, Oaks of Alcorn, Lakes of Williams Ranch and Sienna Plantation. The funds raised by the Christmas Home Tour provide support for foster children living in Fort Bend County and the Children’s Advocacy Center, where abused and neglected children receive the services they need free of charge.

More than a thousand volunteers helped with the home tour in 2012. These volunteers included event committee members, hostesses, cookie bakers, musicians and singers, CAFB board members and all staff, as well as volunteers assisting with traffic, refreshments and the Sweetwater Country Club luncheon. At least 1,200 visitors toured the homes during the weekend. The 2012 Casa Christmas Home Tour raised $205,000. Some say that The decorating ideas visitors gleaned from visiting these amazing homes are priceless. The Bartley abode — home to Brenda and Randy, and their son Brock and daughter Brooke — is featured in this year’s cover story, and proved to fascinate visitors in more ways than one!

Prior to moving into the Palm Royale estate, the couple lived in the Sweetwater subdivision of Alcorn Bend. “For eight months,” shared Brenda, “we looked at homes all over Houston, but we kept coming back to Fort Bend County.” Randy concurred, “There is no place that can match the amenities that we have here in Fort Bend County — golf, neighborhoods, schools and space. Nothing can compare to Fort Bend and Sugar Land.”

The Bartleys finally narrowed their search to eight homes and took Teena Caldwell, their decorator (with whom they’ve enjoyed a relationship for almost a decade) to all eight homes. Brenda explained, “Since she was going to be doing the decorating and because she knows our family and the way we live in our home, her opinion was important. She would actually give us a thumbs up or down on a prospective home.”

One day, however, they picked Teena up and informed her they had a BIG surprise for her. They had bought the Palm Royale home — a stately home with an expansive driveway, immaculate landscaping and a grand front door.  Teena confessed, “Though the initial revelation was a bit of a shock, they couldn’t have chosen a more suitable home.”

She went to work right away on personalizing this home into a modern blend of American and French antiques. “Along with infusing the home with French influence, we changed the floors and walls, making things more vintage and neutral. We lightened it up and added plaster to the walls,” she said.

The Bartleys spruced up the house inside and out by adding landscaping and outdoor lighting done by L-3 Designs. The home has many interesting features including art from their favorite local artists, Rachel Schwind Gardner and John Palmer, and antiques from around the world.

Don’t Miss the 2013

Casa Christmas
Home Tour!

December 13-14

Benefiting Child Advocates

of Fort Bend

Featuring homes in:

First Colony • Riverstone • Richmond

Lakes of Williams Ranch • Sienna Plantation

Hours:

 Friday-Saturday  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Special Candlelight Tour

Friday: 6 – 9 p.m.

Tickets Available: Online at cafb.org until Dec. 8, or at all Fort Bend County Kroger and Randalls stores. On tour days, tickets are available at the Sweetwater Guard House on the corner of Palm Royale and Sweetwater Boulevard. Tickets are $20 until Dec. 1; $25 after.

Brenda added, “One thing that we really love about our home and the renovations that we did to personalize it is that every single person who worked on it put their heart and soul into their work — from the designers, carpenters, stone workers and the electricians.” No place is that more evident than in the wine room, contracted by Chambers Paint and Remodeling.

“We really put our stamp on the home by adding a wine room,” admitted Brenda. “Teena found the antique columns that surround the stained glass church window, which added old world style. The venetian plaster walls were finished by Segreto Finishes. We simply love the ceiling treatments. The wine tasting room has a groin vault, and the hallway entry is a lighted barrel vault.”

With as much thought and planning as the couple put into personalizing and decorating their home when they bought it, they put the same effort and enthusiasm into their holiday décor. “We started working on our Christmas décor at the end of October,” said Brenda, “and with the help of volunteers — who assisted with all the unpacking — and Teena’s floral and staging assistant Flora, it took us about two weeks to install everything for the holidays.”

One remarkable component of this merry manor all dressed up in its festive finery is the garland throughout. The greenery is abundant, and as it moves from room to room, the details in the garland match the theme of each room. For instance, in the kitchen, artichokes, berries and birds hide within the verdant limbs; in the living room, bunched- up branches embellished with tiny white lights and a plethora of pearl strands peek from the lush green boughs.

In the formal living area, angels and birds fly in platinum, silver, pearl and glass colors beneath an image of Moses on an Italian door from the 1500s. The 19th century antique mirrors on either side beautifully reflect the flickering candles and bright holiday bling. In the dining room, a fur-lined sleigh complete with reindeer is ready to fly, but for now parks whimsically atop the dining room table. The kitchen is decorated in Mark Roberts’ elves and an upside down succulent-themed tree in fall colors of artichokes, pomegranates, berries and acorns. Nearby, Santa can be found steering a Studebaker Museum toy wagon from the 1800s, which is full to the brim with gifts ready for delivery.

Upstairs, Brock’s room is rustic, yet cozily dressed for Christmas with red plaid, camouflage, owls and stars. Down the hallway, Brooke’s shabby-chic cream room is gorgeous and plush with crowns, crosses, flickering candles and flowers mixed amid the textiles. In the kids’ game room, there’s nothing but holiday fun to be had whether playing shuffle board, cards or arcade games. Kissing fish and bright lime green colors highlight the holiday theme.

Outside there is room to enjoy cookies and hot apple cider in the cabana or lanai surrounding the pool. There are plenty of palm trees, poinsettias and life-sized Santa’s elves to keep you company as you gaze at the park-like backyard overlooking the golf course. You almost expect to see a team of reindeer pulling a bright red sleigh with a jolly Santa shouting “Ho! Ho!Ho!” as they go dashing through the sky.

Together with the annual Gala for the Children (held in May), the two major fundraising events (home tour and gala) raise 25 percent of the annual budget to fund the CASA program and Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) which provides services to victims of abuse and their families free of charge.

The 22nd annual CASA Christmas Home Tour will be held Dec. 13-14 and promises to be one of the best in more ways than one. It will be the largest tour (featuring a total of 7 homes) and will cover more of Fort Bend than ever before with two beautiful homes in west Richmond, near Fulshear. In addition, there will be homes in First Colony, Riverstone, Lakes of Williams Ranch and Sienna Plantation. Sponsors at the $350+ level will get to preview one of the homes a week prior to the start of the tour at a special Sponsor Preview Party. To become a sponsor or for more information on the 2013 tour, visit cafb.org or contact Lisa Moore at lmoore@cafb.org or 281-344-5108.

Top image caption
Fresh florals and festive garland welcome visitors.

Text by Cheryl Alexander  |  Photography by J Pamela and Wade Blissard  |  Flowers by Lexis Florist, Sue Habib
Holiday décor by Teena Caldwell, Lauren Caldwell and Flora Chaka, Twenty-Two Fifty Interiors
Interior design by Teena Caldwell, ASID Allied member, Twenty-Two Fifty Interiors
Finishes by Segreto Finishes  | Architecture by Robert Dame | Landscape design by L-3 Design

 

Hanging above the fireplace is an antique door more than 500 years old embossed with an image of Moses. On either side are antique French mirrors from the late 19th century. Branches of lights, platinum bows, strands of pearls and Christmas balls are weaved throughout garland. Battery-operated candles keep the lights flickering.

Hanging above the fireplace is an antique door more than 500 years old embossed with an image of Moses. On either side are antique French mirrors from the late 19th century. Branches of lights, platinum bows, strands of pearls and Christmas balls are weaved throughout garland. Battery-operated candles keep the lights flickering.

The beautifully decked out living room features gilded garland intertwined with angels and birds with silver and platinum wings. The console was repurposed from a header on a large hotel door in Maine. An oversized tapestry is reproduction of a French antique.

The beautifully decked out living room features gilded garland intertwined with angels and birds with silver and platinum wings. The console was repurposed from a header on a large hotel door in Maine. An oversized tapestry is reproduction of a French antique.

The three-story stairwell ceiling is embellished with a faux finish and gold leaf.

The three-story stairwell ceiling is embellished with a faux finish and gold leaf.

A festive garland of fruit and birds intertwine beautifully.

A festive garland of fruit and birds intertwine beautifully.

The over-scaled centerpiece on the dining room table features whimsical fur-collared reindeer.

The over-scaled centerpiece on the dining room table features whimsical fur-collared reindeer.

Gourmet chef’s kitchen is enhanced with a chevron tile backsplash, knotty alder cabinetry, granite countertops and a copper sink. On the kitchen island, Mark Roberts’ fairies heighten the holiday spirit.

Gourmet chef’s kitchen is enhanced with a chevron tile backsplash, knotty alder cabinetry, granite countertops and a copper sink. On the kitchen island, Mark Roberts’ fairies heighten the holiday spirit.

The breakfast room features a beautiful traditional Nativity scene which is placed on top of a mirror, although it appears to held up by the Christmas balls. The mirror reflection of the Nativity multiplies the effect. The stuffed fairy is from the homeowners’ Mark Roberts collection.

The breakfast room features a beautiful traditional Nativity scene which is placed on top of a mirror, although it appears to held up by the Christmas balls. The mirror reflection of the Nativity multiplies the effect. The stuffed fairy is from the homeowners’ Mark Roberts collection.

 The family dog is quite comfortable in the family room decked with traditional Christmas home décor in red and green. Pine cones and stockings make this festive décor truly American.

The family dog is quite comfortable in the family room decked with traditional Christmas home décor in red and green. Pine cones and stockings make this festive décor truly American.

In the upstairs gameroom, an upside–down Christmas tree creates a playful mood.

In the upstairs gameroom, an upside–down Christmas tree creates a playful mood.

A custom-made pedestal displays an 18th century angel that formerly hung in a church, but now lives year-round at the base of the home’s second staircase.

A custom-made pedestal displays an 18th century angel that formerly hung in a church, but now lives year-round at the base of the home’s second staircase.

The warm, earthy elegance in the wine room (by Chambers Paint and Remodeling) is enriched by the pine boughs and garland.

The warm, earthy elegance in the wine room (by Chambers Paint and Remodeling) is enriched by the pine boughs and garland.

This outdoor living space, overlooking the pool and golf course, is a perfect spot to enjoy cookies and hot cider by the fireplace.

This outdoor living space, overlooking the pool and golf course, is a perfect spot to enjoy cookies and hot cider by the fireplace.


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