Step into Ann Keith Kennedy's house in Haddonfield at this time of year, and you find yourself in the midst of a very modern celebration of Christmas.

The living room is swathed in red and white, from white stars of Bethlehem in the windows to red cushions and ribbons on the furniture. A tree glowing with white lights guards toy trains and a Nativity scene, the gift of a great-grandmother in Alabama.

The red-and-white motif stands out against shining wood floors, taupe walls lined with white bookcases designed by Kennedy, and comfortable yet simple furniture.

An architect who trained at the University of Kansas and practiced in Philadelphia, studied library science at Drexel University, and has taught English in Japan and worked as a librarian at Temple University, Kennedy has decided to turn her talents to interior design reflecting her love of Asian style.

"I like sparse, minimal design, and I don't like window treatments, as they block the light coming into a room," she says.

"During the holidays, I use red and white because I think green in decorations contrasts with the natural color of evergreen and holly, and I think the warm red and cool white is more dramatic," she says.

"Red and white add sparkle to the story of Christmas, which should be the basis of the celebration."

Her design philosophy works well for the 1,700-square-foot Dutch Colonial that Kennedy and her then-husband bought in 2009 - though adjustments must be made, at times, for the realities of parenthood.

An artificial Christmas tree conflicts somewhat with her ideal of natural Christmas greens, for example, but Kennedy's older daughter can't be too close to pine trees and holly.

"One of my daughters is allergic," she says.

That Kennedy likes to keep clutter to a minimum for her two young daughters' sake has an upside for her, as well, because she works at home and, she says, produces mounds of paper.

"The girls don't really create as much clutter as I do with my work, but it is still important to keep things as simple as possible."

Everything in the house is not red and white, of course. Kennedy's decor is augmented by her daughters' colorful drawings, some of which she has framed and hung in the kitchen and dining room.

The focus of the latter room, adjacent to the living room, is a buffet with a gilt wreath decorated with lights. An oak table surrounded by four tall wicker-backed chairs and two shorter wood chairs is set with white plates adorned by green pears.

Behind the dining room, a children's playroom/family room features a white sectional sofa with comfortable red cushions. A large wooden cube that stands before the sofa has deep drawers that hold any number of toys.

Through the window of the family room, a tree-filled space comes into view.

"The property reminds me of my home in Alabama, where crepe myrtle hung from the trees and dogwood bloomed on the front lawn each spring," Kennedy says.

"The former owners did a lot of work and actually built this circular plaza, and even though we had to rebuild it because it had deteriorated, we did it exactly the way they had it," she says.

Minimalist decor continues on the second floor. The master bedroom features a bed dressed in red and white.

In the girls' matching bedrooms are vintage high-back beds - flea-market bargains, Kennedy says - also topped with white-and-red coverings. Soft stuffed bunnies reside up near the pillows.

And festooned high above one of the children's bedrooms, offering a hope for sleep in heavenly peace, are the lyrics to "Silent Night."

Kennedy says her family in Alabama always decorates early for the Christmas holiday, a tradition that is prevalent in the South. Her former husband's family lives nearby and often takes part in the festivities, as well as minding their grandchildren.

Her relatives will be coming up North to join in the celebrating.

"My family looked at the holidays as an excuse for decorating everything," Kennedy says, "and I must confess I am the same way."