A tall pine tree in the Lansdale home’s center hall glimmers with white lights, a silver ribbon garland, silver balls, and silvery flowers fashioned from milkweed pods, baby’s breath, and other plant materials. A tree in the family room is bedecked with ribbon, silver balls, and origami snowflakes. Silver wreaths in the family room window echo the four-leaf-clover design on the gray and white ottoman and sofa pillows.
Outside, evergreens, gold-sprayed pine cones and magnolia leaves, and swirls of gold ribbon fill window boxes and planters. White lights twinkle on the railing on the back deck decorated with fresh greens tied with silver bows. Even the hydrangea has been spray-painted gold.
The day before the Norristown Garden Club’s annual holiday house tour, club members were busy adding final touches to this, the first home listed on the tour. Proceeds from the tour, held the second Friday in December, are used for education and community-based projects.
The theme for the two-story, stone residence — “A Sparkling Christmas” — was chosen months ago when the decorating committee discovered the home was already filled with shiny objects, such as a collage of mirrored glass butterflies and flowers hanging above a silver and glass chest in the center hall. The dining room features a gleaming black and silver table. The breakfast room table is hammered nickel. Mirrors reflect light from numerous chandeliers, light fixtures, and lamps.
Alicia Ondik, who lives in the home with her husband, Bill Doyle, and their three daughters, has an explanation for the shimmer.
Three years ago when she and her husband purchased the custom Toll Brothers house, she chose walnut-stained flooring and black kitchen cabinets. She has no regrets about her decision but said, “The cabinets and flooring soak up the light.” Large windows provide sunshine in nice weather. On cloudy days and at night, though, she made sure the home would be bright by painting walls white and installing lots of light fixtures and light-reflecting furnishings.
The garden tour featured living spaces on the home’s first floor with glass doors closing off Bill’s home office. He’s a sales rep for a medical-equipment company. Also closed off was the bedroom suite his mother-in-law, Judy Ondik, uses when she visits, though visitors could view a lovely crèche through the glass.
Besides the garden club’s many floral contributions, the family showed off some of their own holiday treasures, including the crèche. A reindeer the children named Sven stood sentry by the back stairs in the family room. A smaller reindeer on the shelf nearby was a Christmas gift from Alicia’s uncle. An angel dressed in satin and lace, sent by the uncle another year, was also displayed.
In the kitchen, the garden club arranged greens and fresh fruit on the counter. One talented member created a faux red velvet cake from cranberries with white chrysanthemum icing. Alicia and Bill’s youngest daughter, Lena, 7, made a gingerbread house. The family also includes Daphne, 8, Ynez, 10, and pup Rose, a border collie-German shepherd mix.
Also excluded from the tour were the second floor and the basement, which includes a storage area and large playroom.
Alicia, who owns a Nationwide Insurance agency in Conshohocken, likes the second-floor layout with the master bedroom on one side and the girls’ bedrooms on the other and the convenience of an upstairs laundry. She and Bill added windows to their bedroom to improve the view of the woods behind their property. For the tour, Bill strung lights on the trees on the deck and on three small pine trees in the backyard.
Their daughters do not share their mother’s preference for black and white. Ynez has a purple bedroom, Lena chose fuchsia, and Daphne, buttercup yellow.
Garden club members were mindful of the home’s young children. At the top of the sliding board in the backyard, they positioned a chubby Santa holding on to the sides and waiting for a little girl to give him a push.
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