From the December/January 2012 Issue:

Colors of Christmas

    Writer: Ren Miller | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Holiday Décor: Joan Vince, Lizbeth Katzmann, Tina Foley |

A Mendham homeowner decorates formal rooms in her favorite Tiffany blue while opting for traditional red and green elsewhere

Article Photo
enlarge | The dining room table is covered with Tiffany blue fabric under a silvery overlay. A glass cylinder on the table—recycled from a baby shower—is filled with blown-glass balls in the same shades as the napkins and napkin rings. Blue and white candles add evening luster.
Christmas is a big deal at the Vince home in Mendham, marked by a holiday party, family gatherings and nearly a month of decorating.

Though Joan Vince keeps alert year-round for interesting snowmen and nutcrackers to add to her collections, the holiday decorating process begins in earnest right after Thanksgiving. The formal spaces—foyer, living room, dining room and library—are the first to take on a festive look in shades of white, silver and Tiffany blue, her favorite color. “I got obsessively into Tiffany blue early in my life—so much so that when decorators tell me we need a little pop of another color, I say no, just blue and white,” she says with a laugh. (The interior design of the home by Ginny Zonfrilli of VHZ Design Group will be featured in an upcoming issue.)

Helping Vince to decorate the formal rooms for Christmas are Lizbeth Katzmann and Tina Foley of Tropical Touch in Brick, a landscaping firm that also offers holiday decorating services. The faux tree and the garland on the staircase and fireplace mantel are wired with white lights, blue and crystal-beaded white ribbons, faux hydrangeas and roses, and blue, white and silver decorations.

To keep blue from overwhelming the home, the exterior and other interior spaces are done in traditional red and green. Vince decorates these spaces herself, with an assist from her husband, Wayne. Their four sons and a daughter-in-law also help with the family room tree. Put up closer to Christmas this fresh tree bears ornaments filled with family memories. The Vinces have given their sons a new ornament every Christmas with the intention of handing them a box of their ornaments when they move into their own homes. This year’s tree will have a very special ornament honoring the arrival of their first grandchild. The tree of choice: a Fraser fir instead of the usual Douglas fir because of its tighter needle array. Why not a blue spruce in keeping with her favorite color? “We tried it and the needles are just too painful,” she notes.

Also in the family room, Vince drapes the fireplace mantel with red and green plaid as a showcase for the nutcrackers she has been collecting since she and her husband moved into the home in 1989. Included are collectible Steinbach nutcrackers from Germany.

Another holiday collection—snowmen of wood, metal, ceramic and plush fabric—finds a snowy home on the fireplace mantel in the kitchen dining area. A special snowman—a gift from her niece, is sea glass, which she also collects. In fact, many of the snowmen and nutcrackers are gifts. “Once people find out I collect them, they start to give them to me as gifts,” she says. An age-old risk of collecting: Now she has so many she doesn’t have room to display all of them every year.

Vince takes down and stores the decorations before the end of January, but the fresh tree comes down earlier for another family tradition: a community tree-burning on the second Sunday of January.


SOURCES Holiday Decor: Joan Vince in Mendham; Lizbeth Katzmann and Tina Foley of Tropical Touch in Brick.

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