Salisbury House is a beautiful historic home built in 1923 in Des Moines.  Each year they ask designers to decorate a room for the holidays.  As it is a museum, there are restrictions on what can be done of course, which means no moving furniture and mostly adding accessories and decor.

This is my first experience designing a show home of any kind, and I felt I wanted to reflect my own design style by mixing old and new.  Luckily, the room I chose to decorate was already quite old.  The gorgeous wood paneling in the Queen Anne Guest Bedroom is all original to an English manor house and was brought over in pieces from England in the 20s.  There are also several beautiful examples of English Queen Anne furniture.

I provided the newer items including mid-century furniture, pillows and modern Christmas decor.  The furniture and pillows come from my own collection and the Christmas decor is mostly from West Elm and CB2 with a smattering of vintage pieces.

Since I enjoy neutrals and black and white, and I had lots of wood and gold as my primary colors, I decided to use black, white and gold in the space.  Red and Green were just not right in the space.


I added black and white chevron spreads on top of the original gold and placed my chrome directors chairs newly upholstered in black and white at the foot of each bed-



Instead of a traditional Christmas tree (I felt there were plenty of trees throughout the house already) I opted for a minimal tabletop twig tree sparsely decorated with black, white and gold balls.




There was, however, a large colorful rug that anchored the room which I needed to tie in to my decor somehow.



I decided a playful mix of throw pillows (both colorful and black & white) on the bed would add a pop of color and tie in with the rug just enough so the black and white did not feel too disjointed.



The custom designed closets just needed a few touches of Christmas and color-


The bathroom is full of color so I kept my additions simple in this space.  Love the 1920s original chrome built-in cabinets!


I was honored to decorate the Queen Anne Guest Bedroom, as it has quite a storied past.  The Weeks Family that owned the house became important members of the community in Des Moines, often hosting visitors to the city including many jazz greats that were not permitted to sleep in the ‘whites only’ hotels in Des Moines.   Probably the most famous of these performers was Louis Armstrong, a favorite of mine.  I hope he would have approved.

Happy Holidays!



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