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Design Ideas
Heirloom Style Dutch Christmas With Melinda McCoy
The House 214 Design blogger taps into family roots to bring a 1940 Cape Cod-style home alive for the holidays with Dutch Christmas flair.
Inspiration can come from a variety of places, like the historic beauty of a home, the deep familial roots that tie one to other times and places, and the expertise that comes from years of honing one’s craft. During the holidays, all of these combine into an Heirloom Style Dutch Christmas for Melinda McCoy of House... Keep Scrolling
Written by Autumn Krause
Photography by Nick McGinn
Styled by Melinda McCoy

Inspiration can come from a variety of places, like the historic beauty of a home, the deep familial roots that tie one to other times and places, and the expertise that comes from years of honing one’s craft. During the holidays, all of these combine into an Heirloom Style Dutch Christmas for Melinda McCoy of House 214 Design. She and her family live in a 1940 Cape Cod-style home in Ohio, and, as the snow falls and the trees turn skeletal for the winter, she transforms their residence into a stunning home with simple decorations that honor the home’s heritage and incorporate her Dutch lineage and her expertise as a professional designer. “My main goal is always to respect our home and at the same time respect the feeling I want to achieve in the space. During the holiday season and beyond, I decorate in a way that evokes a timeless feeling,” she says. “It is important to me that who we are as a family is evident throughout our home.”

Cozy living room decorated with a Christmas tree and five white stockings hanging above the mantel. Live greenery is used to add pops of color and festivity.
LIVING CHRISTMAS. For the holidays, Melinda takes an elegant approach in the living room, focusing her attention on the Christmas tree (which she and her family cut down themselves at a tree farm) the mantel, side table and coffee table. Her greens pop against the room’s serene color scheme.
The snowy, grey exterior of this 1940 Cape Cod home is adorned with green wreaths and Granny Smith apples.
OLD HOUSE LOVE. This 1940 Cape Cod home has something Melinda loves: a past. “I was originally drawn to the house because it’s old,” she says. “I love everything about old homes: the stories, the architecture, the beauty.” Her passion for old houses began when she was growing up in a home built in 1931.

Warm Holiday Greetings

A festive entryway is the perfect way to spread holiday cheer to anyone visiting a home or even just passing by on the street. With its exterior face-lift (Melinda had the windows replaced, changed the siding, repainted the outside with Restoration Hardware Charcoal paint and added a portico), the Cape Cod is an ideal backdrop for yuletide greetings and builds anticipation for anyone about to cross its threshold. “A good holiday entryway depicts what is to come inside your home,” Melinda says.

“A good holiday entryway depicts what is to come inside your home.”

She epitomizes this concept with a creative DIY apple installation, a boxwood wreath and greenery that drapes around the front door. She says, “During the colonial period, people would decorate in a natural way using fruits and fresh greenery. Our décor, particularly the apple fan project, is a nod to this Heirloom Style Dutch Christmas elements.” Seeking to add texture and interest to the entryway, Melinda designed an apple “fan,” and her husband built and mounted it. Approximately 60 Granny Smith apples are displayed above the door, drawing the eye upward, while also adding a festive dash of green to the entryway and another texture to the greenery and boxwood wreath.

Navy barstools and a plaid blanket are placed at the island of this all-white kitchen, giving the light and bright space a cozy feel.
SIMPLE CHIC. Bar stools from Industry West were the perfect addition to the kitchen and, when draped with a plaid blanket and displaying a Christmas present, they take on a distinctly holiday feel. “I was drawn to the hint of copper that outlined the backs of the chairs,” Melinda says. “They complement the timeless and simple feeling I’ve created in our home.”
The informal dining room provides a space where friends and family can gather on the family heirloom bench and enjoy the gingerbread-decorated Christmas tree in the corner.
GATHERING SPACE. Seeking an informal dining room where the family could relax and enjoy each other, Melinda oversaw the addition of this space to the home. Here everyone can gather on the family heirloom bench and enjoy the gingerbread-decorated Christmas tree in the corner. To complete the dining room, Melinda sought old Bentwood chairs that would pair with the bench that her Dutch grandfather made and her father used growing up. She finally found three on Craigslist for $20 each. “They were the perfect addition,” she says.
The large kitchen island gives extra counter space, and glass doors lighten the mood and add an airy touch.
SEAMLESS STYLE. The kitchen was a 2010 addition to the home. Melinda made sure it melded with the house’s existing style and history, while also accommodating her needs as a busy mother of three. An island gives extra counter space, and glass doors lighten the mood and add an airy touch.
Ingredients for holiday hot cider.
HOLIDAY SIPS. To keep her troops (children and husband) sustained as they assemble gift bags for the neighbors, Melinda serves them hot cider and sweets.
Freshly baked gingerbread cookies along with oranges embellished with cloves make for delightful gifts that are pretty to look at, smell and eat.
FRESH PICKS. Freshly baked gingerbread cookies along with oranges embellished with cloves make for delightful gifts that are pretty to look at, smell and eat.

Dutch Christmas Minimalism

Charmed by the home’s existing living room, Melinda left most of it intact, aside from painting the walls and fireplace. During the holidays, she allows the home’s natural aesthetic to take center stage by using an elegant, unobtrusive approach—though this does come with its challenges. The biggest one? Since it’s an old home, Melinda says, “there are lots of doorways, and that makes it difficult to find the right place for the tree. We finally feel like this corner is best!” The Fraser fir tree is adorned with ornaments curated over a lifetime.

“During the colonial period, people would decorate in a natural way using fruits and fresh greenery. Our décor, particularly the apple fan project, is a nod to this.”

Another festive focal point is the fireplace mantel, where five simple yet sophisticated stockings hang underneath a grouping of blue and white delft houses. Melinda particularly loves highlighting these little houses as they tie in with her Dutch roots. “My mother is a wonderful seamstress, and she made the stockings for us,” Melinda says. “The white is simple and complements any colors that I introduce from season to season.” She mixes in greenery on the mantel and side table, and even puts some sprigs in the stockings. The home’s timeless minimalism accents the style of the house, while paying homage to the season.

Light blue master bedroom accented with pops of fresh greenery and rustic boxwood.
EARTHY ELEGANCE. The master bedroom was part of the 2010 addition. “I wanted to stay consistent with the look of our home. I chose decorating elements that complemented the other decisions we made,” she explains. “It’s nice to add small nods to the holiday season to any room in your home, no matter the space,” Melinda says. For her master bedroom, a green pillow, touches of boxwood and fresh greens scattered throughout do the trick.
This window box, which sits beneath the kitchen window, is filled with greenery and apples.
HOW ABOUT THESE APPLES? Melinda had new siding installed on the home’s exterior, along with a fresh coat of Restoration Hardware Charcoal paint. During the holidays, even the sides of the home get a holiday touch. This window box, which sits beneath the kitchen window, is filled with greenery and apples. “I use these elements throughout my holiday decorating, so I added them here as well,” Melinda says. “I enjoy a monochromatic color scheme, so green Granny Smith apples perfectly complement the pine greenery.”

The space above the front door is decorated with textured greenery and green apples.

The dark front door of this home allows the green wreath to pop.

The storage in this homes mudroom echoes the cabinetry in the kitchen and provides designated places for shoes, book bags and sports equipment.
GRAND EXIT. When the McCoys were renovating their house, one of the projects Melinda was particularly excited about was the mudroom. “We used the old galley kitchen to make this space, and I’m so happy with how it turned out,” Melinda says. “I echoed the cabinetry in the kitchen to keep it consistent and iconic.” The designated place for shoes, book bags and sports equipment is both sophisticated and functional.

Yuletide Baking & Dining

The kitchen and dining room were 2010 additions to the home and Melinda approached them with care: “I was the contractor on the job, so marrying the old part of the house with the new was very important to me.” In the kitchen, she had the ceiling covered in individual pieces of beadboard and installed 11-inch pinewood floors. Concrete counters, Industry West barstools and Martha Stewart light pendants completed the look. For the dining room, she went for an “informal” feel that would keep the focus on one of her most treasured possessions: a bench made by her Dutch grandfather. “My father and his siblings used it for all their meals on the family farm in Holland,” Melinda says. “My father had had it shipped to the states years ago, and I absolutely loved its story. Now our three children sit and eat their meals on it. It is a very special piece that I cherish having in our home.” She gives both the kitchen and dining room a Dutch Christmas makeover with fresh greenery and bowls of oranges covered in cloves. A Fraser fir Christmas tree sits in an old urn and is covered in homemade gingerbread ornaments, giving the perfect holiday note to the space.

With an understanding of her home’s rich history—and her own personal heritage and artistic vision—Melinda artfully creates new holiday memories for her loved ones.

This small room with large windows alternates as a craft and play room.
ROOM TO PLAY. This room, which originally had a brown shag carpet, alternates as a craft and play room. Melinda replaced the carpet with a hardwood floor and repainted the entire space. Since the room is full of windows, it lets in gorgeous views of the Ohio snowfall along with loads of light. “It is a beautiful space that inspires creativity and play,” Melinda says. “For the holidays, we decorate the vintage dollhouse—which was a $40 Craigslist find—with bottlebrush trees and wreaths.”

Looking for more Christmas style infused with European elegance? Check out this post on the home of Jamie Lindstrom and get inspired by her French Country Christmas style.