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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.