The Wesley mansion at Eden State Gardens was a flurry of activity by noon on Tuesday as decorators and volunteers gathered for the Friends of Eden State Gardens’ annual “dressing Eden for the holidays” event.
Eleven different cultural groups and individuals each took a room or hallway as their own and gave the space a festive facelift for the upcoming Christmas season.
Artificial trees were pulled out of hiding; boxes of ornaments lined the hallways; gaily wrapped boxes and greenery were scattered about as the almost century-old home came alive with activity and the sounds of laughter.
By day’s end, however, the creative chaos had come together in a festive look sure to draw oohs and aaahs from all who tour during the upcoming big season.
Each stylist was free to create their own theme in their delegated space, and all are different.
Green Thumb Garden Club decorated the mansion’s parlor again this year with the theme “Christmas on the Coast.”
Destin Woman’s Club gave the downstairs hallway the theme “Turn of the Century Christmas.”
The Historic Point Washington Association has helped decorate the mansion for the past six years. This year, they lent “A Victorian Christmas” theme to “Tea in the Library.”
“Holly Christmas” is the 2012 theme on the downstairs porch. Jillian Doyle, the designer of the room’s decorations, is a retired elementary school principal who says she combines her love of art with her passion for enhancing the joy and beauty of the Christmas season.
Point Washington United Methodist Women again decorated the elegantly enchanting golden dining room.
The Town Planters Society of Freeport did the stairs and upstairs landing. Their theme is “Have Yourself a Berry Merry Christmas.”
Upstairs in the children’s bedroom, Sally Orlosky, a retired educator, children’s psychotherapist and freelance floral designer, showed she “is hopelessly addicted to Christmas and the euphoria that surrounds the season.” She and her husband live in DeFuniak Springs in a Victorian mansion that was built in 1886, and is on the Historic Register. It was the home of former Florida Governor Sidney J. Catts in the 1930s. During the Christmas season there, Orlosky decorates her home with sometimes as many as 37 trees. Her theme for the children’s room at Eden this year is “Visions of Sugarplums.”
Russ Barley of Emerald Coast Flowers is doing the blue bedroom in the theme “The Christmas Peacock.”
“All is Calm, All is Bright” is the 2012 theme of the upstairs back porch/sitting room, and was decorated by Karen Kolenberg, owner of The Custom House, where she specializes in interior design, space planning, and remodeling. Kolenberg covered her tree with crystal bobeches from an old chandelier.
Tara Stacey decorated the pink bedroom using the theme “A Child’s Christmas.”
Tim Ryan of Botaniq Floral Studios again decorated the red bedroom in the theme “Naturally Red.”
This is the 34th year the historic Wesley mansion has been dressed for the holidays, said coordinator Marianne Burbach. The ritual was begun in 1978 by Ollie Sue Butler of Point Washington.
Christmas candlelight tours of the decorated mansion officially begin Dec. 15.