Holiday décor enlivens the Richardson home each year, with special help from a local floral designer.
WRITTEN BY DEBBY LARSEN | PHOTOS BY ROBIN STANCLIFF
Nina Richardson’s home portrays their personalities year-round, but this time of year it shines with holiday spirit. She and her husband David, a local anesthesiologist, purchased their place in the Catalina Foothills in 2011. As part of the renovation process, the Richardsons enlisted the expertise of interior designer and artist Kim Coffman of Fine Art Interiors. Her creativity is evident in the elegant décor — especially the formal living room, dining room and master suite.
“I have been working with Nina for more than four years,” Coffman notes, “and we just finished the complete remodel of the master bedroom. It really was a pleasure to work with Nina because she has a natural inclination toward design and attention to detail. She and I share a love of fabric, so when we were choosing textures for the custom bedding and headboard, we made sure the fabrics had a beautiful texture and aesthetic. It was amazing to see how perfectly Jacque Askren’s Christmas tree design works in the space.” Coffman also has worked with Askren and Nina in putting together vignettes throughout the home for other holidays, as well as everyday décor. Nina’s passion for creating lovely Christmas vignettes began with a prize she won at a Ballet Tucson fundraiser — a fully decorated tree donated by Askren & Sons, Inc. Nina met floral designer Jacque Askren when Jacque delivered the tree, and a friendship grew out of their shared appreciation for the traditions of the season. Every December, with Jacque’s help, the Richardsons’ home is filled with amazing theme trees and all types of décor — from the front entry to the back patio. Nina begins the process of creating her holiday scenes in November. For eight days, she unpacks the carefully categorized and labeled bins and starts her “labor of love.” This process is conveniently coordinated with her husband’s annual hunting trip to Vermont. When Jacque arrives, the duo gets to work adding or subtracting from last year’s collections. After a year in storage, some items need a bit of TLC. Nina’s favorite is a flocked tree she calls the “bubble gum tree” — a 10-footer that glistens with long garlands of glass balls. Jacque explains that when decorating voluminous trees, the use of large ornaments creates depth. “Sometimes when designing a new tree, a particularly beautiful ribbon will catch my eye and dictate a new theme.” On a tall tree, wide ribbons, tucked in and out of the branches, add movement around or down, and clusters of large bows, flowers or ornaments create pockets of interest.
In the master bedroom resides what Nina calls her “‘bling’ tree — lots of gold, shimmering ornaments of crowns and stars,” she says with a laugh.
The latest additions include nine-foot garlands, sporting oversized ornaments, to surround the large front doors. The entry hall chandelier is embellished with strands of LED lights, which hover over a large table display. Decorating is truly a family affair. The Richardsons’ two young daughters, Darya and Natalie, also get into the act by choosing their favorite color theme to coordinate with their bedrooms. Even Nina’s mother Mimi joins the fun. On the last tree, she sewed wide ribbons together to create a custom tree skirt. In the master bedroom resides what Nina calls her “‘bling’ tree — lots of gold, shimmering ornaments of crowns and stars,” she says with a laugh. The media room decorations are the most traditional, in reds and greens, complete with a life-sized figure of Santa. Here, whimsical figures seem to climb among the tree’s branches, with dozens of ornaments fashioned by Darya and Natalie. Giant red and white candies are placed among the chartreuse ribbons. The candy theme is repeated in the kitchen, with gingerbread house-style displays on both the center island and soffits. The collection started with just one house, and years later it has become a village. By the middle of December, each room gets a final nod of approval from Nina and Jacque for the Richardsons’ annual holiday event. “Let the party begin!” HG