As the holidays approach, Southdown, a beautiful old Bermuda home, is decorated in inviting earth tones and Bermuda’s own natural greenery for a warm effect that entices guests and family alike.
Located on the Mid Ocean Golf Course, Southdown has its own Bermuda heritage. The house was one of the first to be built on the golf course and the original home is currently more than 90 years old.
This year, the owners have decorated their home in their own elegant Christmas style—one that is warm, inviting and reminiscent of both their German heritage and the winter season in Bermuda. Greenery, such as large palm fronds, tall-stemmed white lilies and sprigs of Bermuda cedar adorn the living areas, creating an elegant, natural look. Tabletops are filled with a selection of delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks, beautifully showcasing the family’s love of entertaining, particularly around the holidays.
In the kitchen, the youngest members of the family, two school-aged girls, have made their own contribution to the Christmas spirit. A gingerbread house, one of several that the girls make themselves, decorates the countertop, along with red and white Christmas-themed mugs and plates. Their mother explains that each year her daughters have their own Christmas luncheons. Each has five or six friends over for lunch, tea and homemade Christmas cookies. They also enjoy playing holiday-themed games, such as fishing candy canes out of champagne bottles and tossing bells into Christmas mugs.
On the way out of the kitchen, a table is simply adorned with Bermuda palm fronds and a preserved banana leaf filled with decorative ball ornaments and casuarina sprigs. The owner says that although Bermuda’s foliage doesn’t have a traditional Christmas feel, it lends itself well to a more tropical, yet still festive theme. Cedar in particular is festive in a Bermudian way, she adds.
In the dining room a large round table is filled with an array of holiday snacks, including cheeses, fruit, nuts and champagne in a silver ice bucket. White candles in tall glass holders and long-stemmed white lilies in glass vases complement the look. The mantel is adorned with fresh sprigs of Bermuda cedar, and beside the stairs large, white sea urchins and small, decorative pine trees adorn a side table. Lanterns with rope handles placed on the staircase complete the island feel of the theme.
The living room is perhaps the space that best exemplifies Southdown’s natural, earthy holiday appeal. A woven basket holds blue glass ornaments paired with fallen branches from a palm tree. The owner explains that each year she collects branches from various trees and plants and spray-paints them in silver and gold for her Christmas decorations. It is a part of preparing the house that she looks forward to, she says.
In the centre of the room, two Christmas trees artistically fashioned from pale driftwood decorate a coffee table. They are a fitting tribute to the organic, island-style holiday theme that the family enjoys so much. In another element of nature, tall candleholders shaped like tree roots hold white candles and complement the driftwood trees. Another such holder displays white hydrangeas. Meanwhile, the mantel is generously decorated with local greenery from the yard. All the foliage has been collected from Bermuda palms, the owner explains.
At the side of the room, a dark rectangular table is filled with white candles in glass votives and tall holders. Square glass vases hold sprigs of Bermuda cedar—these are intended to look like miniature Christmas trees, the owner adds. A round mirror above the table reflects the family’s Christmas tree, which is decorated with white lights and, in the German custom, only straw ornaments. The tree also features small branches that have been spray-painted gold, as well as oleander branches that have been painted silver so as to look like icicles.
A final touch in the living room is a group of five small Christmas trees made entirely from local mussel shells. They sit atop a table and have been combined with the family’s silver collection for a simplistic, metallic look.
For the owners of Southdown, the holiday season is about sharing the festivities with friends and loved ones. Especially at this time of year, from the décor to the welcoming atmosphere and delectable food offerings, the house is always ready for the many guests that the family hosts.
One element of their entertaining that the couple is particularly fond of is a restored wooden bar that was originally a feature of their former Bermuda home. The piece has been brought to Southdown and has been beautifully refinished just in time for the holidays. It now completes a covered verandah area that leads out on to the house’s outdoor patio and is decorated with large green palm fronds and a silver ice bucket. Four handsome leather-topped stools invite guests to enjoy themselves.
Outside on the patio is an outdoor fireplace perfect for entertaining. While adults sit on the benches surrounding it and enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres, the children delightedly make s’mores over the fire. The fireplace itself is enhanced with a holiday wreath, and the outdoor tables are decorated with trees made from shells, as well as small lanterns and a gold vase holding red flowers and berries.
Even as they approach the house, guests already feel welcome. The large front door has large, two-tier, black metal lanterns on either side, their glow the first suggestion of the ambiance inside. The light from the foyer highlights two small wreaths, one on each windowpane beside the door.
In anticipation of the holidays, Southdown is at its most inviting. This old, elegant Bermuda home takes on a festive glow that delights both the family and their guests, highlighting the home’s heritage and charm. The natural, relaxed feel of the décor, complemented by Bermuda’s own greenery and elements of the family’s German heritage, creates an atmosphere that can only be found at home over the holidays.