Country Christmas: A Rustic, Chic Holiday Fête

Photography by Jerry Rabinowitz

Growing up between Palm Beach and Richmond, Virginia, interior designer Angela Reynolds experienced the best of both worlds when entertaining for the holidays. In Palm Beach, Christmas was informal and casually chic. Richmond, on the other hand, was formal and sophisticated, with dinners presented on a 14-foot Georgian table dressed with Baccarat crystal and treasured antique flatware.

Interior designer Angela Reynolds invited friends into her Jupiter Farms home, outfitted in country-chic Christmas decor, to enjoy a laid-back holiday dinner.

“My mother and I loved to put on beautiful holiday parties, but [our entertaining] was a dichotomy,” says Reynolds, who now lives in a 3,400-square-foot farmhouse in Jupiter Farms with her children, Chloe and Oliver. “I like both styles of entertaining, but I am more of an informal person.”

Reynolds honed her knack for decor at Inchbald School of Design in London. She remained in the city to open a design studio and antiques business on New Kings Road before returning to the United States to live and work in Palm Beach County.

Among other high-profile clients, Reynolds has designed the Jupiter Island home of singer Celine Dion (“down to everything including toothbrushes”) and the Juno Beach home of Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods’ ex-wife and a noted philanthropist.

Her design work includes decorating her clients’ homes for the holidays, and she strives to create surroundings that suit their preferences. When it comes to her own home, Reynolds favors vintage-chic elements such as Christmas trees aglow in white and silver ornaments.

“I like to keep a chic and elegant vibe with lots of white, silver, and crystal, so everything looks magical,” she says.

For an exclusive look at Reynolds’ holiday party, continue to page 2.

Reynolds calls her own “fabulously imperfect white farmhouse with a sweeping porch” a great space for a Christmas party. With snowy white oak floors and expansive windows offering an abundance of light, the home was a brilliant backdrop for Reynolds’ recent holiday dinner party.

Guests arrived in the twilight hours, entering the rustic property via a stone pathway that evoked a mid-century Christmas card, complete with miniature trees, glowing wood lanterns, and a vintage truck overflowing with festive red gift boxes.

A vintage truck, dressed with greenery and holiday packages, set the mood.

The magic continued in the house, where the living room sparkled like a snow globe. Reynolds nestled a nine-foot tree alongside a fur throw and decorated with white, silver, crystal, and mercury-glass ornaments from Pottery Barn. She finished the picture by placing candles inside the Calacatta marble fireplace and surrounding it with lanterns. Guests took note of the attention to detail and warm ambiance.

Festivities began in the family room before guests were ushered to the barn for dinner.

“The decorations are so luxurious, making me want to touch them because they are pretty, soft, and romantic,” jewelry designer Stephanie Kantis remarked as she walked through the room.

For a tantalizing taste of the delicacies Reynolds served at her party, continue to page 3.

Local culinarian Maude Eaton, owner of For the Love of Food,  served as chef for the evening, welcoming revelers with Champagne and a selection of appetizers, including prosciutto di parma with gorgonzola and baked flatbread, Turkish honey served over goat cheese with edible flowers, and warm Mediterranean olives.

While most hosts view the kitchen as a place of preparation, Reynolds sees it as an extension of the celebration. The home’s original one was too small, so Reynolds got creative. She knocked down a few walls, made the old kitchen the new family room, and turned two former communal areas into her culinary playground. The resulting open floor plan supports Reynold’s casual entertaining style and allows her visitors to share in the cooking and dining experience.

Anthony Burroughs, Stephanie Kantis, Angela Reynolds, Marla Degraeve, and Karen Janssen shared a toast in the kitchen.

At this holiday happening, guests chatted and milled around the family room and kitchen, both decorated with a Christmas village accented with snow, penguins, reindeer, and more lanterns. The spirited scene combined the look of an elegant country inn with a convivial atmosphere.

Maude Eaton provided the evening’s eats, which began with crudites, cheeses, and prosciutto di parma served amid a glittering holiday village.

“I collect Christmas accessories and my children absolutely love the holidays,” says Reynolds, who chose a smart pleated red knit Ferragamo dress with mink and black suede Ferragamo heels for the evening. “The open look of the kitchen is my specialty even though I am not much of a cook. I love to have my guests circulating around while Maude works her food magic.”

Eaton enjoyed her tasks and even joked that she and Reynolds can read each other’s minds. “It took 15 minutes to create our Mediterranean-inspired menu,” she said at the party. “Angela and I have the same ideas [and] we like to please people. I bring an elaborate menu to the table with ease and joy.”

For a look inside Reynold’s elegantly-decorated barn, continue to page 4.

For dinner, guests were escorted to the barn, located down a short walkway illuminated with dozens of candles. Inside, the decorations recalled a winter wonderland with snow drifts set against birch branches, antique jewelry, more candles, and garlands Reynolds created with greenery, magnolia branches, and white holly.

“It is such a picture of effortless glamour,” guest Marla Degraeve said of the tableau. “The decorations are subtle and refined.”

The table setting included Reynolds’ own antique silverware, custom salad plates by Sara Lerner, Moser stemware, and additional plates and silverware from Pottery Barn.

A large rust and silver chandelier—outfitted with crystal threads and fleece hearts—illuminated the reclaimed barn wood table, which was appointed with a metallic runner from Donghia. Reynolds’ talents extend to floral displays, so she constructed a romantic arrangement with white roses and sprigs of winter berries. The setting featured a mix of contemporary pieces with Reynolds’ own antique silverware. Colorful custom salad plates from local ceramicist Sara Lerner and Moser stemware from the Mozart Collection rounded out the unique table.

Eaton commenced the dining with foie gras brûlée and brioche accompanied by a vichyssoise with lemon zest and chive essence and a radicchio and sorrel salad with a blood-orange vinaigrette, served with velvety Amarone wine. The main course was cast iron–roasted rack of lamb with pomegranate molasses; roasted heirloom beets, carrots, and baby potatoes dressed with a white balsamic reduction; a Persian cucumber yogurt salad with dill and mint; and saffron-scented couscous with pistachios and dried cherries.

The guests enjoyed a delicious meal that included vichyssoise, rack of lamb, and a festive white coconut cake.

The guests loved the food and praised the hostess while Reynolds gave credit to the chef. “Maude takes food and makes it her own,” Reynolds said before the duo presented a white coconut cake from Sweet Endings and vanilla bean macarons with silver dragées by Patrick Lézé.

As the evening came to a close, Reynolds’ friends thanked her for a wonderful Christmas party filled with fine food and a positive energy. “Whenever I come to Angela’s home, she makes everyone feel so welcome with her warmth and personality,” said guest Peter Robbins.

Reynolds presented her vision of a country Christmas in the elegantly decorated barn.

That night, as with all her parties, Reynolds accepted the accolades as a sign of a job well done and friends made happy.

“I love to entertain,” says Reynolds, who has never forgotten her childhood holiday meals. “Our culture has lost the joy of home entertaining because so many people go out. I love to have people over.”

Facebook Comments