Winter Wonderland

A trio of talents decorate a beautifully appointed Raleigh home for the holiday season using an abundance of local magnolia, sparkling white lights, and fresh flowers
A pair of magnolia Christmas trees flank a mantel decorated with a garland and white stockings for the holidays in a Raleigh, NC, home decorated by Vicky Serany

Photo by Catherine Nguyen

When interior designer Vicky Serany speaks about her clients Christy and Scott Goudy, you can hear the warmth and admiration in her voice: “We have worked on three homes together, and because they are in a creative field, they truly value design and get excited about the whole process. It’s contagious!”

In this home, Vicky realized that the architecture would lead the interior design. “This was a more traditional house than they have lived in before, and the rooms were well defined and not as open, so the challenge was to make sure everything flowed well between the spaces,” she says. To make that happen, Vicky used a spectrum of blues, from peacock to navy. She also evoked warmth in the classic floor plan with textural wallpaper—grass cloth in the living room, cork in the mudroom, and a tactile metallic for the powder bath.

front door wreaths on double doors

Weston Farms Emerald Lace wreaths grace the front door.

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

A cedar garland with a magnolia swag in the foyer.

Then there are the luxurious fabrics and rugs in all rooms. “The Goudys really take care of their home, so we used more precious treatments—mohair on an ottoman and a silk rug in the living room, for example,” says Vicky.

“We were able to incorporate many pieces from their earlier home and then had fun adding a few new ones here and there. After years of working together, we have such trust between us that when Christy found the settee in the foyer at a local shop, I knew it would work perfectly.” A jaunty geometric print was employed to infuse the antique piece with a more modern attitude. In the adjacent dining room, Vicky crafted a glamorous vibe with a crystal chandelier, glossy table, hair-on-leather upholstered chairs, and drapery panels in an icy-blue silk.

Skylands main terrace, summer home of Martha Stewart

In addition to the centerpiece, floral designer Diane Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary put small vases of hellebores at each place setting. She used leafy green cedar for the wreaths. “I love the drapey effect of the cedar,” she says. “It’s softer and dreamier.”

With the flow between the spaces perfected, the Goudy home was ready to show off some of its elegant, well-appointed attire for the holiday season. Vicky enlisted local talent to up the style quotient when it came to the Christmas decor: Diane Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary and Erin Weston of Weston Farms.

“Erin has hosted magnolia wreath–making classes for our clients, and Bowerbird had been on my radar for a long time, so I felt like I had the best people to make it extra special for family and friends,” says Vicky. The designer drove out to Erin’s farm, and the brainstorming began.

wrapped presents, reupholstered antique

Pretty packages on an antique settee upholstered in 'Kiko' by Clarke & Clarke.

living room holiday decor; interior design by Vicky Serany

Chairs from Hickory Chair with custom velvet pillows sit on a Kravet silk rug in front of the decorated magnolia trees.

After visiting the house and discussing what type of tree to use, Erin had a novel thought: “Why does a Christmas tree have to be a Fraser fir or the like?” she mused. “Why not magnolias instead?”

Although she had never tried it before, Erin chose two magnolia trees from her farm and put one on each side of the fireplace. Because magnolia blooms fade in a few hours when cut, she used meticulous faux ones that she developed in conjunction with New Growth Designs. She also used them in the fireplace garland, along with mini magnolia bouquets and sprigs of ‘Raywood Weeping’ Arizona cypress.

“I wanted to bring more fragrance to the room, so I tucked fresh gardenias into the garland as well,” says Erin.

Christmas flower arrangement

A mercury glass container with hyacinth, ‘Silver Bell’ eucalyptus pods, phlox, and cone leucadendron with cedar and ‘Carolina Sapphire’ cypress.


Even the mudroom is decorated for the season.

To dress the trees, Erin called on holiday decorating guru Paul Hodges, who worked his magic with twinkling lights, clear blue ornaments, and spray-painted magnolia leaves formed into poinsettias. Diane brought floral flair to each room with fresh flowers and abundant greenery.

“With such a neutral and wintry palette, I thought it was important to have a lot of texture and architectural elements like branches,” says Diane. “I also used a lot of smaller white flowers like hyacinth to invoke the feeling of snow.”

The Goudys can only hope for a white Christmas to mirror the dreamy winter wonderland inside.


More From Langham’s Summer House

Langham sets a cheerful, inviting table for one of his summer suppers with an informal cluster of clematis spilling over the top of a pitcher.
Antique wicker furniture, painted to match the exterior of the house, sports cushions in a lively salmon stripe.
Cracked oyster shells on a drinks table add a subtle nautical touch.
Peaches, a piece of coral, and ceramic oyster shells decorate the dining room table, which is used as a staging area in preparation for dinner on the porch.




  • Vicky Serany of Southern Studio Interior Design, southernstudio.com


  • Floral design by Diane Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary, bowerbirdflowers.com
  • Magnolias and faux blossoms through Weston Farms and magnolia styling by Erin Weston, westonfarms.com
  • Tree decoration by Paul Hodges, 919.632.9298, Instagram @princeoftidesncGardenias in garland from High Camp Supply, highcampsupply.com


  • Chandelier by Currey & Company, curreyandcompany.com
  • Wallcovering by Thibaut, thibautdesign.com
  • Dining chair upholstery, LEE Industries, leeindustries.com


  • Dining table and chairs, Habersham, habershamhome.com
  • Window panel, Au Courant fabric from the Telafina Collection by Maxwell Fabrics, maxwellfabrics.com


  • Settee upholstery, Kiko by Clarke & Clarke, clarke-clarke.com


  • Colada rug by Kravet, kravet.com
  • Ottoman by LEE Industries, leeindustries.com
Produced and written by Alice Welsh Doyle | Photographed by Catherine Nguyen

This story appears inFlower magazine’sNov/Dec 2020issue. Subscribeto the magazine or sign up for our freee-newsletter.

Flower magazine November December 2020 cover