Come December 1, Pamela Pierce, MILIEU’s founder and editor in chief, begins a tradition she has been observing every year since her daughter was a child. In the Houston home she shares with her husband, Jesse, Pam transforms the rooms with Christmas decorations, figures, white lights, and draping garlands.
In her entry foyer, visitors are greeted by a nineteenth-century santo from Mexico standing and gesturing atop an eighteenth-century chest, as if welcoming everyone to the holidays. Pamela has draped the staircase with a mix of garlands and glass mercury balls that she has spray painted white and secured with double-faced, silk ribbon.
Pamela keeps a fire going in the living room and drapes the French period carved stone mantle and surround with mixed garland and olive branches gathered from trees in her yard, interspersed with ripe brown pears. A pair of early Song dynasty jars anchor the scene. White roses are always part of the interior décor — certainly during Christmas, but also year round.
Her nine-foot Noble fir tree, grown in North Carolina, graces the same spot in her living room every year. The tree is adorned with her favorite Neopolitan crèche figures, cream-colored balls, and white lights. A eighteenth-century Madonna santo presides over the room. When lit, the tree is visible from the street, through a series of arched French doors that are left curtain-less.
Pamela has been collecting vintage crèche angels for years, and each wears its own linen outfit and contemplative expression.
The room is infused with the holiday fragrance of fir, immediately evocative of the Christmas season. Pamela uses fresh, smaller trees throughout her home without ornaments. Trimmings from the Noble firs are used to fashion wreaths, one of which is hung on the reverse side from the ceiling with silk ribbons. Her dining table is set with angel-shaped sugar cookies and a coconut-cream cake.
Angels are the favored shape of holiday cookies, and family gifts are wrapped in silk chamois and suede cloth. Then the packages are finished with cellophane to create a shimmery sparkle and accented with fresh sprigs from olive branches.
Upon arrival, Pamela's grandchildren place a sign in her yard addressed to Santa, letting him know where they will be Christmas morning. Christmas Eve dinner is Tex-Mex. Gifts are opened by the family on Christmas morning and the family enjoys a traditional holiday meal of turkey and ham. Although Pam often takes the decorations down the day after Christmas, she eagerly anticipates the peace of the coming week — that quiet, reflective, restful time before New Year’s.
Happy Holidays from Pamela Pierce
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I wish you Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas...
All the best, Rié
INTERIOR DESIGN BY PAMELA PIERCE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER VITALE
WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO
EDITED BY PORTOBELLO DESIGN