Festooned with family heirloom, vintage and antique ornaments, the Christmas tree is perfectly centered in the living room windows. More than 2,000 twinkling white lights are woven through its heavily-laden branches, making the whole room glow.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Jenny Boevers’ home. She doesn’t mind spending nearly eight hours wrapping the tree in lights, and another day hanging the branches with literally hundreds of glass ornaments, large and small. As she hangs each bauble, special memories and moments are recalled of holidays past with family and friends.
“I love the way everything glistens. I found the tree at Goodwill, and the ornaments are keepsakes from my grandmothers and great-grandmothers and old ones I’ve found in various places. There are some Christopher Radko ornaments, and some I’ve collected on trips. They all mean something to me.”
The tree is topped with a whimsical vintage angel with a gold tinsel dress and pipe-cleaner arms that belonged to her grandmother.
“We love turning out the lights and sitting and looking at the tree. It’s so beautiful. If it’s snowing outside, even better. I love the magical quality of Christmas,” says Jenny, who co-owns the charming shop Fig & Frolic in Cedar Falls with her mom, Becky Hiatt.
“We have lots of nieces and nephews, and I want Christmas to be memorable for them. They know they’ll see something really different at aunt Jenny’s.”
Pearl-embellished ivory and red bottle brush trees are collected on the fireplace mantel, and a pair of matching lamps with harlequin motifs and black shades flanks the framed winter scene above the mantel. An old-fashioned, nearly life-sized stand-up cardboard Santa – an estate auction find – waves a welcome from beside the fireplace.
Christmas colors appear year-round in the Boevers’ home. Crisp white blankets the walls and red accessories pop in the open-concept living space, particularly in the kitchen, where red painted bead board and cabinets offer a cheerful contrast.
“Red is my color,” Jenny explains, smiling. Her husband Kurt jokes that they’ve lost square footage in the living room because she’s painted the walls so many different colors – 5 or 6 – in the 15 years they’ve lived in the handicapped-accessible house.
“I used to have colorful walls. I’m definitely not afraid of color,” she confesses. “But this time I’ve painted everything white, and I love pairing it with bright, vibrant colors. It goes with our gray-and-white exterior. I also want a splash of black in every room – that’s a classic look because it works.”
As expected from one half of the creative duo from Fig & Frolic, Jenny’s home brims with quirky finds and fanciful embellishments, but perhaps the most striking element is the hardwood floor. Painted with Jenny’s favorite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, there are broad stripes of red, off-white, yellow, orange and shades of green, gray and blue.
“For about 10 years, it was stained and varnished and very traditional. But the dog’s toenails and Kurt’s wheelchair roughed it up, and it was time for a change. I thought about stenciling, but that didn’t speak to me. I decided I was going to stripe it in lots of colors. It’s so happy,” she explains.
A cozy and soft olive green sectional sofa wraps the area in a warm hug. “I can put any color with it and it looks wonderful. The color might bend the rules of interior design a little. Sometimes you have to do that to create a space you love, that reflects who you are. I want to surround myself with things that matter to me.”
Her home is a laboratory her ideas and incorporates many reclaimed, repurposed and revamped objects, as well as special finds like the music chalkboard on one wall. She bought it for the frame at an auction and when she cleaned up it, discovered the musical notes. “That taught me to look beyond the dirt,” she says, smiling.