Christmas Past & Present
Tis the season to be festive … and festive it is at the home of Leslie and Brian Boudreaux in the Beau Chene gated community in Mandeville –– with a twist of Southern hospitality. Their raised Acadian cottage-style home is very welcoming for the holidays with traditional garland flanking the front porch rails and crimson bows and wreaths hung on the French doors. On the front door, there is an old sled arranged with fresh greens and holly with a crimson bow, and poinsettias are clustered around the welcome mat.
“I start decking the halls right after Thanksgiving,” Leslie says.
In the entrance foyer, guests are greeted by another wreath and sprigs of fresh holly, and the tall flight of stairs is decorated with pine garlands and big burgundy-and-gold bows.
The elegant dining room is celebration-ready. Leslie sets her antique Italian table from La Jolie Antiques and Interiors with timeless treasures of gold-on-gold striped placements and Irish linen napkins lined with burgundy satin doubled napkins inside antique sterling silver heirloom napkin holders. Her gold-rimmed crystal wineglasses, vintage 1920s sterling silver flatware by Wallace and classic china by Lenox celebrate the seasonal cheer. Leslie takes advantage of her impressive collection of Old Paris porcelain pieces by bringing them into her yuletide decorations. She fills three of her Old Paris compotes with pineapples and groups them with a fresh pine wreath and a pair of 17th-century French candelabras topped off with holly and bright-red apples instead of candles. In the corners are large cast-iron urns filled with 4-foot lighted Fraser fir trees, and all of the chandeliers throughout the home are adorned with fresh greens and holly with beautiful gold globe ornaments tied with red ribbon.
Across the center hallway that is typical of an Acadian cottage is a double parlor with an old Chicago brick fireplace and custom-made, hand-carved and stained wooden mantel festively decked with garlands, fresh lemons and apples and a majestic bronze elk. Set in the corner is a beautiful twinkling Fraser fir trimmed in crystal icicles and heirloom and sentimental ornaments. At the foot of the tree, there are an antique sled and drum with the feel of Christmas past. Also featured in the parlors are three Robert Cook originals in lighted golden frames. The living area by the fireplace is comfortably furnished with a natural leather sofa and two Ultrasuede armchairs on a needlepoint rug. The glass-and-iron coffee table is decorated with floral arrangements of white Asiatic lilies, wild yaupon branches and blood-red carnations and large silver balls elevated on mercury glass stands, and the French armoire converted to an entertainment center is topped with cedar garlands.
In the front parlor is an antique French daybed covered in gray-green suede with large roll pillows. Above it is a prized piece of artwork –– an antique oil painting of John the Baptist with the baby Jesus. Along with the blend of French and Italian antiques, there is the sense of modern meeting antique with the addition of a contemporary zebra-skin rug.
Through a narrow hall and adjoining the master suite is the sunroom, which Leslie says is “a private, quiet space for Brian and me to enjoy reading or relax with a glass of wine.” This room features a Louis Philippe 18th-century mirror sided with sconces from Dunn & Sonnier Antiques with Christmas ornaments hanging from them. On wooden stands are two spiral juniper topiaries with white twinkling lights for Christmas spirit. Crimson pillows scattered throughout the room add additional touches of Christmas color.
“Everything is so visually beautiful at Christmastime, but I also love the smells and sounds of the season,” Leslie says. “I love that combination.”