Southern Hospitality for the Holidays
Designer Janie Molster decorates an elegant Southern home
“To create a home and have a place where the door is always unlocked, where you count on a comfortable place to sit, catch up with something to eat and drink, and certainly always room for another plate at the table,” that’s how designer Janie Molster of Janie Molster Designs describes the southern graciousness of the area she grew up in, Northeast Carolina.
And this project, a four-bedroom, four-bath Mediterranean manse in Richmond, Virginia, provides endless conviviality that vibes with her style. The owners are a couple with young children, so every space has to be inviting, inclusive, and of course, durable. No rooms are off-limits in this house; each one has a focus on bringing people together, as the house has become the hub for family gatherings. In fact, Janie says that rarely is furniture against a wall, but rather her intent is to situate it to facilitate smaller, intimate conversations instead of leaving wide open spaces.
In an era full of subtle neutral colours, Janie Molster stands out with her trademark use of vibrant colours.
Upon entering the residence, you’re greeted with an apricot-hued oushak rug that punctuates the entryway, and instead of a typical table, she set up a niche with antiques to create an instant sense of warmth. To either side, the more formal living room and dining room are purposefully simple and with a southern-facing exposure to take advantage of the abundant daylight. One of Janie’s design secrets is the oversized mirror in the dining room, which is slightly tilted down to highlight the table and candlelight.
Rooms towards the back of the house take advantage of giant windows that create a backdrop of lush greenery from the outside. The green is connected in hue to a pair of chartreuse swivel chairs, favourite pieces of Janie’s and the family.
In what could have been an unutilized hallway space, Janie created an inviting library to capitalize on the owner’s antique book collection, accented by another rug, coloured vibrantly with vegetable dyes.
When the holidays roll around, Janie doesn’t overhaul the exquisite design of the project, she merely injects festive fresh greenery and thoughtful seasonal accoutrements. The focus of the seasonal décor is ribbons, fruit, candlelight, and greenery. She loves magnolia, poet’s laurel, holly, garlands, and mounting wreaths indoors on mirrors and windows. The Christmas tree is festooned elegantly with lively blue and green ribbons with white snowflakes—nontraditional, but incredibly sophisticated. For Janie, it’s more about accentuating than replacing. “If you have a ton of holiday collections, you have to put away other things.”
Janie’s fresh take on holiday décor creates the perfect setting for family gatherings. Her more traditional elements—such as candles, fruit, and greenery, which make the dining room table so inviting—work effortlessly with her modern colours the same way the house’s décor combines antiques with vibrant modern pieces so harmoniously. The holidays are a season to gather family and friends, and this house shines with welcoming spaces and, hopefully, an extra seat at the table.