Written by Susan Creel, Contributing Writer | Photography by Jim Rodgers
Christmas is all about memories — recalling precious old ones and creating treasured new ones. Roxie and Bob Kaminski’s “cottage” in Osage Beach is the perfect home for both.
Built by the couple in 1997, this fairy-tale home encompasses a collection of all things Christmas. Roxie begins decorating every year before Thanksgiving and leaves everything in place until after the New Year’s celebrations. Many of the trimmings are presents from fam- ily and good friends shared in gift exchanges long ago. Now, Roxie says, “Our gifts are sharing time together.”
Created entirely from stone, the house is trimmed with brick and cedar. Its cozy appearance belies 3,500 square feet of luxurious living space on the 9th hole fairway of Tan-Tar-A’s “The Oaks” golf course. A brick path leads under a fanciful, evergreen-bedecked archway and on to the double front doors. Just inside, family, friends and Santa are greeted by the Kaminski’s best buddy, Fritz. No, he is not a lion or a pony, but a gentle Leonberger dog. His tail rustles Roxie’s mother’s tree, which sparkles in the front hall exactly as it did in days gone by. Tall and slim with gold chains and gold ribbon and packed with ornaments of cream and gold, it is surrounded by poinsettias.
The warm welcome continues in the living room with another enormous, similarly decorated tree. Here, exposed white beams soar 30 feet to the pitched ceiling. A wall of six glass doors opens to
the garden room outside. Cranberry-red rugs atop hardwood, in- terior walls of sage green and a white sofa set a perfect backdrop at Christmastime. Two huge fig trees festooned with tiny white lights flank the fireplace. A rolltop desk is placed behind one and an inlaid wood desk is behind the other.
In addition to miniature trees, a stuffed albino raccoon once belonging to Roxie’s father sits atop the fireplace. A drop-front secretary desk and chair is showcased between the two front windows that are draped in sage silk and tied back with tassels. Above each of these, light spills into the room from undraped gable windows. Christmas pillows made by Roxie’s mother 35 years ago decorate the sofas and chairs. Mixing old with new, Roxie has recent- ly acquired reindeer, candles and trees to top the coffee table, as well as the Byer Carolers that serenade from the sofa table, which were a gift from one of Roxie’s sisters. In Roxie’s words, “If it works, go for it.” No need to fear mingling antique with new as long as it all looks love- ly together!
The same color scheme is repeated in the dining room, where the table is set for Christmas dinner, seemingly on family treasures, but in reality on china purchased at Marshall’s and with napkins from Pier One. Here, the tree showcases ornaments from the Kaminski’s 46-year marriage, including blue snowmen and Santas. Beneath the tree, mounds of pillows are covered with a Christmas tablecloth. Along with the ornaments, Roxie has kept every Christmas card the couple has ever received!
Roxie admits to loving hunting décor, and there are reminders everywhere. A stuffed wild turkey tops a corner cabinet that dates to the 1800s. Inside, pheasant, turkey and grouse plates were gifts from her mother through the years.
Three other cabinets in the dining room fea- turing different woods and different styles were acquired by the couple throughout their marriage. Stockings are hung from drawer pulls on one. Feather trees grace the shelf of another. A statue of a buck decorates the top of a “step-back” cabinet from the 1800s. Roxie found the wall sconces with pheasants at a flea market.
Handmade baskets found throughout the home were made by Roxie’s father as he struggled with cancer treatment, and serve as fond reminders of his courage.
A butler’s pantry separates the dining room from the kitchen and hearth room. Here, a small office area is hidden behind double doors. On either side, racks are filled with fruit plates.
Just beyond is the home’s side door, welcoming visitors to the less formal gathering area of the house. Beside the door is a Christmas tree decorated with ornaments the Kaminski’s son made in pre- school, along with those recently created by his children.
Stockings are hung from the mantel of the huge fireplace. Above it hangs a large print of a South Dakota ranch in the wintertime that they absolutely love. They purchased it at Harris Interiors more than 25 years ago. Comfortable lounge chairs on both sides rest in front of bookshelves and still more racks filled with plates decorated with wild game. A round table topped with a red tablecloth and surrounded by cream-color arm- chairs is set for Christmas brunch. A collection of Santas — each 12 to 18 inches tall — fills a tall Kentucky hutch. Hung from the edge are four stiff red stockings purchased 30 years ago.
Corian kitchen counters are surrounded by cabinets repeating the cream color of the chairs. Pots have been removed from the rack above the center island so that it can be decorated with branches and baskets for the season. Snowmen throughout the kitchen supervise the cook. Roxie’s collection of old blue-and- cream-colored pots and bowls are displayed above the cabinets. An old bentwood-and-cane highchair served the Kaminski’s son, and has been put to good use by three grandchildren through the years.
Two half baths on the main floor are, of course, decorated for the holidays. Collectors of old linens often wonder how to display them.
Roxie cleverly has a darling tea towel draped over the tank tops in each bath.
The space-saving “Skinny Christmas Tree” in the master bedroom is decorated with chains and antique ornaments. Instead of a tree skirt, Roxie has placed bunches of beads beneath the tree.
A leather screen in one corner of the master bedroom was pur- chased at auction. It appears to be decorated with a scene from Italy. A stack of aged suitcases topped with old books serves as a table. A huge bowl of seashells from Marco Island tops an ancient wood cabinet, and nearby is a photograph of Roxie’s grandfather and her great uncle as babies.
A cherry chest of drawers from the 1800s with keyhole locks stands near what appears to be an antique mirror, but actually was purchased by Roxie at Tuesday Morning. Through the doorway, the en suite bathroom features leopard-print draperies above the jetted tub.
Back in the front hallway, branches and ribbons twist around the wood bannister of the staircase encircling Roxie’s mother’s tree and rising to the second story. At the top of the stairs a small tabletop tree decorated with antique ornaments sits in front of a gabled window beside two huge glass jars filled with buttons. A child’s quilt and antique toys are arranged beneath the tree.
One guest bedroom showcases an original Martha Washington spool bed. A baby’s baptis- mal gown hangs on the wall next to madam’s ball gown, which is hung on the closet door. Her shoes are on a nearby table, along with baby dolls enjoyed by children long ago. Old books are arranged on the dresser, which is adorned with carved-fruit drawer pulls. The snow-trimmed Christmas tree is decorated with tiny houses.
A “Jack and Jill” bathroom connects to the second guest bedroom. Painted a deep midnight blue, this bedroom is decorated with American flags, including several that top the Christmas tree. A farm scene in a circular frame hangs above the Dolly Madison spool bed, with its com- fortable quilt and flag-patterned throw pillows. Fringed chenille draperies made from an old bedspread by Roxie and her mother crisscross the tops of the windows. The rocking chair has no arms; it was so constructed to enable a mother to change her baby’s diaper while resting the child on her lap. An old school bell, old boxing gloves and a wood toolbox carved with their son’s name by Roxie’s father add to the charm.
The term “man cave” has some definite connotations, usually including downstairs and dark. Not at the Kaminski house! Bob spends a great deal of time in his upstairs lair—and no wonder! Hunter green walls, cream-color carpet and windows topped with red antique quilt swags make the huge home office-and-so-much- more warm and inviting.
Pictures of hunting dogs and even a stuffed rattlesnake keep watch. A round table surrounded by pressed-back chairs is placed in front of a corner cabinet filled with old books. A glass-door bookcase packed with still more books is topped by an antique radio. Behind the old coaster wagon, the downswept branches of, yes, another Christmas tree are decorated with balls, lights and pheasant tail feathers. A rotary phone, a slot machine that accepts only 50-cent pieces, an antique sled and even an old steamer trunk-turned-coffee- table continue the classic ambience. But the huge flat-screen TV on the back wall and the red leather chair and ottoman are definitely conducive to 21st-century relaxation.
Although snow is frosting the garden, a tour of the Kaminski home is not complete without venturing outside. Beneath a wisteria-covered pergola, wicker furniture first used by Roxie’s parents many years ago mingles with modern chairs and chaises on the 10- by 30-foot veranda. On the attached 25- by 30-foot brick patio, the huge, arched stone fireplace has been draped with fir branches in honor of the season, and twinkle lights decorate trees.
Just like Christmas itself, the home is hard to leave behind. But family and friends can always rest assured they will be back to celebrate their favorite holiday next year in Bob and Roxie’s Christmas wonderland. •