Just pulling into the parking spot and looking up at the porch to the Taibers’ condo, it’s clear that this is no ordinary decorating
job. Flowerboxes on the railing and outside the kitchen window are filled with all sizes of Christmas ball ornaments in beautiful
bright colors and draped with greenery. Several tall, thin decorated holiday trees are spaced around the porch, along with a wood monk, and more ornaments are strung around the railings along with colored lights. A small signboard just outside the door says “Joy is just a cocktail away.” What a jubilant greeting!
Stepping through the front door, it’s hard to know where to look first. The chandelier over the dining table in the next room is very eye-catching, but so are several items in the living room. Not a spec of the usual red-and-green anywhere. A lot of pinks, purples and lime greens. Quite dazzling!
Hanging over the large windows facing the Lake are lush garlands that Jane made herself, interspersed with as many ornaments as she could fit in. Panels of sparkly green “curtains” divide the view into sections. “I really like this color green, and I use it a lot,” Jane says.
The Taibers have traveled quite a bit, and Jane says she likes to bring back something — even if it’s small — from every place she visits. An étagère in front of these windows shows off several of these pieces, including a sculpture called Sitting on the Ledge she found in Italy. She is very drawn to faces, and portions of faces, and much of her artwork is within that theme. Beneath the TV is a miniature fireplace with little red boots, stockings and a tiny plate with milk and cookies set out for Santa.
A Picasso pillow gazes out from the loveseat in a break from the holiday décor. Two large, very colorful acrylic sculptures in this
room are made by Haziza. Jane also has several other of these pieces through the home. A real eye-catcher is a very quirky holiday piece:a 6-foot-tall Christmas cat angel, with a halo and socks of lime-green sparkles, and long, pointy red-and-white checkered shoes!
More garlands and ornaments drape the fireplace mantel. Jane assembles all the garlands herself, weaving them together with the
ornaments to make the groupings, while keeping everything interesting and different. On the fireplace hearth are two large, round
balls with faces painted on the front. A small group of Byers’ Choice carolers (another of Jane’s favorites) sing from atop the coffee table.
In the dining room are both a china cabinet and a hutch in which to display Jane’s treasures. The hutch is visible from the front door, and when lit up is very striking. Many travel treasures are presented here, including a ceramic bear given to her by an exchange student from Denmark; a picture of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus from Italy; and a picture of a man in a Hebrew robe from Jerusalem. The china cabinet shows off a collection of Waterford crystal, some of which she actually bought in Ireland, as well as a tiny Swarovski penguin.
Atop the cabinet is an intriguing brass sculpture of a woman holding a large frame around her face. At the far end of this long room, Jane has set up a table with a large collection of her Byers’ Choice carolers. Beckoning from the wall behind the table is a painting from a trip to Florida, with the boats named Areatha and Jane, as Jane’s full name is Areatha Jane! She says the painting totally intrigued her, especially the beautiful way the moonlight reflects on the water. A stained-glass panel hangs on the glass
wall behind the table, leading out to the sunroom. In the opposite corner are two Christmas trees, one green and one white. Jane says she likes to get as many balls as possible on the trees — the more, the merrier! She uses more pastels on the white tree, and just absolutely coats the green tree with as many ornaments as she can fit.
She says it takes a while, but she likes the finished effect. The small dining table on the sunporch is stunning! The base of the table is Haziza, as is the sculpture beside it on a narrow stand. The table is beautifully decorated for the holidays, with bows and flowers on the chairs, top hats at each placing and small feathered stockings holding the silverware, as well as a candelabra in the middle surrounded by real greenery and roses. The frosted-glass lady wearing a Santa hat stands just behind to add a bit of jolliness! More of Jane’s discoveries can be found here. A 3-D wood sculpture of a village hangs just behind another grouping of Byers’ Choice carolers atop a black cabinet with turquoise accents (that she refinished herself). Beside the cabinet are two large woven frames showing off Chinese necklaces, and two Chinese kimonos in the copper stand in front. On the opposite wall in a dark-wood cabinet, Jane’s favorite item is another face sculpture, in bronze, of a man smoking a cigar.
It was a gift to her from her son, and Jane says he looks like he is contemplating and remembering. At the far end of the sunroom are more quirky touches, including a wave-shaped coffee table in lime green. Doors at each end of the sunporch access a large outdoor deck overlooking the Lake. Through sliding doors at this end is a master suite, meant for guests. The valance of the canopy top on the bed is hung with a garland and probably the only red ornaments in the dwelling! A cubby between the bathroom and the door to the room has a built-in sink, and a beautiful stained-glass panel they installed with a light behind it. Just around the corner from this room is the couple’s master suite. Jane says they don’t decorate in here because “we have enough everywhere else,” although there are a couple of poinsettias in the master bath. The headboard on the bed is beautiful, with carved touches and curved around invitingly on both sides. Just inside the doorway on one wall is a drawing and a letter
from one of her younger granddaughters, Mya, and on the other side is a beautiful self-portrait by another granddaughter, Madison. Jane says she thinks that every doorway now has a letter or drawing from one of her granddaughters! In the bath are two more of the round faces hanging on the wall — the same as the two balls on the hearth in the living room. Between the two sinks is an eye-catching cabinet with cut-out mirrors.
At the other end of this short hallway is the third bedroom, just right for visiting granddaughters. A candelabra hangs above the head of the bed and drapes pearls and tulle sheers along the headboard for a very feminine touch. Two green antique cabinets hold books and games, and more of Jane’s collected artwork adorns the walls.
Another hallway leads back to the main living area, but this time of year it’s a destination all on its own. A very narrow table lines one wall, skirted with yards of pleated tulle held by a pearl border and topped with a plethora of Byers’ Choice carolers resting on “snow.” Halfway down this hallway is another full bath. A striking mural of Women at the Well graces the back wall of the
tub. It appears to be Grecian, or as if it was set in Biblical times. A Christmassy touch in here is a painting that appears to be a window with a snowy evergreen tree outside.
That dining room chandelier that was so eye-catching from the front door is even more spectacular up-close! Obviously a beautiful piece of crystal at any time of year, for the holidays it’s draped with more crystal beads and crystal icicles. The glass dining table beneath is swathed and mounded with fluffy white cloth, and topped with various scenes of owls and light-up twig trees, all done in white. And the feathers on the owls are real! With the feathers and glass eyes, they seem ready to fly off at any second! This amazing tableau is further set off by a striking silk rug from China that the table sits upon.
An unusual étagère in the corner is a work of art in itself, and shows off more treasures. On the top shelf is a small piece with another partial face; the middle shelf displays a 3-D picture assembled from colored pencils outlining eyes, that goes along with her “face” theme; Waterford crystal on the bottom shelf was actually signed by the artist in Ireland, and is Jane’s favorite piece.
Atop the wall near the window is a piece near and dear to Jane’s heart — a silver “half body” sculpture. She found it in Omaha,
Nebraska, when Lyle was being treated for cancer there in 2000, and she found it apropos for the situation, of cancer and chemotherapy eating at the body. Nearby is a red stained-glass piece from Vince’s Gallery in St. Pete’s Beach in Florida.
On the doorframe into the kitchen are two ink-and-pen drawings done by granddaughter Madison. Another favorite is a painting behind the stovetop, The Connoisseur, by local artist Bill Manion. Jane says she can keep it there because she seldom cooks!
A shelf above the stove is topped with more sequined trees, garlands, elf legs dangling down and two snowman heads. Greenery and stuffed animals hang from lights, and topping the glass cabinet are a snowman and Santa, both with long legs hanging down the side. Jane says it takes her awhile to do all her decorating, but she really enjoys being creative, and when it’s all done it makes her very happy to look at it and to revel in the season even more. •