Ringin' in the Season


Snow in East Sac is rare, but that doesn’t matter. We don’t need a dusting of the fluffy white stuff to kick off the holidays. Every December, some of the area’s finest interior designers blanket a handful of Fab 40s homes with seasonal cheer in a three-day celebration of stylishness known as the Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour. It’s happened every year for the past 42. This year, No. 43, there’ll be six homes: all within walking distance, all layered in greenery, flowers, lights and ribbons, all tastefully trimmed and turned out with just the right touch of glitz and glamour. Not too much. Just enough to knock off your sassy holiday stockings. “We get really passionate about the houses and the homeowners,” says Deborah Costa of Design Alchemy in East Sac, one of 2016’s six designers. Daughter Kristine Renee, who works with her mother at Design Alchemy and heads up Kristine Renee Designs, is also decking a home. It’s a youthful and elegant interior she and the homeowner invited us into a few weeks ago for a sneak peek. “This is very much the homeowner’s aesthetic,” Renee says about the fresh green-and-white palette brightened and lightened with metallics. “I’ll also be bringing in a couple of fun pieces for the tour. We get very excited about it. We love to share the experience with our homeowners and everyone who takes the tour. We want everybody to see every little detail.”

Ringin' in the Season

Christmas Tree


The East Sac charmer we photographed for this story (which is on the tour) has a recently renovated kitchen, living room and dining room. Renee has been working with the homeowner over the past year or so to add furnishings and light fixtures. “It’s been a fun project,” Renee says. “I came in toward the end, and we were able to find some cool, eclectic pieces,” including the dining room table, chairs and chandelier. For the pre-tour decor, Renee chose a woodland theme. “I started with a mix of rustic elements and natural things, and then glammed it up with metallics and a bit of shine. The little floral arrangements and greenery add a party atmosphere, but nothing is overboard.” The wreaths at the window are eucalyptus and juniper. The table bouquets include pine, eucalyptus, flowering kale, dusty miller, white carnations and plump, ivory-hued roses sporting celery-green centers. (Because it’s easy to overdo florals, here’s a tip: Pick up a few ready-made bouquets on your next shopping trip. Deconstruct them, mixing up the stems and sprays, and then place sparingly in your own containers. Boom. You’ve got a multitude of simple, good-looking color- and texture-coordinated displays.)

Tree Stand


Instead of cookies and hot chocolate in the kitchen, Renee set up a cocktail station for display purposes. Moscow Mules, it just so happens, require some pretty, visually appealing ingredients. She piled limes into a rustic wooden bowl and set out a foursome of polished copper mugs, the traditional drinkware. Bottles of vodka, simple syrup and ginger beer round out the provisions. Moscow Mules were first concocted in Hollywood during the 1940s, so the story goes. The “mule” refers not to the vodka but to the ginger beer, which does pack a sparkly kick. Accented with a tinware Christmas tree and candles, the island is a party waiting to happen. Just add ice. (Because there probably won’t be any snow. But that doesn’t really matter.)

Hanging Flowers

Kristine Renee'
Kristine Renee sets up to make Moscow Mules.


What: Six homes in the Fab 40s neighborhood outfitted in fashionable holiday finery. The tour benefits Sacred Heart Parish School, 39th and H streets.

Designers: Andel & Co., Beyond the Garden Gate, Design Alchemy, Elizabeth Lake Interiors, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, Kristine Renee Designs.

Where: Addresses are on Sonoma Way, 41st, 42nd and 44th streets.

What else? Boutique and cafe at Sacred Heart Parish School. Holiday gifts, food, drinks, wine and beer. (No ticket necessary.)

When: Dec. 2: 11 a.m.–8 p.m. (boutique/cafe: 12:30–8 p.m.); Dec. 3: 10 a.m.–7 p.m. (boutique/cafe: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.); Dec. 4: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (boutique/cafe: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.)

Tickets: $30 in advance; $35 on tour days. For sales information and ticket retail locations, go to sacredhearthometour.com.