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A Designer Christmas

Story by Jessica Toren Photography by Brad Rankin

Kauffman's décor begins outside her home with her mailbox covered in bright colored mesh, welcoming visitors. "I've lived here for 10 years," Kauffman said. "Because I do other people's homes, I have to decorate mine as I have time. This is only the third time in 17 years I've actually completed my own home. I try to start in October and decorate as I have a chance."

Kauffman prefers to use a mix of fresh flowers, greenery and sentimental items when decorating her home. She also uses berries for pops of color throughout the home. "I love berries--and try to bring the outside in," Kauffman said.

Many of her personal favorites are previous possessions of her grandmother who passed away in 2008. "I wanted my grandmother's spirit to be here and I went through her things before she passed," Kauffman said.

Of her own personal decorating style, Kauffman describes it as "eclectic." "I never buy a whole display from a store. I believe you have to have both the interesting and the unexpected. I love antique and consignment stores and local art," Kauffman said.

The tree in Kauffman's dining room reflects that one of a kind look. It features ornaments designed by Jim Marvin of Dickson, Tenn. Marvin has decorated for the White House Christmas season in Washington, D.C., since 1997. Marvin hails from Kauffman's hometown.

One of Kauffman's most unique decorations is a German candle pyramid on her dining room table. It is a moving centerpiece featuring a Nativity scene. The ornate pieces move when candles on the pyramid are lit, creating heat that moves the pieces. The pyramid has four tiers and moving spindles on the top level. "It's one of my favorite pieces because it is so unique," Kauffman said. Mixing the unique with her sentimental pieces, the dining room is also home to goblets and an angel tree topper from Kauffman's grandmother.

Kauffman's eclectic style is reflected in the decorations hanging on her walls including framed postcards of Paducah and antlers in a wedding basket surrounded by a holiday wreath. There are two matching trees in Kauffman's family room, both decorated in gold, purple, orange, and blue ethnic ornaments from the Cayman Islands and sitting in antique urns.

"I don't care for Christmas tree stands," Kauffman said. "I have most of my trees in something else. It adds height and gives it more importance." The family room also features a Nativity scene from Cabo.

Kauffman's guest bedroom features her "friend tree," featuring favorite items her friends have given her over the years. Continuing the trend of using distinctive pieces to display her decorations, she also uses a bamboo ladder to exhibit Christmas cards from friends and family.

Kauffman's master bedroom showcases outdoor wreaths hanging from the windows with green ribbon and a bow. There is a large metal poinsettia displayed above the bed. To make it unique, Kauffman popped a red ball in the middle and added a garland. "I like to layer pieces of décor," Kauffman said of the wooden wise men and reindeer from Peru also on display in the room.

Mixing in personal items with her seasonal decorations, the walls are ornamented with postcards from her beloved grandmother mounted in see-through frames. The hand-written notes can be read from both sides of the frame. In keeping with the outdoor décor, a buffet table in the room features red and green ornaments with berries mixed in. The room is filled with original art, fresh greens, and her grandmother's keepsakes.

One of the most brightly decorated rooms in the home is the white kitchen. Kauffman's home, originally built in 1950, suffered frozen pipes during the ice storm of 2009 and had to be completely re-done. Kauffman tried to keep as many of the original features of the kitchen as she could.

These original features included large built-ins that are decorated with red and green dishes and greenery. The island is home to a hand-painted table runner featuring the 12 Days of Christmas. One of Kauffman's most colorful décor items is the De Simone pottery from Italy which sits on the countertops. Each piece is labeled with the artist's name and the year it was created.

The kitchen window is adorned with photos of Kauffman's first Christmas in Kentucky many years ago and large red snowflakes hanging in front. Kauffman's brightly colored kitchen table is from Guatemala and set with Christmas décor. It complements the red stools seated at the island.

"I love all of my Christmas decorations," Kauffman said. "I am surrounded by my favorite things every day: gifts from my clients, friends, and my grandmother." n

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