All About ReDecorating
Christmas in Newport, Homes All Aglow
Originally published in Providence Journal , Home Section, 1999

Christmas in Newport

Homes All Aglow

By Michael Maynard

Take away Newport’s grand mansions and public buildings and you still have a city full of architectural gems.

Along the city’s residential streets are splendid 18th and 19th century houses, many of which occupy spots on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by some of the best-known architects of the period, they reflect the styles and tastes of the original owners.

Beginning next Sunday through Tuesday, nine of these homes will be on display as part of Christmas in Newport’s Candlelight Tour of Private Homes. Three houses will be on tour each evening from 4 to7 p.m. Tickets are available at each house for $3 at the time of the tour.

The Home section last week visited three of the house on the tour to give readers a preview of what they can expect.

As you step inside the grand living room of Larry and Jan Girouard’s home, you are surrounded by a rich arrangement of Christmas reds, golds and greens. They are a perfect compliment to a room with dark woodwork, an immense brick fireplace and stained glass windows.

Jan Creamer Girouard explains that the 1883 home was designed in the English Arts and Crafts style for an Englishman J. Griffiths Masten. The grand living room was originally called a “living hall” because it serves both purposes…the living room and hallway.

As you step into the room, your eye follows the dark wood banister, decorated with wreaths and red bows, up the staircase to a second floor balcony. To the left is the fireplace, which extends to the ceiling.

In the corner of the living room is a small Christmas tree that Girouard has graced with gold ribbon, strings of pearls, glass hearts trimmed in lace heart, and small white lights.

The rooms’ windows are draped in rich burgundy fabric and stained-glass lamps cast a warm glow over the elegant scene. Visitors to the home, scheduled for the tour on Sunday, December 26th. Will also see an array of antiques, many of which are family heirlooms.

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