Sunday, July 21, 2024

Where We Live: A Christmas home

Every December the home of Nick and Kimi Vlahakis in Governor’s Land transforms into a beautifully-decorated holiday masterpiece worthy of a magazine cover photo.

Each room in the 6,700 square-foot European-villa style home offers a unique landscape of festive decorations ranging from a two-story Christmas tree to 5-foot tall Royal Guards complete with candy cane staffs to hand-painted wooden gingerbread men.

In the foyer alone, 10 trees light up the entrance, but the centerpiece is a nativity set off by shimmering gold stars — Kimi’s favorite piece.

Kimi’s love of decorating comes naturally.

“My mom loved Christmas, and she would just go crazy, so I think I just picked that up,” she said.

It also helps that Kimi is an accomplished artist and has an eye for design.

“I help with the electrical,” Nick said with a laugh.

He added the addition of the blue Christmas trees in the dining room this year was his idea.

For the most part, Nick said he stays out of the way while Kimi and her friend, Michael Clements, a designer from Kentucky, arrange and rearrange Christmas decorations both inside and outside.

Throughout the year, Kimi will find new pieces to add to the collection. She has an attic space with three floors, so she has plenty of space to store everything.

The decor is thoroughly enjoyed by their grandchildren who visit during the holidays and by friends who attend an annual party the couple hosts between Christmas and New Year’s.

Even when their home isn’t decorated for the holidays, it is a masterpiece in its own right.

Nick and Kimi have both traveled extensively, are proud of their Greek and Spanish heritages and have a deep appreciation for art and European architecture. All of those elements can be seen throughout their home.

In 2002, when they decided to retire and build a home in Williamsburg, they already had an idea of what they wanted their home to look like.

“We knew we liked European styles, particularly Italian and French – so we found a plan we both liked and then significantly modified it,” Nick said.

They found a local custom home builder who was happy to take on their project. Even 14 years later, they are still in contact with the builder as well as plumbing and electrical contractors who worked on their home and are still happy to help with any issues they may have.

What really makes their home stand out is the details.

Nick drew particular inspiration from studying Andrea Palladio, a 16th century Italian architect known for his Renaissance building “La Rotonda.”

The couple’s great room was influenced by Palladio’s style and features Palladian windows, curved angles and a modified dome at the height of the ceiling. A small balcony peaks out overhead on the second floor and marbleized Corinthian columns with silver leaf at the top round out the European feel.

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