A Holiday Haven in Vail

A Vail Racquet Club townhome with Old-World style and timeless comfort, decked out for the holidays
Style Open

Photos by Brent Bingham

When Vail interior designer Courtney St. John set out to decorate a three-bedroom Vail Racquet Club townhome for the holidays, she drew inspiration from the timeless Old-World style she’d created for the interior five years earlier. “The Denver owners wanted a sanctuary with a modernized, quintessential Vail Bavarian feel,” she says.

Style Red

A weathered antique olive bucket holds aspen, berry and pine branches and wooden skis completed with a plaid bow.

She gathered collectibles, antiques and found objects including old skis and snowshoes that evoked Vail’s active lifestyle and brought the outdoors in with items pulled from nature, such as feathers, branches and berries. A red, green and plaid color scheme carried throughout the home lends seamless harmony. Candles of all shapes and sizes nourish the coziness—especially welcome this uncertain year, when we’re spending more time at home.

Style Windmill

The red, green, and plaid color scheme is carried throughout the home, appearing on the napkins and chargers of the festive table.

Mimicking the townhome’s Nordic wooden table and chairs, a handcrafted German Christmas pyramid provides a playful centerpiece and drives the table setting. “They have young children, so it’s fun for them to light the candles and watch the carousel spin,” St. John says. Small wooden cut-out trees, various sizes of cut-crystal glasses, an antique white runner with red stitching and plaid chargers beneath dinner plates that match napkins lend homespun elegance.

Style Candles

Candles in aspen holders create a cozy ambience.

Style Kit

Tne garlands threaded with twinkle lights and a bowl of apples embraced by greenery lend seamless harmony in the kitchen.

In the kitchen, St. John likewise relies on wooden elements, including pine garlands threaded with white twinkle lights, antique wooden snowshoes and a three- dimensional wooden snowflake on the window shade. Plaid bows echo the table setting, along with a bowl of red apples embraced by greenery. The dry bar becomes an inviting seasonal serving area with a red floral arrangement enlivened by feathers, a silver tray laden with china and a glass bowl of red ornaments.

Style Tree

Designer St. John courts the spirit of Christmas past with new and old vintage-inspired ornaments and a traditional red-and-green palette. Year-round antler mounts above the mantel are decked with boughs to take a holiday turn.

Above the stone fireplace, antique antler mounts cloaked in pine boughs and ribbons bolster design cohesiveness. The red floral arrangement on the mantel creates a focal point while white candles nestled in aspen log holders spark drama.

Style Snowshoe

A weathered snowshoe becomes holiday décor while nodding to Vail history.

Below, a weathered antique olive bucket holding aspen, berry and pine branches and wooden skis adorned with a plaid bow supports the dining and kitchen motif. Plaid and checked red, green and white hand-wrapped gifts add fairy-tale charm.

Style Buffet

A floral arrangement enlivened by feathers, a silver tray and a bowl of red ornaments turn a serving space seasonal.

The tree conjures visions of sugarplums with its retro painted glass ornaments. “Some of the balls are antiques, but a lot are handblown and collected over the years,” St. John says. “Each has its own story, whether found in an antique store, a garage sale, while traveling or received as a gift. Each offers an opportunity for sharing and reflecting on family traditions and memories.”

Style Open

Vail interior designer Courtney St. John drew inspiration from this townhome’s Old-World style, gathering collectibles, antiques and found objects that evoke Vail’s outdoor lifestyle.


Interior designer Courtney St. John shares her tips for creating a festive holiday home.

LET COLOR GUIDE YOU Choose a color scheme—hot pink, silver and lime green; red and green; or blue and silver—to guide and inspire you and foster design cohesiveness. Carry it throughout the house as you decorate. LOOK TO NATURE Bring the outdoors in by taking a family walk to gather natural elements including feathers, pine cones, logs, berries, twigs, branches and pine boughs to add dimension, texture and overall interest to your design. USE COLLECTIONS Break out those boxes of collected ornaments and holiday objects and create groupings of treasured items to celebrate traditions and inspire family stories and memories. RELY ON CANDLES Multiple candles of various widths and heights along with an eclectic mix of candle-holders can fuel warmth, comfort and drama. MIX THINGS UP Experiment with mixing old and new, casual and formal elements; play with various patterns and textures; and wrap gifts in assorted, mismatched prints. NURTURE NEW TRADITIONS If an object speaks strongly to you or feels special, feature it! Consider incorporating past traditions like stringing popcorn and berries in your present design. HAVE FUN Don’t feel overwhelmed— enjoy! Involve family members and let everyone contribute. Never fear trying something new or breaking the rules.

INTERIOR DESIGN Courtney St. John Studio

As seen in the November/December 2020 issue

Categories: Contemporary Homes