High Days and Holidays

BY Marimar McNaughton

A spyglass is not needed to magnify the breakers that dignify a December sea. Visible with the naked eye from the living room of Leslie and Barry Hales Point Island residence the deep blue winter ocean dressed in frothy white foam and the trinkets that are fetched up by its feisty waves are the inspiration for this Landfall home and the traditions expressed by the Hales family at holiday time.

Three Labrador retrievers Annabelle the aging blonde Silverbelle Sally a chocolate brown and Isabelle an inky black wag their tails and drop their pine cones in the driveway begging to play catch. The backyard is an oasis ringed with water features a fountain and a babbling brook fringed by golden marsh grass overlooking Horseshoe Lake and nearby Lake Landfall where Tundra swan annually weather the winter Carolina-style.

Fraser fir wreaths wired with clusters of white starfish hang in the entryways urns filled with aromatic rosemary trees and pots of pansies in a riot of purple red white yellow and lavender anchor the stoops. The architecture is an enigma of classic sea coast idioms at once embracing the New England Shingle Style in its stacked stone and grey cedar faade and its Low Country cousin with a sweeping plantation-style roofline and double porches fronting the lake views the Intracoastal Waterway the islands and the breakers beyond. Buttressed gable ends exposed rafter tails and a whimsical Nantucket garage and crofter embellished with a cupola and a sailfish weathervane set the stage for the new home that borrows generously from the past.

Inside tobacco-brown oak floors are a sharp contrast to crisp white passageways and a palette of painted walls tinted in shades of tumbled beach glass. Sheet music for “O Christmas Tree” rests on the baby grand piano inside the two-story foyer where garlands of Fraser fir festooned with shimmering white sea horses and shiny gold starfish spiral up the banister to the second floor landing. The Christmas tree adorned with sand dollars scallop shells and anemones fills the opening between kitchen and living room the domain of Leslies lovable 11-year-old black and white cat Zeb.

Pastel shabby chic chair covers in muted stripes and florals surround the kitchen table and cane-bottomed high chairs attend the center island covered by slabs of iridescent Verdi Butterfly granite where Leslie pulls out the Smithfield Cookbook to prepare the signature holiday menu. Always nearby are her arrangements of roses cut from her garden or selected from Fresh Market. A perforated screened pantry door gooseneck faucet farm sink pot filler old-fashioned plate rack and double-glazed cabinets are some of the period nuances in pitch-perfect contrast to high-performance contemporary appliances like the Viking gas range and stainless steel Sub-Zero side-by-side refrigerator and freezer.

The upper level porch runs the full length of the kitchen and living room and pairs of French doors open to its invitation to catch a breath of fresh air. The sunlight reflected in the lakes is mirrored in the living rooms Carolina blue ceiling clad in beaded board and supported by exposed white beams. A casual snowy-white slip-covered sofa and arm chair are placed on a sisal rug. Grouped white wax pillars and clear glass hurricanes are filled with shells. The familys black-and-white photographic portrait hangs above the mantel where a garland of starfish sand dollars and scallop shells are strung above the hearth.

In the stair hall a vintage telephone chair a weathered church pew and framed navigational charts map the waters from Cape Hatteras to the Florida Straits. Reminiscent of a hunt club lodge with a textured safety glass transom deep inverted tray ceiling and battened wall boards sea-going sport fishing vessels including one photo of the Leslie Anne (often berthed at the familys summer home on the causeway) the familys 61-foot Jim Smith hang behind Barry Hales desk. His lair is a repository for his trophies: a sailfish a formidable wild boar a six-point buck head and a much-loved stag-horn chandelier are the core of the manly dcor.

Throughout the home decorated for the holidays by Julie Robinson of Airlie Moon Santas reindeer and miniature oyster-shell trees draped in pearl beads and Spanish moss complement the cottage-style furnishings and fixtures. Designer Susan Covington has hung doors installed mantels and refurbished the Hales beds bureaus highboys and accessories. Lighting designer Louise Gaskill has created unique one-of-a-kind lamps many of which are found in the ground floor bedroom wing where a gallery of childrens black and white portraits hangs year-round and their colorful stockings only during the Christmas season. Woody 19 a Wake Forest University sophomore; Caroline 17 a New Hanover High School senior and Miller 15 a New Hanover High School sophomore hang out in the crofter above the garage. Woody a prolific painter during an early childhood period created much of the original artwork hung on the walls. For Christmas their retro aluminum tree is bedecked with green and blue bells icicles and balls.

The formal dining table overlooking the manicured lawn and gardens created for the setting by Tony Parker of Classic Landscapes is arranged for Christmas brunch with Leslies St. Nicholas (Fitz & Floyd) china. The menu is a family favorite the ubiquitous Christmas casserole served with Neeses sausage balls cheese grits and curried fruit. The children sip sparkling grape juice in a stemmed glass. The dinner feast is roast beef served with mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.

Christmas Eve is reserved for the midnight service at First Baptist Church and a gift exchange with grandparents. The weeks leading up to or immediately following the Hales head south for Key Largo untie the lines of the Leslie Anne and head for the open sea. Bound for the Bahamas they plan to voyage to Sampson Cay in the Exumas throw out a few lines catch a few grouper maybe some mahi and toast to a New Year.

Its a tradition.

Creating a Home of Distinction

Homeowners: Barry and Leslie Hales

Building Designer: Mack Braxton

Building Contractor: RMB Building and Design LLC

Interior Design: Julie Robinson Airlie Moon

Artisan Designed Furniture: Susan Covington

Appliances: Atlantic Appliance & Hardware

Audio/Security/Central Vacuum: Property Protection Systems

Plumbing Fixtures/Bath Hardware: Coleman Supply

Kitchen/Specialty Hardware: Dynamic Kitchens and Interiors

Plumbing: Gray Plumbing

Electric: Hodges Electric

Lighting: Coastal Lighting

Specialty Lamps: Louise Gaskill Company

Wood Floor Restoration: Sandys Floor Service

Hardwood Supplier: Horizon Forest Products

Hardwood Installer: Ed Newsomes Hardwood

Tile Supplier: Tuscany Tile and Design

Tile Installer: Emory Harker

Kitchen Designer: Dynamic Kitchens and Interiors

Cabinet Mfg: Signature Custom Cabinetry

Cabinet Installer: Dynamic Kitchens and Interiors

Countertops: Southeastern Marble and Granite

Closets: Trimcrafters

Painting: Pro-Line Finishes

HVAC: Batts Heating and Air

Window Dealer: Coastal Window & Door

Windows Mfg: Eagle Windows

Roofing: Coastal Roofing Inc.

Landscaping: Classic Landscapes

Pavement/Driveway: S & W Ready Mix

Pavement/Driveway Installer: Ed Wilson

Fireplace: Todays Fireplace