Lakeside holidays

by Kayla Cooper

Diana and Phil Kirkland’s beautiful home on Beaverfork Lake is the picture of Christmas.

Simple decorations on the front of the house lead visitors through tall double front doors into the front atrium, featuring an impressive double grand staircase. Dripped in all shades of golden glitter, pheasant feathers and ribbon, the staircase decorations are a fantastic start to the holiday splendor to come in the rest of the house.

“I always wanted a double staircase in my house,” said Diana as she talked about their holidays.

Not far from the foyer, the dining room features a large mirror donning a garland swag with metallic beads, lux ribbon and large ornaments. Diana loved the faux finished walls, done by Tim Morris, in her dining room along with her fleur de lis table.  

 “I made fleur de lis the theme for the dining room because I like the meaning of it,” Diana said. “It symbolizes welcoming people and peace.”

Off to the right of the den is Phil’s office, which is designed with fireman paraphernalia in honor of his service at the Conway Fire Department. The room is covered in antique fire equipment, complete with a fireman’s Christmas tree topped off with a fire helmet. Various fire engine ornaments are scattered on the tree amongst a fire hose and nozzle.

Across the house in the downstairs basement is the favorite hangout spot for the children and friends. Complete with a guest bedroom suite, the downstairs game room flows out onto the pool patio and out to the lake dock. “We like having people over down here,” Diana said.  

After Thanksgiving, the downstairs area is decorated with family as the focus. “We have our travel tree in the basement. Everywhere we go on vacation, we make sure to get an ornament.” The tree is placed by long picture frames, holding all the family vacation moments.  “It’s a fun conversation starter. We get to display all of our fun pictures down here,” Diana said. “And we get to add a new set of pictures with every party, trip and family event.”  

The foyer is a breathtaking picture of golden banisters and glittered feathers.

While the basement is the hot spot of the house most of the year, the holiday festivities are spent in the den around a golden brown tree flanked by two oversized red chairs fit for Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Christmas traditions around this tree run deep in the Kirkland home.

“We always stayed at my mom and dad’s house on Christmas Eve,” Diana said. They gathered up all the kids, grandkids and gifts to ship off to grandma’s house for the night because “Santa Claus came to Maw-Maw’s house.” All the family members would sleep on the floor in Grandma and Grandpa’s room until 5 a.m. when the kids woke everyone up to open presents around the tree. For years, memories of Christmas morning were made together at Maw-Maw’s, but now the tradition has been passed on to Diana and her three brothers. “We have Christmas mornings here, melding traditions from both sides of our family,” Diana said.

The beautiful den is filled with flying wrapping paper and joyous family faces each year, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.