Elegant and Rustic Holiday Home Decorating in KC

Oh, what fun it is to decorate for Christmas.


If she could describe her decorating style in one word it would be: eclectic. Around the holidays, interior designer Trista Miller, owner of Motivo Designs, 14469 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park, likes to mix and match, blending traditional elements with edgier décor and lots of texture using things like feathers, branches, pinecones and metals.

   Take for example, this home in the Pavilions of Leawood subdivision near 146th Street and Sherwood Road. The 9-foot-tree in the front living room explodes with elegant, modern, larger ornaments and sparkle, and metals like copper, silver and gold. Same with the mantle and the coffee table, and the dining room table centerpiece. The tree in what the homeowners call the “moose room” because of the massive moose head above the hearth, is decorated in a woodsy, traditional style.

   “Right now,” Miller says, “one of the biggest questions in design is, ‘What metals are going to be in for a while, what metals are in now, and what metals will always be in?' My answer is: All of them.”

   By incorporating mixed metals, depth is added to décor, she notes.

   “If it’s all silver, the house is just bright and shiny, but it needs depth, too,” Miller says. “Plus, I think nothing should be symmetrical. Anything asymmetrical is good. For example, a tree is a tree, but when we do a tree, we try to incorporate a lot of the texture on the outside, bringing the tree outward. There really is no over-doing a tree.”

   Reindeer are huge this holiday season, not only in popularity but in size, she says. She’s incorporated them on the coffee table and in the dining room centerpiece. She also suggests going for fresh greenery in garlands and wreaths.

   For those who want to display two trees, she suggests decorating one more elegantly and one just for fun, using ornaments that mean something special to you or have been passed down in your family. She does this in her own home, with her four children ranging in age from 10 to 21. A Kansas State University graduate with a degree in interior design, Miller has been in the business 21 years. She opened Motivo, a full-service decorating center, 2½ years ago.

   “It’s my passion,” she says of interior design. “I live and breathe it. It just runs in my blood. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

   The lady of the house, who asked that her name not be used, said that her home, which she and her husband and three children moved into in May, was everything she dreamed it would be. She says her fear in having someone decorate her home for the holidays was that it would end up looking like a “Christmas explosion.” Instead, it resulted in a style she would call “elegant rustic.”

   “Every day I walk in and I’m so thankful to be here,” she says, adding that her husband is an avid hunter and the family appreciates how Miller incorporated woodland touches into the holiday decor without it becoming overwhelming. “One of the things we love about our home is its openness and the space and the light. So if it was crammed full of stuff, we wouldn't feel quite as comfortable in it.”

   The moose head in the family room was left by the previous homeowner, who is a friend of the current owners and also a hunter. “He just kind of feels right in here. We love it. Hopefully, it will be a staple in our home for as long as we want it.” 

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