Tuscan Trimmings

William and Jill DiMartino

If Santa were to grant interior design wishes, Terri Mancuso’s request for her own home would be simple: “I want everyone to feel welcome in every room,” says the KC Surroundings’ owner, whose Red Bridge abode captivates visitors with the same Tuscan-touched warmth that draws customers into her Leawood home décor stores.

Known city-wide for her skill in creating cozy cheer, it’s no surprise that Mancuso and the family home she’s lovingly created with husband Jerry made the short list for this year’s 20th Johnson County Young Matrons’ Home for the Holidays Tour.

“To me, holiday décor should be beautiful yet approachable,” says the retail buyer and mother of four.

Radiating enchanting yuletide warmth throughout her home is Mancuso’s signature mix of rich neutrals, sparkling metallics, exotic animal prints and sophisticated rustic pieces. Two life-sized hammered-copper reindeer add whimsy and welcome for guests approaching the home’s Mediterranean-style entrance; the amber-encrusted garland that wreathes the reindeers’ necks and frames the ornately-carved front door hints of the magic that’s revealed beyond.

For indeed just inside Mancuso’s doorway sits the belle of the holiday ball: a 14-foot tall fir bedecked in a shimmer of copper and gold. The homeowner points out picks sewn with glass beading and crystals, acorns encased in gold glitter, and sequin-studded ornaments manifesting animal prints. “I love to mix the old and new, the traditional and the exotic,” she says, gesturing toward the unconventional skirt of tawny satin and leopard print fabrics pooled around the base of the tree.

In the dining room, more animal prints—this time in the form of dishware—mix comfortably with Mancuso’s decidedly traditional Fitz & Floyd holiday china. Amber glass goblets, vases stuffed tall with gray-brown turkey feathers and a richly dressed centerpiece Santa completes the tabletop look.

But the ambient glow of the home’s warm neutrals reaches its most fevered and festive pitch in Mancuso’s favorite gathering spots—the kitchen and hearth room.

“This is where everyone loves to gather,” she says. And while rich walnut stained cabinetry and black patterned granite already evoke coziness, glowing garland and crackled amber votives adorning countertops enhance the toasty feel. Even a nearby bar area gets into the holiday act with a row of rustic reindeer toppers from KC Surroundings perched on bottles of wine.

And it’s those charming and unique items—like reindeer toppers or mini holiday trees made entirely of fox-colored feathers—that fuel Mancuso’s passion for décor both at home and at work.

“I started KC Surroundings out of a desire to bring hard-to-find items here to the Midwest,” says Mancuso, who lived in California before settling here to raise a family.

Among those sought-after items are Mark Roberts’ fairies, a holiday treasure Mancuso has lovingly collected over the years. Part Santa, part fairy with wings, the homeowner’s extensive collection of fabric fairies fills an entire tree in her first floor study. Dressed in jeweled velvets and brocade, the jolly Kris Kringles add regal cheer to a room that already pops with coral-colored walls and a cheetah-print rug.

Mancuso isn’t the only household member who collects cherished items especially for this time of year.

“At our house, holiday decorating is a true family affair,” she says. Her four nearly grown children still decorate trees of their own with ornaments dating back to childhood. Daughter Molly’s white-flocked twig tree—a KC Surroundings’ customer favorite this year—is replete with both Barbie and Muffy VanderBear keepsakes.

Son Jerry’s tree features sparkling sports and team-themed ornaments sprinkled among its unusually sparse piney branches.

“We call Jerry’s tree the Charlie Brown tree,” laughs Mancuso as she surveys its slightly drooping needles.

And while Charlie Brown-caliber décor is hardly the norm in this household, the effect created by Terri Mancuso’s picture-perfect Tuscan trimmings remains simple. Amidst the warm sparkle of outsize glittering pinecones and beaded copper poinsettias, family and friends find festivity and freedom to be themselves.

When asked about her own favorite family holiday traditions, Mancuso smiles. “Honestly?” she laughs, “we love to watch Christmas Vacation, and then decorate some more.”

To find out more, visit www.kcsurroundings.com.

Categories: At Home, Homes & Real Estate