Comfort & Joy

Family’s love for Christmas shines in a well-appointed Colonial brimming with seasonal and personal touches.

By Kim Hill

Photography Anne Matheis   

Interior Decorator Designs by Melinda


Ladue homeowner Judy Dude had only six weeks to prepare for the 2021 Deck the Halls of Glennon Homes holiday tour. But she didn’t stress. “I just accelerated what I do every year,” she explains. “It really was just a matter of welcoming everyone into our home since we already decorate lots every Christmas.”

Judy shares her traditional Colonial with her husband Ken and four grown children, with two kids still residing at home. Judy has done the interior design herself with some help from fellow Glennon Guild member Melinda Hagedorn, an interior designer. Patti Porter, owner of Rusted Chandelier, added some extra touches for the 2021 Glennon Homes holiday tour.

Judy’s love for everything Christmas began in her childhood. “My father devoted a lot of his time decorating for Christmas,” Judy recalls. “It was joyous for him, and he made it joyful for everyone else. It was so much work for him, but he loved it. Now I love it, even though it is a lot of work but it’s fun.” Judy’s father has passed away, but her mother still lives in Judy’s childhood home in Clayton. “My brother decorates the house for my mom, bless him, so there is still that tradition from my dad there.”

At the Dude home, the family decorates five trees, including a live Fraser fir Ken obtains from the same vendor every year. This tree is placed in the living room and covered with handblown glass ornaments Judy has collected over the years. “I worked at May Company many years ago and they allowed us to shop the sample sale,” Judy explains. “That started my glass ornament collection.”

In the living room, Judy has indulged her self-proclaimed obsession with chinoiserie. “This is influenced by a family trip we were fortunate to take to Asia years back,” she recalls. Their first purchase, a pair of foo dogs, is paired an antique wood desk and tallboy, along with portraits of Asian elders and a collection of ginger jars and pagodas. Family treasures take center stage in the living room: a large portrait of her kids as young children hangs above the fireplace, where treasured needlepoint stockings made by Judy’s mom hang. The Christmas tree in this room features a needlepoint tree topper, also crafted by Judy’s mom. Judy carries the chinoiserie theme into the primary bedroom, where she decorates a small tree in the Asian aesthetic for the holidays.

In the dining room’s bay window, Judy has placed what she calls “the kids’ tree” which holds ornaments from the family’s trips and those made at school by her children when they were young. “It’s not fancy,” says Judy. “There’s no theme. There are ornaments on there that are pieces of paper or made of plaster. But it was everyone’s favorite tree on the Glennon Home Tour, and I was really touched by that, because it’s just our family’s life, all smooshed together on this tree.”

Judy does incorporate a theme in the morning room, where she’s placed a colorful Lilly Pulitzer-themed tree in one corner. Ken surprised Judy with the winning bid for a Lilly Pulitzer-themed tree from a charity event years ago. “The tree has doubled in size since then,” says Judy, who says the ornaments include small frames, ornaments of the brand’s iconic shift dresses and other Lilly Pulitzer merchandise in pinks and greens. For Yuletide feasting, Judy sets the round dining table using Spode’s Christmas Tree pattern, part of her mother’s vast collection, and adds texture with woven black-and-white striped placemats and bamboo-handled flatware. Black-and-white bows adorn topiaries and wreaths and draw inspiration from a MacKenzie-Childs console table hand-painted in black and white.

“It’s not the most traditional colorway to use at Christmas,” Judy says of the black and white, “but the classic check combination makes a statement, never goes out of style and blends beautifully at Christmas with our holiday décor.” She notes her mother gave her a MacKenzie-Childs pillow years ago which started her now-extensive collection of black and white décor. She devotes an entire tree in the great room to MacKenzie-Childs. The tree’s highlight is red ribbon edged with black-and-white stripes twisted into a diamond pattern. “During the pandemic, I looked online for tutorials on how to twist that wired ribbon, and I played with it for a day,” Judy explains. “I hope it stays like it is another year because it was a lot of work.”    

Black and white is already prominent in the entryway, with white wood trim in the entry and curved stairwell, a patterned black and white runner on the stairs, and boldly stunning Scalamandré handprinted wallpaper in the ‘Shanghai’ pattern. Greenery drips from the chandelier and stair railings; black and white striped ribbon plays well with Christmas plaid and red tied in bows fashioned by Patti Porter of Rusted Chandelier. “I’ve been reusing these bows for years,” says Judy. “I think putting a beautiful bow on something just adds so much to it.”

Judy also loves mixing high and low. A tree skirt from Hobby Lobby anchors a tree with vintage glass ornaments. Holiday clearance-sale ribbon might dress a tree hung with designer ornaments. And monogrammed napkins obtained from Etsy pair beautifully with fine French porcelain.

Sharing her home as a featured house on the Deck the Halls tour combined two of Judy’s loves. She’s been involved with the Glennon Guild for years and currently serves as a board member. And she is a self-proclaimed “Christmas person.”  “We love to entertain, especially during the holidays when our home is decorated, and it’s so warm and welcoming,” she says. “Christmas makes me so happy,” she adds. “Our family loves it, too.”