Creating Christmas Magic

A St. Louis couple collaborated with their designer of nearly two decades to create the picture-perfect holiday home for one of their favorite charities and their family's favorite time of year. 

By Jeanne deLathouder

Architect: Jeff Day & Associates

Interior Design: Christine Ronzio Interiors

Photography by Anne Matheis


After 20 years of raising a family in their beloved St. Louis home, Melissa and Joe Jedlicka welcomed the opportunity to support one of their favorite charities while celebrating their favorite time of year—the Christmas season. As a member of the Glennon Guild, Melissa wanted to share their home and love for the season by decking the halls in style for the St. Louis Homes + Lifestyles and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon holiday house tour. They immediately turned to Christine Ronzio, their designer of more than 15 years, to help them conceptualize a show-stopping holiday display that would dazzle their guests.

    “I’ve enjoyed designing for Melissa and Joe for years—along with my teammate Julie Merrill — and we have watched their family grow and evolve,” says Christine, owner of Christine Ronzio Interiors. “The wonderful time we’ve spent together has deeply influenced our design concepts for the couple’s everyday aesthetic as well as their holiday home.”

    When Christine began working with the Jedlicka family several years ago, their personal collections symbolized the traditional elements of Christmas, many of which they have held on to as the focal point of their holiday design. They love the customary red hues with accents of gold, sumptuous greenery and family heirlooms that create a warm and inviting celebration. “Their family is large and welcoming, which is the feeling we wanted to evoke to all who experience the holidays in their home,” notes Christine.

    The couple’s home features generous rooms centered around a large kitchen built for hosting intimate dinners with friends, celebrating every holiday with 40-plus family members and having parties for hundreds at a time. The signature style of Christine Ronzio Interiors is rooted in modern traditional design with an eclectic mix. Her inspiration for the holiday décor blended perfectly with Joe and Melissa’s Christmas traditions and treasured collections. After nearly two decades of working together, they have a truly trusting relationship that allows visions to become reality with a striking and elevated result.

    “Our goal from the beginning—and spanning multiple additions to the house—has been to create a comfortable and fun home designed to entertain family and friends,” says Melissa. “Christmas has always been our favorite time of the year. Adding to the spirit and magic of the season, we’ve gathered a unique collection of nutcrackers and handmade Santa figurines by Lynn Haney that we sprinkle throughout our home.”

    As gracious hosts, the couple’s user-friendly kitchen is the heart of the home. The functional space also features a flexible palette and warm backdrop for integrating a holiday aesthetic for family meals and tasty treats throughout the season. Red bows, wreaths and lavish greenery bring warmth to the kitchen and throughout the entire home, creating a cohesive feel from room to room without disrupting the functionality and flow of family gatherings and large-scale entertaining.

    Bedecked with vibrant red blooms, berries, bows and festive figurines, the home radiates a warm holiday spirit. Cascading greenery, fresh wreaths and twinkling Christmas trees dress nearly every room from top to bottom. Black accents throughout the home—from furniture pieces and lighting fixtures to accessories and the kitchen’s polished stone-topped island anchor the extravagant décor with a touch of elegance. Plush pillows and throws layered on upholstered seating pieces create an element of winter coziness, and opulent candelabras flickering with holiday candles emit a luminous glow.

    Among the half dozen Christmas trees in the house, the den features a family tree with homemade ornaments, pictures of the couple’s children throughout the years and cherished family collections. But the show-stopping focal point of Joe and Melissa’s holiday home is their 12-foot balsam fir Christmas tree that presides next to the great room’s towering stone fireplace. Bejeweled from head to toe in sparkling lights, rich red ornaments and yards of red ribbon, this tree is the star design element that brings the most joy to all who are lucky enough to experience it. “The Jedlickas have a large, loving family that celebrates all events, both big and small, so an oversized tree was a must,” says Christine. “With kids running around on Christmas morning, it’s a feature that would make even Santa proud!”

    By far, one of Christine’s most vivid memories while working on this project was when the colossal balsam fir collapsed from its hefty weight just hours after they put on the finishing touches. There were only a few minor ornament casualties, but thankfully, they managed to get the tree back up and make it look stunning for the tour—and the rest of the holiday season.

    “With thousands of lights and hundreds of ornaments weighing it down, we barely survived when the behemoth fell to the floor two nights before the house tour,” Melissa recalls, laughing. “We have always tried to find the largest Christmas tree that could fit in the great room, and this soaring, extra-wide balsam just squeezes into the 12-foot ceilings. It took several elves to get it back to looking beautiful again.”

    “Christine has boundless energy and creativity for every occasion,” adds Melissa. “Our friend and decorator, she has a special talent to design our cherished holiday collections in a way that creates Christmas imagery in every room that truly has a magical impact.”