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Designer perks up holiday collection
Designer returns to lend a hand with Christmas decorating.

 Hickman gathers live greenery from around client Elizabeth LeDoux's home to enhance inside decor.
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Date published: 12/14/2012

BY RICHARD AMRHINE

When coming up with the time and imagination needed to decorate her home for Christmas just wasn't in the cards, Elizabeth LeDoux had an ace in the hole.

After she and her husband, Rob, had moved into 713 Lee Ave. a few years ago, she called on Andrea Hickman of A. Hickman Design to help decorate the restored home. Now, since the two had already worked together, LeDoux figured she and Hickman would be on the same page when it came to the specialized skill of decorating for the holidays.

"From the work she had done before, I knew there would be no need for a clean slate to start with," LeDoux said. "She would start with what I already had."

That was key, because LeDoux already had years' worth of decorations that she'd collected. She also likes to pick things up when prices are 75 percent off at after-Christmas sales.

"I'm thinking, 'I've got all this stuff, now what to do with it,'" she said.

Whether she's doing year-round decor for a whole house, or seasonal decor for a few rooms, Hickman said she first wants to see what a client already has.

"That helps me figure out what they're going for and what direction I need to go in," said Hickman. "When I see what they have, they're telling me, 'We bought this because we love it.'"

Once she has an idea of a client's taste, proceeding with a project is that much easier.

"I try to take the personality of the family and incorporate it into what I do," she said. "After I see what the homeowner has, then I can add elements to it."

With the LeDouxes, Hickman said she knew they liked to blend antiques with modern elements, but that there was an overarching elegance to it all.

ROOM BY ROOM

"The idea was to decorate little areas without going over the top," said Hickman.


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The home at 713 Lee Ave. was one that contractor Jon Van Zandt moved into with his family once he had completed its renovation and was continuing work on other Lee Avenue houses. There was more than one house along the pleasant, tree-lined street that he flipped that way.

In fact, Van Zandt has had a role in the restoration of as many as eight homes on Lee Avenue, helping to transform the neighborhood from a row of rundown rentals to beautifully restored homes with proud owners.

Elizabeth LeDoux said the home was move-in perfect when she and her husband came upon it in 2009.

"I just fell in love with it," she said. "This is no stepping-stone house for us. This is where we want to stay."

She also likes the fact that Van Zandt remains a neighbor.

When 701 Hanover St. came on the market--it's the larger house at the corner of Lee and Hanover--Van Zandt bought and restored it, making that his family's home. A stop on the city's Candlelight Tour this year, the Van Zandts' home is beautifully decorated inside and out.

After the LeDouxes moved into 713 Lee Ave., Elizabeth called on Andrea Hickman for advice on colors and decorating.

The dining room provides a good example of the results. The walls above the chair rail are khaki, while below the chair rail the walls are a dark salmon or brick color, highlighted by the white shadow box trim. The ceiling is a light, sky blue.

In the living room, where the walls are an inviting green, Hickman found drapery fabric and throw pillows with that incorporate the same shade.

In LeDoux's young daughter's room, the theme is pink and green, and features a bed and chest rescued from junk/antiques stores and repainted.

"We wanted a room that she could grow into and not grow out of, and that's what we got," LeDoux said.

--Richard Amrhine