Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 3:01 AM
Alan and Nicol Segel’s porch is Christmas-cozy. Window boxes are filled with evergreens and red berries, and two love seats have plump red and green pillows. The front door is adorned with a wreath fashioned from frosted pine cones, ribbon, and a pair of miniature ice skates.
Inside her Newtown Square home, Nicol, a floral designer, has created a formal winter wonderland.
A green Christmas tree in the living room shimmers with ropes of pearls, white and silver birds, tiny white lights, and white and silver ornaments with a few accents in crimson and gold. Gift boxes wrapped in silver are arrayed under the tree.
Two years ago, the Segels downsized to a new three-bedroom townhouse from a large home in Bryn Mawr. There, Nicol says, “I had three trees” decorated with multicolored balls. Now she uses mostly silver and white.
“I saved the old decorations for the kids,” says Nicol, mother to two daughters, Alexandra, 20, and Skyla, 19, both college students, and one son, Xavi, 18, a high school senior.
For the holidays, Nicol removed crystals from the dining-room chandelier and replaced them with green fronds, silvery vines, white and crimson silk blossoms, and tea lights. She set a table for 10 with white china and linen and fashioned a long centerpiece with similar materials used in the chandelier. Miniature Christmas wreaths hang from scarlet ribbons on the backs of white upholstered chairs.
The townhouse has stained hardwood floors and snow-white and pale gray walls, except for the powder room, which glimmers from gold-and-silver wallpaper and a gold-leafed ceiling. Numerous glistening crystal chandeliers hang from high ceilings throughout the house.
The kitchen features white cabinetry, a white-tile back splash, white and beige granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. A tray of ripe cherry tomatoes adds a burst of color. A roomy pantry closet provides storage.
In the original blueprints, the builder situated the family room next to the kitchen with the dining room down the hall. Nicol switched the rooms for more efficient entertaining.
She chose sofas, area rugs, and white- and gray-toned furnishings for the living and sleeping areas from Restoration Hardware in King of Prussia, with the assistance of the store’s design consultant, Jeremy McCarthy.
“Alan let me pick out everything for the house,” Nicol said. “He’s busy with his restaurant.” Alan is a founding partner of two Wishbone restaurants, specializing in craft fried chicken, in Philadelphia.
The portrait of a veiled woman with a fan in the sitting room is a copy of a painting by the 17th-century Spanish artist Diego Velásquez, an homage to Nicol’s childhood in Barcelona. Her father was Spanish and her mother British. She met Alan at a hotel her family owned in Switzerland when they were both 13. They married in 1994.
The Segels’ open staircase showcases a variety of vintage European and American art, collected during the couple’s travels. At the base of the staircase are two more recent portraits: one of Nicol’s mother, Christine West, and the other, a tinted photo of Alan’s mother, Doris Segel.
Nicol works from home in a room off the center hall. Because the room is in a prominent location, “I didn’t want it to look like an office,” she says. The space has sleek white file cabinets, a round work table, comfortable white upholstered chairs, and a stunning 8-by-8-foot wall of white silk roses sprinkled with crystals.
Floral walls are Nicol’s design specialty. She creates them as backdrops for wedding ceremonies and receptions or other special events.
Nicol also crafts silk floral centerpieces, wreaths, and arrangements, including one on her own center hall table made from white silk orchids and silver balls. A wreath festooned with glittering gold ribbon hangs behind the front door.
Five knit stockings hang over the mantel in the dining room awaiting the arrival of Kris Kringle. Will he come dressed in red or, for this home at least, in sparkling silver and white?
Read full story: In Newtown Square, a floral Christmas in silver and white