People involved in the Miller Mantels & Trees Tour might share more than an address in Oklahoma City's historic Miller neighborhood.
“Christmas is like my favorite, so I tend to go crazy
Strains of “White Christmas” waft through the house, a tree glows softly in a darkened bedroom nearby, and an eclectic collection of Christmas decorations appears very much at home even amid the living room's thoroughly modern lines.
One ceramic tree, a gift from her mother, holds some sentimental value, Higgins said.
“A lot of this stuff, though, honestly, I found at the thrift store and changed it up,” she said.
The Higgins home is one of six Miller neighborhood homes throwing open the doors Friday for the third annual Miller Mantels & Tree Tour. It will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Garden Gate Antiques, 1307 N May Ave., and 23rd Street Antique Mall, 3023 NW 23.
Money raised during the tour will go for more lighting in the neighborhood's medians.
The tour “was just something I thought of because every home has a gorgeous mantel,” said Mickey Barnard, who serves as tour chairman and lent his design talents to spots along the tour.
Mike Stuart and Bruce Hall will open their entire home at 1221 N Miller Blvd., which Barnard helped them transform into a glittering world for the season.
“My mom grew up in a Catholic orphanage, so holidays when I was growing up turned into huge, huge events, and Christmas was her favorite,” Stuart said.
Stuart and Hall moved into the two-story manor in 1997, but it dates back to 1915 when developer George Miller built it for his own family. Miller was a gentleman farmer, Stuart said.
“That's why there are medians,” he said. “The trolley tracks here carried them from the country — this was the country — downtown.”
Miller is far from rural now, centered north of bustling NW 10 just a few miles from State Fair Park. But the neighborhood and its homes, many dating from the early 20th century, maintain a timeless tranquility as well as the perfect canvas for holiday decorating.
Adorned for holidays
In the Stuart-Hall home, three reindeer, refugees from the old John A. Brown Department Store that dominated downtown Oklahoma City for decades, guard one corner of the dining room. A bedroom upstairs has been taken over by a legion of Santas and one life-size nutcracker. Silver trees and accents gleam in a sun room beyond.
Scott Ellis, who lives a short distance away at 2517 NW 12 with Gabriel Rivera Rodriguez, isn't shy about his affection for the season either.
“I love Christmas,” he said with glee. “I'm a Christmas hoarder.”
Their 1929 Tudor revival home will feature five Christmas trees set up to take advantage of tall windows in a front bedroom.
In the dining room, dark wood accents offer a contrasting backdrop for bright garland draped overhead.
“I'm obsessed with peacocks this year,” Ellis said, indicating the feathers incorporated into the garland as well as the accents surrounding a stag figurine on the nearby dining table.
A peacock forms the centerpiece of a coat of arms above the dining room entrance.
Participating in the tour takes work — everyone had to start decking out their house even before the Thanksgiving turkeys were taken out of the freezer. But maybe any excuse will do.
“I've been listening to Christmas music since July, so it's kind of like a sickness,” Higgins said.
Homes in the tour are:
• 2517 NW 12, Scott Ellis.
2536 NW 12, Jenni and Jason Duncan.
• 2532 NW 13, Tonja and Basil Martin.
• 2605 NW 13, Gregory Wyatt.
1221 N Miller, Mike Stuart and Bruce Hall.
• 1615 N Miller, Jordan and Jeff Higgins.