On a hot summer day two years ago, Johannah and Ty Bullard walked into a historic home in the Oakleigh Garden District and knew they had found the special place they had searched for over a year to find. The home’s rich character stood out to them. Johannah loved the tall ceilings, wood floors and beautiful windows. The two could immediately envision their family spending many years here celebrating life moments and holidays. They just needed to make a few modifications to put their understated yet sophisticated style on the home.
Although the house had been restored and maintained, the Bullards called in the husband and wife team of Peyton and Perry Harvill of PH Building and Design Company to take on some projects and decorate with the Bullards’ light and airy aesthetic. While furniture and decor from the couple’s previous home on North Reed Avenue were brought in, Perry helped them choose new pieces to fill the larger space and complete the looks in each room.
Now, on a much cooler December day, the family enjoys the house they have made a home, especially in its Christmas trimming. “I look forward to having a little time off from the office to spend with my wife and boys, ” Ty says. “It is such a special time of year, and I just love the atmosphere and spirit Christmas brings to our home.”
Ty’s main role in preparing for the holidays has always been the purchase and retrieval of the tree. “It kind of blew up last year, ” he confesses. Johannah requested a “fatter” tree than the one Ty had chosen the year before, so he ordered a 12-foot “fat” tree. “Let’s just say it basically took up half our living room, ” he laughs. “We could not even put our angel on top of the tree because it was touching the ceiling.”
Naturally, the young boys most look forward to opening presents. This year, 8-year-old Joe is hoping for a puppy and a zipline for the backyard, while Evans, 4, says he wants a blue truck that pulls a boat and has a dog in it. We’re hoping for Christmas miracles too, buddy.
Finally, come Dec. 25, you’ll find the Bullards relaxing together and spending most of the day in cozy pajamas. “We don’t have a set Christmas morning breakfast or traditional routine, but our home is peaceful and we are filled with joy just being together and getting to focus on the perfect gift God gave us, ” Johannah says.
Beyond all of the glitter of the lights and decorations or the excitement of unwrapping gifts, “I hope they remember that there was a love amongst us that was bigger than anyone could ever imagine, Jesus’ love, ” Ty adds. “And that it becomes so contagious that they hold on to it and pass it down to their children.”
ABOVE A reindeer planter, created from beautifully whittled and woven branches, is filled with large, white hydrangeas.
ABOVE LEFT “A front porch is a must for us. We spend a lot of time on it, even during the winter, ” Johannah says. The couple had the swing built by Five Oaks Cypress Patio Furniture in Loxley. Johannah found the fabric for the pillows at Richtex and had them custom made to match similar ones from her den. It is the perfect spot to savor a cup of hot cocoa.
ABOVE RIGHT Fresh topiaries in rustic planters from Zimlich Patio and Garden flank the entrance and welcome friends and family. “This year will be even more fun with our youngest, George Robert, starting to take his role in the family, ” Johannah says.
ABOVE A pair of aromatic greenery and pinecone wreaths from Elizabeth’s Garden hang on the double front doors of the home. A gardening lover, Johannah prefers to incorporate fresh plants and greenery wherever possible.
ABOVE Every year Johannah orders a roll of fresh cedar garland to spread throughout her house. Melissa Phillips from Elizabeth’s Garden decorated the stairwell with billowy burlap ribbon and draped greenery.
ABOVE LEFT Johannah’s favorite feature of the home is the old sliding doors that peek from the frame between the dining room and formal living room. The light, neutral backdrop of the room’s decor is accented with color from art and flowers. For the holiday season, trees made of driftwood adorn the hearth. Johannah purchased potted paperwhites from Elizabeth’s Garden, and planted them in small containers, which line the mantel along with fresh cedar. Phillips created the fresh floral arrangement on the coffee table.
ABOVE RIGHT Ty and the two older boys, Joe, 8, and Evans, 4, snuggle up in the master bed to read the Christmas story from the family Bible, a gift from Johannah’s grandparents. The young family began this tradition a few years ago.
ABOVE Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, ready for Christmas morning in the family’s informal living room. Gold-leafed metal Christmas trees and angel sculptures are sophisticated yet kid-friendly and echo the home’s year-round aesthetic of understated elegance.
ABOVE Sunshine through the windows, crisp shades of white on the walls, marble countertops, pristine custom cabinets and unique task lighting leave the kitchen bright and cheery year-round. White poinsettias are nestled together in an arrangement on the island for the holiday season that perfectly complements the space.
ABOVE Johannah and Perry selected a wallpaper with neutral shades and metallic glimmer to go above the woodwork in the formal dining room. After they picked the paper, coordinating paint colors were chosen.
ABOVE LEFT A distressed chest of drawers provides a place for lighting and display. During the holidays, simple woven branch angel figurines adorn the top.
ABOVE RIGHT The family is pictured in the informal living room with the infamous, oversized Fraser fir from Austill. Johannah says that it has become a bit of a funny family tradition that her husband always seems to select the most gigantic, over-the-top Christmas tree available.