Natural Warmth

On even-numbered years, four generations of the Culbreth family — scattered from New York to Tennessee, Texas to Georgia — get together in Baldwin County to celebrate Christmas. In 2014, it was MB editorial director Judy Culbreth and her husband Walter Kirkland's turn to host.

“I was overjoyed to have the honors, ” she says. “But there was one tiny problem: My house is clearly coastal — blues, creams and khakis. For more of a Noel vibe, I knew I had to mix in some traditional colors that didn’t overwhelm the muted decor. I also wanted to stay true to Weeks Bay surroundings.” Simple changes and a search of the neighborhood solved both. 


ABOVE LEFT A burlap garland is dressed with branches of wild berries and fresh-picked magnolia leaves. (A spritz of Windex shines up the greenery.) A big bow from Green Gates Market anchors the look. Sprigs of mistletoe accent family photos of the Kirklands and Culbreths. 

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ABOVE RIGHT On the porch, beribboned lunchbox goodie bags greet guests. The whitewashed wreath complements the distressed bench and shutters. Bow from Green Gates Market.

ABOVE “I spotted this wide-width linen ribbon at RichTex Fabrics, ” says Judy, “and it was the inspiration for the white-on-white tree.” Ribbon for presents, ticking and trim for pillows, and burlap for the garland and wreaths were also from RichTex. Metallic star from Green Gates Market. Flocked tree from Fish River Christmas Tree Farm. Wooden ornaments from personal collection.


ABOVE LEFT Lemon and grapefruit leaves and boughs of kumquats decorate the mantel. Grandkids’ monogrammed stockings, including one for baby girl-to-be Georgia, are perched and ready for the big guy in red to make his stops by the Bay.

ABOVE A few pillows re-covered in red ticking add pop to the fish-camp themed sleeping porch. Red berries proliferate on the Culbreth-Kirkland property during December. “Plop them in a bucket — done, ” says Judy. Cotton wreath from The Garage Studio. Starfish on driftwood table topper courtesy of Diana Deason. 


Fish River Christmas Tree Farm • 13982 Woodhaven Road East, Summerdale. 988-8114
Green Gates Market • 801 N. Section St., Fairhope. 928-2525
The Garage Studio Gift Shop • 17070 Scenic Hwy 98. 928-3474
RichTex Fabrics • 8967 Rand Ave., Daphne. 625-2889

photos by Summer Ennis • styling by Jennifer Culbreth Smithers

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