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Cypress Homeowners Deck the Halls with Treasure-Filled Elegance

| December 1, 2010

Founder Of Round Top Collection Celebrates Christmas In Style

Christmas comes early each year to the Krause house in Cypress — the middle of October to be exact. That’s when Jeff and Debbie Krause and their children begin decorating for the holiday season. The entire project takes six weeks. Decorations start going up in October, and everything is in place and ready for company by the end of November. “We do go all out,” Jeff says.

The 8,500-square-foot traditional style, 2-story home is anything but traditional when it comes to holidays. The Krauses decorate for every season and open their home to guests who enjoy the beauty and charm of the home as well. Bonnie Faltin and Michelle Wilhelm — of organize this…decorate that! — do much of the decorating, along with the entire Krause family. Jeff and Debbie plus children Austin, 19, Mitchel, 12, Katelyn, 10, and Jenna Hope, 6, all take part in decorating their rooms, playrooms and common areas. Bonnie and Michelle take the Krauses’ ideas and decorations and do a fantastic job of creating the perfect atmosphere for celebrating the holidays.

Each room of the home is painted from a faux finish, and the entire house is furnished with antiques — all bought locally, most from Round Top. “We love buying at the Round Top Antique Show; most items came from there,” Jeff said. Krause is the owner and creative force behind the Round Top Collection, specialty folk art, which is sold in gift and craft stores across the country. Krause began creating metal hearts in his garage and selling them on the Town Square in Round Top in 1985. From that small venue, the Round Top Collection has grown into an international merchandising company.

Jeff and Debbie have been collecting Christmas decorations for 25 years. “We just love beautiful things,” Jeff said.  Many of their Christmas items came from other artists who have booths at the twice-yearly Round Top Antique Show. “It’s easy to collect when you’re in the same industry,” according to Jeff. Items from the Round Top Collection are intermingled with the other Christmas decorations throughout the home.

A circular table displaying a hand-carved nativity scene is the focal point of the living room and the first thing guests see as they enter the home. From the foyer, visitors are also greeted by a view of the house, backyard, golf course and lake, all in one breath-taking panorama. The open concept floor plan lends itself perfectly to the Krause family’s love of entertaining. “The house, which easily accommodates 150, was designed for entertaining. Our house was built to be shared,” Jeff says. An open house last Christmas for family, friends and business acquaintances entertained more than 400 guests. Krause says the annual open house keeps growing every year.

A staircase in the foyer showcases garland with bows, balls and flowers, and draws the eye to the foot of the stairwell where a creatively decorated antique sleigh elicits warmth and charm. The sleigh was found and restored by Jeff and Debbie.

The family room displays two identical trees on either side of a picture window overlooking the pool and golf course. “We take great pains to ensure that each tree is exactly like the other,” Jeff said. The home featured 12 Christmas trees last Christmas including the tree in the master bedroom, which was Jeff’s grandparents’ first artificial tree. They were ready to discard it; Jeff saved it, and puts it up each Christmas as a reminder of family holidays of his youth. Another tree upstairs is decorated in University of Texas memorabilia because oldest son, Austin, attends UT.

Jeff and Debbie change out the decorations for each season, creating memories for their children, just as Krause’s Round Top Collection helps others to create their own memories. “Our goal each season is not to just create new products but to inspire others to give and share, creating traditions and memories for generations to come,” Krause said.

A painting, visible over the fireplace in the family room, was painted by an artist who shows at the Round Top Antique Show. Commissioned by the Krauses and painted on panels from a French armoire salvaged by Debbie and Jeff, the art shows the Krause family home in Round Top. Built-in shelving in the family room showcases a collection of Old World Santas and other antique and decorative treasures picked up through the years.

A birthday cake for Jesus is the focal point of the dining room. Placed in the center of the dining table, the cake stand is surrounded by fresh floral arrangements created by Jeff and Debbie and topped with a taper candle.

The oversized utility room features a granite island in the center. Jeff says this is the favorite room of female guests. “I promised Debbie that I would build her a large utility room when I built this house. The women love it and congregate there.” Shelves near the ceiling surround the circumference of the room and are decorated with more family treasures all year long.

An outdoor living area and guest house overlook the pool, stream and spa. In addition to decorations, the Krauses freshen the back yard with new plants — all enhanced by the majestic view of the golf course.

Christmas decorations come down on Jan. 15. It takes a week to get everything down. But the house doesn’t stay bare for long. Many of the family’s treasures stay up all year long, and it won’t be long until the family starts decorating again for Easter.

“God’s blessed me with a lot,” Jeff remarked, “and we like to share.”

Urns filled with oversized candles greet visitors arriving at the front door, while white lights highlight the roofline.

Identical Christmas trees grace the sides of the floor to ceiling window in the family room. The family takes great care to ensure that both trees are exactly alike.

A treasury of festive ornaments deck out the Christmas tree in the family room. This tree is one of two identical trees in the room that flank the picture window overlooking the pool and yard.

Pink ceramic trees on the antique dining room table coordinate perfectly with the room’s pink faux paint walls. Positioned between the trees is a birthday cake for Jesus, surrounded by pink roses. An antique China cabinet and side board complete the room setting.

Surrounded by fresh roses and other greenery, a birthday cake for Jesus draws the eye to the dining room table.

A coupling of green balls and red bells hangs from the ceiling of the breakfast room, while each chair holds its own stocking ornament.

Garland entertwined with ceramic candy houses forms a swag between matching chandeliers over the kitchen island. On the kitchen counter, a hurricane lamp globe encases a candelabra and more green apples. It provides a vertical balance to the serving stand on the opposite end of the counter.

A 3-tiered serving stand sits on one end of the kitchen counter dispensing healthy goodies — and some not so healthy — but perfect for holiday indulgence.

This hand-carved cabinet in the breakfast room features Frosty the Snowman surrounded by miniature Christmas trees.

The library features a Christmas tree, mantel greenery and crocheted stockings on the side posts of the fireplace. Santa stands guard on a nearby bench.


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