Even before the vast expanse of subtle accent lights are installed and each holiday decoration is meticulously placed in its proper spot in the house, the North Arlington dwelling that belongs to David and Susie Sargent is awe-inspiring.
Indeed, for about 10 months each year, here’s what the owners, neighbors and visitors see: a 2.5 acre lot and a 7,500-square-foot structure that contains four bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, two bars, a theater and an exercise room – all spread over three stories.
And that’s just inside.
Outside, there’s a beautiful pool, a guesthouse and a deck from which the Sargents can see heaven – or, at least, their heaven-on-earth view of the Trinity River flowing a short distance from their backyard.
Nestled in the Forest Hills subdivision, the Sargents’ home is part of a safe, friendly neighborhood, the kind that is spotlighted in magazines because of the views of sunsets – and the vistas, in general.
All that noted, what really makes the Sargent home spectacular is what they do with it beginning each November and continuing throughout the succeeding month. If you turned to this story and took a while to get to this text, you know exactly what we’re talking about. The Sargent home is a standard bearer when it comes to elegant holiday decorating.
“We love the Christmas season!” David says with enough emphasis to warrant an exclamation point. “We love the lights, music and celebrating our Lord’s birthday. We used to do everything ourselves but now have a lot of help, saving the special touches for us to do.”
The help comes from a variety of artistic friends, not the least of whom are Patrick Walsh and Jim Carpenter, owners of C&W Antiques in Grand Prairie, where some of the finer holiday decor in the world temporarily resides before moving to homes like that of the Sargents’.
“Patrick and Jim are great with ideas for decorating, gifts and unusual decor,” David says.
The Sargents also call on Pettigrew Luxury Furnishings in Dallas, which attends to the chandeliers. Aaron Phillips, owner of Terra Firma, takes care of all the special landscaping. Designer Tony Houston, who frequently works with C&W Antiques on holiday projects, helps with the Christmas trees.
The inside of the house gets the most emphasis during the decorating process. Each holiday season, the Sargents make a point to put out a couple of nativity scenes, as well as trees and Santas. “One scene is hand-carved olive wood from a recent trip to Israel,” David says. “That nativity scene was purchased in Bethlehem.”
David, president of the Grand Prairie-based pavement marking company Stripe-A-Zone, says he and Susie simply want to help others enjoy Christmas the way they do.
“We strive to create a sense of ‘special celebration’ centered around family, Jesus’ birth, great food and the excitement of the grandsons,” he says.
To that end, they welcome family and friends to the home during the holidays for … well, a special celebration.
“The week before Christmas we have all of our family and several friends together, between 40 and 60 people,” he says. “Even Santa stops by on Christmas Eve. Our kids and grandkids, who live nearby, come for more family times and gift exchanges. I love seeing the magic in each grandson’s eyes as his surprise is opened. On Christmas day, we have a traditional Christmas dinner.”
Both David and Susie have their “special spots” in the home. At any given time, David enjoys the ambiance provided by the bar and the theater indoors and the sunsets and the river views from the deck when he ventures outside.
During the holidays, he is partial to the front yard and the entryway that welcomes guests and suggests to them that they are about to visit a place that gives special meaning to the term “elegant holiday magic.”
“Susie’s favorite part is sitting by the fireplace listening to music, enjoying the spirit of Christmas,” David says.
In the end, he says, enjoying the spirit of Christmas is at the heart of their decorating endeavors – and their home, in general.
“What makes a home special during this time of year is family,” he says. “You finally slow down to all come together.”