BACKSTORY: For the past 15 years or so, Robert Campbell and Donald Daniels have turned their charming 1921 Cotswold Cottage-style home in Pleasant Ridge into a holiday fantasia, with four glittering main trees on three levels, miles of LED lights, and countless friends, family, and neighbors streaming in and out to toast the season.
PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY: Starting about mid-November, Daniels, the music director at Royal Oak’s First Presbyterian Church, starts getting out all the decorations, stored in 20-some giant bins, and begins decorating, which takes about a week. Then Campbell, a realtor with Max Broock in Birmingham, hits the Royal Oak farmers market for fresh-cut greens: pine and fir boughs, magnolias shipped up from the South, and seeded eucalyptus, all of which fill the house with heavenly scents.
O, CHRISTMAS TREES: The couple has been collecting ornaments for more than 20 years. Their collection includes bulbs from J.L. Hudson’s, the Somerset Collection in Troy, their travels to Palm Springs, and gifts they’ve received from friends. Each of their trees has a theme. In the living room, the Radko tree is filled with hundreds of mouth-blown, hand-painted ornaments from Christopher Radko’s Eastern European studio. Each ornament denotes a special memory. The tree in the study, near their Pewabic-clad fireplace, features natural and handmade décor. In the Arts and Crafts-style lower level, a large tree and several smaller ones set off another cozy fireplace bedecked with custom-made Pewabic tile and a lit-up Christmas village.
COPPER COUTURE: The two-story tree off the dining room in the conservatory is the pièce de résistance, with giant copper bulbs and lights whose reflections flicker on the glass walls and ceiling. “I’ve heard our neighbors say, ‘It’s not Christmas until the tree is put into the conservatory,’ ” Campbell says. The copper ornaments accentuate the room’s terra cotta floor tiles and the dining room walls’ copper-leafed faux painting, done by Royal Oak artist Michael Pawlowski, who also did the gold-leaf treatment on the ceiling of the study.
BARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING: McFinnigan, the couple’s spunky Yorkie, is the quintessential party animal, greeting guests and just being his adorable self.
ON KEY: After the crowds thin out from their parties, Daniels, who also works with Campbell at Max Broock, plays “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on the piano, and the remaining guests sing along. “It’s a great way to get to know our neighbors,” Campbell says. “With only 1,100 homes in Pleasant Ridge, it’s so special. Your neighbors quickly become your friends.”