For Barb & Ron Ferger, decorating their warm, loving Colonial in Ocean Pines is a sentimental return to the innocent wonders of childhood
Barb Ferger is as organized as she is extroverted. It’s fortunate, considering how much she loves Christmas.
Barb keeps a list of holiday-decorating tasks and records the dates she accomplishes them. Her list shows the first job was to clean the large cut-glass collection on the coffee table in the living room. Next, she freshened her wreaths — a formidable task considering there’s one for every window in the two-story white Colonial she shares with husband Ron in Ocean Pines.
Both former high school teachers from Anne Arundel County, the Fergers did the opposite of many retirees: They bought a bigger house and kept all of their possessions.
Neither Barb nor Ron, both 70, regret it. They are as busy and fulfilled as when they worked full-time. Active within the Ocean Pines community, they host frequent happy hours and kayak in Manklin Creek, just behind their house. Ron plays platform tennis with the recreation association, and the couple join in other social events within the community.
‘SOMETHING I JUST REALLY ENJOY’
Barb’s love of the holidays is a holdover from childhood. Her father made a production of Christmas morning, setting up lights and a video camera — ensuring everyone was picture-perfect in festive pajamas — before she and her siblings were allowed to open gifts. It cemented the excitement of the countdown to Christmas in Barb’s mind.
Now, she and Ron are passing the tradition to their grandsons. When Cole, 11, and Rory, 8, visit at Thanksgiving with their parents, Kevin and Suzy Ferger, the festivities begin.
“The grandkids always do the train village,” says Barb. She sets up the tiny buildings, and they do the rest.
Sharing the fun with family and friends may be the best part for the Fergers, and Barb goes all-out with her décor. The kitchen wall is transformed with Christmas plates, garland and bows; the French doors to the sunroom are hung with wreaths; holiday flower arrangements top the pine table and black granite island counter. In the den, the brick fireplace is topped by an antique mantel reclaimed from a Baltimore-area house Ron helped demolish.
The coastal-blue dining room with Chippendale-style furniture, hardwood floors and an Oriental rug offers a poinsettia-themed table shimmering with plates, linens and stemware. Ribbon and bulbs in Barb’s signature pink, gold and red colors enhance the antique-style candle chandelier. A pink-and-gold wreath and gold candle wall sconces accent the crown molding, chair rails and wall panels.
Outside, trees and bushes are ablaze with white lights and red ornaments, and luminaries line the brick-paver pathways. There’s a swag over the door and wreaths with red bows, pine cones, poinsettias and berries. Grapevine reindeer pull an antique, filigreed, wrought-iron sleigh filled with packages Barb has wrapped. Purple and gold bulbs in the shrubbery are further evidence of Cole and Rory’s decorating influence.
Of course, the home’s holiday centerpiece is its main indoor Christmas tree: A towering lighted creation in pink, white, gold and burgundy, with crystal-style garland and decades of collectible ornaments. An angel garbed in white tops the tree, her lighted halo so close to the ceiling, the golden glow is reflected back onto her. Beneath the tree are beautifully wrapped packages with pink ribbons. When holiday guests arrive, it’s a show-stopper.
“Even the men will look at the tree and go, ‘Good grief!’” she says. “But it’s something I just really enjoy doing.”
Barb and Ron collected many ornaments themselves on cruises in different ports. But, friends also know Barb’s love of all things pink and Christmas.
“If anyone sees a pink ornament in their travels, they’ll get me one. There’s probably not room for one more ball on the tree, but when I see pink…,” she said, trailing off with a laugh.
‘NEVER STOP DREAMING’
Barb and Ron feel that decorating for the holidays wouldn’t be nearly as joyful without plenty of people to share it with. After celebrating around Thanksgiving with their son’s family, the social season with friends begins.
“Moving down here changed our lives, as far as the social aspect, as far as all the people we’ve met,” Barb says. “It’s a much wider group of people.”
Along with being admitted “crazy house people,” the Ferbers are “people people.” They love remodeling and decorating their dream home, which has been featured in the Baltimore Sun’s “Dream Home” real estate section. But it’s not to increase the resale value of the house.
“We do it for us,” said Ron.
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