House Tour: Merry Makers
While running a business from their rural Iowa home, a young couple keeps the holidays spirited (and sane) by staying true to traditions.
As with most families, December is a whirl of activity for Meg and Chad Gleason: crafting gifts, wrapping packages and rushing boxes to the mail. But that's only the business side of their holiday. As founders of Moglea (pronounced MOH-glee), a letterpress stationery and home goods brand, the couple's peak order season converges with what can be the most hectic time at home. Yet the Gleasons find ways to carve out downtime with their kids-Ev, 5, and Shepard, 7-and a team of employees who are like family. What's their secret? Sticking to nostalgic traditions … and plenty of eggnog.
Family Matters "We want the holiday season to be special for Ev and Shepard, even if we are working more than usual," Meg says. That means trips to The Nutcracker and a tree farm, and festive touches from the family biz, like a forest of painted chipboard trees (above) that come in a kit.
Simple touches Chad and Shepard assemble a paper chain advent calendar kit. The kids will remove a ring daily until Christmas.
Meg wraps gifts in her own Moglea papers, with watercolor swoops and motifs inspired by moss and trees. ("I often get ideas for designs after I go for a run," she says.)
In every room, plants mingle with subtle holiday touches, like paper ornaments adorning a wall (above) or tiny bottlebrush trees and metallic balls tucked in the countertop terrarium (below).
The holiday playlist spans Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Amy Grant and Sufjan Stevens.
Modern homestead Chad redesigned the Gleasons' home and built Moglea's studio on his family's farm in the western Iowa town of Audubon. "We loved the thought of raising our kids in a small community and working with family," Meg says. The quiet prairie setting makes it easy to keep Christmas low-key. The Gleasons re-create cherished childhood memories like baking Meg's grandmother's Christmas bread and listening to records.
Silent nights After Ev and Shepard decorate the tree-ornaments lovingly hung in a cluster in one bottom-front spot-they head for bed. Meg and Chad take that time to sip milk punch cocktails or share a cheese board. And, Meg admits, "We always end up evening out the kids' work."
Chad's been strumming since he taught himself in high school. "We always have music around," Meg says. "He often plays for the kids."
Studio mixer Meg and Chad's home is adjacent to their studio, where 15 employees design, assemble and ship Moglea products. The business has living quarters for interns, and the staff eat together every Friday. At Christmastime, Meg batches up her spiked "Chegnog" (Chad and Meg, get it?), and she and Chad make a warming meal of beef stew or chicken noodle soup with biscuits. Then they all watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. "Moglea feels like a family," Meg says, and that means preserving traditions-even the silly ones.
4 decorating inspirations
Light bright Wrap string lights around a metal wreath form to create a twinkling wall accent. Crafts stores sell affordable forms in a variety of shapes and sizes.
O Christmas tree Air plants function as living ornaments. For a garland-like effect, spray-paint tree lights' cords a bright hue (remove bulbs and stuff sockets with cotton).
Winter wonderland For custom-colored bottlebrush trees, use fabric dye such as Rit or diluted stamping inks, which come in dozens of colors at crafts stores. Dip to dye.
Pretty paperscapeMoglea's product line (seen throughout this story) includes ornament and calendar kits and wrapping paper, plus photo-card templates available on Minted.
Dining room Pendant Hektar. Ikea (ikea.com). Table Bjursta, color: brown-black. Ikea (ikea.com). Sheepskins Rens. Ikea (ikea.com). Paper trees Table Forest, pattern: Holly Jolly, set of 3. Moglea (shop.moglea.com).
Kitchen Light fixtures TT-102 Cord Aurora. Nud Collection (nudcollection.com). Lamp holders Classic White. Nud Collection (nudcollection.com). Stools Henry Counter Stool. Industry West (industrywest.com).
Living room Wall art Grey-G. PLTY (pltyplaytype.com). Chair Eames Molded Plastic Armchair Rocker Base, shell finish: white, rocker finish: maple. Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller (store.hermanmiller.com).
Family room Couch Tillary 6-Piece Sectional, fabric: chenille tweed, color: Feather Gray. West Elm (westelm.com). Sheepskin Rens. Ikea (ikea.com). Rug Venice Shaggy Rug, color: Goldenrod. Rugs USA (rugsusa.com). Ornaments Painted Ornament, color: Holiday Dot, set of 8. Moglea (shop.moglea.com).
Paper goods and holiday decor Advent calendar Countdown Chain. Moglea (shop.moglea.com). Gift wrap (clockwise from top) Moss Drip, Black Forest, Art School, set of three 19x27-inch sheets. Moglea (shop.moglea.com). Hanging ornament Painted Ornament, pattern: Snowfall, set of 8. Moglea (shop.moglea.com). Photo card template Swirl and Loop Holiday Cards. Moglea for Minted (minted.com). Garland Bunting Set, pattern: Holiday Dot, length: 12 feet. Moglea (shop.moglea.com).