If you squint, you can almost see Santa, and glimpsing Santa’s sleigh among these spectacular sweeping views of the Vermont mountains doesn’t just seem possible, it seems probable. In this house it is just as easy to imagine the jolly old elf himself sliding down the great room’s massive 3-story granite fireplace to put gifts under the tree as it is to see him throw open the arched French front doors, stand upon the swirling patterned rug in the foyer, and shout, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!”
“In winter it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen,” said Kirsten Lambert about the house she and Philip, her husband of 30 years, worked multiple jobs to be able to afford.
Perched on 83 acres along the Saratoga Wilton border, this 7,000 sq. ft., 7-bedroom, 9-bath dream home is all about entertaining at Christmas.
Kirsten was due to be born on Christmas (but she came early) and her middle name is Noel. During the holidays, she hosts two dozen people.
“Luckily, all of our family celebrates together so this is the place where people can come and sleep and know there’s enough room,” she said.
Surprises in Different Shapes & Sizes
The property was purchased in 2011, and seven years later, the house, built by Witt Construction, was complete.
Originally intended to start out as a separate home and garage with a temporary dividing wall, it was decided that adding the lodge portion at the same time as the rest of the construction was the wiser choice.
A lot of time went into deciding the property’s layout and the couple was delighted to discover that the view of the firepit and pool from the sunroom with the mountains beyond them created an infinity effect.
Another surprise, far from a delightful one, was figuring out how to put a driveway on a hill that goes straight up for a third of a mile. Boulders were brought in and positioned along the driveway because Kirsten was fearful that winter’s icy conditions would cause vehicles to slide right off the edge.
A seemingly infinite table (which actually seats 24!!) is framed by the stone archways dressed in garlands and set with dishware that took Kirsten years to collect.
Last year, as family came from as far away as Germany and El Salvador, the weariness of their travels were melted away with a steaming hot bowl of soup.
“Philip always makes something a little different each year. It’s always a surprise (sometimes to him, as well!)” said Kirsten.
Because their four children have now all grown and moved out, Christmas is by far the biggest meal this couple cooks all year.
“It’s all charts and graphs, I plan everything,” said Kirsten. In addition to the traditional dinner, she preps several different breakfast casseroles to throw into the kitchen’s two ovens on busy mornings and uses the two islands to make serving them up to the group a breeze.
“They’re fancy and it’s fun, wholesome food but I don’t have to think about it too much,” she said.
Christmases Great and Intimate
The spirit of fun fills the Lambert house at Christmas as the games, coined the ‘Lambo-Olympics’ commence. Different every year, they have included silly competitive activities involving Christmas crackers, balloons, and even toilet paper.
Guests can continue the fun downstairs in the game or movie room or move into the great room where a 15-foot tree beckons. A feat to decorate, each year Kirsten leans precariously over the balcony and contorts herself through the banister rungs to reach the branches.
“It’s complicated to put up but looks really pretty with the lights and the fire going,” she said.
Behind the fireplace is a bar made of interesting mushroom wood, a library loft, and the “Harry Potter” bathroom (so named because, when seen from the first floor, it is quite hidden from view).
It is the home’s smallest rooms where the Lamberts spend most of their time. They use the butler’s pantry more often throughout the year than the main kitchen area and like to have a second Christmas in the sunroom. Here, plaid blankets hang from an antique ladder perched against the wall creating a cozy atmosphere where they can take in that amazing view.
In the office, the smallest room of all, a wall bench provides yet another place to sleep (which Kirsten took advantage of when they first arrived but their furniture had not). The master bedroom is located at the other end of the house, away from the noise. Drop lights dangle above the angular master bath tub, which looks out to the woods. Whose footprints are those I see in the snow…?
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