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Feature

Yuletide Beauty

December 2, 2015

What are the Smiths doing for Christmas?

By Susan Kehoe, Ph.D.
Photography by Gene Meadows

SEEN readers are getting an exclusive look into the holiday celebration at the home of morning radio talk show host, Paul W. Smith and his wife, Kim, who don’t often share their Christmas-card perfect home with those who are not family or close friends.

At the Smith house, Christmas welcomes you as soon as you open the door to the spacious foyer. Evergreen boughs are draped across the entrance, framing a view of the great room and showcasing the formal tree near an enticing fire. Decorated with gold and red ornaments and Christmas lilies, this room announces the traditional color theme that will carry throughout the house.

A touch of MacKenzie-Childs courtly checkered ribbon provides the black-and-white accent in every room and contributes a unifying element to the sophisticated ambiance. In the great room, the ribbon bows woven into the tree, wreath and boughs tie together a classic holiday vignette.

Kim thanks Carmen Segasser and Cathy Wood of Botanical Elegance (botanicalelegance.net) for their help with creating several of the decorations.

“They understand my style and incorporate my personal collection of MacKenzie-Childs objects by arranging a topiary in one and a holiday bouquet in another. They even help me with all the bows,” Kim says.

Off the butler’s pantry, an elegant dining room table is dressed in classic green and red. A sorbet glass for each guest contains a striking ornament that adds to the feel of the gift-giving season. The elegant gold-covered dining chairs are decorated with red velvet ribbon and mistletoe, continuing the traditional color theme.

According to Kim, the family room is the heart of the home and everyone’s favorite place to gather during Christmas. This room opens onto the kitchen and breakfast nook, but feels cozy despite its size. The family takes time decorating a special tree with favorite ornaments gathered over the years; unpacking the ornaments calls up memories they share and forgotten surprises tucked into storage.

Each of the four Smith children has ornaments that are meaningful to them. Sophie dangles pink ballet shoes over a branch, and Natalie, the baker, can’t wait to admire her cupcake ornaments. Adam, the oldest, likes musical instruments, and his brother, Jamie, hangs anything golf on his share of the tree.

Kim and Paul collect an ornament from the foreign places they travel as a remembrance of their trips together. Kim treasures a hand-carved Santa ornament made by her cousin years ago.

One of the gifts under the tree this year will be Rush Limbaugh’s new book, Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner, the latest in the Rush Revere series. Sophie is an avid reader of these historical stories told by the time-traveling Rush Revere and the chatty horse, Liberty.

Paul is one of the most respected people of Detroit radio and hosts the key drive-time slot on WJR 760 AM from 5:30-9 in the morning. The Wall Street Journal dubbed him “the king of talk radio in Detroit” and the Detroit News named him “Michiganian of the Year.” He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, among many other honors and awards.

The relationship between this couple is at once dynamic and loving. Some might even say that Kim serves as a general manager for Paul’s career by arranging travel, helping with his show and even getting up with him at 4 a.m. to prepare breakfast and get him out the door. In addition, she ensures that the kids, the house and all the charity, business and social engagements are smoothly handled. This is a couple that clearly complements each other.

“We love to be together,” Paul says. “One of the times I like best about the Christmas season is when Kim and I find that rare moment to slip away and relax in the glow of the tree and sip a glass of wine together.” NS

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