See our 2019 coverage of The Old Lucketts Store’s annual Design House event here.
The hunt to find that perfect backdrop for the requisite annual holiday card can be a challenging one. Do you use that candid shot from your spring break beach trip? Do you wait until after Thanksgiving and take your chances that the kids will smile sweetly in Santa’s lap? For many Northern Virginia locals, the answer lies in their annual trek to The Old Lucketts Store.
“It’s their tradition. We hear stories of families that have been coming for so many years,” says Suzanne Eblen, who owns the antiques store and vintage market in Leesburg.
Eblen and her husband bought The Old Lucketts Store—which served as the town’s general store among other things through the 1950s, but had since been abandoned—in 1996 and gave it new life. Eblen and her business partner, Amy Whyte, run the store and the duo has a particular knack for sourcing and modernizing antiques. Over the years, they’ve also expanded the store, which is now home to more than 30 independent antiques vendors.
“When we go buying together, something magical happens,” says Eblen. And then, “we can’t believe this is our job,” they both say simultaneously.
Fourteen years ago, they bought a farmhouse adjacent to Lucketts and turned it into a design showcase. In what feels like an incredible logistical feat, Whyte, a self-trained interior designer, completely makes over the two-story, multi-bedroom house nearly every month. Fans come from near and far to get inspiration and shop the design house. But it’s the annual holiday event that’s built the most buzz and created the aforementioned place for Christmas card pilgrimages.
Starting in September, Whyte empties the house and starts prepping it for its annual holiday unveiling. Room after room is transformed into a winter wonderland of Christmas cheer. Twinkling lights, holly jolly Santas and sophisticated winter scenes all come together to create a destination shopping event that brings home decor fans from Northern Virginia and beyond.
Outside, Whyte and Eblen create a number of themed backdrops perfect for posing. Last year’s scenes included an oversized fireplace and “It’s a Wonderful Life” painted in script across one of the property’s barns.
This year’s design house will open its doors Nov. 9. Whyte and Eblen are tight lipped on what you’ll see, but Whyte will share, “We’re always trying to go over the top.”
It’s fair to say this year’s crop of holiday cards will be the judge of that. // The Old Lucketts Store: 42350 Lucketts Road, Leesburg; luckettsstore.com; Holiday Open House and Winter Market, Nov. 9-11 and Dec. 7-9