At home with style

Photographs by Bob Rozycki


When it comes to home décor and holiday entertaining, even the most cursory glance around Lifestyles & Interiors by Lisa in Croton-on-Hudson provides a wealth of inspiration.

Stylish accents for the home abound, ideal for those settling into a new home for their first holiday season or longtime homeowners sprucing up their surroundings for seasonal gatherings.

Champagne flutes and ice buckets invite a holiday toast, while locally sourced artwork and distinctive lighting set a welcoming backdrop. You’re tempted to settle into an oversize couch artfully decked with an assortment of pillows, seemingly disparate styles subtly tied together by shades of blue.

Throughout the three-floor showroom within steps of the Metro-North station, owner Lisa McTernan not only offers full interior-design services but a collection of well-curated furniture, accessories, art and gift items.

WAG paid a recent visit to pick up a few tips that will not only come in handy this month but can be applied to your surroundings no matter the season.


McTernan, who can be tapped for everything from ground-up construction to room renovations to the perfect hostess gift, has a keen perspective on trends in design. She opened her shop in 2006 as an outgrowth of the interior-design firm she founded in 1988. She’s a veteran of not only New York trade shows and design events, but also attends the prestigious High Point Market, the furniture showcase in North Carolina, twice a year.

These days, she’s also sharing her knowledge, teaching interior design in the continuing education certificate program at Purchase College.

McTernan has watched times change. One year a color’s in, the next it’s out. Styles come and go in popularity. But, McTernan says, there are constants.

A home remains, she says, a “personal matter” that should “reflect the personality of those that live within the walls of the space.”

There needs to be a “master plan,” summing up an approach – McTernan likes clients to work on a look book – and making sure the elements mesh with the homeowner’s sensibility for “a home, not a staged house.”

That personal touch makes all the difference, she says.

“I’ve done a lot of show houses and in each one, I always leave a pair of shoes someplace, to show someone really lives here.”


McTernan has seen a growing move to de-clutter.

“Paring down means really choosing more wisely.”

Sure, you can still display collectibles, but instead of dozens of figurines cramming a shelf, set a few prime examples on an ornate silver tray for maximum impact.

Throughout, the overall approach to both living and entertaining has shifted.

“It’s not really about those very fancy china patterns anymore,” she says. “It’s how they set the table.”

Mod meets traditional. Classic patterns are interpreted on new pieces. McTernan, for example, points to a side table with a twig-inspired base topped with a sleek circle of glass, a “modern twist on an organic piece.”

No matter the ingredients of a room, she says all must come together and function as a whole – within the room and beyond.

“It’s all about cohesiveness from one room to the next.”

All, she says, needs to reflect the homeowner.

“You put your name on your mailbox outside, so how do you put your name – and your personality – on the inside?”

For McTernan, there are signature ways to add a subtle sophistication.

“It’s very important for me to have a continuous thread throughout a space,” she says. It might be the doorknobs or the baseboards, almost-imperceptible elements that subtly tie the look together.

She says not everyone should be doing the same thing, but “it’s valuable to know what trends in color and style are out there for inspiration, if nothing else.”

For McTernan, artwork is another way to leave a personal stamp.

“Art has become very important in a home,” she says. The choice of black-and-white photographs or vibrant abstracts gives a sense of the homeowners’ interests, personality and style. From there, take the color of a flower in a painting, for example, and echo it in accents from vases to pillows to throws.


McTernan says while the holidays are filled with opportunities to entertain, the approach should be the same no matter the season.

“In entertaining, the main thing is making people feel welcome,” she says.

And a drink, served from a bar cart topped with old-school decanters, can’t hurt.

“Ever since ‘Mad Men’ came out, the barware has gone viral,” McTernan says. “It’s very nice when people come in to set up a little bar area.”

Add candles and low lighting to further enhance the sparkling atmosphere.

These days, entertaining often heads outdoors, even in winter months when fire pits and heaters keep things toasty. Again, pay attention to décor.

“The house is extending into the yard, so you want that cohesiveness, too,” McTernan adds.

Her philosophy, as you’d expect, is exemplified in her own home, tucked amid the Cortlandt Manor woods.

Each year during the holiday season, McTernan and her husband – self-proclaimed empty nesters who raised four sons – host a tree-lighting party at which friends old and new gather with family members.

Candles lining the walkway set the mood, which continues inside with touches that might range from sprigs of greenery to acorns strewn about.

It’s a festive setting that’s become as memorable for its nature-inspired decorative accents as for the way it encourages reconnecting with those held dear.

It continues, McTernan says, the story of her family and their beloved home.

It also reflects, McTernan likes to share, the way Mark Twain once wrote of his own home, as a place that had “a heart & a soul… it was of us.”

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