New Castle’s Lesley Manor Decks the Halls for the Holidays
The Wright family spares no details when they decorate their New Castle manse for the yuletide season.
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All Year ’Round
With so many halls to deck, they shop for decorations all year. A favorite resource for quality ornaments is National Decorative Distributors, tucked away in an industrial park in Newark.
“They have wonderful sales several times a year,” Karen Wright says.
The family begins decorating the exterior well before Thanksgiving, harnessing a 45-foot boom lift to hang massive wreaths and garlands. Unlike Santa’s sleigh, the boom is pressed into service year-round for exterior maintenance on the mansion’s upper floors.
Inside, there is one fresh tree, the towering tannenbaum in the foyer. The rest are artfully artificial.
“It’s the only tree that is not in front of a radiator,” Karen Wright says. “We don’t have to worry about it drying out as quickly.”
The tree in the living room, the home’s original ballroom, is 12 feet tall—the ceilings are 13½ feet—and decorated with mementos collected by Barb and Marty throughout their travels in 45 years of marriage. Barb Wright’s army of nutcrackers—“I guess there are 80 or so”—stands sentry.
A conservatory retains its marble floor and tongue-in-groove ceiling. Karen Wright designed a shimmering silver motif for the space with glistening branches and strings of gleaming beads. The tree is festooned with snow-dusted sprigs of lamb’s ear and mistletoe berries.
“It’s a cooler room, so I wanted an icy feel,” she says.
The tree in the library is a tribute to the elder Wrights’ daughter, Dana, a gifted marine biologist who died 10 years ago. It is decorated with fanciful ornaments depicting fish, lobster and Cape Cod cottages, a reference to Massachusetts, where she worked and lived during her career.
An intricately detailed ceiling medallion overhead required five different applications of plaster in varying layers to achieve. The stately brass chandelier was produced by Cornelius & Baker of Philadelphia, maker of the celebrated 20-foot- by-14-foot chandelier at the Academy of Music in the City of Brotherly Love.