Home & Garden

Deck the Cupola

We tip our hats to one of our favorite Charleston decorations


A custom-made Santa hat adorns the cupola of Rebekah Stewart's home each December.

While many decorators opt for wreaths on windows or strings of white lights hanging from porch awnings, one Charleston, South Carolina, homeowner has taken Christmas decorations to another level—quite literally.

“You can’t look at the house and not see a Santa hat on it,” says Rebekah Stewart, owner of the four-story dwelling at Meeting and Tradd streets that sports a custom-made red and white hat atop its Victorian cupola each December. She bought the house in 2002 and began her Christmas tradition a few years later. In 2013, she also incorporated a witch’s hat for Halloween. “The cupola lends itself to its seasonal hats,” Stewart says. “They’re naturally built into the architecture.”

The building was constructed in the Georgian style in the mid-eighteenth century, but after Bertram Kramer, a Charleston building contractor, purchased the home in 1884, he covered the façade in Victoriana, expanded it a story, widened the windows and doors, and added the pointed cupola. “It’s such an enormous house that any smaller decoration would be out of scale,” Stewart says.

Locals and visitors alike enjoy Stewart’s creative take on holiday house trimming. “I get the sweetest notes from neighborhood children all the time—even strangers,” Stewart says. “It brings cheer to anybody who walks by.”