Built in 1932 as a winter retreat by Charles Austin Buck, the estate was acquired by Bok Tower Gardens in 1970. The 20-room Meditarranean-style mansion is decorated for the Holidays and is celebrating its 25th year of the home tour. The entrance hall shimmers in silver to celebrate the 25th Anniversary.
For this year’s decorations, they’ve brought the beauty of the outside, in. Spectacular trees are decorated with birds, forest creatures and of course, citrus. Peacocks that used to roam the gardens were an inspiration, too. Original paintings by local artist Blair Peterson Updike are hung throughout the house, inspired by the beauty surrounding the gardens. New this year is The Secret Garden featuring fairy houses and trees for the birds.
I sat down with Ginny Dunson and Patti Bostick while they were putting the finishing touches on the estate one afternoon. This was a collaborative effort between Dunson, Bostick and Bok Tower that has been going on all year. Dunson and Bostick have been involved with decorating Pinewood Estate for five years. “It’s such a privilege to be here, it’s an honor,” Bostick said.
“I’m an interior designer and have been in business for 34 years. This is so fun and special that I can be so creative every year,” Dunson said.
“I think the most unique thing is the pineapple tree. That’s a nod to our Southern roots and hospitality,” Bostick explained. They hope the guests will feel the warmth and coziness of the house and be inspired by something they’ve seen.
Erica Smith, Director of Marketing & Public Relations added, “What makes this year unique is that they extended beyond the walls of the estate. We’ve never done a secret garden before and it was their vision to say christmas exists outside of these walls. Porches are decorated, there’s something on the inside and outside.” She continued, “They work tirelessly, without them, there would be no home tour.”
Tours are Nov. 29 - Jan. 5. Adults $25, Children 5-12 $12.
Bok Tower Gardens
1151 Tower Boulevard
Lake Wales, Florida 33853