Walking in a Winter Wonderland

For Erica and Michael Dines, there's no place like home for the holidays, especially when family is near and a blanket of white covers the hills

For nearly two decades, Erica and Michael Dines have proudly called Inman Park home. The neighborhood—one of the nation’s first “garden communities” which would later inspire the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Druid Hills—is known as much for its historic character as it is for its curvilinear streets and generous public spaces. The couple’s bungalow overlooks the park, so when a rare blizzard blanketed their home last winter, Erica and Michael, along with daughters Eva and Grace and pitbull Mia, simply headed for the neighborhood’s hills to take advantage of the sparkling winter wonderland.

“The girls remember every time it has snowed in Atlanta, each time they’ve gone sledding,” says Erica. “This is the house they grew up in, and we’ve always built snowmen across the street. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, but the fields just light up in the snow. I love sitting on the front porch and watching from afar.”

Creative by nature—Erica is an editorial and commercial photographer, while Michael is an established artist known for his large-scale landscapes and still lifes—the Dines family culled their artistic aesthetics to create an unforgettable holiday display among the quietude and calm of the surrounding snow.

They began by framing their fragrant evergreen within the profile of their carefully cultivated 8-foot privet hedge (Michael’s labor of love through the years), fronted by a Puzio-designed wrought-iron gate. Grace, a middle schooler, and Eva, a college student, both craftsmen in their own right, hand-strung popcorn and applied a glittery finish before adding the strands to the tree. Also taking pride of place: Erica’s collection of vintage silver metal stars and discs and oversized antique light bulbs, while mercury glass ornaments from Anthropologie added a festive pop of color. The result is a picture-perfect wintry scene only the Dines family could craft.