Deck the Hall-Stuart Home
A merry Miller Neighborhood Christmas
Photos by Carli Wentworth
Bruce Hall and Mike Stuart moved into Oklahoma City’s historic Miller Neighborhood just over two decades ago, and its residents have been reaping the benefits ever since. The couple has been instrumental in chairing events and holding leadership positions for the Miller Neighborhood Association, and they also own more than a dozen rental properties in Miller, which they began purchasing in order to improve and help stabilize the area. And although it perhaps goes without saying, their holiday décor is the stuff of legend.
“We really began decorating at Christmas as a way to honor my mother, who died just prior to Christmas in 1996, the year before we bought the house,” Stuart says. “Our first Christmas in the house was also the first anniversary of her passing, so Bruce suggested decorating in her honor to help me get through the holiday, since Christmas was her favorite time of year.”
They started out relatively small, but over the years, things have progressed to the state of beautifully executed yuletide frenzy seen today. “It varies from year to year, but we always have five or six Christmas trees throughout the house, and we decorate the whole house,” Hall smiles. “We can’t take credit for all of it, though. Mickey Barnard has been our decorator for years, and he’s done our Christmas décor and the rest of the house.”
Hall is a safety coordinator with Lopez Foods, and Stuart is the vice president of marketing for Impressions Printing. The couple met in 1996, when both lived in the nearby Cleveland historic neighborhood. Stuart was an avid jogger, and Hall was a regular dog walker. Their paths crossed, at first by accident, and then not so much. Stuart and Hall were married on their 21st anniversary, in January of 2016.
Their home was the original homestead of George Miller and his family, built in 1915. Miller initially farmed the land that is now Miller neighborhood, but platted it before statehood, with the idea to develop it later.
When Hall and Stuart bought the house, the neighborhood was not at its best. They found their home one weekend, thanks in part to a quirky habit of Stuart’s. “Mike was bringing me lunch one Saturday. He hates to wait at stoplights and will just turn and keep driving just to avoid them and keep moving. I was at the fairgrounds at Buchanan’s Antique Market, and he was coming from our old neighborhood, Cleveland. Well, he turned and saw the house for sale. There was an open house that weekend – and we made an offer that day,” Hall says.
The rest, as they say, is history. The two are very active in the Miller Neighborhood Association, and laughed that when they first moved in and became involved, they were the young folks. Fast forward a couple of decades, and they’ve been so involved for so many years that neighbors affectionately refer to Hall as “the mayor of Miller.”
The Hall-Stuart home perches gracefully on a corner of one of Miller Neighborhood’s wide, tree-lined boulevards.
(clockwise from top)
• The home has been a part of many Miller Neighborhood Home Tours. Stuart and Hall had thought the handcrafted living room mantel possibly was original to the home, but on one of the many tours, they met a gentleman who had assembled and placed the piece, solving that mystery once and for all.
• Even the chandeliers are given special treatment at Christmastime. This one, in the dining room, is one of three chandeliers on the first floor that are original to the home.
• Festive decorations can include more than merely lights and tinsel – even collections of ordinary objects can show off the holiday spirit.
• The wide staircase with its polished steps and banister is perfectly appointed with boughs of greenery.
The former sleeping porch upstairs is transformed each year at the holidays and has enjoyed a variety of creative themes, such as Winter Wonderland, Icicles and a holiday lodge motif. This iteration features multiple silver trees and vintage lighted figurines.