This year, instead of being the usual in-house project, local business owner Rachael Melot decided to offer area designers and decorating enthusiasts a chance to dress her storefront for some holiday cash — $500.
Local boutique owner Rachael Melot, of Wystle, at 1725 N. Kickapoo, started a new tradition in her store a few years ago, inspired by New York City's annual Christmas window reveals.
“Macy's designers would showcase their work in the storefronts,” she said.
Signaling a start to the holiday shopping season, through Melot's business the festive custom has now made its way into Shawnee's annual offerings.
Using products from the shop, as well as personal items and/or merchandise from other stores in town, Melot's many windows have been providing Kickapoo drivers with a Christmas showcase each December for four years now.
This year, instead of being the usual in-house project, Melot decided to offer local designers and decorating enthusiasts a chance to dress her storefront for some holiday cash — $500.
In her first Christmas reveal design contest, Melot secured five contenders — each responsible for embellishing one of Wystle's seven west-facing windows; staff gussied up the remaining two, as well as the showroom.
Melot said she saw the opportunity as a win-win.
“We get help; they get exposure,” she said.
She also said the contest has been a lot of fun for her and her crew.
“The competitors were so amazing and it was great to see how they used their own personality and style in their designs,” she said.
But only one could win the prize.
Shawnee native and Oklahoma Baptist University graduate Astra Spanbauer was named that winner, claiming victory over her competition in Melot's holiday design challenge.
Working a simple, yet classic farmhouse vibe in window No. 6, Spanbauer's theme was the only one sans-lights.
Decked out with naturally-adorned trees, ribbons and brown paper-wrapped gifts, Spanbauer's Christmas window reflects a very organic style, merging the outdoors with simple country life.
Those same decorating techniques can be seen showcased throughout Spanbauer's Instagram page.
There she began chronicling various projects as she was decorating a home she purchased more than a year ago.
With more than 24,000 Instagram followers, Spanbauer shows her farmhouse style is one popular enough to grace a magazine cover.
Check it out; Spanbauer can be found on Instagram, at @redbrickfauxfarmhouse.
Melot said her contest was a big success.
She said she expects a waiting list on designer entries next year.