My favorite part of the holidays is the decorating and entertaining. Because I love to entertain, I start the decorating early. In that way, you can take your time and be creative in the process. So, as Thanksgiving arrives, the Christmas season has already begun in our home. While the Christmas tree glistened with its white lights twinkling the Thanksgiving table was aglow with various squashes carved out to hold oil candles and flowers.Miniature pumpkins from Pottery Barn added holiday joy to the center of the table.
On one of my many walks along the Erie Canal I gathered the most beautiful colored fallen leaves of purple, green, gold and orange. Some of my most favorite colors. I brought them home and put them into pages of books to dry. Weight the books down with something and voila a month or so later you have dried preserved leaves. I reuse them year after year. The art of napkin folding has always intrigued me. The napkins add a special finishing touch to a festive table. This year I used silk berries and leaves with burlap ribbon cut in half to make a fringed edge. I folded the napkins into a cornucopia shape and placed them on the plates.
Special touches abound all around…..For me, holiday decorations are also the glasses, plates, and flatware. These are the fine details of decorative interior design. Each place setting usually has placecards, and a small wrapped gift. This year I made the most wonderful pumpkin bread.Each small loaf was put into a pint size rectangle wood berry box I purchased online from Garnish Inc. I wrapped them with burlap ribbon and silk berries I used on the napkins. Water infused with pomegranate seeds and sliced apples in my infusion pitcher from Crate and Barrel provided a nutritional thirst quencher and added a special touch of color. I let the mixture cold steep overnight in the refrigerator.
Finally the most important special touch was my ten and a half month old grand niece joining us for her first Thanksgiving.
There’s something magical to me about the holidays. Whether I’m entertaining neighbors or family and friends, people who attend our parties love it, because they don’t usually decorate to the extent that I do. There’s something truly magical about their joyous attitudes and sparkle.
I frequently receive calls from new clients to help them combine two households. Marrying at a later stage in your life can be a real challenge especially for an Interior Designer. In the summer of 2005 I married for the first time in my late forties. I was lucky though, the moving van pulled into my new husband’s driveway and they loaded a grandfather clock, an antique Stickley bookcase and his television.
Ellen Griffin, a New York based Interior Designer married later in life as well and her husband was moving from a 400-square-foot bachelor pad with no furniture. “The perfect husband for a decorator,” she jokes. My thoughts exactly!
My husband Rick, will tell you, it’s an everyday adventure being married to me. I replaced an antique table in a room located off, what I call, the heart of the house. The room has a beautiful bay window with a view of the lake. This room, I have deemed my husband’s man cave. It has his favorite worn leather chair and ottoman and his television. A quote by Mary Sarton states, “A house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless.”
Needing a place to store his paperwork and books, I replaced the antique table with a piece from one of my companies, Somerset Bay. It has a small drawer for pens and chargers and two doors for storage. It made him very happy.
Ok…so here’s the downfall to being married to an Interior Designer. I was at a client’s home and saw a glass plant stand against one of her kitchen walls. I thought wow, wouldn’t that piece from Somerset Bay look fantastic there!
Yes, you guessed it… The next day, I said to my husband, “Can you help me load your new table in my car?” I got the “look” from him. “Don’t worry honey,” I said, “I’ll order you another one.” The piece worked beautifully in my client’s kitchen and she loved it. A table that added storage for my husband’s books and paperwork in the den also worked in my client’s kitchen giving her additional storage and a place to place a lamp.
I’ve always felt that rooms should be welcoming spaces that delight the eye and put you at ease. Whether they are a blend of neutrals or vibrant colors, minimalistic or organized clutter, you want rooms that invite you in revealing their beauty slowly.
The most refreshing spaces, whether a bright kitchen or a classic garden, soothe, surprise and delight.
Properly placed furniture leads you into a room without creating walls. Properly placed, it should invite conversation. A beautiful home that’s loved and cared for immediately puts you in a good mood.
One of my favorite things to do is helping clients rearrange their furnishings. I love visualizing where pieces could be moved to create this feeling of surprise and delight. With my vision, I see moving an extra table with two chairs away from the dining room table and chairs to a location in front of a window that’s across the room and has a beautiful view of your garden. The table now has its own space and in the winter on Sunday’s you could enjoy your newspaper and coffee at the table. Yes, we will have to move your baby grand piano but, I have a great spot for that too!
Delight your senses. Have me come and take a look at your room. I’ll leave you with a quote by Samuel Johnson. “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.” I second that emotion.
Well it’s been quite a busy summer – One fun “project” I worked on was a beer and baseball themed shower held at my home for my niece, Tracy. I always love a challenge and this was a good one.
Coming up with new ideas for her theme of beer and baseball was the challenging part. To enhance my senses, my husband and I took a day trip to the town that has every souvenir you can think of for baseball…..Cooperstown. I had never been there and what a lovely place it was. So amazing we have such beautiful towns so close to us. We enjoyed a scenic lunch on the veranda of the Otesaga Resort Hotel. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a trip to have lunch and enjoy a glass of wine by the lake.
My husband, who’s such a good sport, followed me around as I meandered in and out of shops. In one shop, I found a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle of the United States with all the baseball stadiums. My mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law, Len worked diligently putting the puzzle together before the shower as I was using it as part of my centerpiece.
Nestled behind a building and downstairs, we came upon the Chocolate STUDIO. One of the owners, Heather made the most adorable chocolate half back, peanut butter filled baseball candies for my favors. So very cute and so very delicious!!
As we were walking past a shop I wasn’t going to stop in, the owner spoke to us as she sat outside with her dog. I explained I was looking for things for my beer and baseball themed shower. “Please go in she said, you might see something.” Well I’m glad I did. Most of their products are made in the State of New York. I found an 8″ round baseball cutting board made in the Catskills from New York hardwood. The artists laser engrave the distinctive baseball stitching and “Cooperstown” in a vintage baseball font. It was a perfect raffle drawing prize.
So many creative people out there….
I can’t thank Katrin Naumann enough for her artistic talent. She painted an entrance ticket booth for my front storm door. On the backside, which faced into the house, she put; “Had a ball/Catch you later” How fun is that!
I love collaborating with the ever so talented, Nanette Haynor from Whistlestop Florist who created the flowers for me. When we get together there’s electric sparks as our creative juices flow. I just loved the mums formed into a baseball that I nestled inside a baseball glove. The flowers in the pot for the centerpiece carried the bride-to-be’s color theme. Nanette used dried pincushion flower pods in the arrangement as we kept the round baseball theme going. I bought Pottery Barns wooden caddy holder for part of my nieces shower gift. Inside each cubby was a beer bottle filled with flowers.
I have so much fun with the decorating part of the event…..The dessert was predetermined after I found baseball cupcake liners and banners. My sister, Barb, who is an excellent cook and baker made the wonderful assortment of cupcakes with decadant frostings.
I love surprises and what a great surprise it was…Grace, My friend Dina’s daughter, came decked out in a Yankee uniform to do the traditional call out of “POPCORN, PEANUTS and of course, CRACKER JACKS…..
With all the rain we had I was hoping it would be a beautiful day so the guests would be able to gather for conversation and lunch on the deck. As you can tell by the picture above and below it was a glorious day indeed.
Do you have an event coming up? Make it extra special for the recipient by not only holding the event with food but also by setting the stage for the theme. It enlightens the guests senses and really enhances the party.
Would you like me to help you with an event? Give me a call…