Design in Line Magazine

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This blog is the magazine devoted to design focusing on floral. Most designs featured are from SouthWest regional chapter AIFD designers. Some High profiled national and international designers will also be featured from time to time in addition to art and artists from other mediums. Also fantastic gardens and interesting stores are visited. This is the Chapter's public and floral industry outreach project. A bimonthly digital magazine is emailed to all subcribers. The blog site will feature an extension of each issue with extra articles, and pictures. Enjoy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home for the holidays

Decorating a client’s home for Christmas challenges the creative spirit and also tests the professional in each of us. It is very personal to go into someone’s home blending floral materials with their own decorations and treasures. This farm home was particularly interesting as they had so many antique ornaments and furnishings that they wanted to incorporate. Decorating the trees took time and extra care as each ornament had been individually wrapped and packed away from last year. Some were very valuable and had to be handled extremely carefully. Thick quilts were put on the floor under the tree while we were decorating to make sure that if an ornament dropped it wouldn’t break. You know you have their trust when they let you decorate the tree.

In addition to the photos shown we decorated the beautiful farm kitchen that had a huge fireplace with a mantel that was lush with long needle pine and oversized pine cones. The hearth held a small evergreen decorated with vintage gingerbread men. These cookies were 30 years old, carefully preserved each year. A stunning red poinsettia gave the traditional punch of red to add to the festive atmosphere. On top of the hutch a crock held branches of fresh cut cotton and a basket of oversized cones. Fresh bay wreaths adorned the windows and herb plants in metal pails filled the counter below. Oranges spilled over an antique wooden bowl on the island table. Cone garlands swaged the opposite windows and additional large cones and pine festooned the wooden chandelier. The decorations were simple and did not have a “designed” appearance.  The goal was to make it look natural and it did.

Each bedroom had holiday touches. The master bedroom mantle was also decorated with fresh boxwood topiaries and lush garland. A huge custom made magnolia wreath hung over the four posted bed. Its simplicity was stunning as it fit into the environment perfectly. Guest bedrooms held an array of crocks filled with magnolia branches or cyclamen plants in stone pots. Another small Christmas tree was placed on an old trunk in the upstairs hall and decorated with hand made angels, the base draped with an antique quilt.

Outside tall red dogwood branches filled the clay pots on the deck. Another fresh tree was put on the lawn the covered with bright large colored light, you know the old fashioned kind where the bulbs screwed into the sockets. Fresh wreaths were put on the barn and more cut trees with lights were put in tubs at the barn entrance. Mailbox and welcome sign at the head of the road were also draped in fresh garlands with cones and ribbons.

For the house tour each visitor left with a cupcake decorated with a fondant poinsettia and individually boxed. A lovely touch that I’m sure will be remembered. It was a fun project, not because it was intricate high style design, but because it really felt like Christmas in the Country and making it happen was a lot of work but fun. The owners were thrilled and the 400 people that went through the house for the tour were “wowed”. It truly was charming.

This farm has plenty of real animals, sheep, goats, peacocks, chickens, roosters, guinea hens, so it only seemed natural to add a few more. Using wire frames, floral foam and chicken wire created a base to hold the boxwood which was pruned after the form was covered to add detail. The antlers were covered with reindeer (so appropriate) moss that was bound on with monofilament. A festive wreath of bells added the perfect finishing touch.

The squirrel was an addition we couldn’t resist. The mechanics were the same as the deer and he just sat on the rock wall and welcomed each visitor. The unexpected “squirrel” was a big hit!

In addition to the majestic Christmas tree filled with antique ornaments, the living room had a lush mantle treatment of permanent evergreen and berries anchored with two antique crocks filled with dried hydrangea. The windows sported cone wreaths while the sills were laden with blooming plants in interesting containers accented with mosses. On the coffee table was a lush arrangement of roses, hydrangea and berries to finish the look. It was a wonderful mixture of fresh, dried and permanent materials to give a very natural feeling.

The entrance was another interesting combination of materials. Permanent garlands of evergreen and berries were accented with a linen ribbon. The antique chest held a large vase of crimson peonies and ivy that kept company with the “owl” and the cowhide on the floor.

Here we have a close-up of the beautiful plants on the widow ledge in the living room. Fragrance was added to the mix with the lovely scent of the narcissus. Ivy topiaries graced the collection and added a little touch of formality.

These photos show only a portion of the house. Wreaths and trees with light and red velvet ribbons were added to each barn and pigeon house and a gracious urn in the woods along the road leading to the house was not forgotten. Filled with Magnolia and Ilex it welcomed each passing guest. These details made working in this home an unforgettable experience.



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