Posted Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012
The holiday season is filled with wishful thinking. Some of us muse about celebrations past; others conjure up traditions yet to come. But in the present, although almost all holiday fantasies are adrift in snow, dreaming of a white Christmas is usually as close as we get to snowflakes on our eyelashes. So, we thought, why not do our very best this year to make some part of our dreams come true? We asked three area designers to interpret our White Christmas dreams -- in high style. Their magical answers took us by (snow) storm in three holiday home decor vignettes -- a bedecked door and formal dining room; a way-cool holiday tree (and sweets-laden table); and a romantic fireside, alight with glittering delights -- all merry and bright.
Do Open Before Christmas
Sandra Sampson Interiors
Sandra Williams, owner
Charmaine Crosley, designer
3805 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Gayla Shannon, owner and designer
Stacie McCans, Robbin Lyon, associate designers
Christina Catterson, assistant
2038 Ward Parkway
When guests and family arrive at your door, designer Charmaine Crosley of Sandra Sampson Interiors suggests, answer their dreams of a white Christmas with a luxurious velvet ribbon-bedecked snow-flocked wreath. A festive door provides a warm welcome, she says, and should hint at the wonders inside -- without giving too much away. She double-flocked the wreath she hung upon the elegant carved wooden door of Sandra Sampson Williams' home, making it the perfect accessory to cast-iron urns filled with vibrant poinsettias.
Visible just inside the door, Crosley's custom-made garland of frosted leaves, iced berries and glittery pomegranates gilds the French antique buffet, a family heirloom central to celebrations in the formal dining room. The metallic accents in the runner glint in harmony with a pair of vintage brass candelabras and a silver tea set. The rich warmth of the gold and scarlet tones mirrors that of the woven tapestry above the buffet. Crosley doubled the festive fun of metallic bottle brush trees by setting them atop mirrored cake stands she used as pedestals.
Asked where one should begin a decorating project, Crosley advises: "Start with the colors in the room and work in the things you love." In the Williams' dining room, a glass table top becomes the frozen lake upon which reindeer wearing fur collars have touched down, lodging Santa's sleigh runner-deep in a snow-flocked wreath. It is piled high with sage-green, gold-embossed onion dome ornaments.
"To me," Crosley says, "a white Christmas means glistening snow, with a bit of bronzed greenery peeking through. Pomegranates are elegant symbols of the season. Bright berries shining with ice crystals are perfect accents. The decorations should fill the room with warmth and the surprise of the season."
And because she always appreciates a touch of whimsy, Crosley attached bells and a tiny red glittered pine cone to the lead reindeer's nose. "It's not Christmas without Rudolph," she says.
Trim the Tree, Hoist the Holiday
When Stacie McCans called upon collegial elves at Inside Inc. to conjure a Christmas tree inspired by a winter wonderland, Gayla Shannon, Robbin Lyon and Christina Catterson found they couldn't stop themselves at the tree. Their joy in the season spread beyond the silver-on-white glistening ornaments to a white-on-white feast that sugarplum fairies might have delivered -- marshmallows, white chocolate truffles, powdered doughnuts, yogurt raisins, embossed shortbread and more -- a raft of the season's guilty pleasures afloat on a table set for fun. Holiday foods used as tabletop decor redefine the term "eye candy."
With an eye toward a well-composed contemporary design, the team led by proprietor Shannon, a one-time music major, worked to find a rhythm -- the repetitive notes struck by silver and white -- accented by crescendos of chartreuse, all in seasonal balance with natural elements of twigs and branches enlivened with a metallic gleam. On tree and tables, crisp metallics meet and match lacy mercury glass. Here and there, the vibrant green (long a favorite of Shannon, who collects vintage pottery in the shade) was used by McCans as the amped up organic foil to the snowy scheme. Lyon scoured stores for white gift wrap, then finished the packages with a felted wire ribbon she twisted into a tree silhouette as well as artfully modern silver ornaments. Rooting the tree to the snowy forest home and the design's natural elements, St. Francis stands watch on the hearth.
Longtime partners in design, McCans and Shannon say -- often in unison -- success in decorating comes from layers and time. They set the largest ornaments close to the tree's trunk and built outward, adding the silver pine cones in different sizes, as well as sequined pine cone "jewelry." For a successful look, they say it's best to start slow, step away, maybe nibble on some chocolate and come back for another look. Then repeat. They also encourage mixing in family memorabilia and heirlooms, but say never discount the value of improvisational pieces -- when they found the floral sprays in their signature green in a decor store, they used them to explode the tree out of its too-perfect silhouette. Up top, the silvered branches do the same thing -- the burst of silver, both modern and vibrant, shouts "Celebrate!"
Southlake designer Kirstie Seddon Kofoed says her dreams of a white Christmas transport her back to growing up in the Northeast. "Rye, N.Y., generally has mild winters," she says. "But when the stars aligned and a severe nor'easter brewed, it was truly a winter wonderland." Her fireplace vignette was inspired by memories of wintry starlit walks with her then-boyfriend through a world blanketed in glistening white. The owner of Chadwick Interiors wanted her mantel and hearth designs to re-create shimmering icicles, eaves and branches in a landscape silenced by drifts of sparkling snow.
To suggest the romance and replicate the quality of light, she looked to mercury glass set into a palette of silver, white and soft green. Candle and firelight glint off glass, glitter and crystal ornaments. Swirling Tiffany crystal candlesticks on the hearth -- wedding gifts -- pay homage to where those snowy paths of 30 years ago led.
Kofoed, who was transplanted to Southlake four years ago, says that while traditional New England Christmas decor tends to be on the quiet side, she and colleague Laurie Emanuel, a native of Maine, decided to marry Texas glamour to the romance in their design. To that end, they amplified the vignette's sparkle by replacing a painting that usually hangs over the family-room mantel with a mirror. Beaded icicles and lit trees add yet another dimension of twinkle. Flocked green branches and glitter-iced leaves invoke a silvered wonderland, while frosted poinsettias, lighted trees and beaded balls, interwoven with silver and soft-green embroidered French ribbon, represent the gleam of snowflakes and icy greenery. The mantel's design is symmetrical, the hearth's asymmetrical, the two looks balanced by the matching damask patterns of the mercury-glass vases below and the embossed wax pattern of pillar candles above.
The white pottery reindeer has graced the Kofoed hearth since the move to Texas, a new tradition that harkens to white Christmases past.
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