I’ve always appreciated the holiday season for the way it renews our relationship with our homes. Quiet, everyday living quarters fill with laughter, becoming bed and breakfasts for visiting family, and party venues for friends.
When decorating my own space for the season of celebration, I strive to stay true to myself and the style I have developed throughout my career. Modern minimalism mixed with traditional sentimentality is an easy descriptor–I don’t go for the usual red and green coordination with endearing figurines (although I do believe it’s possible to do this very well). Rather, I opt for a palette of mixed metals and natural elements, with personal touches that provoke conversation and stir memories.
I’ve been collecting unique silver pieces my entire adult life. Its versatility is unmatched in that it can be pulled off the shelf for every single holiday. I get creative with the vessels, filling them with various pops of color throughout the house. I’m particularly fond of vintage ice buckets. They are large enough to drop potted plants into, like boxwood topiaries, myrtle and Poinsettia, and carry them elegantly through the season. There isn’t much thought required—no matter where you place silver, its elegant glint will elevate the space.
In my own home, you’ll find pheasant feathers hiding in many places you look. For me, they are a sentimental element, and their rich brown tones and stripes add flair to every tablescape. I previously wrote about my father’s shooting club in Millbrook, NY, where pheasant was the winter game of choice. Seeing and touching the feathers hearkens me back to my childhood. Arrange them with greenery in lieu of flowers, and they will never wilt on your countertop.
Keeping the interior lively whilst everything outside goes gray is integral to a festive space. In my mother’s home, it wasn’t Christmas without the scent of Narcissus papyraceus, commonly known as Paperwhites, wafting through each room. A fragrant spring bulb in the dead of winter is pretty antithetical, which is why it’s effective in lifting the spirits. Pair delicate Paperwhites with dense, fluffy boxwood or freshly cut evergreen branches and you’ve officially brought the outside in.
Some of my favorite 19th century oil paintings seek to recall a time when fruit was not widely available. Once a symbol of wealth and decadence, the visual appeal of magenta pomegranates and sunny citrus fruits has substantial impact on a palette. It’s unnecessary to restrain them to the kitchen—unexpected placement adds whimsy.
We all know about evergreens for the winter. I enjoy pines spray and and rosemary topieries during this season, but what I truly cherish spreading across my table is a long Southern magnolia branch. Even before moving to Dallas, I loved these trees and how the branches create lush wreaths and rich interior decoration. These trees which produce famously beautiful florals in the summer are hugely underrated in the winter season. I love the dimension of the leaves—the forest green lacquer top with the earthy chocolate browns underneath—Mother Nature is a designer herself.
Speaking on interior design as a whole, cohesion in palette is key to creating a space with flow. This rule carries into holiday décor. If you’re decorating with stripes, or plaid, or mixed metals–How can you bring a little bit of that into every room? Commit to it. Oftentimes, boxing yourself in is the best way to inspire fresh ideas.
Family traditions and personal familiarities make a huge impact on the way people decorate to celebrate. As the cold weather rolls in, I would love to hear some of your personal favorites for the holiday season. Hope this look into my treasured holiday arsenal has been refreshing and inspiring–Happy Holidays to you and yours!