November 08, 2012With a chill in the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot, you know it can't be long until the holidays are here. Now is the time to start preparing your holiday decorations, and if you need help coming up with fresh ideas, well ... help is here.
Designers Nancy McKee, Caryl Cheeseman and Laura Redd delight in helping people dress their homes and businesses for the holidays and have a wealth of ideas.
Step into Nancy McKee's shop, Total Bliss in Summerfield, and you step into a magical place. The store is filled with "snow" dusted trees, woodland creatures peeking out from behind lush greenery, miles of ribbon swirled around trees and chandeliers, and, of course, Christmas ornaments of every shape, color and size.
McKee suggested that starting decorating now with an autumn theme, then transition into the Christmas season by simple accent changes. Flowing swags of pine boughs with pinecones can grace a fireplace mantle giving it a woodland feel for Thanksgiving. Then, by adding ribbon, lights, candles and colorful ornaments the same pine swag transitions to Christmas. Fall tablescapes that showcase earthy browns and golds can easily become a winter fairyland when traditional red and green ornaments are added.
While traditional reds and greens remain the first choice for holiday decorating, rich teal, lime green and silver are making steady inroads. There are touches of those beautiful colors on many of McKee's distinctive trees and wreaths.
McKee said that one color rapidly gaining popularity is a light lime-green, and she has showcased that color with a tree in her shop swathed in yards of wide fabric ribbon. Paired with silver and white ornaments, it is truly eye-catching.
Specialty trees are also an idea whose time has come said McKee. Three foot, 5-foot and 7-foot trees can be used to show off collections of ornaments. McKee shows how it's done with one of her unique trees – a "Poodle" tree. Displayed on a white 3-foot table-top tree are white Poodle ornaments, crystal teardrop dangles and tiny white lights. The tree is accented with ornaments of pink and cherry and is topped by a large bow that reflects those shades. It's the perfect tree for a little girl's room.
Another timely idea in home decor are tablescapes. Here again, you can start out with a fall theme and move easily into Christmas by changing a few accessories. One of McKee's tablescapes has a snowy woodland theme. White trees of varying heights, pinecones, white bird figurines and flickering candles are set on a burlap base. Touches of green long-leaf pine add to the forest theme.
McKee said it's a good idea to have a theme for your holiday decorating, and gradually add to it each year. She is delighted to help people who stop by Total Bliss explore the possibilities.
For the 24th year, busy elves have transformed Caryl's Pool and Spa on Lawndale into Caryl's Christmas Shop. Caryl Cheeseman's shop is a winter wonderland of holiday decorations and ideas. Traditional favorites like the Santa tree and the snowman tree are once again on display – it wouldn't be Caryl's without them – but exciting new designs are also on show.
Caryl's artificial Frazier furs, balsam and long-needle pine trees are specially made for her, as are the lights that adorn them. The lights are made right here in North Carolina, close to home in Kernersville, and Caryl says they will last for years.
The sturdy artificial trees hold an amazing array of unusually large ornaments. Silver angels, wire reindeer, and metal baskets with candles are easily supported by these trees. They will hold your heaviest ornaments with ease.
Peeking out from within some of those trees, and Caryl's woodland themed tablescapes, are snowy white owls. Caryl said the owls are extremely popular and she carries a good selection of the feathery creatures.
Angels too are perennial favorites. Caryl has a wide variety of angel tree-toppers, lighted angels and angel figurines. There are also black angels and an entire African-American church scene complete with angels, a robed choir, an organ, preachers and congregation members in pews.
Santa is larger than life in Caryl's, not only on her Santa tree, but also standing full-size next to his wire sleigh and reindeer. The cheerful red of Santa's suit is echoed throughout the store in many of the wreaths and tree decorations, but there is one tree where the red just pops right out at you. It's Caryl's whimsical "I want it all..." tree. Don't miss it
And be sure not to miss Caryl's upside down tree. Festooned with jewel-tone globes, twirling mirrored icicles and feathery ornaments, this tree is gorgeous, but definitely different. Talk about a unique idea.
Although Laura Redd doesn't have a shop you can visit, she is filled with creative ideas for the holidays. Redd is big on repurposing items you have in your home. She helps her clients rethink items they already have, and shows them how to use them in totally new ways. She said that holiday decorations should be very personal – a reflection of who you are.
An example at her studio in Revolution Mill was how she turned a summer's glass beverage dispenser into a stunning Christmas centerpiece. Redd filled the large glass container with Christmas flower stems and bows. Add colorful round ornaments in the base to hide the stems and, voila, a lovely centerpiece for your tablescape.
Redd said she likes to use natural elements for decorations, and she will look for flowers or foliage in a client's backyard that she can incorporate into her schemes. She will even take apart a previous floral arrangement and redo it. A great suggestion for those with artificial trees is to tuck a few real pine branches in the tree to give it that delightful smell of pine everyone loves.
A challenge Redd says she often encounters during the holidays is how to display holiday cards in something other than a basket. She came up with the idea of painting a narrow louvered door and inserting the cards in the slats. She used this idea in the Chic Chateau house she helped decorate, and it was very popular.
Redd also said teal and lime green are popular colors for this holiday season, but said that traditional red and green remain the backbone of holiday decorating. And, like McKee and Cheeseman, Redd said that theme trees are very popular. She said she has seen Victorian trees, Barbie trees, Hallmark ornament trees and trees done all in one color element.
Holiday decorating is limited only by the imagination, but if you need help in that area, don't hesitate to call upon these experts.
Nancy McKee's shop, Total Bliss, is in the Old Summerfield Shopping Center on US 220 N at the intersection of NC 150 in Summerfield. Her website is www.totalblissonline.
Caryl's Christmas Shop is at 2616 Lawndale Dr. in Greensboro and her website is www.caryls.com.
Laura Redd Interiors is at 1175-12 Revolution Mill Dr. in Greensboro. Redd is booked for the holiday season, but be sure to contact her for your interior decorating needs in 2013. Her website is reddinteriors.com.