Home for the Holidays

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Seasonal Tips from Designers

Local designers offer fresh and festive tips for seasonal decorating.- By Somer Flaherty

If your Christmas tree looks more gloomy than gleeful, it may be time to heed the advice of three of Laguna Beach’s designers who have revealed their top tips for making any home merry. Plus, festive decorations provide the perfect setting to enjoy a cup of tea or glass of eggnog and spend time with family and friends—a true highlight of the season.

Chris Woodburn:“The lines between seasonal and everyday décor are blurring,” says designer Chris Woodburn, whose design aesthetic is comfortable and highly practical, which is perhaps necessary given she has offices in both Laguna Beach and in New York. “The economy has forced many of our clients to ask for items that they can’t only use for the holiday but all year round.” Chris says large hurricane vases filled with silver beads and white pillar candles placed everywhere in the home and clustered in sets of threes and fives are one example.When it comes to the Christmas tree itself, Chris offers the following thoughts: “Flocked trees are one of the most beautiful trees to have in any home. What’s wonderful about these trees is they are gorgeous even undecorated for a more streamlined look. Trees are also going the more minimal route this year. Instead of a traditional pine, we make shift trees out of beautiful branches and wire. In our New York office, we use Christmas tree wall stickers in apartments that are really tight for space.”Sheldon Harte:Sheldon Harte has been an interior designer for three decades and has been settled in his Glenneyre Street design studio for the last eight. With solid footing in local design ideals, we asked him for his best holiday decorating tips for Laguna Beach homes.

“I think live flowering plants and greens add vitality, and the scents create that wonderful aroma that says ‘Christmas,’ ” he comments.

When it comes to accenting winter décor, he says: “I like to use a combination of natural and metallic things for high contrast and textural tones.”

When using candles: “Place ornaments in large vases or group them together in different kinds of cache pots and then sprinkle candles amongst them to give a festive flicker of light,” Sheldon suggests.

Annie Speck:

“Keep it fresh,” says veteran designer Annie Speck of holiday décor. Annie, who has worked with everyone from the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia to local Laguna Beach clients and big-name international hotel brands, says your holiday décor should compliment your home’s décor.

“Splurge on candles and votive holders for the holidays,” she says. “For a party, scatter 50 little candles all over your main rooms and dim the lights! You should also cluster your holiday decorations rather than having Christmas knick-knacks all over the house. And during the holidays, fill your home with fresh pine, not just the Christmas tree! Pick up sprigs of cedar, fir and eucalyptus and create wreaths, garlands and floral arrangements.”

If you’re in the market for a new tree, here is her best tip: “Go bold and purchase a colored tree! The bright fuchsia or deep red trees are just a party in and of themselves.”

making merry memories

Seasonal accents set the stage for celebrating with friends and family. – By Somer Flaherty

Each of the three Laguna designers interviewed in this issue had one common design aesthetic: Less is more. Create interest by carrying a common color palette throughout the seasonal décor—Harte loves hues like red, cream, green, silver, plum and silvery gold. You can create more room in your holiday budget by shopping at wallet-friendly local stores like Pier 1 for the filler items needed for the tree or home, Woodburn says. Whatever your approach to holiday decorating, remember what’s most important is the memories you create along the way. LBM


Poinsettia décor piece, available at Pier 1 (8072 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Coast; 949-497-7428; pier1.com).
Krenit bowl by Normann Copenhagen, available at Vertigo Home (1854 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-494-7547; vertigohome.us).
Festive tea lights, available at Laguna Candles (3038 Mountain View Dr.; 949-494-9049; lagunacandles.com).
Holiday collection candelabra, available at Tommy Bahama (400 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-376-6881; tommybahama.com).
Holiday floral table decorations, available at Laguna Fine Florist (540 S. Coast Hwy., Ste. #105; 949-464-0509; lagunafineflorist.com).

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