Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really helpful to have a few small ideas ready to infuse some color and texture into your living room this time of year.

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Re-arrange your existing furniture.

This is a great time to re-configure your furniture layout, giving your room a whole new look. Start with your largest piece of furniture and place it differently in the space, then re-arrange the smaller pieces, until the perfect arrangement falls into place. Maybe it is time to pull that sofa out from the wall, depending on your space and the size of your furniture, this could work to create a more inviting arrangement. Some simple changes could be very effective and could really improve your furniture arrangement.

Add fresh flowers

I love using fresh flowers this time of year. I try to bring highly fragrant varieties of flowers into my home, a single bloom can look very modern and sculptural. A beautiful winter flower arrangement made with a mix of flowers and greens could last for a few weeks and will give your home a beautiful splash of color during the cold first few weeks of the new year.

New accent pillows.

New accent pillows.

This is a great time to try out a new color combination. Bright bold colors with highly textured fabrics can add a warm feel to your space for the remainder of the long winter months. Another option is to try a variety of highly textured neutral pillows. The texture creates a warm and inviting feel for your room.

New accessories.

If you’ve packed up and stored some of your accessories while displaying your Christmas decorations, then unpack and use these accessories in a different location. Create some new groupings mixing in a few, well-chosen, new accessories with existing pieces. This can give your accessories a whole new look.

Add lighting.

This is a great time to add some ambiance with lighting. New table lamps can be a great design element while providing additional lighting. As an example I have a great collection of candle holders and decorative lanterns that I group and create interesting displays to enjoy during the winter months. This is a great time to enjoy the glow of candlelight in your home.

Add or change out your area rug.

Adding a new area rug can do wonders to define any living space. This is a great way to add color and pattern to your living room

Custom window treatments.

During the cold and windy winter months, you might be feeling the need for a heavier more energy-efficient window treatment. With hundreds of fabric samples to choose from, we can certainly design, selective the perfect fabric, fabricate and install window treatments for your living room or your entire home.

Consider a complete living room design.

Maybe you’ve moved your existing furniture pieces around and still can’t achieve a living room space that you love. It might be time to seek professional help. Having a professionally designed living room space will be sure that everything is well planned and thought out to achieve an exact loo. This will prevent wasting money on random purchases that may or may not work for your space.

Until Next Time,

Gia

Add or change out your area rug.

From The Blog

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really...

read more

How To Store Christmas Decorations

How To Store Christmas Decorations

After the holiday season, you might be ready to start packing up those holiday decorations so you can start freshening up your home. By taking some time to organize your decorations before storing them things will go a lot smoother when you pull out those holiday decorations for next Christmas.
How To Store Christmas Decorations

1. Send a note

The first thing that I like to do before removing decorations is to make myself some holiday notes. I make some notes and schedule the note to be delivered to my inbox next year just before I start to decorate. I also make notes about anything I want to remember about my holiday card list, etc. I include thoughts about things that I might need for next year. For instance, if I need a new tree stand or if I used 15 feet of garland on a banister and next year I want to use 17 feet. I will be aware of that before I start decorating. When that note to myself arrives in my inbox the following year, I’m always happy that I took the time to write these thoughts down as I may have forgotten these things by the following year. Another idea is to take advantage of the after-holiday sales going on now and get a head start for next year!  By picking up those missing items now  you can store them for next year.

2. Removal of the ornaments

Always remove tree ornaments in the reverse order from how they were installed. For instance, if you put garland or beads on the tree last, take it off the tree first. This will keep things from getting tangled up. 

Sort and store

3. Sort and store

Sort and store ornaments so you can find things easily next year. Use a system that makes sense to you. For me, I change things around a bit every year so I sort things by color. I use clear plastic bins and sort all like-colored ornaments together.

I don’t use fancy ornament bins or holders as I have a lot to store and I need to keep things as condensed and easy to pack as possible. I use clear rectangular plastic bins. ornaments are packed in on top of a layer of bubble wrap. Glass ornaments might be packed in smaller shoe boxes or small plastic shows bins then packed in the larger bins for an extra layer of protection. 

4. Wreath storage

I store wreaths wrapped in plastic hung on the wall in my storage area. Larger more delicate wreaths are stored wrapped and placed on shelves to stack.

5. Artificial trees

I don’t use special tree storage holders or bags. I find them too frustrating and limiting with the size trees I am using. Depending on the type of tree that you have and how it is put together, I might adjust things as needed. After years of trying different things every artificial tree now gets treated the same way. I keep the whole tree together in one piece, lay it flat in the middle of a large piece of heavy-duty plastic and wrap it tightly with the branches folded up, then wrap with duct tape. The whole tree is then carried into the storage area where it will stand straight up leaning against the wall until it gets carried out next year. Trust me this works best with 2 people. Depending on where you store your decorations and how you access that area, you might have to make some adjustments to these suggestions. Small trees can be stored in bins wrapped and standing straight up in the bin.

6. Lights

Because I deal with a large amount of Christmas lights for work and I handle them often, I have my way of slightly folding them into a plastic bin so that they never get tangled. But the easiest way to wrap lights around an old cardboard paper towel roll. This prevents them

from getting tangled. This works well for ribbon beads and small garlands. I store all Christmas lights in a bin with all of the needed extension cords.

7. Bin storage

I store all of my decorations in the same sized plastic bins then all of these bins are stored on shelves in a designated area in my basement. I will never admit to the number of bins that it takes to store all my decorations but let’s just say that there are a lot of bins. A few years ago I added several shelving units and moved everything into bins that fit these units perfectly. So now everything is labeling and orderly with everything having a specific place.

Even if you have just a few decorations in your collection to store, I’m hoping that some of these tips will come to be helpful when dismantling your Christmas decor and keeping everything stored safely for next year.

Unit next time,

Gia

Artificial trees

From The Blog

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really...

read more

Wrapping A Christmas Gift

Wrapping A Christmas Gift

It might seem like a small task, but the way a Christmas gift is wrapped can add to the excitement of receiving the gift. I have to admit, wrapping gifts is not my favorite Christmas project, I would much rather be decking the halls. But I have developed a few tips that help me to stay on task, stay organized, and keep my interest when it comes to gift wrapping.

Wrapping A Christmas Gift

Set the stage.

1. Set up a gift wrapping area and leave it set up for the Christmas season. Depending on where you live this could be a small table in a room or a tray or basket with supplies that can be tucked away in a closet. In the case of one of my former projects, an entire gift-wrapping room, which was quite a luxury for my gift-giving client. The important thing is to gather everything needed so you are ready for a last-minute quick gift or a wrapping marathon.

Get Creative

2. Start by choosing a color scheme for your gifts every year. I coordinate mine to my tree’s decor. This allows me to gather paper, ribbon, etc. early on, knowing what colors I am looking for. It also allows me to shop these items after Christmas since I rotate some of my colors and decor. You might decide to color code your gift so you know who they are for or where you are bringing them. However, you decide to do it, having a system helps.

Add rich color.

Get Creative.

3. Get creative with wrapping. A few ideas that I have tried hand-painted paper, stamped paper, and using solid paper and decorating each box with metallic markers. I’ve also used extra fabric and wallpaper to wrap gifts. In the last few years, I’ve been using solid colored boxes or wrapping paper and spending most of my efforts on bows and embellishing. I’ve used live greens, painted greens, raffia, ornaments, and other Christmas baubles, satin and taffeta ribbon, I’ve even embellished gifts with sewing trim and tassels. each year it’s a little bit different depending on my Christmas decor and what remnants I have in my design studio that find their way onto a Christmas gift. I also like to make unique gift tags, but depending on the time I keep some pre-made gift tags in my wrapping area.

4. Think “out of the box”. Gift bags can be a great alternative to wrapping paper. But instead of the standard pre-printed bag, purchase bags in solid colors try to personalize it by adding trim, ribbon, metallic markers will allow you to create a unique design and could be a fun project for your kids. Coordinate colored tissue to create a finished look. A simple gift bag with a satin ribbon is quick and easy, but very pretty.

5. Keep a list of what gifts you have purchased. If you do start wrapping early you will still remember what you’ve purchased and wrapped early.

Happy Wrapping!

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really...

read more

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

Every year the Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts holds it’s holiday house tour event. Several house are chosen to be on the tour and interior designers are asked to participate by decorating one of the the homes for the event. This year I was honored to be invited to design one of these beautiful homes on the tour.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Visions of sugarplums dancing in your head”? Well, that’s kind of what it’s like when you’re decorating a holiday house.

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

The Creative Spark.

You have free reign as a designer to put your stamp on a beautiful home. The designer selects, provides and installs all decorations and you have a very small time window in which to do it. You must work swiftly and very creatively to reach the finish line under these circumstances, allowing for any creative pivots along the way.

The incredible home that I chose for the tour, yes sometimes you can choose from the participating houses, already had beautiful architecture as it is one on Concord’s best examples of pedimented, colonnaded classic Greek revival style homes. It was recently renovated and it’s larger sized rooms allowed for the perfect environment to greet holiday house tour guests.

The next step was to meet the homeowner as all of the homes on the tour are private residences.

The beginning.

The homeowner was a beautiful woman who’s smile lit up her home even before I added a single Christmas light. She graciously allowed me to use her beautiful home as my blank palette giving me free rein to create a Christmas Wonderland for the holiday house tour. This lovely homeowner also welcomed me into her home with coffee and breakfast on those 6 AM tree decorating sessions needed to make up for the schedule changes since 2 or the 3 days planned to decorate became days a major snowstorm.

At least the snow was fluffy and white, which worked perfectly with the decor!

The homeowner also allowed me to incorporate some of her beautiful things into the Decor design and volunteered to be an extra set of hands as my assistant throughout the process.

The entry hall provided a beautiful staircase and a gorgeous full-length mirror which I adorned with sparkling white magnolias and gold ornaments. A large vase at the end of the curves entryway directed tour attendees through the living room. The living room was decorated with a rich mix of jewel tones. The glistening of mercury glass and gold antique Christmas trees greet you as a series of festooned garlands hang cheerfully throughout the space. We also get a great view of the dining room where the table is set for Christmas dinner in green velvet and metallic gold. I used a multitude of complementary greens, a harlequin patterned plate and deep rich red accents complement the adjoining living space.

The smell of pine and peppermint draws you into the kitchen where the decor is all about icy pastels. I used homemade custom candy canes and old fashioned candy from Priscilla’s Candy Shop (Located in Concord and Gardner, MA) give this kitchen the feel of a dreamy sugar-coated Christmas. I am so grateful that Priscilla’s was happy to help me by providing candy in the colors I needed for the space. (how lucky am I that I have a client that owns a candy shop?)

The tree was adorned with color and organic elements giving it a fresh but nostalgic feel. The table is set and awaiting a Christmas breakfast and the island allows the perfect place to display a pastel gingerbread house.

Fresh pine wreaths align the far wall, green ribbon sparkles when the morning sun shines through it. This parade of wreaths leads your eye to the back family room. The beautiful blush pink is complemented by changing glass trees and blush pink ornaments. White snow adorns the family room tree for a fresh peaceful space.

People usually think that doing Christmas decorating professionally must be “fun”, although it has its jolly moments, in reality, it’s more like a tactical Defcon mission. In my 20+ years of experience, this must be approached with the precision of a sharpshooter, the stamina of a marathon runner, the shopping strategies of a black Friday shopper, and the ability to visualize and create numerous things at once while being highly productive at the tasks following those creative ideas.

You must also have a great ability to improvise, hang from frozen ladders in the cold, tie perfect bows quickly and efficiently in mid-air, and with a great amount of patience. In the end, it is something that I have a passion for doing.

This year’s Holiday House project was enjoyed by approximately 1,000 guests and I really enjoyed meeting all of them.

In year’s past, I have completed large commercial Christmas decorating projects including one which put me in Boston’s government center decorating Santa’s house through the night, in the rain and high winds for an upcoming event.  In recent years, I focus on only a few select Residential Christmas decorating projects per year, as the time window is small. Usually, this service is reserved for former design clients. We do book these projects in the early fall for the upcoming holiday season.

I hope you enjoy a peek into my holiday house project!

Until next time,
Gia

From The Blog

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really...

read more

How To Choose A Christmas Tree

How To Choose A Christmas Tree

Choosing your Christmas tree is perhaps the most important Christmas decorating task of the season. If you decide to use a live tree this year, it is important to do a little preparation before you head out to search for the perfect tree.

How To Choose A Christmas Tree

Prepare.

  • First, measure your ceiling height, take measurements to be sure you know how tall of a tree you will need.
  • Leave room for tree toppers and for tilting the tree to an upright position when installing, also allow for your tree stand and tree trunk.
  • Even the most beautifully shaped tree could look like a mess after having to cut half of the tree branches off to stand it in place.
  • Check your measurements!
  • Check your doorways, hallways, and stairways, be sure you have a clear path to your final destination.
  • Be sure the length of your tree will make all the turns that it needs to make to enter your room.
  • Of course, you also want to be sure you have a vehicle that can transport your tree back to your home, with plenty of cords or rope for securing your tree to your car.
  • Always aim the bottom of the tree toward the front of the car so the wind doesn’t break and branches during transport.
How To Choose A Christmas Tree

From My Experience.

I purchase my tree from a local tree farm here in Massachusetts, where choosing the perfect tree involves a long hike, down a path, into the woods, through the snow, down past a stream, and up a hill in the cold. Once you reach the peak of this hill, you can see a valley of beautifully tended live trees, all sparkling in the sunshine, and all hoping to be chosen as my Christmas tree. This makes the journey worthwhile.

Once you are deep in the woods, it can become very hard to judge the height of these beautiful trees, luckily my favorite tree farmer comes equipped with a tree measuring stick, a saw, and a pick-up truck to haul my perfect tree back to civilization. If you are fortunate enough to visit a tree farm, ask your tree farmer about the different variety of trees and about what to expect regarding longevity, fragrance, and durability of the needles and branches as this varies with each variety of tree.

Your local Christmas tree lot can also be a great place to purchase a live tree, this involves less hiking, less time, and you could also be helping to support a local cause with your purchase. Even the smallest live tree will look spectacular in Christmas lights! Once you get your Christmas tree back to your home, be sure that your tree trunk has a fresh cut before installing. A fresh cut allows the tree to continue absorbing water, after installing, fill your tree stand with water immediately, and continue daily watering.

As much as I love the fragrance and the all-day pilgrimage of finding and installing a live tree, artificial trees offer plenty of benefits. No constant dropping of needles, no daily watering, and much sturdier branches that can hold up decorations that most live trees cannot support. For someone who puts up their decorations early, an artificial tree allows much more longevity. You can also find artificial trees in every shape and size, and variety that you could get in a live tree. A quality artificial tree will look very authentic and will last many years if properly stored.

I hope you enjoy choosing your Christmas Tree!

Until next time,
Gia

From The Blog

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really...

read more

How To Prepare Your Home For Holiday Entertaining Even When Your Space Isn’t Ideal

How To Prepare Your Home For Holiday Entertaining Even When Your Space Isn’t Ideal

The holidays are here, which means it’s time to entertain family and friends.

Maybe you are opening your home up to numerous party guests, or just a few family members, it’s nice to make everything in your home feel a little more festive.

How To Prepare Your Home For Holiday Entertaining Even When Your Space Isn’t Ideal

It’s not always easy.

Just remember your home doesn’t have to be perfect to start, some well placed holiday decor can still create a beautiful environment for entertaining. I remember one Christmas many years ago, my own home was in the middle of a massive kitchen renovation during the holiday season. I was still determined to have my holiday party, even though my rough demolished horsehair plastered walls and exposed lathe in my circa 1700’s home were the only things in my kitchen space. I busied myself behind the scenes in an adjacent room, creating a series of decorated trees mounted on wheels like a stage set. When construction ended on Friday afternoon, I draped the entire space with white fabric and white lights, from the ceiling I hung a multitude of icicles, then I wheeled in a parade of Christmas trees to camouflage the room. When the sun set that evening, the glistening of white lights turned on and candlelight illuminated through the entire space.
My tented icy wonderland room was beautiful and somehow the rough textured walls only enhanced the look. Guests loved the look and had no idea that just hours before the party, trees were being rolled around the house.

Illuminate the entire space.
Focus your efforts on your table setting.

The passion.

Yes, I am a professional designer who has an extreme passion for Holiday decor and a drive for entertaining. But with a few simple steps, any space can be ready for holiday entertaining.

1. Use what you have.

Use your holiday decor to distract from the least appealing features in your home and highlight the best features of your home. If you have a beautiful fireplace, great!  If it’s not so great, use draped garlands and decor to have it complement the holiday space.

2. Illuminate the entire space.

White lights have a way of making everything look magical and pulled together. Stick with little white lights if you are trying to make a space look cohesive and pulled together. Even with minimal ornaments, white lights look great for your holiday decor.

3. Set up a buffet table.

Especially if your kitchen space is not ideal, lead your guests to another area where a buffet table can be set up. If you don’t have the perfect furniture piece for this use a folding table or even a plywood table. Once covered with tablecloths and decor this option will work great for a serving buffet.

4. Appeal to all the senses.

Your guests will always feel welcomed when they walk into a space filled with holiday music and the scents of pine or cinnamon.

5. Focus your efforts on your table setting.

Whether I am designing holiday decor for a small space or a full-scaled holiday show house or house tour, the table is always a focal point. I focus a lot of time and planning on the holiday table.

Think about what you are doing with your table setting early on in the planning process so that you can have the items that you are using cleaned, prepared and ready to go.

I have created a special holiday table setting guide for you that will help you create your own unique holiday table. Be sure to download it below.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Festive Holiday Season!

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really...

read more

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