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

Featured Project-Voted Most Popular!!

Designs By Gia Interior DesignThis space saving, classic kitchen, that we completed 2 years ago, is loaded with traditional charm. It has recently captured the attention of Houzz viewers making it the 6th most popular kitchen on Houzz in 2019.  This kitchen has now been published four times, twice as a featured project on Houzz, and it has also been featured on Bob Vila.com as part of a recent article, and again yesterday as a featured article. Since this kitchen seems to be a viewer favorite right now, so I thought I might take you behind the scenes a bit to tell you a little more about this project and the design of this kitchen.

This kitchen lives in a beautiful classic 1800’s home.Designs By Gia Interior Design. The current owners, my clients, were not in love with the 1980s remodel that was done by the previous owners of this home as it stripped the kitchen of any of its traditional architecture. It really didn’t blend well with the rest of this beautiful home. So after working with them on numerous other projects throughout the home, these long-time clients turned to me to design and build their new kitchen space.

I created a design plan creating a beautiful large kitchen, expanding the space into the adjacent rooms and opening up to the backyard. My clients loved this design plan, but other projects took precedence, so after a few additional years, my clients were now ready to proceed with the kitchen project. Their overall goals for the property did change since we first looked at this project, and my clients decided that they did not want to enlarge or expand the small kitchen by opening it up to the adjacent rooms, as this would mean losing an adjacent study and bathroom. So, I went back to the drawing board to create a kitchen in the existing kitchen space that fulfilled their new goals and created a beautiful functional space within the existing kitchen area.

Designs By Gia Interior DesignThis kitchen design consisted of additional storage and cabinetry, additional countertop space, and a small space to sit and have a cup of coffee in the morning. We added new cabinetry, which now extends to the ceiling removing the old soffits. We worked around 3 existing doorways which were to remain in place, old radiator piping which remained, and we replaced the 2 existing windows with larger windows which were more proportioned to the space and took full advantage of the natural light. Careful planning allowed for additional cabinetry adjacent to the peninsula, which added more storage. A metal pegboard in cobalt blue created a small pot rack on the side of the refrigerator panel, creating more storage.

This new design, like my former design, honored this home’s traditional architecture but added light, and a fresh feel to the space using updated colors and material selections. A custom mix of glass tile created the backsplash, white quartz with the look of classic marble, created a classic but user-friendly countertop. A white porcelain farmer’s sink is a focal point in this kitchen, custom window treatments, maple flooring, and gleaming hardware added to the milky white cabinetry allowed this kitchen to now blend with the classic architecture in the rest of the home. New stainless steel appliances were also added, and really update the way this kitchen looks and functions.

The adjacent pantry area was also renovated, just off the main kitchen, we removed old dark pine cabinetry, added a doorway to the adjacent dining room which created a better traffic flow through the home. We designed and installed beautiful custom navy blue cabinetry with lots of storage and counter top space, which the owner uses for entertaining.

Designs By Gia Interior DesignDesigns By Gia Interior DesignDesigns By Gia Interior Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My clients are now loving this newly renovated kitchen space. This new kitchen contains many of the elements of a much larger kitchen and melds beautifully with the rest of the house which we have also designed renovated over the last few years.  Finally, my client’s get to enjoy their new kitchen space as much as they enjoy the rest of this beautiful home.

Gia

 

Setting The Table For Easter

Step 1- Choose China or Dishware
Creating a beautiful Easter table starts with choosing dishware. You can mix a few china or dishware patterns together or use just one pattern. If you are starting from scratch, white plates are a great choice because they are so versatile. You can use white plates and dishware with so many different tablecloths and flower options to create different looks for every holiday throughout the year.

Step 2- Choose a Tablecloth
Use a solid color or a boldly patterned fabric that will complement your dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t want to use a tablecloth, look for some inexpensive placemats. You could also add color and texture with a table runner. Choose something that pulls together your color scheme.

Step 3- Create a Centerpiece
Arrangements of spring flowers make a great centerpiece. Individual blossoms of spring color and also be grouped in individual vases to create a great Spring table arrangement. Choose one color or use a mix of 2-3 colors. Use something unusual to hold your flowers, an old antique pitcher, a clear canister filled with jellybeans can add lots of colors and create a fresh springtime look. Also, remember to create a centerpiece that allows you to see everyone at the table.

Step 4- Choosing Glassware
When creating an Easter table design, we can’t forget about the glassware. I believe that glassware one of the most important details of your whole table design. Whether you are doing a simple table setting for a casual gathering with just one piece of glassware per table setting, or a formal dinner with numerous pieces, this adds sparkle and dimension to your table design. If numerous pieces of glassware are being used, I like to vary the heights as much as possible, but be sure to keep all glassware pieces proportioned to each other, this creates movement and balance across your table. Choose clear glassware or a color that complements your table, I like to mix colors to create a nice balanced yet interesting look. Glassware doesn’t have to be expensive, there are so many options to choose from when purchasing, think about your china colors coordinate your selections with items that you already own. Sometimes I use different items at each place setting, don’t be afraid to mix and match. You might only have 3 glasses of one style and 3 of another but if you alternate each place setting, it will look cohesive.

Step 5- Decorative Details
Add personality to your table by adding decorative details. With the addition of 2 young grandchildren in my family, numerous types of bunnies, both chocolate and gilded, have once again appeared on my Easter table. Use what you have, heirloom salt and pepper shakers, napkin rings, unique items that pull together the entire look of your table. It can be fun to incorporate meaningful items from family members, like great grandma’s crystal bowl, filled with candy or flowers. Just be sure it all ties in together in theme, color and proportion. Too many different things together will look cluttered and messy. Layer your table carefully, and just like putting on jewelry, if you are not sure, remove a piece. A little decorative detail goes a long way when mixed with the other elements of your table.

Tips For Hiring An Interior Designer

Tips for hiring the right interior designer.

Hiring an interior designer isn’t always as simple as just calling the closest interior designer in your town. Interior Designers vary greatly in their range of services and areas of expertise.

Here are a few questions that you can ask to determine if you have the right designer for your project.

What area do you specialize in?

Hire the right type of designer for your project. Some designers specialize in a specific area of design, for instance furniture arrangement and procurement, some designers might focus on just custom draperies, some specialize in producing a specific style or look. Others might be decorators specializing in a quick spruce up, some might specialize in staging houses for the real estate market.

Companies like mine, specialize in designing residential renovation projects, including kitchen and bathroom design and renovation, and some also provide full service options, providing everything down to the furnishings in these renovated spaces if desired.

All are interior designers, all with varying skill sets and interests. So consider the type of project that you are looking to do, and reach out to a designer who specializes in this area.

What type of experience does your designer have?

So, you’ve asked about what the designer specializes in, but now, you should also ask where their experience lies. Be sure a designer designing your master bathroom has actual experience designing bathrooms for clients. Just because someone has learned design principles in school does not mean that they have experience working with clients, or designing and implementing complicated design and construction projects at a professional level.

One of the main benefits to hiring an interior designer is that you will benefit from their experience in the field. Be sure your prospective designer has the experience needed to design your project.

Is the designer you are considering a full time designer who owns a business or a freelance part time designer who only does projects occasionally? 

Both could have great design skills, but the full time designer will most likely have more resources and vendor connections to bring to your project and will be able to complete your project more efficiently. Most full time designers will cover a wider service area depending on the geographic location, and many will travel well beyond their area of service to reach clients that need a designer with their area of expertise. Also, just as in any other well run business, a good designer also has processes in place to help the client reach their goals and ensure the outcome of the project. This is very important because clients sometimes armed with more enthusiasm than knowledge sometimes want to skip important steps in the process.

A full time, established designer knows where the common pitfalls are in the design and renovation project and has implemented organized systems and processes in place to avoid these pitfalls and guide the client through the project without jumping around and making mistakes.

This is not always the case with designers who only do projects occasionally, this is also why many contractors shy away from working with part time designers.

How responsive is your designer?

Does the designer get back to you in a timely manner to answer questions? This becomes even more important when you are in the middle of a large project or renovation. Be sure you use a designer who shows professionalism and communicates with clients and contractors efficiently.

You also want to be sure to hire a designer who listens to your initial thoughts and ideas about your project.
Are you being asked about your desires and needs for the project? Is the designer listening and responding to create a design that reflects your personal taste? Or, are they trying to sell you on a hot new trend that they are dying to try out?

Sometimes a client’s initial ideas might need some enhancement or may not be possible due to construction or budget constraints but a good designer definitely listens and hears what the clients goals are, and uses their skills to create a design that is right for the client, communicating throughout the process and creating something that truly reflects the client.

  • Invest a little time and money by hiring the designer you are considering to come out to your home for a consultation.  Most professional interior designers do charge for this service as they are always providing value with their ideas when they visit your home.
  • An onsite design consultation can give you an opportunity to see how the designer works.
  • Ask the designer for some general thoughts about the proposed project or about some other design dilemmas that you might have in your home.
  • Ask some of the questions provided in this article and see how comfortable you are with the meeting.

Hiring an interior designer can be the best thing you can do to ensure the success of any design project. We are a profession of passionate, creative, and inspired individuals who aspire to please their clients. I hope some of these ideas will help you to find the right professional for your project and help to clarify that not all designers are in fact created equal.

Gia 

Best of Houzz 2018 Winner- Designs By Gia Interior Design

Designs By Gia Interior Design of Boston, MA • Houzz Press Release

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World.

Boston, MA. January 18, 2018 – Designs By Gia Interior Design of Boston, MA has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

The Interior Design and Build Firm was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

Designs By Gia Winner Best Of Houzz 2018
Designs By Gia Winner Best Of Houzz 2018

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2017. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2018” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Designs By Gia Interior Design……. Bringing your style to life.”

About Designs By Gia Interior Design
Owner/Designer Gia Milazzo Smith established the full service interior design firm in 2002 after 10 years of experience in the industry. The 16 year old firm specializes in Residential and Commercial Interior Design. Their services include, Complete Interior Design development, Custom Kitchens and Bathrooms, and Complete Build and Project Management services. Designs By Gia Interior Design believes that a space should convey the personality and tastes of the owner, and function to meet the needs for which it was designed. A well designed space will work to enhance the lives of those who use it, providing both comfort and inspiration. Their firm will work with you to create a space which meets all of your design needs.

Free Design Tips

Submit your email for free design tips and announcements!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Areas Servicing

Massachusetts  •  New Hampshire  •  Connecticut  •  Rhode Island

© Designs by Gia   |   508-847-6221   |   Contact Us 
Designed and Developed by inConcert Web Solutions   |   Site Map   |   Privacy Notice