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

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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

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Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

As we see the last colorful leaves of fall hit the ground and the temperatures dropping along with them, we know that the holiday baking will soon begin. Whether or not you have recently renovated your kitchen or you have not quite gotten around to committing to a newly designed and renovated kitchen, holiday baking and cooking will be a lot easier with a well-organized kitchen space. Here are a few tips for preparing your current kitchen for the holiday baking season:
Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

Start your holiday off right, aware and organized.

Deep clean your kitchen
Your kitchen will soon be covered with flour and filled with the scents that come along with holiday baking. However, if you give your kitchen a thorough deep cleaning before the holiday baking marathon begins, this will make for a quicker cleaning up after baking or cooking and will certainly make entertaining prep time a little shorter.

Make your holiday baking list
Make a list of all of the recipes and goodies that you will be baking. Compile a list of now perishable ingredients list and stock the kitchen now to avoid all those last-minute dashed to the grocery store. This is also a great time to organize your holiday recipes, over the last few years I have been photographing my old recipe cards and organizing them in digital folders for easy access. I use Evernote, but you could also use other cloud storage so you can retrieve them from any device and share them with family members easily.

Sort through your pantry or cabinets
Remove everything and wipe out the pantry, then sort and re-stock everything. Discard any expired items and make a list of any items needed. Those opened boxes of baking soda and baking powder should be replaced before you start baking. Be sure your sugar, flour and brown sugar are fresh by restocking these items if needed.

Dive in.

Organize your bakeware
While you are cleaning things out, organize all your bakeware. Figure out what pieces you will be using and be sure they are easily accessible. You might want to update your cookie sheets or add a few more to your collection to speed up the baking process. Find that special tart pan now before you are in a hurry to start baking.

Organize and refresh your spices
Whether your spices are stored in a cabinet, pantry, or drawer, it’s likely this area needs some attention. Discard any spices that are not fresh and update with what is needed for the season. You don’t want to run short on ginger while baking those gingerbread cookies.

Clean off your kitchen countertops
This is a great time to clean off those kitchen countertops eliminating any unnecessary items (holiday decor is considered a necessary item) and give yourself some space for baking. If you keep your mixer stored, this might be a great time to keep it out on the countertops where it might be getting a lot of use.

Clean out your refrigerator
Give yourself the added storage space that you might need for your holiday baking supplies and for extra food storage, give your refrigerator a quick cleanout. This is also a great time to stock up on food storage containers for those baked goods and any holiday leftovers.

Check your appliances
Be sure that all of your appliances are in working order, arrange for any necessary repairs. Don’t wait until for the last minute to call for appliance service, this is a busy time of year for servicing.

As you are going through the holiday baking season, make some notes of how you can set things up differently making things easier for next year. Knowing the limitations of your current kitchen can be helpful when preparing for next year or for when you decide to redesign and renovate your kitchen space.

Happy Baking!

​Until Next Time,

Gia

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10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

The days are getting shorter, the kids have gone back to school, and there is a slight chill in the evening air. All signs of early Fall. Soon the landscape will be painted with broad strokes of Autumn color and before you know it we will start spending more time indoors as fall ushers in the cooler winter air.

This is a great time to start to cozy up your home. Here are a few tips to make your home a little more warm and welcoming:

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Add a mix of textures.

Change out the throw pillows by adding tactile soft textured pillows to your sofa or bed.

 

Change out the throw pillows by adding tactile soft textured pillows to your sofa or bed.

Change out or layer area rugs. By adding area rugs you are able to soften up the look of your rooms. This also provides an additional layer of warmth on those cold evenings. Choose textured rich colored rugs to define and warm up the space.

Change out your bedding. Add flannel or fleece sheets for extra warmth. Add a big fluffy down (or down alternative) comforter. This is a great time to upgrade or replace your bed pillows.

Add a few cozy throw blankets to the living room or any area in your home where you might use them.

Re-arrange the furniture or plan to makeover the living room with a new design. This is a great time to makeover the living space. The winter will bring holiday entertaining and you will most likely be spending more time indoors, so you will be sure to enjoy your new space.

Add rich color.

It’s all about color.

Add rich color. Rich vibrant color can surely warm up your home for the fall and winter season. A punch of color in fabric or accessories can add a cozy warm feel to your space and can help you transition your decor come holiday decorating time.

Change out accessories. Move your existing home accessories around to freshen up your space. Add a few accesses that tie in any added color that you bring in with fabrics and area rugs.

Switch out your window treatments. Transition into the cooler weather with heavier window treatments.

Add scented candles for a little added ambiance.

Start thinking about your holiday decor (I have certainly started planning my own holiday decor as well as the holiday decor of some of my clients). The holidays will be here before you know it. Start thinking about your holiday decor now so you can have an idea of what you would like to do when the time arrives.

Until Next Time,

Gia

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10 Design Tips and Ideas For Spring.

After a long winter, the first few days of warmer weather bring a glimpse spring. These early spring days are met with excitement and anticipation from everyone who lives in a northern climate.
But these previews of spring remind us that it is definitely time to do a little work on your home’s interior.

Here are a few Design Tips and Ideas for refreshing and updating you home in the Spring.

1. Do a thorough spring cleaning. Add a few tasks to the normal cleaning routine, Washing down baseboards, lighting fixtures, and windows. Professionally clean your area rugs. winter takes it’s toll on the inside of your house as well as the exterior. Doing a complete cleaning will make everything look great. Clean out closets and cabinets, you’ll feel great once everything is cleaned and re-organized.

2. Change out your throw pillows on you sofa or chairs. A new mix of colors and patterns, using vibrant spring colors can really add some energy to the room. These can easily be switched out, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Add a decorative throw to pull the look together.

3. Move your accessories around. As you might be doing a bit of spring cleaning, this is a great time to create some new accessory arrangements. Add a few new pieces or just move the pieces that you have into a new arrangement.  Show off some collections that might be hidden away in cabinet, a grouping of colorful vases or glass can freshen up the space.

4. Update your living room room with a few pieces of new furniture and custom window treatments. The options are endless. This will be less costly than a complete renovation but will totally transform your space.

5. Add flowers or greenery. Fresh flowers and greenery are great to incorporate into your spring decor when you can, even a few well chosen faux florals can add a little long awaiting Spring color to your room.

6. Organize your mudroom or entry area. Winter boots and coats can be cleaned, stored and relocated.  Update or clean the entry rug. Plan and create some much needed storage with bins or built in cabinetry, so that next winter you will have this area a bit more organized. Change out batteries in all smoke/carbon dioxide detects since they are often located in these areas.

7. Update the master bedroom. Change out the bedding or plan a complete bedroom re-design. With a quick design meeting, we can help you plan and implement this project quickly, creating a luxurious master bedroom. changing or updates your colors in this space can give your bedroom a completely different look.

8. Add a few new decorative lamps, or just change out those old lampshades. This is a great tip to freshen up any space. Replace any light bulbs that might need replacing.

9. Prepare for your next renovation project. Spring and summer is a great time for kitchen and bathroom renovation projects. The warmer months allow for some outdoor grilling and dining while that new kitchen is being constructed. Also, planning that bathroom renovation around you vacation might allow you to avoid some of the inconvenience and coming home to a nearly completed renovated bathroom might be a great way to end your vacation. Meet with design professionals now to start designing that new kitchen or bathroom space!

10. Don’t forget to decorate your front door.  A fresh coat of paint a new front door wreath can remind you and your guests that Spring is here. Also, this a a great time to replace the welcome mat, try something fresh and colorful. Show your personality with your selection.

5 Tips To Refresh Your Home In January

www.designsbygia.com

After the holidays, it always seems a little sad to see all the holiday lights and decorations disappear from your home.
Even though as a design professional, I have been installing holiday decorations since October, I still don’t like seeing the Holiday colors and lights fade from my own home.
I’ve found that it is really helpful to have a few small ideas ready to infuse some color and texture into a home this time of year.

1- Re-arrange your furniture – this is a great time to re-arrange some of your existing furnishings, 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 affordable and could really improve your furniture arrangement.

2- Add Fresh flowers- I love using fresh flower 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.

3- 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 is try a variety of highly textured neutral pillows. The texture creates a warm and inviting feel for your room.

4- New accessories- If you 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.

5- 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 together and create interesting displays to enjoy during the winter months. This is a great time to enjoy the glow of candle light in your home.

I hope these tips help you to refresh your homes decor!

5 Tips To Refresh Your Home In January

Gia

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