“Deck My Halls”
Locals experts bring holiday flair to clients’ homes
Photos by Sally Green
When it comes to decorating for the holidays, the most wonderful time of the year can sometimes feel a bit frightful. There are boxes of ornaments to sort through, lights to untangle, and in the frenzy of everyday life, daunting holiday-decorating projects that may never come to fruition. Happily, for those short on time or inspiration there are professionals in the area who can expertly deck your halls, trim your tree, and infuse your home with holiday cheer.
We’re guessing that glow-in-the-dark Jello shots, blow-up Santas, a shot-glass ice luge, and a mac-and-cheese station don’t immediately come to mind when you imagine a typical winter holiday party. Yet for a Bedford couple who turned to La Maison Fête to pull off a December birthday party, these things perfectly fit the bill.
“It was a 40th-birthday party, and our client’s husband was obsessed with all things Clark Griswold, so we planned a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation party based on his favorite movie,” explains Deanna Marano, who co-owns the Bedford-based planning, rental, and styling company with partner Brett Cameron.
Clearly not all holiday events call for that same sort of whimsy. When it comes to simply designing a holiday tablescape, Cameron and Marano will often use a client’s own collection as a starting point. “Let’s say they have their grandmother’s china that they really want to use. We’ll find a way to make that the anchor of the table and build out around that,” explains Cameron. That may mean mixing in some contemporary pieces from La Maison Fête’s own collection with the client’s more traditional pieces. “Every client has a collection of something that we can use.”
Maureen Laning, owner of Bedford Village Florist, lets me in on the secret to a fabulously lit tree. “Most people take lights and place them around the exterior of the tree,” she says. “But you want the lights to run in and out of the tree on each branch, so you’re creating depth. That’s how you get sparkle and twinkle in the inside, as well as the outside.”
Laning, who installs lights both inside and out, takes the same approach when trimming the tree. “We sink large ornaments into the tree to create depth and put smaller ornaments on the exterior,” she says. “We’re always working the tree from the inside out, just like the lights.”
When it comes to creating centerpieces, mantels, and wreaths, she takes cues from the style of her clients’ homes and their personal taste. For many families in Bedford, that may mean birch containers filled with succulents, evergreens, and berries, as well as plenty of red and green flourishes. “Tasteful, elegant, conservative: that’s my biggest request always,” Laning says.
For the last 18 years, Angela Jobe, owner of Pound Ridge–based Earth Mama Landscape Design Inc., has been beautifying area yards and gardens. “I’ve always had an eye for form, structure, and design, and I love being outside,” she says. “I’m happiest with some dirt under my fingernails.”
While Jobe usually focuses her attention outside, during the holiday season she also gets many requests for interior work. That may mean using her signature style to decorate trees, banisters, mantels, or doorways. Everything is handmade to her clients’ specifications. “I have a workshop that goes crazy right after Thanksgiving,” she says.
It’s a business that she’s built on trust and good taste. “Most of my clients give me carte blanche,” Jobe explains. “But I respect people’s own style. The client is driving it.”
Her creations include custom garlands and wreaths, as well as planters filled with magnolia leaves, pinecones, and red-twig dogwood. “People know what they like,” says Jobe, “and want their homes to look special and happy.”