As part of its annual design to support local neighborhood associations, The Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula, California, decked out four family homes in the San Francisco Bay Area in fresh seasonal exhibits to showcase the work of local designers. From bay leaf garland wrapped around a stair handrail into hot-pink acrylic plastic name cards, here are lots of ideas to use for your holiday gathering.
Ready for New Year’s Eve
Designers: Martha Angus and Eche Martinez, Martha Angus Interiors
In this 5,000-square-foot Menlo Park house, the designers needed to mention a chic and festive New Year’s Eve ambience to match the homeowner’s contemporary taste. All the extra holiday pieces will transition well into a yearlong countdown. Martinez says, “We wanted to concentrate on what might look great throughout the day and wished to design with items the client can maintain and repurpose.”
The homeowners’ extended dining table is made up of three different enameled outdoor tables out of Sue Fisher King to allow for simple reconfiguration. The festive centerpiece is a group of baby cypress trees and geometric glass trees which bring a different perspective into the time-honored Christmas tree shape.
Artwork: Eche Martinez; pendant lights: Plug Lighting
To make the tablescape, Angus and Martinez rested deep purple silk flower balls in the San Francisco Flower Market on mercury glass vases from Crate & Barrel. The metallic placemats are made from cut safety paper from Tap Plastics.
On every table setting is a napkin wrapped using a hot-pink personalized acrylic ornament. The names are composed using a Sharpie marker and may be removed with alcohol for the ornaments to be reused. Custom acrylic ornaments can also be found hanging around the tree and as accents around the house.
Mercury glass Animations: Raj, Crate & Barrel; silver trees: Paz, CB2
Serving refreshments is easy with this double-door 1950s white lacquer pub from Vermillion. The family who resides has traveled throughout the holidays for the last eight years, and they’re eager to celebrate Christmas at home for the first time with their three young kids.
Reinterpreting the more traditional green and red palette, Angus and Martinez utilized purples, oranges and turquoises to complement the present metallic accents. A Saarinen Tulip Table at the corner is a dedicated children’ dining and play place.
The house has been created by Palo Alto architect Steve Borlik and can be a brand new spin on the California ranch. The floors throughout are walnut.
The spacious living room leads out to the yard, including an outdoor dining room and a fireplace. In keeping with the contemporary stone tones, Angus and Martinez additional baby chartreuse cypress trees and glass ornaments as an easy outdoor centerpiece. The backyard includes artificial turf and a play structure for the kids.
Acrylic plastic is used for all these gift boxes, wrapped with glittery organza ribbon. An arrangement of narcissus covered with moss and lively birds dresses this up living room console.
Hint: “Make sure the small areas get just as much care as the larger societal spaces,” Martinez says. “Create romantic moments in areas which are not in the principal spaces for adults. And do not neglect to have something special to the children.”
White glitter wrapping paper: Paper Resource; grosgrain and silk ribbons: Britex Fabrics
In the formal living room space, Angus and Martinez utilized chartreuse baby cypress trees to bring colour to the tables. Felt snowflake ornaments onto the mirrored coffee table look as though they’re floating on a pond, and Murano glass vessels corral ornaments in jewel colors.
Hint: “Make sure the home smells amazing,” Martinez says. “We always say that silent killers are imperceptible, so as soon as you’re done prepping and cleaning the house, do not forget that scent brings in an excess encounter to a space for your visitors.” Whether with new pine or scented candles, be sure to engage all of the senses.
The designers lifted the household’s tree to make more room for gifts under. The same hot-pink acrylic pieces used for the table configurations repeat as ornaments on the tree and as gift tags to the wrapped gifts.
“The customers had an wonderful art collection, and also we did not want our decorations to compete with the art,” Martinez says. “We wanted to make sure the holiday decoration was cute but not overpowering.” Below the mantel art by Polly Apfelbaum the same glass trees utilized in the dining room tablescape repeat; an easy handwritten first on a sensed snowflake designates every family member’s stocking.
Stockings: West Elm; glass ornaments: Sputnik, CB2
Visitors to the house are greeted with a landscape created by Brown and Kingsbury Design. Hanging on either side of the aqua front door are custom wreaths composed of hot-pink and clear acrylic snowflakes. “We designed these custom Plexi wreaths and placed them on both sides of the glass door so the light would float them” Martinez says.
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Planters: cast stone, Restoration Hardware; disco world lights: Flower Supply Syndicate
Designers: Dmitra Anderson and Nancy Evars, Evars Anderson
Florist: Marisa Lyssand Garden and Design
Native landscaping and repurposed materials glow in this 1973 Menlo Park house decorated into an elegant minimal. In the entrance a very simple bay leaf and eucalyptus garland wrapped around the stairs gives a fragrant welcome into the home’s open floor plan. Anderson states, “The garland is something which lasts the whole holiday season and will continue to give a fantastic seasonal scent.”
Make a Long-Lasting Eucalyptus Holiday Wreath
“The homeowner has a rather minimalist style,” Anderson says, “and we’re motivated to maintain the decoration organic and utilize organic elements and a neutral colour palette.” The house has been created by Palo Alto architect Cody Anderson Wasney; the ceiling beams are repurposed redwood beams found within the walls during renovation.
In the casual dining area, Anderon and Evars produced a leafy green centerpiece with mandarins picked in the family’s yard tree. The new citrus colors are an ideal match for the homeowners’ existing furniture. “The concept behind the brand new centerpiece is the homeowner may also repurpose it in a different part of the house,” Anderson says.
Chairs: Forest Chair, Janus et Cie
Each table setting includes its metal silver lacquer tray and a sparkly ornament to put in a subtle seasonal glow to the nature-inspired tablescape.
In the living area, the designers used mini Christmas trees and gathered pinecones at a vessel to keep matters as straightforward as possible. The ceiling beams within this area will also be remilled and refurbished redwood panels found in the walls during renovation.
On the opposite side of the family space, the formal dining room features another find in the homeowners’ backyard: the twiggy branch lit up within an oversize planter.
Hint: “Attempt to bring the outdoors in,” Evars states. “Go to your backyard or the park and catch a fallen branch, and place it in a vase and simply wrap twinkle lights around it to get a speedy and organic decoration solution.”
Starry chain lights: Restoration Hardware
This table setting includes a neutral palette with golden as the accent colour. Anderson explains, “The homeowner was not keen on conventional floral arrangements, so we used big decorative ornaments.” The nature-inspired accents are kept subtle with proper monogrammed napkins. 1 special twist the designers added into the conventional table runner has been orienting three of these perpendicularly, connecting each table setting up from the other.
Hint: “In case you do not have it in your budget to make a lot of blossoms,” Anderson says, “substitute ornaments or candles to make a stunning evening setting.” Use decorations which are substantial in size, not tiny ones which may make the table look cluttered.
Metallic leaves: Pottery Barn; gold flatware: West Elm; hammered gold chargers: Crate & Barrel; napkins: Belgian linen, Frascati, Bespoke Home
The family’s Christmas tree is set in a lower-level entertaining room with a bar area and pocket doors which lead into a backyard pool. A large swath of burlap functions as the shrub’s skirt.
Hint: “We created simple centerpieces by using different-colored green little cypress trees with pinecones around it,” Anderson says. “Be mindful in using different shades of green.”
Art: “The Diver,” by Eric Zener
Whenever you enter the home’s tall double doors, gifts left in organic cardboard packaging wrapped with glittery ribbon greet you, setting the tone for the remainder of the house.
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Art: Bryant Street Gallery; cast: faux fur, Restoration Hardware; cushion cover: cashmere, Restoration Hardware; accent designs: HomeGoods
Classic, Traditional Christmas
Designer: Richard Westbrook Interior Design
The inspiration for decorating this expansive traditional home in Atherton was classic Christmas style. The front porch includes holiday accents which are part of the household’s annual traditional decoration, including decorative cushions on the porch swing. The porch opens into a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and painted checkerboard floors.
The living room holiday decoration uses many of the family’s traditional collected decorations and has a fireplace with each of the kids’ names engraved on it.
Hint: “Maintain your decorations so they go with your home,” Westbrook says. “Don’t do something entirely disconnected in the style of your home. Pick individual elements which are unexpected, but make sure they match the style of your home.”
Wreath pillow: Pottery Barn
In this casual dining tablescape, Westbrook mixed red plaid, gingham and toile patterns. “I wanted the mixed-pattern story for a lively way to do Christmas but keep it visually interesting.”
Hint: “Maintain your colour scheme tight,” Westbrook advises. “If you choose red, green and gold, use it through your house so it will keep things tight and congruous in the area.”
Twig reindeer figurines: Flora Grubb Gardens, San Francisco; tea towel table: custom, Christina Frank Sewing, San Francisco; plaid dishes: Carson, Pottery Barn
The formal dining table setting takes inspiration out of the room’s antique-style Chinese painted wallpaper. “I kept the colour palette clean and easy, using only white and green,” Westbrook says. “I needed to set the table for an elegant dinner.” Each table setting includes an ornamental kale. Using food as decoration is one of Westbrook’s signature touches when he’s decorating a dining room; he recommends personalizing each setting using a single piece of fruit.
Dinner and bread dishes: 5486, Moritake, circa 1940s, Garden Court Antiques; salad dishes: Christmas Tree, Williams-Sonoma; hurricane candle lamps: Raj, Crate & Barrel
In the living area, Westbrook concentrated closely on a conventional red, green and gold color palette, using gold as the sole metallic accent.
Ribbon garland: Grandin Road
The backyard includes a Victorian-style pool house built in an acquired neighboring house with the support of John Malick and Associates. Westbrook appreciated designing this whimsical, beach house–style space that is a departure from the manner of the family’s main home. “I tried to keep things lighthearted and utilized pale pink poinsettias,” he states. On the stair railing, he created arrangements using two distinct kinds of tropical leaves: a palm and a variegated white and green foliage, tied with lavender sprayed a glittery pale blue.
Hint: “You can not have too much glitter for the holidays,” Westbrook says. “Sparkly items grab the light, and it immediately makes it feel like the holidays, so don’t be afraid to rethink your traditional decor elements.”
The kitchen includes a painted checkerboard flooring to coincide with the foyer flooring and subtle Christmas accents to maintain the room light and fun.
Westbrook worked closely with the homeowner to pick coastal-themed ornaments from Seaside Inspired for this tree elevated on a table.
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Visions of Sugarplums
Designer: Erin Giorgi, Giorgi Girl Designs
Florist:Marisa Lyssand Garden and Design
A 100-year-old iron gate clad using a new holiday wreath opens to a traditional-style House in Atherton belonging to a young family.
The entry area includes custom made, hand-painted wall coverings in Beckman MooreYaki Studio and a custom console which served as the inspiration for the interior layout for the whole house. Giorgi decorated using a simple, symmetrical display of greens and ornament trees, maintaining to blues and neutrals with copper as an accent colour.
Console: Giorgi Brothers
The homeowner has magnolia trees surrounding the house, and since the bottom of magnolia leaves includes a copper tone, Giorgi used this to connect the indoor-outdoor spaces together. “I needed to push home the neutral colour palette and tasteful dark floors by complementing it with lots of gold- and copper-colored ribbons.”
Hint: “Don’t be afraid to splurge on high quality ribbon,” Giorgi states, “Ribbon is crucial for the holidays, also you can not have enough of it to use around the house to give something a distinctive holiday treatment.”
For the table setting, a script table runner out of Neiman Marcus functioned as the primary inspiration. “We wanted an understated elegance and attached human ornaments to every bundle having a small green sprig to surround the pepperberry centerpiece.”
Hint: Live greenery creates a big difference in the holiday setting. “It’s also important to change heights, whether you are decorating a tablescape or console.”
Dinnerware, glassware: Juliska; gift wrapping: document gift wrapping, Ballard Designs; ornament: Restoration Hardware
The homeowner throws a tasting tea celebration every year to get the daughter and her pals. The kitchen is decorated to create a warm, cozy atmosphere, complete with a hot-cocoa station, miniature cupcakes, personalized napkins and a candy bar.
In the daughter’s bedroom, the palette is kept mild, feminine and pink. Decorative pink snowflakes hang out of the curtain rod, along with a hot-pink Christmas tree out of Christmas Tree Market complements a custom cherry blossom tree mural from Murals from Morgan.
This custom gingerbread house is motivated from the cherry blossoms in the daughter’s room.
Holiday candy: Sugar Shack; tabletop accents: William-Sonoma; holiday art: Harvest; gingerbread house: Solvang Bakery; kitchen design: William Ohs
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