garlanded front door
A grand entrance deserves an elaborate display. Garlands laden with ribbons and ornaments set the tone for rest of the house.

After once preparing his longtime client’s Eastern Shore home for the annual Christmas in St. Michael’s Home Hour, Jamie Merida, owner of Bountiful Interiors, a home store and design studio in Easton, Maryland, was enlisted to decorate her primary Potomac residence last year.

“Our client absolutely loves Christmas; it’s her favorite thing. She has her grown children living nearby and lots of grandchildren. They all come over for the holiday,” says Jamie. “Her old decorations were worn. She’d had them for years and wanted us to make the house look really spectacular. We get in 2 to 3 tons of holiday decorations in the shop every year, so we knew how to do it.” Jamie and his holiday design associate, Paula Siedlarz, came up with a game plan. The idea was “no holds barred” with the intention of tackling multiple spaces inside and outside the house, layering holiday magic all over, while maintaining the home’s distinct identity. “I think Christmas sings in a traditional home,” says Jamie. “The house is in a Colonial Williamsburg style, with lots of amazing architecture. It absolutely lends itself to decking out for Christmas.”

This large foyer required a striking focal point that sets the tone for the entire home. The grand staircase is bedecked with an equally impressive garland.
This large foyer required a striking focal point that sets the tone for the entire home. The grand staircase is bedecked with an equally impressive garland.

Bejeweled Elegance

The homeowner, however, is not a big fan of red and green when it comes to holiday decorating, so Jamie and Paula had to come up with fresh colorways. “We went, instead, with silvers, golds, whites and natural greens, adding peachy pinks and robin’s-egg blues in the parlor to play off the existing décor,” he says, adding, “The palette is both elegant and traditional, a sort of restrained opulence.”

One of the principal architectural features in the home is the expansive foyer hall and its grand staircase wrapping up the landings. The holiday decorating tone had to be set there, as the parlor and dining room are also immediately visible upon entry into the house. “We ran an elaborate garland up the staircase. It’s thick and lit, encrusted with silvered balls and jeweled ornaments,” says Jamie. The garland is very attractive from a distance, and when viewed close up, it reveals a plethora of goodies, like little sparkly birds or glittery nests with eggs. It becomes all about those tucked-in, hidden details. “We applied the same idea to the big arrangement on the round hall table. It has a prelit central feature, but is also layered with riches,” adds Jamie. The home also has multiple fireplaces. Each mantel is decked with garlands filled with twinkling lights and accent ornaments, but each room’s mantel exudes its own flavor and identity. For example, the dining room mantel has magnolia blossoms intertwined in its garland, while the parlor’s mantel is shimmery and glittery, dripping with jeweled berries and gold dusted holly leaves.

 

Christmas tree
Gold lights and plentiful gold ribbons make the Christmas tree glow with holiday warmth.

 

foyer with stairway
The lighted garland on the banister is thick with ribbon and ornaments, a posh look that can be replicated with a little effort.

Shimmer and Shine

 “Our goal with the parlor’s tree was to make it look like a beautiful piece of jewelry through extensive layering with mostly gold and silver holiday decorations. The trick is varying the different sizes, shapes and textures of the ornaments. The result is controlled chaos and dense shimmer,” adds Jamie.

The family room tree has always held the special ornaments passed down through the generations, so Jamie and Paula were respectful of this. They kept those, but added more ornaments in red and plenty of white flocking. It’s a holiday tradition for the homeowner and her daughter to wrap Christmas presents in special papers with pretty bows. These become part of the holiday décor under each of the trimmed Christmas trees.

In the kitchen, the decorations are more rustic and relaxed. “It has more of an English woodland feel, with red berries, evergreens and pinecones without the glitter, and of course, there are the nutcrackers,” says Jamie of the overall effect. When all is decked out and done, it’s hard to imagine that holiday decorating by Bountiful Interiors won’t become another annual tradition for the homeowner. “It’s always nice when you have a patron who allows you to be as creative as you want to be,” adds Jamie.

 

 

 

Elegant dining room with christmas decorations
The dark wood table matches the woodwork in this elegant dining room, but light carpet and walls keep the space from feeling heavy or overladen, even with the abundant Christmas display.

Elsewhere in the house, a more rustic approach to decor relies on natural materials and greenery, but with no less an eye for intricate detail.

 

Small details, like this fiber bird and nest, are what make the lush decor of this home really work.
Small details, like this fiber bird and nest, are what make the lush decor of this home really work.

DESIGNER TIPS:

1. CHOOSE A PALETTE: Work with the home’s
existing colors, as well as with neutral white, silver
and gold.

2. MAKE AN ENTRANCE: Set your design tone in
the foyer. Go all out. Do a console/foyer table, as well
as the staircase.

3. DECK THE MANTEL: Use a prelit garland and
layer in lots of glittering and shimmering accents.
Choose accents according to the room they are in.

4. MAKE THE TREE COUNT: Lots of lights and lots
of layering make for a perfect tree.
Vary texture, size and shape of the ornaments. Be bold.

5. TAKE ON SURFACES: Wherever possible, create
mini displays, with small holiday trees, faux greens
and pretty accents.

6. LOVELY LAYERS: Go beyond the obvious. Tuck
in accents that people will notice upon closer inspection
and make them spectacular.

7. IT’S A WRAP: Beautifully wrapped presents in
your color palette can become an important part of
your décor. They add the final polish.

8. VARY THE THEME: Deck out each space in
keeping with key décor in each room. For example
a dining room should have a different vibe than a
kitchen. Be equally committed to both; just make
one more formal and elegant, and one more casual
and everyday.

9. DON’T NEGLECT THE OUTDOORS: Whether
you do a simple wreath or go all-out, the exterior of
the home should hint at the holiday décor inside.

10. AU NATUREL: Even if you go faux for your tree
and accents, add in flower bouquets, potted poinsettias,
cut magnolias, fresh greens and more.

11. CENTERPIECE: Leave a centerpiece on your
dining tables for the holiday’s duration. It can be
contained in a silver bowl or a vase, or laid out in the
center of the table.

12. KEEP IT LIT: There’s nothing more magical than
fairy lights at Christmas. Bring them in on pre-lit
wreaths and garlands, as well as tree lights.

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