‘Tis the season to cast a fresh eye towards decorative vignettes on mantels, tables and in hallways.
Every year before Christmas my Mom would haul out the holiday décor. She loved red — which never appealed to me then and doesn’t appeal to me now. I completely admire the elaborate arrangements and hours she spent decorating mantels, bannisters, hallway and tables but I’m a minimalist in that regard. I favor seasonal greens, fresh flowers and an organic approach that makes the house look dressed up but not to kill. That easy look is what appealed to me about three vignettes done by young New York designer Brad Ford, whose elegant work justifies his new top talent status. These aren’t holiday pieces per se but — with a few judicious tweaks — they could be.
The dark mantel provides the kind of high contrast needed to make this arrangement so pleasing. Essentially, it’s two vases of different shapes set in front of a rope-trim photo frame. I could see white pointsettias in the vase to signal the season and it would be easy to swap out something silver or frosty for the glass vase while retaining the idea of two different vase shapes side-by-side.
All of us have tables to arrange and I love the idea of playing off actual flowers against a floral photo. This quiet blend could easily be amped up with candy-cane tulips – the red ones with white outlines on the petals. Red apples or pomegranates are always gorgeous and would add another layer of red in the wooden bowls. The idea of putting a simple wooden bowl together with a piece of metallic finish pottery is both logical and basic. These elements are ones many people have stashed away in a cupboard.
I’m so partial to a console table in a hallway. This white-washed natural wood and marble stander is nothing if not organic. Yet it would be stunning supporting even the gaudiest gold arrangements of vases, ribbons or ornaments. I’d likely haul out a tall silver vase I rarely use or the giant blown glass melon vase then head out with the clippers and a ladder to cut down some pine branches or holly berries. Pine cuttings smell wonderful and lend themselves to being tied up with anything from help rope to vintage ribbons from my modest holiday collection.
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