Decking the Halls with Our Designers

Decking the Halls with Our Designers

Decking the Halls with Our Designers


When it comes to the holidays, our Homepolish designers have no shortage of cheer. We asked them about their traditions, last-minute decorating tips, and wish list items.

For our regularly recurring “Ask Homepolish” column, we usually tackle design problems. But this time around we asked our designers about the holidays, namely their traditions and, of course, wish lists.

Holiday traditions come in all varieties. Some families gather ’round and watch “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas” every year. Others have favorite seasonal treats they enjoy (egg nog, anyone?). Perhaps there’s a goofy tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas day. Whatever the tradition, it’s those little family-to-family quirks that make the season special.


On Holiday Traditions

As might be expected, our Homepolish designers have traditions of their own… specifically design traditions. When it came to the overall aesthetic of their holiday décor, they were almost all uniform. The woodsy, naturalistic look is trending. Homepolish Boston’s Shannon Tate called this a classic, timeless look for the home: “I’m a fan of all-white lights, accents with wood, and then classic simple natural green garland draped from the top of our bookcase and around the banisters. I like to keep the frill to a minimum because my house is already quite full of pattern. Too much frill doesn’t work in there.” The same went for New York-based Justin DiPiero’s childhood home in Ohio. As he says, “Candles in the window (electric of course), white lights, and lots of pine and branches are always everywhere. My mother makes these beautiful evergreen window swags that we drape on the outside of the house. Paired with the candles in the window, the house looks beautiful and festive.”

Many designers raised a ever-so-slightly guilty hand, admitting that they can be design snobs around the holidays. They make sure that their family décor follows a coherent color scheme. Bring in the natural woods, golds and silvers, whites, and greens, but try to sneak anything else past them, and it’s coal in your stocking! Just because it’s the holidays, they don’t forget their design training.

And it seems like NO ONE can resist getting their holiday cheer on. As Homepolish’s Sara Whitehead says, “My children are absolutely enchanted by the Christmas tree, so we operate under ‘the turkey is in the trash therefore the tree must go up’ philosophy.” Sara continues with a good tip for those creatives with kids: “As a decorator it is hard for me to let go of the control of making the tree look amazing, so I actually get my daughter a tiny pink glittery tree of her own and let her go nut-so decorating it however she likes.” Sounds like a smart way to encourage some young designers. Another useful tip comes from designer Taylor Edwards. Since she and her husband also buy their tree right after Thanksgiving, she puts fresh garland up around the living room a couple weeks after to keep the fresh pine smell lasting.


We operate under ‘the turkey is in the trash therefore the tree must go up’ philosophy.

More specifically, several designers had a cute tradition of exchanging ornaments that have special meaning, based off of what has happened in the year. Homepolish’s Michelle Gage and her husband have given each other everything from felt puppy ornaments (for the year they got a dog) to glass sea turtles (to commemorate their honeymoon to Hawaii). For Justin, the same holds for him and his brother. Their tradition goes back to high school when Justin received a car ornament to mark the year he learned to drive. As he says, “It’s wonderful to have little momentos of your past!”



Last-Minute Décor Tips

With peak holiday time right around the corner (not to mention the possible inundation of family arriving too), we asked our designers for the best last-minute holiday décor update. They all responded with the same: GREENERY. As LA-based Jennifer Wallenstein says, “The supermarket is my go-to for last-minute décor. This is true year-round, but nothing beats fresh flowers. Stretch those creative muscles and put together an arrangement that goes beyond the typical poinsettia! A beautiful bowl of winter fruits and vegetables (like pomegranates or artichokes, similar to our Thanksgiving tablescape) can stand-in for a proper centerpiece.” These floral elements are gorgeous, vibrant, and lively, and best of all? They don’t require a trip to the crowded malls. In fact, you might even avoid leaving your home at all! Sara Whitehead is based in New England, and she points out, “We have no shortage of amazing things in our own backyard to cut and bring inside. I cover my home in fresh evergreens and ilex berries, which make the whole home smell beautifully.”

Homepolish’s Rosanna Bassford notes that to go the extra mile, don’t forget the guest rooms. “Your Christmas tree is expected, but a wreath or garland or even mini tree in the guest bedroom is not.” That extra touch will really WOW your in-laws. Just add a couple twinkle lights or votives, and you’ll be right in the holiday mood.


Your Christmas tree is expected, but a wreath or garland in the guest bedroom is not. That extra touch will really WOW your in-laws.


Wish Lists

We know it’s the season of giving, but since our designers have such good taste, we couldn’t help asking a few of them for the items on their wish lists. These are just a few of the ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS responses:

Jennifer Wallenstein: An incense holder by Cinnamon Projects. “I’m not even a big incense person but this makes me want to give it another shot!”

Shannon Tate: the Rykiel Pendant by Dwell Studio or “any print” by Hayley Mitchell.

Justin DiPiero: the Palmyra Floor Lamp by Moving Mountains. “Is it over the top? Maybe. Do I care? Nope.”

Taylor Edwards: the Momos Wool Blanket by Hecho Shop. “Best of all? Purchasing this product helps Mexican and Guatemalan artisans.”

Angela Belt: the Abren Throw by Bolé Road (“because you can never have enough throws in the winter”) and the Bon Stool by 7th Spring. (She’s already daydreaming about a pair of them at the foot of her bed.)

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