If you read my essay this past summer entitled “Bringing the Garden Upstairs”, you might remember CB. She has been a client and friend a good many years, but even more than that, a mentor. Some clients you meet have a fire burning all their own that makes working for them pure joy. Her love of garden, home and family is just as evident at the holidays as in the spring. Just as she writes me in early spring to say she has no intention of coming home from their winter home until I have the flowers planted, I can count on her to call in early October about the holiday. I always ask what she is thinking, as she is always thinking. Last year, she wanted a feeling “elegant and enchanting”, and by the way, could I look at the airspace?
Her home has ceilings that soar. The massive chandelier we hung with skeins 0f gold metal mesh in the manner of Spanish moss. Off white berry garlands were woven in and out of the wood trunk and arms of the chandelier. The elegant black iron urns she filled solidly with a very tall creamy brown bamboo; this we secured with oversized medallions of bronze ornaments, cream reindeer moss, and cream frosted pine cones. She had filled the fireplace with candles set on two levels, and dressed the plain terazzo fireplace with a sparkling necklace of delicate mirrored garland. Tall bronze and silver candelabra each with their own holiday touch complete the look.
Her tree gleams with glass, silver and gold ornament she has collected over the years. The staircase railings feature thick garlands stuffed with twigs, lights, and ribbon. This gorgeous look is all of her doing, and ready when I get there. After we do the outdoor pots and lights, we do just a few things inside.
Another year she planned to entertain both at Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday. Given that she expected a lot of guests, she moved her big dining room table into the living room. Though I have known her long enough that I should not be surprised by moves like this, I always am. She has a gift for reinventing spaces, and decorating them just enough to make for visual magic.
She managed to furnish a small corner of this room beautifully. She gave this intimate space a chandelier all its own; the seating and prints are beautifully arranged. A wispy twig garland wound in mirrored garland speaks to the holiday without overwhelming any other element.
The holiday in the airspace is evident in her kitchen too. A garland over her kitchen window is dressed in that airy and graceful style that so reminds me of her. Even the light fixtures over her island take on the air of the season. The ribbon trees were made by members of her family; everywhere there are signs of family. Her red vase stuffed with candy canes made me look at candy canes as if I had never seen them before.
Her lower level is a cozy family oriented space; the bar we decorate with Patience Brewster holiday figures, chartreuse wire, and ornaments chosen especially to delight her grandchildren.
I made this topiary holiday sculpture for her in the same vein. Mossy and twiggy, for the gardener in her; the shape straight from the enchanted forest, for the grandkids.
Everywhere there are signs of life. I have such respect for her ability to design and create elegant spaces imbued with such strong feeling. Working with her isn’t working, it’s a blessing.