It’s Not Too Late
Add a festive note in a flash by choosing one or two of these last-minute decor ideas
By Janet Eastman
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If you’re hearing tick, tock instead of ho, ho, ho — stop. The days leading up to Christmas should be fun. Whatever you haven’t done, let it go until next year. But if you have a teeny bit of time and some decorations left over, you can add a festive look in a flash.
Jennifer Leonard of Nifelle Design Fine Interiors in Southeast Portland confesses that she, like other designers, is so busy this time of year that she waits until the last-minute to add holiday cheer to her home.
“For the first eight years of my marriage we didn’t even have a tree;’ she says. “But I always added other greenery?’
She says fresh-cut cedar garland and a simple wreath with twine are easy enhancements that deliver both tradition and fragrance. “Greenery brings a little of the Pacific Northwest inside,” she says.
On Monday, she was at her client Leslie Nevius’ newly decorated 19th-century house in Southwest Portland. And while the two should have been having, as Nevius jokes, “a holiday meltdown;’ they were laughing like kids dipping into the eggnog bowl.
Nevius’ 15-month-old son, Oliver, was singing in the background as Nevius said holiday decorating — during a season of doing so much for others — is a way of doing something nice for you.
“The holidays are special and by putting in a little more effort, you get more out of them;’ she says.
If you still have some decorating to do and are wondering if you should bother this close to Christmas, consider this: A little goes a long way. A family photo with a sprig of greenery and candles on a side table can brighten a space and make a house feel cozy and festive into the new year.
“We did a little more here, but you can go very simply with a wreath and a great holiday candle, and have the same effect for yourself and guests:’ says Nevius.
The overall design of her holiday decor is focused on metallic finishes, especially warm tones of gold and silver, and champagne. These colors were chosen to tie in with the year-round decor, which Leonard created.
On the front door is a wreath from Bedford Brown in Northwest Portland. The wreath is made of magnolia leaves, holly berries, gilded pine cones and decorative balls in copper, silver and gold.
Continuing the warm metallic theme, Leonard and her design team decorated the staircase’s newel post with gilded pomegranates, sprays of champagne and warm golden leaves. A wide, wired ribbon with a gold feather pattern cinches the bouquet at the base.
The banister is draped in cedar garland and tied with silk champagne-colored, wired ribbon, piped in gold. “It’s another simple but classic look:’ says Leonard.
In the dining room, gold silk draperies hanging from an iron drapery rod are the perfect frame for fresh boxwood wreaths. This classic, easy adornment goes with any style home or decor. Leonard attached the wreaths with twine to the iron rod.
“This is heavy-duty drapery hardware and can support the additional weight;’ she says, adding that she wouldn’t advise hanging even a small wreath from off-the-shelf drapery hardware. “But a simple gold cup hook mounted above the window will look lovely and be sturdy?’
If you have a fireplace, the fastest way to set a mood is to just get a fire going and light candles, Leonard says.
With extra time, you can place a long fir garland laced with lights and pine cones on the mantel. Then take a walk through your home looking for colorful objects to add.
Leonard accessorized the mantel here using the Nevius family’s Nutcracker figurines, brass candlesticks and antique brass angel stocking holders. “The brass angels belonged to Leslie’s mother and one had a broken halo;’ says Leonard. “A broken halo just wouldn’t do, so we improvised by using twine to reattach the halo and then added twine to the rest for good measure.” Now, all the angels have bows as neck scarves.
Since it’s more interesting to display objects of differing height, the mantel also has tall candlesticks. A live myrtle topiary topped with a silver star adds to the overall balanced look, Leonard says.
Granted, decorating the noble fir-tree did not happen in seconds. Several strands of lights were woven between the branches because Leonard believes, “I’m pretty sure you can never have enough:’
Again, decorations were chosen to match the color scheme and design theme of the room. Hanging from the tree are a glittery golden reindeer, crystal snowflakes and icicles, pearlized large decorative balls, and copper and metallic mini balls and strands.
“Sticking with the color scheme and then using lots of decorations in repeat creates a fabulous holiday tree,” she says.
She added glittered sprigs, which she admits are messy but pretty when illuminated by lights. And a few other ornaments for fun. “Being in Portland, we couldn’t help but to ‘put a bird on it;” says Leonard, referencing a popular “Portlandia” skit. “We put a lot of birds on it, actually, and a few nests:’
Leonard and her design team carried the red colors seen in the front door wreath to the exterior by applying fresh-cut holly (“Be sure to wear gloves —ouch!” Leonard advises) and more than 300 feet of fresh cedar garland to outdoor railing and stairs.
Top with a red felted ribbon tied into a large bow and your festive look can be complete.