Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Decor at the Blair House

Across the street from the White House, the Blair House is treated with royalty with beautiful festive holiday decor.

image Blair House has stood facing the White House for more than 180 years, witness to events of extraordinary importance for the nation and her people. For decades, the rooms of this stately home have played an even more active role, serving United States foreign policy as a gracious residence, meeting place and sanctuary for visiting heads of state.

The Blair house gets decked out for the holidays with the generosity of designers who were called in for help by Magazine Publishers of America to volunteer in designing holiday makeovers on 17 historic spaces. With only two short weeks notice from a half dozen lifestyle magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, This Old House, Traditional Home, Better Homes & Gardens, Mother Earth News and Natural Home. With such a huge task and so little time to create, let’s see how they pulled it off fabulously, shall we?

clip_image002[19] clip_image002[17] Martha Stewart Living designed a tiny replica of Blair House with lights in the windows.

With EXTREME care, they artfully decked the halls around the $100 million dollars worth of American antiques. No pressure or anything.

clip_image002 clip_image002[9] Lynni Megginson from L&M Designs used jeweled poinsettias, gold and crème silk ribbons, silver snowflakes and gold glitter "collars" on the reindeer adorned with pink glass ornaments on the fireplace mantel. Every single teeny tiny present under the reindeer on top of the sideboard has a miniature hand painted ornament tied to it.

The deadline was to finish for a special evening reception at the State Department that would be honoring families of government employees currently serving unaccompanied tours overseas that are in places to dangerous to have their families be with them.

They were certainly treated to some beautiful decorations that surely delighted them all. Along with a few delicious looking treats from the clan at Martha Stewart Living might have left them feeling a little hungry too.

clip_image002[25] clip_image002[27] Matching the colors of coral and pale green in the Blair House Dining room by making a candy theme, including a gingerbread Blair House along with lollipops and a pink feather tree hung with ribbon candies.

In the Truman Study, clocks were turned back to replicate a traditional old fashioned Christmas setting. Editors from This Old House contacted the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum in where they unearthed a list of Christmas gifts President Truman (who lived at the Blair House while it was being renovated) had received in 1951.

clip_image002[11] The staff at This Old House placed hand-knitted socks, vintage razor blades, a 1948 Life magazine, a soundtrack from "Paint Your Wagon, framed old photos of Truman, hand made ornaments and hung them on the tree. Three stockings, embroidered Harry, Bess and Margaret, were hung at the mantel.

Traditional Home magazine called in designer Barry Dixon to dress up the Lee Dining Room.

clip_image002[21] clip_image002[23] Barry set the table using monogrammed Blair House linen napkins mixed with colorful china and gift packages.

clip_image002[29] clip_image002[31] In the Lee Drawing Room, editors from Martha Stewart Living created ornaments based on the stylized birds on the 18th-century green Chinese wallpaper. Whimsical birds perch on the gold gilded branches that create an arch across the room. A peacock adorns the top the Christmas tree.

I am very grateful to all the designers and magazine publications that during these economic hard times were able to offer so much. As a result of their hard work brightening up the holiday for the deserving families. The men and woman that sacrifice so much to serve our country which we are very proud of, wishing all of them, their families and everyone a very happy holiday.

Most photos by Susan Biddle courtesy of Washington Post.

Monday, December 14, 2009

HOLIDAY DECORATING in a soft palette

When one usually thinks of festive decorating for the holidays, we might think of the contrast colors of red and green.   But, during the holiday season many might feel their stress levels rising, it can’t be just me……can it?   To see what seems to be the latest trend in holiday decorating of fresh crisp white and off-whites contrasted with green is a welcomed look that creates a soothing, calming feeling.

May you find some inspiration that might tempt/motivate you to create something to surround yourself in a soothing environment in this approaching too quickly holiday (again, is it just me that feels that way?)

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Merchandise display at Giannetti Home by Kate Burger of K8vision

DSC_1026 - CopyClient’s residence in Virginia by interior view

 image Image from Southern Living from Haven&Home 

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Images courtesy of Tobi Farley , visit for fabulous tips on Holiday decorating

imageCoastal Living




The shells and starfish remind me of someone else that looks towards nature and it’s elements for decorating.  The next post, as promised will include the much anticipated beautiful holiday mantel created by Gloria Blalock.  


Stay tuned…..

Happy Holidays…..

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Designer Holiday Decorations for the Georgetown Jingle 2009

Designed to Fight Childhood Cancer

Fourteen diverse and talented designers participated this year in the Georgetown Jingle, a notable cause that they are all honored to be a part of.  The Georgetown patients of Georgetown University Hospital’s Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program will benefit from their support and hard work ensures that families facing cancer will have brighter holidays to come.

The designer’s magnificent holiday trees are on display at the Four Seasons in Washington DC, are infused with warmth and spirit, and overflowing with creativity and imagination.  The trees will be auctioned off for this great charity.  I am very happy to report that at least two of the trees have already been sold prior to the big event that will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington DC, Sunday December 13, 2009.

Each designer was touched even more so, for this year they were each paired with a young cancer patient. Its motivation is evident; every tree seems to capture the essence of each child’s individuality.

Below are just three of the designers and some of their thoughts on creating magnificent trees for this wonderful cause.

First up, the team  for David Iatesta:

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Just as David Iatesta’s team put the finishing touches on their striking driftwood tree, a doctor who is regular VIP guest of the Four Seasons wanted to know which tree was the most expensive.  Dr. Alexander Karp of Palantier Technologies then purchased the tree for $15,000 in which he generously donated back to be given to the young patient or to display at the hospital to be enjoyed.

Matt Quinn the lead designer for the driftwood tree is Iatesta’s chief executive officer, said the tree took 500 man hours to construct.  The tree is assembled from driftwood collected throughout the summer on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.  The perfect trunk for the tree came from a 9-foot-long salvaged cedar log that had been wonderfully weathered to a silvery gray.  It is strung like one of Iatesta’s exquisite chandeliers, using $3,000 worth of European crystal, and lit with the help of 20 battery packs hidden under the tree skirt.


 image   image

Gloria de Lourdes Blalock of Blalock Interiors tree “Let There be Light”.

Gloria says,“This title provides the association I have always felt is inherent between the words ‘light’ and ‘hope.’  For if we shed light on the issues associated with finding a cure for cancer, then we have equally put hope in the hearts of many. The many individuals that make the Georgetown Jingle such a success are doing just this. They are all pillars of light carrying the hopes for a cure in their tireless efforts to fundraise for this amazing event”.   ‘Let There Be Light’ and in its wake leave a trail of hope for the smiling faces and the tender hearts of our young heroes it has chosen to enlighten!”

Gloria’s source of inspiration for her tree, Eliza.  “She is a beautiful and brave little girl who battled with Lymphoma when she was only weeks old. Today, thanks to the care of doctors, such as Dr. Aziza Shad at Georgetown University Hospital, Eliza is a healthy little girl whose cancer has been confirmed to be in full remission”. 

Gloria’s tree has been sold to a generous gentleman who purchased the tree she designed last year.  He is so impressed with Gloria, her talent, her spirit and enthusiasm that he purchased the tree sight unseen.

Gloria’s tree showcases some of the holiday décor available from Pottery Barn on a beautiful ten foot Sugar Pine tree.

Last but not least, 

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Lynni Megginson of L&M Designs “Aspen Holiday” stunning tree is all about her adorable patient  she was paired with, Nicholas.  “Nicholas loves Christmas, he loves everything about Christmas and has the magic of Christmas in his heart. I wanted to evoke the dream of what Christmas would be – all the winter elements, combined with the fact that the tree is done in his honor”.  “Nicholas is one of the bravest little boys I have ever met. He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 1 ½.  I took the spark in Nicholas’ eyes and translated it into a tree design that truly evokes the magic of a Traditional Christmas”.

Snow covered branches and bird nests, oversized sugar pine cones and puffy snowflake ornaments with yards and yards of plaid ribbon garland, iced twig clusters and festive holly stems all in a traditional red and green palette.

About Georgetown Jingle:

In 2006, the Georgetown Jingle was created by the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, JDS Designs, Inc., The Washington Design Center, and the Georgetown BID to raise money for pediatric oncology programs in the Washington DC Metro area. Thanks to the generosity of area businesses, restaurants, and design professionals, the Georgetown Jingle has raised $970,000 for the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Blood & Marrow Transplantation Program at Georgetown University Hospital.
The purpose of this family-friendly event is to celebrate the fashions of the holiday season and to support families battling cancer.  Support will be extended in 2009 to include Georgetown Hospital’s pediatric bone marrow transplantation program & their Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program, both led by Dr. Aziza Shad.

The Event:

Please come out for a fabulous cause,  purchase tickets  for the great event to the Georgetown Jingle Sunday December 13th 2009 from 4:00- 8:00 pm at the Four Seasons in Georgetown.

To read  about all the  designers and the wonderful trees they have created for such a great cause, please visit Washington Spaces Blog and Home and Design for more. 

Thank you to all your work and generosity in making the holiday season special.