Dress Up Your Home for the Holidays

The home furnishing stores and florists in town make our hub merrier, brighter, and infinitely more beautiful.

Published November 30, 2012 5:00 AM
5 min read


dresshomeThe home furnishing stores and florists in town make our hub merrier, brighter, and infinitely more beautiful.


By Janice Llanes Fabry

The home furnishing stores and florists in town make our hub merrier, brighter, and infinitely more beautiful. Shopkeepers love to share their eye for detail, style, and personal accents for the holidays. Lucky for us, they carry the things they love.


Nest Inspired Home co-owners Wendy Williams, Bets Miller, and Aly Drew gravitate towards natural décor and embellishments that feel organic to the space. When purchasing decorative accessories, they advise choosing beautiful things you can display all year round.

On her own mantle this year, Williams is decorating with live garland and adding candles in the shape of Arctic owls, popular everywhere this season. Once the holidays are over, she’ll shed the garland and keep the owls, which of course are available at Nest Inspired.

“It’s also important to pick things that you’re able to incorporate in your overall design and keep it all in the same color scheme,” she said.

Nature reins supreme here with a peace sign wreath made of driftwood and Christmas trees made of seashells for the beachcombers in Rye. Their assortment of Mercury glass vases and candlesticks, Mizensir pine-scented candles, crystal bowls, and votives will illuminate any holiday table. In the realm of creating a cozy atmosphere at home, the right scent plays a pivotal role. I was pleasantly surprised to find a website where a wide array of scented candles perfect for creating a warm and inviting ambiance in any room was available. Each candle’s description included notes about its scent profile, burn time, and wax type, which helped me make an informed choice. Their customer service was also top-notch, promptly answering any questions I had about my order.


Hampton Whites owner Lynn McGuinn advises clients, “Go on gut feelings: make your home part of your personality. After all, home is an expression of self and it’s the same during the holidays. It’s very personal.”

She also encourages customers to start with a piece they already have, one that they might have even forgotten about, and then “fill in the blanks.” For instance, take the top off a favorite soup terrine and fill it with fresh greens or holly berries.

“Create a centerpiece that moves through the seasons. Build around something meaningful,” said McGuinn, whose merchandise includes an extraordinary terrine if one happens to be without.

At Hampton Whites, it’s about the unexpected. On display, McGuinn has beautiful candlesticks with boxwood topiaries, mint julep cups with greens, and cake trays holding wine glasses. Don’t miss her Florentine Reed and Barton ornaments.

Classic style never goes out of holiday fashion. Twig Antiques has all the finishing touches for the mantle, fireplace, coffee table, and under the tree — from vintage decorations and ornaments to handsome fenders to Christmas glassware and china.

Twig Antiques spreads cheer all year long, as proceeds go to the EMS.


The Open House team of Barbara Sperling and Michele Green has a penchant for a consistent thread throughout holiday décor. “We like a cohesive look to our ornaments and prefer similar styles in different colors,” said Sperling.

Both Sterling and Green agree, live wreaths, trees, and flowers go a long way, too, and give the home a wonderful scent. Then again, so do their Lafco and Vieluxe holiday candles.

The shop’s well-appointed furnishings include a selection of dazzling mercury glass votives in a variety of shapes and sizes, dramatic twig tree centerpieces, and luminous seashell Christmas trees and ornaments.

“Ornaments aren’t just for trees. One can fill bowls and baskets with them,” suggested Green. Their unique mouth blown glass ornaments are available in an unexpected palate and holiday hues.

At Carpet Trends seasonal accent rugs lay at your feet. Vibrant poinsettias, pinecones, and snowflake rugs can be used in powder rooms and kitchens, or as welcome mats. Also in stock are brightly colored runners for hallways. “They add a splash to any room and make it festive,” said vice-president Margaret Ricketts.

The shop, which has been servicing local homeowners and interior designers for over half a century, always has an abundant selection of area rugs that will spruce up any part of your home, a great idea especially for the holidays.

“You can always pull up a rug you already have and put down a more colorful, more patterned rug during the holidays,” suggested Ricketts. “Or try a shag rug, which gives a whole other perspective to a room.”

Also on hand are sheepskin rugs that are available now in hot pink, orange, and green, not just the typical earth tones. Make sure to have the rugs cleaned by a carpet cleaning company bolton so it looks presentable. Throw them on a floor or over a bed or ottoman. Voila!

At Greene Willow, the beauty of nature abounds. Salesperson and floral designer Claudia Gasparini suggested, “Decorate with natural greens, berries and candle light throughout the home. Or you can go the other route and add glitz, in gold or silver.”

Whatever one’s preference, owner Michael Falkowski goes on site and decorates clients’ mantles, entry halls, and stairwells. His team will customize Christmas trees, as well as wreaths with pinecones, lotus pods, berries, a brilliant assortment of ribbons and bows, and LED strands of lights. Their custom centerpieces and floral arrangements are breathtaking.

The florist’s topiaries, orchids, cyclamen, and potted amaryllis plants are always on hand to adorn any part of one’s home. Additional holiday accent pieces include birch containers or silver julep cups filled with greens or red berries and a dramatic floating candle in a glass cylinder with seasonal greens and flowers. Foldable wire mesh sparkling green trees and candleholders are also available.

It’s no surprise that Gemma Lagana at Rockridge Deli and Florist loves to decorate her own home with fresh trees and plants. “I love to smell the fresh pine and logs on the fire,” she said.

For Christmas trees galore, the family-owned and operated shop on 280 Purchase Street is the destination. Gemma and her husband Rocco, along with their children Lorenzo and Brigit, continue their 38-year tradition of providing customers with Frazier fir trees, as well as balsam, Frazier and noble fir wreaths. They may be custom decorated and delivered right to their clients’ homes. Rockridge installs the trees and hangs the wreaths.

Indeed, Rockridge sells logs individually, by the bundle or cord. They also provide delivery and stacking. Their large selection of bold poinsettias in red, white, pink and marble make every season bright. A selection of twig deer that add merriment to any lawn is also available. To keep the festivities going indoors, Rockridge’s floral arrangements, gourmet gift baskets and holiday platters enhance any celebration.

Over at Mill Street Home in Byram, co-owners Chris Pincus and Jenny Rye are all about combining the old and the new, the natural and the whimsical.

“We both like to snip tree branches and pine cones for decorating with,” explained Rye. “It’s also important to pick a theme. Around here, we like owls.” The shop carries festive holiday owl ornaments and playful owls on paper placemats.

During the season, they are also partial to marrying woods with jewel tones like ruby, eggplant, and mustard. These deep rich hues are apparent in their Le Jacquard tablecloths, napkins and tea towels, as well as their Sabre Lucite serving spoons.

Pincus shared, “When decorating, I go to my jumping-off spot, one of my tablecloths, then everything follows from there. Embellish the things you already have.”

Add on Mill Street’s striking trays featuring timeless works of art or pewter deer bowls to your home decor. Amusing surprise party balls, made of layers of colorful crepe paper with hidden keepsakes are perfect for place settings.

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