Lacking the requisite creative inspiration this holiday season? That feeling is all too common amongst the ranks tree trimmers and hall-deckers, when hundreds of other things demand our time and attention. Luckily, we caught up with local design impresario Marsha Hunt, principal designer of Thompson Hunt Floral and Event Design. Formerly a chemist who worked in research for Dow Chemical and General Mills, Hunt gradually made the move into design consultation before ultimately transitioning into her own event and floral design business in 2002. Following that life-long passion turned out to be a good thing for Hunt, who has since been showered with design awards and has clients both locally and across the country.
This year, Hunt opened the doors of her own Interlachen-area home so we could get a peek at her holiday spread, learning a few of her no-fail design tips along the way. So should you be looking to add a touch of holiday décor into every nook and cranny of the house, or simply want help putting some pop into your tree, let our holiday home tour put a little spirit into your creative endeavors.
When setting that perfect table, Hunt emphasizes three things: proportion, color and fresh floral. Consider the height and scale of the room: this table features tall candelabra topiaries and ornaments hung from the chandelier, both of which soar above eye height when seated, adding drama while not interfering with conversation.
In order to execute a foolproof color scheme, pick one color and use it in an entire range of shades. Here, Hunt starts with the darkest burgundy, adds in reds and pinks, and finishes with touches of light metallics (the color spectrum keeps the eye constantly moving).
In order to impress your guests, don’t skimp on the fresh floral for the dining table. For this centerpiece, Hunt picked up black baccara and black magic roses, cerise calla lilies, raspberry ranunculus, crimson celosia, antique red and green hydrangeas and Christmas greens.
And last but not least, remember the little details, especially those that surround guests’ seats. Whimsical elements such as birds figures or ornaments add visual interest on the table (and can be a charming party favor or place card holder), while delicate touches—such as Hunt’s grandmother’s costume brooches that bustle the the table cloth corners—personalize the table.
Enliven the Living Room:
If you do only one bit of holiday decorating, chances are it involves putting up the ole tannenbaum. Choose a tree that fits the size of the room, advises Hunt, taking it close to the ceiling for a full dramatic effect. Should you opt for the artificial (or rather, perennially green) variety, be sure to add in additional textures such as branches and thick decorative ribbon accents in order to vary the profile of the tree and make it a more natural shape.
When it comes to ornaments, Hunt advises to play with multiples and to mix in the old with the new. Select multiples of the same ornament in varying sizes for continuity (bigger ornaments, such as the giant orbs seen here, should be placed toward the inside of the tree, while smaller ones should linger at the tips of branches). Then, add in individual favorites that fit the color scheme, such as these Victorian ornaments that Hunt has been collecting for years.
Be sure not to neglect the fireplace, advises Hunt, as it’s always the focal point of the room. Think candles or a string of lights intermixed with a simple garland and a few ornaments.
Casual Elegance in the Family Room:
One big tradition of late, says Hunt, is to do a fun tree in addition to a more formal tree. Here, she picks up the natural woodland feel and brings it into her family room on the tree and hearth. Personal touches such as her mother’s vintage skis and antlers from her father’s hunting expeditions help to keep the space intimate and personal, while still bringing the outdoors in. Dark green, copper and cappuccino earth tones pop thanks to touches of cream, including the sheepskin rugs Hunt borrowed from another room to use as the informal tree skirt. Always use what you have, Hunt advises, and then build from there.
The Art of Decoration:
Use fresh floral anywhere and everywhere. Known for her 3-D floral sculptures, Hunt opted to create an eye-catching handmade floral wreath (filled with some eight different shades of roses, ranunculus, berries, along with camilla leaves and eucalyptus), set atop sheets of moss in an antique frame. “Floral designs are art, so why not display them as such?” Hunt explains.
In the music room, an area which Hunt calls “her own” (due in large part to all the rose-hued fabrics), she opted to use an upside-down tree. Not only does an upside-down tree conserve floor space in an already small room, but it also showcases each ornament perfectly—especially appropriate when one is using heirloom elements such as these 50-plus-year-old pieces from her grandmother. If vintage is your inspiration as well this season, carry it through the details such as the wall art, garland and ribbons.
For Kids Only:
Celebrate the youngest ones in your house by giving them their own tree. Since kids’ rooms tend to have a strong color theme, Hunt picks up those hues for the ornaments and makes sure they reflect the child’s tastes and interests. Often, a white or flocked tree can be the sweetest option, and also makes fun, brightly colored ornaments standout. Even sweeter? A lit tree becomes the perfect night light as they drift off to dreams of sugar plum fairies.
Hunt’s Holiday Resources:
Holiday Décor and Custom Florals:
Thompson Hunt Floral and Event Design
Linen and Event Rentals:
Apres Party and Tent Rental
Pre- or Post-Party Cleaning:
Hire a Host