Some families look forward to their yearly tradition of decorating their homes for the holidays. But not everyone dives into the boxes of garlands and ornaments with the same exuberance, and designers across the country are heeding a number of requests to create winter wonderlands as their clients opt to delegate the decorating to the professionals. We asked three designers about their experience decking the halls for clients.
The Initial Call
The call frequently comes from a previous client. Because family heirlooms and treasured keepsakes are at play, they often seek someone who is intimately familiar with their family, home, and preferences. Interior designers and decorators who’ve worked with the family in the past are an obvious choice. “We know their style and the pieces they already have,” says Wendy Schwartz of the Los Angeles-based design firm Wendy Schwartz Design. “We know their home almost as well as we know our own.”
Services run the gamut. Some clients plan to host a holiday cocktail party and ask that a few rooms (living room, dining room) get the holiday treatment; others request one dramatic focal point such as a table scape or a mantle. Others want it all, from exterior spaces to the entire home. E. Bingo Wyer, creative director of New York’s Côte Fleurie Studio, says her holiday clients consist of people she’s already worked with, and referrals from past holiday parties. “Someone will go to a Christmas party at a home we’ve decorated, and then we’ll be asked to do her place,” Wyer says, noting that calls start coming in around Labor Day.
Bill Brockschmidt and Courtney Coleman of Brockschmidt and Coleman, a decorating and design firm in New York, say they’re busiest in autumn, decorating for holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. “Fall decorating has become a yearly tradition,” says Coleman, who adds, “special clients call us for special events.”
Time is scarce; the budget is not
Of course not everyone has time to string cranberries for the mantle or create a Hanukkah-inspired tablescape. Wyer, who specializes in “a very European, Dickensian look” for the holidays, says scheduling and budget are the two biggest factors that lead clients to enlist a professional. “People want the magic and excitement for their guests, but they don’t have the time or the skill to do it. For most of the homes we do, the cost ranges from $5,000 to $7,000. It can be shocking to some people, but to New Yorkers it’s not. They’re spending that on wine or cocktails for their party.”
Schwartz concurs. “If a client is calling us in for something like this, it’s not that budget isn’t an issue, but if it’s a real issue, it’s probably better to be crafty on your own.”
From Sketches to Packing it Up Again
Often the project begins with a sketch or walk-thru, though unlike traditional design projects, clients tend to be a bit more hands-off when it comes to holiday decorating. “Some just say, ‘Make it beautiful,’” says Wyer. She often brings in a three-or-four person crew for six hours, two days before the scheduled holiday party. Everything she uses is fresh—from the berries to the pine (she prefers a mix of white pine, blue spruce, and cedar) to the amaranthus she favors on mantles. Wyer also returns to any installation once it’s up, to add water, replace droopy blooms, or secure any loose cinnamon sticks. “I call it fluffing,” she says. After the holidays, she’ll return to take everything down.
Schwartz likes to provide clients with objects they can reuse yearly as part of their continued holiday tradition. “We’re a little more artful and edgy. If clients want the garland and ribbons with the usual ornaments, they wouldn’t come to us,” she says. Her fees range from $2,000 to $20,000. But not all clients require thousands of dollars worth of services. Some just need a little handholding. Brockschmidt and Coleman have worked with clients who’ve recently redesigned their homes, so the question during the holidays becomes: Do my old decorations need an upgrade? “In that case, we’ll just pull everything out of the box and have a consultation about what looks good,” Brockschmidt says. In those cases a standard hourly rate would be applied. “We want to keep things interesting, so nothing looks tired coming out of the decorations box,” he adds.
This article is from http://www.elledecor.com