Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Design: Lisa Luby Ryan

As promised, Color Outside the Lines has moved into Christmas mode, and our decor lead in is designer Lisa Luby Ryan, of Dallas. Many of you left comments on Ms. Ryan's interiors featured yesterday, and I am sure you'll find inspiration in the photos below.

Please note, all names have been provided by Veranda, and any mistakes are borrowed from Veranda as well. And all floral designs seen here and in yesterday's blog are a product of the genius mind of designer, Christopher Whanger of J&C Designs, in Dallas. Visit his site at

The Contents Page of Veranda, Nov-Dec 2008 features a taste of the delicious design of Ryan's Dallas decor. The faux zebra covered Oly chair is an example of the one seen in her shop photos yesterday. Notice the plaster reindeer with fresh garland reigns, a delightful pairing.

Veranda's Cover for the Ryan pages. The antique mercury glass ornaments used in Ryan's trees by Residential Interior and Special Event designer, Billy Milner, has particular relevance to me, as the tree I decorated for the masculine living room of our 1920's bungalow features a variety of mercury glass - both old, and new. But before we get to that, let's take a look at the entry of Ryan's home:

A simple but elegant draping of fresh garland and silver ornaments adorns the stair, while a wreath boasting a natural variety of greens and silver ornamentation is the perfect introduction to a home filled with beautiful Christmas decor.

Here, in the living room, the tree is a wash of silver and white. Shape, size, texture, and finish all vary but the layering is impeccable. The glass table shares the stage, with it's own fresh and beautiful display of mercury glass candle sticks and unused ornaments.

Ship and sailing Diorama's are used throughout Ryan's home. Her husband is an avid sailor. What I find must intriguing about this mantle design, is how the art still shines, even though Christmas has moved in. This is a wonderful lesson for all: you don't have to remove everything to make your home feel decorated for the holidays. A simple spray of fresh garland a well placed ornaments will give you just as much joy.

Milner used 19th-c. French grape drying jars to hold fresh flowers in the Family Room tree. Isn't this spectacular? French grape drying jars are no different than English or American drying jars - so don't go thinking that this is too pricey for you to replicate. It's no more than a glass jar!

Here, Milner's tree is a retreat from the normal. Copper tubing is used as garland, the fresh flowers in jars are spread throughout the tree, and the varied shades of the glass ornaments provide shine and sparkle from top to bottom. Starfish, green, copper, champagne, and silver ornaments all add life to the massive tree.

I hope that this has provided you with a little motivation, and a lot of ideas as you move into the season of tree-decoration. Don't be afraid to take a step away from the ordinary, and use more creative and interesting items in your trees, like copper tubing, grapevine wreath and twigs, feathers and flowers, etc. These should be a statement of you, your family, and your love for decorating. So ... in the spirit of this blog, COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES this year, and make sure to send your holiday decorating photos my way!


  1. Beautiful, just beautiful.When I was digging in the basement, I found two deer..they would look so much better painted...and with a wreath/collar. But why does the Veranda house look so calm and uncluttered? Mine just isn't ready for Christmas. I'm wondering if Ryan pre-edits for the Christmas stuff. That has to be the key!

  2. The entrance hall is perfect!

    Welcome back!

    G in CT

  3. wonderful artie, I can't wait to see what you have in store for us. vicky

  4. Good Morning Artie,

    I hope I can get our decorations to look only half as good as these.


  5. Incredible Artie. I'm over the top this year with the mercury glass. I discovered a few vintage pieces in the boxes and have added to I'm also over the top with anything having to do with wildlife. (stay tuned). I love the ides of the drying jars. May have to try that idea..Thanks for sharing. This was so inspiring.
    hugs ~lynne~

  6. This is how I would love my home to look for x-mas...just gorgeous all of it!

    Buffie :)

  7. You have just saved my sorry rear from a decorating dilemma. Love that copper tubing used as garland. How do you do it, ARtie. You introduced us to Phoebe Howard and now Ms Ryan. Thanks for doing our research for us!

  8. YUM!!!

    That is all.

    LOL not really.
    That garland up the stairs is exactly what I want! The copper tubing for garland is fantastic, and I love, love, love, LOVE flowers and starfish in a tree. I had that and sand dollars in my outdoor tree, but it didn't look anything CLOSE to Milner's tree. Just delicious.

    I really want that chair and desk behind the sofa, too.

    You've inspired me. Thank you. Now I really need to get busy!

    xoxoxoxoxo Isa

  9. In case there is any confusion --The "not really" refers to the "that is all" - we all know I have the gift of gab, and could never just give a one word response!

  10. Responding to your comment about the whiskey.......I'm half Irish and half Italian, now did you really think I'd be a teetotaler???

    I'm not sure where the Boilo recipe originated, but it's so popular in the coal region of Pa. that it's even listed in the recipe book put out by the Parishoners and Friends, of The Church of St. Patrick. Which by the way, is attached to the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville. ;)


  11. My mission today was to read a blog I hadn't yet read ... yours was it! And I am so glad I did! I will be a frequent visitor. You are an incredibly talented man at the tender age of 26!

  12. Isn't Helen's comment sweet "tender age of 26!" My you oould be my son! I just realized that!

    THank you so much for showcasing the Ryan's home- I love that white/silver tree- and mercury glass -I hope it will be one of those things that won't go out of style for a long time- it seems so timeless to me!


  13. Wow Artie that is beautiful and so pristine... Lovely... I can't even imagine me with all white... LOL LOL Have a great night...


  14. Such beautiful decorations...but it helps that they started with such a stunning house! I'll be happy if I just get the tree up...even if it's not stylish!

  15. Oh. Truly lovely! Copper tubing...who knew?

    Great find...loooking forward to more of your Christmas posts!

  16. Artie, I just got home from the other job and found your new comment.. I like you can't wait to put the finishing touches on a few things around here. Who am I kidding? A few I can't wait to see your will be interesting to see how close ours come...hugs ~lynne~

  17. Well, you will have to set a mouse trap with cheesecake to catch me--I can't stop looking at these photos, and I love your commentary. Each time I read, I pick up something that I missed before--like adding greens and ornaments on the mantle.

  18. I just discovered your blog and was quite surprised and excited to see my home on it. It was great to read all the comments left. I am very blessed to have a lovely home and God given talent. To answer one of the questions, I don't pre edit for Christmas, I just add the Christmas layer. Please check out my website, I have to confess, this is the first time I have ever blogged.