1. How many trees in total do you have, and where are they in your home?
I currently have 4 trees, one in the kitchen, two in the dining room, and a 9 foot live, Fraser Fir tree in the living room. My favorite variety was the Noble Fir from last year. Grand Fir makes a lovely tree, but has too large a base for my home. Firs are great around kids because the needles are less sharp.
2. Do you prefer/use live trees or fake trees? Why?
I enjoy both the appearance and fragrance of a live tree, although I appreciate the convenience of an artificial, pre-lit tree, of which I have three.
As a designer, each year I find new inspiration for my Christmas display. Sometimes it comes from unrelated sources. One year, I used kitchen utensils, like cookie cutters, and silver flatware on my small kitchen tree. Although related to the kitchen, it only made it's association to Christmas by festively decorating each of the utensils. This year, all trees are embellished with faux flowers. I am a Master Gardener and I found the Dollar Store flowers more convenient, colorful and mess free than the dried flowers I used in a previous display. The dried flower tree was beautiful, but in a more subdued kind of way. And working in a dark space, such as I have, a brighter pop of color and sparkle is a plus. The walls of the space are a deep gold in the living room and dining room, medium grey in the kitchen, which allows a variety of coordinating color with which to experiment.
My favorites change from year to year. As I create a theme, I add ornaments from year to year. I like the look to be fresh, often repeating, but executed in a new way. I make year end purchases at Target, which dictates a new theme for the next year. My favorite ornaments are my crystal ornaments, but they are not displayed this year. This year, my favorite are my little delicate birds and sparkly butterflies. They support the garden theme.
One of the trees in Donna's dining room, adorned with her favorite glittered butterflies.
My family used the same ordinary red and green glass balls and multi-color lights each year. I often wonder where my artistry originated. I am the only painter, designer, architect in my family. I am not an interior designer though. When practicing architecture, the firm always hired qualified professionals in that field.
I would say the lighting on a live tree. It starts out properly wound around the boughs, then as the tree dries they get very loose and clumsy. It only takes about a week to loosen.
My house is only 1700 square feet, so I am limited to adding more of anything. I decorate for 3 clients which satisfies my creative needs and gives me a couple more trees to adorn without my expense. Although, it sometimes impedes my own display due to time constraints, as it has done this year. My favorite theme is the antique trees. I love the look of the time honored traditions, with family heirloom ornaments. My one client has such a tree.
As I mentioned in number 4, I try new themes from year to year. My most unusual theme was safari based, with lots of South African animals. The inspiration came from a painted ostrich egg that a friend brought back from South Africa for me.
The hardscaped and landscaped backyard area, including a comfortable dining space.