Friday, December 11, 2009

Country Living/ Virginia

Earlier this year I put on my Christmas cap once again and flew down to Virginia with my trusty assistant Kimberly Steward and several boxes of tinsel, pine cones and vintage balls galore! Our mission, to "holiday-up" Glenn Holley's retreat away from home, which happens to be just next door to his other home! Glenn is an accountant by day, decorator at heart! He has lived in Virginia all his life and has a passion for renovation, having renovated both homes side by side in a married fashion. Glenn told me he has collected or many years ceramics, particularly McCoy pottery, an American classic, I too collect ceramics so I could appreciate his obsession! Glenn also has a knack for using inexpensive finds and re purposing them, His kitchen cabinets are the basic Home Depot kind that he repainted in a racing car green and fitted with new handles. The basic filing cabinets are lined up like soldiers ready for duty in his office, but are an inexpensive kind nestled into a custom made desk. Many pieces of furniture are op shop finds given new life by repainting in fun poppy colors. Re-upholstering is not cheap but it sure makes a difference.

The house is basically a second home so it needed a bit of an injection of the everyday to make it looked lived in. As a stylist who is employed to style someone else's environment, it can be challenging not to offend or overwhelm. What you think might be great for the look of the home, the owner may cringe at. While Glenn was very hospitable, I empathized with him as we marched in throwing wreaths up in windows, lighting mercury glass candle holders pulled out of my boxes, piling decorations in the McCoy and generally taking every opportunity possible to throw a sprig of festive berry here and there, I hope we did not faze him too much, but when you are a stylist you don't travel lightly. I did try to decorate as tastefully as possible and without distracting too much from Glenn's vision, but with the brief being to make it feel appropriate for the holiday issue, it had to be done!

I did not really get to see much of Charlottesville, Virginia unfortunately, but I got a small taste, It really is a cute town and the photography team did manage to have a few vino's one night in a very nice seafood restaurant as we sat outside at the local shopping strip.

"Pattern Play" appears in the December issue of Country Living Magazine. It is photographed by the very talented Don Freeman, whose work I love in particular in World of Interiors, It was great to work with him.

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