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If I had more room in the title of this post, the full title would be Designer James Saavedra Shares His Deliciously Satisfying and Sophisticated Tips for Holiday Style. Today we have the fabulously stylish James Saavedra, of SAAVEDRA DESIGN STUDIO, guest blogging for Style Illuminated with Part 1 of his insider tips on designing for the holidays in a way that rings true with you. Welcome, James!
This evening a telemarketer wrangled me into a “quick” opinion poll about a new VIP program at the Grove here in Los Angeles. (True story.) Think upscale outdoor shopping mall filled with beautiful people and this time of year – holiday classics like I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus or the one that is permanently fused into my psyche (thanks to many high school years creating visuals and quizzing my fellow employees on seasonal color names at the GAP) the Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping. You know – “Christmas! Merry Christmas! But I think I'll miss this one this year. Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!” Yes, that one. But I digress.
We find ourselves slam-dunk in the throws of the holiday season and that means joyous gatherings, fabulous waistline-expanding meals and, of course, holiday décor. Suffice it to say- I am not one for the traditional evergreen garlands adorned with Tartan bows and mini candy canes or multi-colored string lights that flash in random sequences. I’ve never been a fan.
I was probably about sixteen when I hijacked our family tree by hostile take over and declared – “This year shall be different”! In place of the hodgepodge assortment of elementary school ornaments, red velveteen elves, and creepy Shrinky Dink angles on the ubiquitous Douglas Fir that we normally chopped down at the local Christmas tree farm our family was graced with a majestic Blue Spruce, minimally adorned with all white string lights (non-flashing), handmade natural wood cones (in various sizes), miniature cranberry balls (I can’t tell you how many glue gun burns I suffered from that “brilliant” idea), and for the life of me I can’t remember if there was a tree topper at all. Most likely it was left bare. You get the picture.
I prefer an approach to the holidays that doesn’t drown your home in predictable red and green. You can take a peek at this mini holiday guide I put together for my online mag, Fellow, circa 2009 for further illustration.
This year I offer this holiday inspiration to you, and yours, that says less “ho, ho, ho” and more “oh, that’s fabulous”. I have spent over decade listening to my gut and honing what I know for certain will always works for every interior and that is an instinctual and mindful approach to curating beautiful spaces.
The following are gems I pass on to you so you may do the same.
1. Your holiday décor should reflect your personal, soulful, style and recall all that you connect with on an emotional level. It could be one of comfort, grace, ease, simplicity or what have you.
2. Pay attention to the tiniest details and really contemplate what this expression of yourself will look like when you deck the halls. This includes the music you might play during a gathering.
3. Authentic beauty and style doesn’t have to break the bank and often less is more. Quality over quantity- always.
4. Consider the amalgam of texture, color, light, sound, and scent, etc. Engage all of the human senses to come out and play.
5. Embrace the perfection of imperfection and allow yourself to be ok with that crooked tree or chipped china bowl. It’s choosing to breathe deeply instead of hyperventilating.
6. Remember that those near and dear are not coming to your home for the best holiday wreath or perfect pillows – they are saying a loud “YES” to laughing so hard it hurts, bestowing their affections upon you, and making memories that years down the road will bring a tear to their eyes.
7. Be certain to love every branch, bow, ball or thingamajig with equal passion and satisfaction. If something only says “meh” don’t purchase it and certainly do not bring into your home to as an extension of you. Think of it this way- I’ll use myself in this example: “James is fabulous except for that “meh” part/detail/aspect”. Doesn’t that sound just wonderful? If you make certain that the only things you fill your home with bring you undeniable joy then your entire day will be filled with countless moments filled with that joy.
On Friday, James will be back with part 2 of his holiday decor tips, including inspirational home decorating guides for four distinctly beautiful holiday design styles - Embrace the Bronze Age; Perfect Pairing: Gold Meets White; Simply Stated; and Lead, Do Not Follow. Intrigued by these themes? Check back with Style Illuminated this Friday!
In the interim, check out James blog - Decor Fellow or his website - Saavedra Design Studio.
Image credits: Top image - James Saavedra, middle image - Style Me Pretty and lower image - Better Homes & Gardens.