A recent interview with Anne Marie Hauer of Choux Designs continues below. Anne Marie’s charming home decor and holiday style set a festive tone yet feel very comfortable. Photos of her decor from seasons past are included.
Celebrate Local: Does holiday color need to match the home decor?
Anne Marie Hauer: I don’t think holiday color needs to match your interiors, but I most definitely think it should compliment your home. The holiday season is crazy enough, so your decor should create a sense of peace and calm. For instance, if you have a room with teal walls, decorating with gold and black would be a beautiful choice. If your walls are red, you are probably not going to decorate with all the orange slices you can find. In everyday life, red and green are not my favorite combo, but at Christmas, a tartan paired with rich black candles, aged brass candlesticks, shiny laurel leaves, and gathered pine cones are nothing short of magical.
CL: Can this style of holiday decorating be done on a budget?
AMH: Absolutely! Free sources are the best and often easy to find, like items from your yard or property. Did you know that most evergreen trees and shrubs grow best when they’ve been trimmed a bit?
Make ordinary plant leaves and fruits look festive by applying gold spray paint. A hot glue gun sometimes comes in handy when creating decorations. Both spray paint and a glue gun are inexpensive and you may already have them.
A few suggestions for obtaining free decorative items:
- Friends, family, neighbors: You may be surprised to find out what’s waiting for you in someone else’s property
- Christmas tree lots: Ask for bits of trimmed branches that might be tossed. You might find a 3-foot-tall pine branch that could sit in a jug as a mini countertop Christmas tree.
- Along deserted country roads… but be cautious as many wild vines and colorful plants are poisonous… ask a local or take a friend who knows which ones are safe :
- Bittersweet grows wild in Virginia. Its squiggly vines with sparse orange berries are easy to incorporate into your mantle garland.
- Pine boughs, magnolia branches, laurel cuttings, holly branches, viburnum, nandina bushes
- Dried pieces such as hydrangea, dried spirea, magnolia seedpods, or pine cones
CL: When decorating your own home for the holidays, do you use the exact same decor year after year?
AMH: Many of the same decor elements exist in our home year after year but I most definitely change up the details. I might find a new location for the Christmas tree or add a garland to a different doorway than in years past. Another way to change things is to swap out the “ingredients”:
- Clove-studded oranges one year vs dried oranges
- Tied boughs of greens on the door can be swapped out with a twine wreath with sprigs of greens.
I find the more I mix things up the more my family appreciates the pomp and circumstance and excitement of the holiday season.
CL: Is there anything else you want to share that I haven’t asked?
AMH: I have LOVED decorating each year with the large brass metal rings and candlestick clips. They have a very Scandinavian aesthetic but are in line with farmhouse decor as they are simple and elegant and can be embellished.
A beautiful and easy creation using the metal ring:
- Use greens such as laurel, nandina, and various pine branches
- Spray paint hydrangea or magnolia seed pods
- Hot glue them to the brass ring
- Hang them with black stain ribbons from the tops of window trim
Some years I have added candles and candlestick clips to the rings, other years I have clipped the candles to our Christmas tree.
Everyone has different tastes and styles. Find the items you can easily access and those that you love. Look for inspiration in magazines or online and have fun decorating. Enjoy the season!
In case you missed it, part 1 of this interview can be found here.
Anne Marie Hauer of Choux Designs in The Plains, Virginia, works with clients in Northern Virginia. She designs spaces that have a distinct purpose, are crisp yet comfortable and tell a unique story. Reach out to Anne Marie through her website at chouxdesigns.com.
Editor’s note: We recently discovered a pop-up holiday shop in historic downtown Leesburg where you’ll find fabulous holiday entertaining items. See our article with more info here.