I love decorating the house for Christmas, but there's just one problem: I don't have a house! Not yet, anyway. A couple of months back, Jaithan and I started the search for the perfect place in the country and until we find it, I'm going to have content myself (for a few hours anyway) decorating the home of my longtime client and friend Susan. It was about four years ago that I first met Susan. I was an editor at House Beautiful magazine and hers, a 1920s Georgian in Greenwich, was my first big shoot. Lucky for me, she loved my styling, so with Christmas only a month away, she asked if decorating for the holidays was something I'd be interested in as well. Truth is, I adore it, and I've been doing it freelance for years. As a former style editor with Martha Stewart Living and now the co-founder of my own little company, along with my partner Jaithan, I love conjuring up a bit of holiday magic, especially for clients as trusting and appreciative as Susan. After four Christmases together, every year even more fantastic than the last, Susan knows what I can do and better yet, she lets me do it! So come on in, everyone, and strike up the chorus! These halls are about to be decked.
Here's the foyer of Susan's home, decorated by my good friend Jason Bell. I love the beautiful butter yellow walls, dark hardwood floors and elaborate milllwork. Can't you just see the swags of garland going up the staircase? No? Well, you will!
Here's the view back towards the door. That archway is going to get a double helping of garland with a gorgeous decorative centerpiece. Every year, Susan throws a super fun holiday bash the day after the decorations are finished, so the entrance has to be perfect!
To the left as you walk through the foyer, here's a small archway leading to the den. This too will be decorated with garland.
To the right is another large archway leading to the living room. It's decorated in a traditional New England style with a rich green striae wallpaper, thick crown moldings and a beautifully detailed fireplace mantel with a marble surround. I've always loved this portrait of Susan's great grandmother, casually holding court.
The garland, as you'll see in a minute, is a lush mixture of three types of greens I have custom made especially for Susan. But to add those all-important bits of shimmer and shine, of glamour and glitz that simply wouldn't be Christmas at this house without them, I turn to faux elements for all the embellishments I need to create a whimsical but elegant design, full of old world charm. For the color palette, every year is a little a bit different. Last year I did bronzes and muted greens; this year, golds and pretty pale creams. Here I am with Miss Jordan Perry, the latest addition to the Eddie Ross family. She's a sweet, talented southern belle of sorts, hailing from North Carolina and still new to New York. You can see the boxes of glittered faux foliage we're working with. To prep the decorations, Jordan separated and clipped small groups of glittered pine cones, foliage and crab apples. Large amounts in any one place on the garland tend to cheapen the look. Think clusters!
Remember Tina and Brian's fairytale wedding? My friend Ronny Carroll did the flowers! She's super talented with two of the cutest kids I know. Plus, I love her pigtails! Very Santa's helper. So while Jordan prepped the decorations, it was going to be Ronny's job to make pretty bows for every wreath on the outside of the house. 35 in all! The ribbon we used is weather-proof from B & J Florist Supply in the city, but here's a great option online.
No job would be complete (or half as fun!) without Austin! On the drive up to Connecticut, she was telling me how much she was living for her Salvation Army chic china cabinet, especially having hosted Thanksgiving for the first time in her new Sugar Hill apartment. Here she is on the lawn giving the pine cones we're using on the garland a light mist of spray paint. I decided to go with ivory instead of a pure white just to go along with the cream-colored ribbons.
So with Team Ross set, I decided to start with the big guns first, and that's definitely the garland on the staircase. 55 feet in all! And we're not just talking about any garland here. This is the good stuff! A lush, gorgeous mix of noble fern, juniper and cedar, eight inches thick. Scale I think is so important with garland, and in a house like this, skimpy just won't cut it. I always arrange to have the garland delivered to the house the day before I arrive and kept outside to keep it fresh. It was so richly fragrant too, I wish you could have smelled it!
Count 'em! 55 feet!
Once I'd marked off where the swags should fall, I used plastic from leftover bags to keep the wire we use to attach the garland from scratching the handrail.
Once the garland was up, it was time to go back through it, trimming loose ends, fixing odd directions, and shaping it as needed.
Here's Jordan covering up the wire and plastic on the handrail with ivory satin ribbon.
Over in the dining room, while Jaithan and Austin tied wire to the base of every painted pine cone to attach them to the garland,,,
Ronny, with her waterproof ribbon, played the part of Nelly from Little House on the Prairie. "That's my satin bow!" she cried.
Here are the wreaths lined up on the lawn, bows attached and ready to be hung!
Onto the archways! Here I am in the foyer doing the front side first. I like to do it a bit differently and not follow the line of the arch. That way, it's more of a dramatic window pane effect I love in this house! So while I was on the ladder attending to the garland…
Susan's adorable daughter Whitney and my new little helper lent a hand down below!
With the pine cones done, here's Jaithan doing the bows for the inside decorations.
25 to be exact, all tied, wired and dove-tailed!
The elves at work. That's it, Austin! Clean as you go. It makes life later so much easier.
Onto the outside entry!
The wreaths are hung, and I'm just finishing up the the arch over the entry.
Back inside, while Jordan attached bows to the tops of each swag, Ronny began to embellish the garland with clusters of golden faux foliage.
How cute is Team Ross? I'm so lucky to be able to work with such a fun, talented group of people. Without them, it would be impossible to accomplish such a big job in one day!
Like a beautiful vintage brooch, here's the burst of golden foliage and glittered baby's breath crowning every archway.
With the job finally done, everything came together perfectly. And good thing too! Susan's holiday bash was the very next night!
The party was just getting started when Jaithan and I arrived. I love how sophisticated and welcoming the wreath looked on the door.
The archways leading to the foyer looked shimmery and lush with the heady fragrance of fresh greenery throughout.
The finished staircase was stunning with glittery golden foliage sparkling like jewels.
As guests kept arriving, Susan's grandmother looked stately presiding over all.
And look who I ran into in the library! It's two of my most favorite Greenwich gals, Kathy Slocum and Lisa Stewart.
Here's Jaithan looking dapper in the archway to the den.
And finally, the two of us together just before we left. Now as fun and fantastic as decorating Susan's house for Christmas was this year (especially with Team Ross!), yours really can be equally as special. Take it from me: it's all in the details! When it comes to decorating your garland, any craft store like Michael's has beautiful, inexpensive options you can use year after year. And who knows? With a little sparkle here, a little shimmer there, the answer to that question you might have asked yourself in the past—"What would Eddie do here?"—could very well be exactly as you have it! Happy holiday decorating, everyone!
It is all so beautiful. I am overcome! Can’t wait to try out some of your ideas. Thanks for sharing!
Fabulous job, Eddie! Susan has to be so pleased ……so simply elegant, indeed!…..Now, will you come do mine, please???
Hey…where’s the mistletoe? 🙂
Looks gorgeous. I second the poster who is *demanding* a coffee table book.
You have an absolutely beautiful life
What a wonderful job. It must have cost them quite a lot for such lush garlands – but the effect is stunning! Here in Australia, something like that would last 3 days in this heat over Christmas! Such a shame!
Can you please tell me though – how do you attach the garlands to the archways? Do you put nails in the wooden architraves? Would this not leave holes the rest of the year round? Is there a magic technique???
I can almost smell the greenery from Chicago! How lush and elegant! It looks like an indoor Christmas garden. Way to go Team Ross!
(Was there a Christmas tree?)
Really lovely. Makes our teensy three foot tree look even more teensy!
Eddie, THAT was a magazine article, complete with wonderful pics. Loved. It. That garland is absolutely luscious!
Such hard work from all you guys and gals, but a fantastic result, looking more stunning in the artificial light. Do you do the clear up afterwards?!
Simply Stunning Eddie Ross. You bring me to tears with your detailed passion and your Nelly Little House cracks! Brilliant! What a joy it must be to be around you! I will certainly take you up on the Christmas swag idea! BRAVO! Until next time……. Happy Holidays. Carrie Ann
how fun!! it makes me miss an east coast christmas!
Holy molasses those are some beautiful greens. I just made trees tonight out of fresh boxwood! Nothing compared to these garlands though. This girl has some SERIOUS garland envy goin’ on.
Wonderful job. Love the blog.
Hi Eddie, Just had to visit and see what fabulousness you have to share for Christmas, and I was not disappointed! Beautiful house and the decorations are amazing! I love your use of cream bows and the lush greenery, …simple, yet elegant! We remodeled our home, putting in new railing and banisters, a month ago, (just posted tonight), and I couldn’t bear to add garlands to them yet. Great idea to cover them with the plastic. I’ll keep that in mind for next year! ~Rhonda 🙂
Sheesh, creative ideas just seem to come from you effortlessly. You are a natural born talent. I hope you don’t forget us little people when you’re strolling down the red carpet waving to the paparazzi. Thanks again for the continued inspiration.
Fabulous! Thanks for the detailed description and pictures, it looks amazing!
Beautiful Job! Do you have a publisher yet? You need to put all of this down on paper. I hope Martha is going to help you produce your own books. If not, I can send to mine, Gibbs Smith Publisher. They’d love to have you.
Wow! That is really inspiring!
What a fabulous job you did on your friend’s home. She must be so pleased with your work! Your friends look like they really enjoy helping you.
What a lucky client!!! It is gorgeous, Eddie. It’s amazing how much you can get accomplished in one day. You all look like you’re having WAY too much fun. Congrats on your new endeavors – you’ll be huge!
From start to finish, I enjoyed every step, Scott.
Makes me wish I celebrated Christmas!
Now that’s the kind of inspiration I was looking for! I love the bit about spritzing the pine cones – it gives them a little extra depth to make them stand out more.
You make it look so easy, of course you had a great team to help. Eddie as always, your very special details make all the difference. I am inspired!
Beyond fabulous, Eddie! I adore the perfect, golden clusters – what a smart way to add that ideal amount of sparkle : )
George, as usual!
Wonderful job…I cant believe you guys did that all in one day. Everything looks so pretty, and just looking at the pictures I could smell the wonderful foliage throughout the house! Oh, and if you are ever expanding “Team Ross” up to the Boston area can I be 1st in line for that job? 🙂 Hope you two are having a wonderful Holiday season together!!
So tasteful. Thanks for bringing great design to Christmas!! I love green and cream with gold – very traditional, but not dated.
Hmmm – I just realized that I decorated my coffee table in cream and gold last weekend…. so I guess you would approve Eddie!
Stunningly beautiful, Eddie! and I loved the step by step on putting up the garland, bows & glittery details. I used a little gold baby’s breath on my tree this year, so I’m in great company. Your team did a fantastic job. And what a gorgeous house to decorate for Christmas. It truly looked like a magazine spread. Best wishes to you both on your new venture! I know you’ll do well!
I remember this home from House Beautiful! (I loved her grandmother’s painting!!) Beautiful job – the garlands are spectacular.
Absolutely beautiful Eddie!!! It looks like Team Ross had a very fun time creating this lovely decor. Eddie, you and your team are so talented and so good looking too ;)!!
That is the most beautiful garland EVER! What is neat about this post is that it is REAL decorating for a REAL house – a REAL person had a REAL party! I REALLY love it!
You two handsome gentlemen look oh so dapper!
The decorations are just spectacular. Nothing can ever top real garland. It is beyond beautiful!
Everytime I walk into JoAnn’s…I definitely think, “What would Eddie do here?” or “What would Eddie do with this to make it fab?”…! I’m making a faux-covered greenery hanging initial for my family, and my girlfriend Kristen said, “That is so Eddie!”…I love it!
Eddie, every year I decorate my house in non-traditional colors of cream and garnet, as the typical reds and greens have always made me queasy.
All that to say, I love how, you and your crew, turned a house into a gorgeous home; a winter wonderland Santa may very well refuse to leave.
Understated chic at its best. . . defined, edited and the triumph of simplicity.
This was absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on your decision to branch out on your own. Your style is so elegant, but still approachable. It is deceptively simple. I love the way you put it all together, and I always learn something new. Hope you and Jaithan have the best Christmas ever.
Eddie – I love this. Garland is one of my favorite things to use during the holidays. How do you hang it from the top of the arch? With a nail?
Eddie, Jaithan and “Team Ross” …
What an outstanding job !! The entire home looked bejeweled with the essence of the holidays.
Thank you for sharing your magic !! You are truly an inspiration and you definately have a way of making me feel I can do all the same things in my own home … I don’t know about that; but it sure feels good to think I can for a few minutes – before I remember … I am not Eddie Ross !!
You’re brilliant and so is “Team Ross” !!
What an amazing life you have! I want it! I would love to know what having you come to the house to decorate would cost. . . or all that garland for that matter. Such a fabulous house, thanks for sharing such a great decorating day!
Really lovely posting! I adore reading all the handy hints and seeing all the fun behind-the-scenes prep work — and looking at the cute workers too! 🙂 Wonderful results — very charming and elegant — and so suitable for the gorgeous home! Thanks for sharing! Would you consider showing us how to make the gold centerpiece of the archway swag? Just wired together? Another great photo of you and Jaithan at the party — just right for the collection! 🙂
Jan at Rosemary Cottage (who couldn’t make a bow or swag to save her life! LOL!)
Absolutely beautiful! I’m so glad there was a cocktail party. As I was reading through the article and saw it all coming together, I kept thinking “She simply must have a cocktail party! This needs to be seen and enjoyed.” Fabulous and elegant as always, Team Ross.
stunning, gorgeous, can’t find enough superlatives for your wonderful decorating. How in the world did you get the wreathes on the upstairs windows?
As a first time poster (but longtime reader), I must say that you always leave me feeling truly inspired and hopeful. I love to decorate, and with children it has an even deeper meaning to me now. Your constantly offering great pojects that I can do myself, or even with my eldest. Thank you for that.
I wish you and Jaithan much luck on your new venture. You have boundless talent and such flair. If there were anyone I could go to for advice concerning the elegant for the everyman (or woman), you would be that person, Eddie. Congratulations! I look forward to many more wonderful posts.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
that garland is to DIE for. I made my own this year, so I can only think about how long that must have taken someone!
Oh Eddie (and Co.*winks*) this was delish!! The house was glorious! The decorating sublime! Only wish I could have been at the party! As always you are an inspiration to me! Vanna
Geez, Louise – I’m speechless. And think I want to be on Team Ross. Absolutely beautiful!
Now Eddie. Why did you go and do such an awesome job like that? How in the world can you ever top that for next year~ I love every tiny detail and every bow. Beautiful just beautiful! If I could only have been one of your little elves… my Christmas would be complete~ Take care you two and enjoy your christmas!
What an amazingly beautiful home!! I adore what you did….so gorge!! You all look like you had so much fun, thank you for sharing. Jaithan is too cute, btw…love him and love you guys as a couple!! xoxo Aline
this is my DREAM HOUSE! & you decorated it EXACTLY as I would have done. Nothing is more classy than upscale traditional & you hit it on the nose! Beautiful work! Big fan of your blog!
WOW!! that looks stunning! i won’t even know where to begin w/ making garland….
Stunning. Seriously. And a ton of work! Made my fingers hurt thinking of all the bows that were tired, wire that was wired, etc. Great job!
Breathtaking!! The decorations are prettier than the White House. Hollywood needs to film a Christmas classic movie in this beautiful setting you and Team Ross created.
Love it. You and your team did an AMAZING job. On as side note, do you know what color those “butter yellow” walls are painted?
Gorgeous and it looked like fun to put together, too! I’d love to be on your team! 🙂
Fantastic! I have never wreaths that huge before, ever! Eddie, you are a continuous source of inspiration for me! You’re the best!
LOVE it! I would have expected nothing less…and as always, my loving yaya buddy…ya’ll have outdone yourself again! Okay…now when are ya’ll coming to Houston to help me with the store? 🙂
I am posting some of your look on my blog to show the ladies…why they need to get away from ALWAYS using red/green for Christmas!
Martha should hire you to decorate HER house. You would do a much better job. Stylish and beautiful.
Again, beautiful classic taste! You guys did such a beautiful job. XOXO Tina
I love the tip about the plastic bags around the railings! Then the satin bows to cover them up! How beautiful it all looked! Definately decked those halls! I love garland, and the fragrance is so festive! Another Wow from Mr. Fabulous and Team Rose! P.S., love your bow tie!
have you tried using pipe cleaners to attach garland? I have found that they will hold amazing weights and don’t scratch either. I buy them in either dark green or the color of the railing so they are easily hidden. Happy Holidays from NC!
What a beautiful property, You did an amazing job creating a warm and inviting environment! Great pics, I especially love the one with the little girl sweeping up, precious. I am still hoping for an Alameda flea market trip, just let me know. My brother and his wife are Alameda residents and know a lot of people in the area.
What a beautiful, beautiful job you did! I love the step-by-step pictures. That garland is just the lushest! What a lucky homeowner and how lucky we are that you are sharing all of this with us.
I also would like to know how to attach the (heavy) garland to the trim without damage.
Such a lovely home to deco. and the fun! As the tour was going, I was wondering who was on the clean up crew! The home deco. is beautiful! I love the colors you chose. Your on that ladder again! Glad to see you made it off, safely!
I can only imagine how good that garland smells. And it’s beautiful…so classic! Take care of our Carolina girl!!! I’m sure she’ll keep you all entertained.
Absolutely stunning (as usual)!
Beautiful!!! It is just beautiful and so is the lovely home.
Beautiful job. Absolutely perfect!
I wish I had a Team Ross.
Hi Eddie and Jaithan! This post is so timely for me! I am off to decorate a large stately home for a holiday tour…the owner called in distress that her attempt at decorating wasn’t looking so great. I will be using your garland ideas to do her beautiful foyer and staircase. This was just beautiful!
Eddie this is a very beautiful house and I love the christmas decorations I was looking at the designs that you’ve done of the years on this beautiful home and once again you’re out doing yourself. I love that garland we can’t wait to see everything else.
I would love to be a junior member of Team Ross! I love to use real garland too, but the one you use is especially lush. I’m preparing to do our house this weekend, and seeing your photos gets me in the mood! Thank you for the lovely Holiday post…
GOD SHOWED YOU A GREAT TALENT.YOUR DECORATING WAS REALLY INSPIRING TOO ME.ITS REALLY BEAUTIFUL.