How to Transform Your Home into a Winter Wonderland
Global event designer Edward Perotti has managed over 2,000 events, including social galas, ornate weddings, corporate affairs and notable events in such places as the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre, the Great Wall of China and the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. We asked him for some ideas to help Freshome readers create the perfect winter wonderland at home this holiday season.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Decor
With all the events Perotti designs around the globe, you would expect him to come home and just relax during the holidays. “However, it’s actually the opposite. A second wind always seems to kick in and I’m newly inspired to decorate at home.”
He’s passionate about decorating the home himself, without any help from his events team or even a florist. “It’s just me and my holiday elves – otherwise known as my family.”
Perotti brings his event design perspective to his personal decorations. “It needs to be a cohesive experience and convey an overall emotion,” he says. “Living in sunny California, our winter is far from frosty, but this year I’m creating our very own winter wonderland.”
Perotti is not a fan of decor that is overwhelming. “I don’t believe in decorations that hit you over the head with a theme. Instead, I like to create a mood and feelings with design moments,” he says. “The trick is to establish a flow from the front door to the mantel and continue it throughout the house. It all needs to tie together with a common thread and tell a story.”
This is what Perotti’s doing this year to decorate his home’s exterior:
- Icing the glass panels on the front door to give them a frosted look, which contrasts well with his dark walnut door.
- Using a square wreath made of bay leaves and hung from one corner so that it appears as a diamond. It’s a contrast to the classic circle wreath and sets the tone for modern, non-traditional decor.
- Taking items that have been handed down and upcycling them. For example, a plaster rabbit’s head from Holland has been built into the center of the wreath.
- Surrounding the door with 5’ evergreen trees, potted in galvanized metal buckets and dusted lightly with fake snow. The trees have small crystals tied to the branches.
Starting with the fireplace, Perotti explains the following:
- I searched for (and found) a faux, long (about 3’) single antler, which I’ve attached to our small mantel. We’ll use this to hang stockings. This year, the stockings are an ivory velvet trimmed in faux fur.
- Our fireplace hearth is a white-painted brick – very mid-century modern during the year, but also perfect for a winter wonderland. We lost the actual use of our fireplace with our remodel (California building codes), so the inside of the fireplace is the perfect location to create a winter display.
- Combining white poinsettias, mercury glass elements (you can never have too much mercury glass!), vases, oversized ornaments, faux deer antlers, pine cones, battery operated mini LED lights and candles, I create a winter motif in the fireplace. (We use LOTS OF CANDLES for this. The remote-controlled artificial ones are great so that I can turn them on and off with one click.)
Trimming the Tree
The tree is always updated on a regular basis. For the winter wonderland theme, this is what Perotti says he’ll be doing:
- The ornaments and trim are creams, mercury glass, and crystal. To continue upcycling, I’ll also include ornaments made from boxes, wrapping paper, books, etc.
- Clear lights add the necessary sparkle.
- In keeping with our overall design mindset, the tree will be crowned with a beautiful silver Frank Lloyd Wright tree topper.
- The tree skirt matches the stockings, made from the same ivory velvet and faux fur.
“Throughout the rest of the house, I’ll reinforce the theme with matching style vignettes. The entrance credenza, coffee table, and even the staircase landing will all be decked out in winter wonderland,” Perotti says. “The house will be filled with the coolness of ivory, crystal, and mercury glass along with the warmth of the faux fur and candles.”
Perotti says the trick is to set the dining table once so it’s ready for entertaining and daily use. In this way, he says you don’t have to make any changes from the beginning of the holiday season to the end.
In keeping with the winter wonderland theme, he’s creating a runner of decor that is tonal by design.
- I start with faux antlers and spray paint them matte white linen. Then, I paint mason jars in the same matte white (four of each).
- I’ll then add mini mercury glass bud vases and an assortment of leftover silver ornaments and white-tipped pine cones.
- The final touch to the runner is ivory hydrangeas, added to make an eclectic runner that stands on its own yet ties in with the entire holiday decor style.
- To the table place settings, I’ll add galvanized metal chargers, grey and white thick striped napkins, and basic white china for a table that is ready to entertain.
“If you want to make the dinner a family-style, add a variety of white, metal, and clear glass cake pedestals,” Perotti says. “Put the platters of food on them and make your cuisine part of the decor.”
While he has provided tips for our readers, Perotti has this final piece of advice: “This is about your voice, your taste and your style, so use what I’m doing as your jumping-off point. Play with it, but make it your own.”