A display of nutcrackers at the home of interior designer Patricia Gray

A display of nutcrackers at the home of interior designer Patricia Gray.

Kim Pemberton, Vancouver Sun 

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, who better to ask than local interior designers who have decked out their own homes in style?

Avoiding stress at the holidays is the main point for interior designer Patricia Gray. Her secret is starting early in the season in order to enjoy visiting with friends and family throughout December.

Gray typically picks the last weekend in November to haul out the decorations and gets her tree up by the first week of December. Although she was tempted to get a seven and a half foot artificial tree this year she opted to stay with a real Douglas Fir tree - mainly because the fake tree wouldn't fit into her car.

"I don't mind artificial trees. A lot of my clients in condos are not allowed to have live trees. The one I wanted looked so realistic," says Gray, adding the Home Depot tree was a bargain at $299 with 1,000 lights on it.

She suggests using clear white mini lights and plenty of them in order to make the ornaments stand out on the tree.

"My tree is decorated with silver and red balls and 10 strings of mini lights. I find the more lights the prettier the tree. I stuff them into the depth of the tree close to the trunk then bring them to the outside," she says.

Gray has become somewhat of an expert at tree decorating after completing one for the Canucks Children's Hospice fundraiser at Sutton Place Hotel. For that tree she and her staff, at Patricia Gray Design, began making gingerbread cookies in August representing children from around the world holding their country's flag. To make the icing long lasting, they used glitter glue instead of using real icing.

"Making your own gingerbread and hanging them on the tree is quite a nice thing to do. You don't have to go to the extent we did. You could do something simple and just have the glitter embroidery glue on the edges [of the gingerbread man]."

Keep it simple, keep it fun and just enjoy," she says.


Postscript December 12th, 2008
My partner in the tree decoration at the Sutton Place Hotel was Linda Sale Interior Design


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