Bienvenue to the second day of exquisite holiday decorating.
What I'm discovering with the remarkable and varied talents of the interior designers who so graciously agreed to participate in this week-long series, is that creating beauty -- even for ephemeral moments like a meal, a fireplace mantle, a Christmas tree -- brings such richness, pleasure and joy to life that every second of effort that goes into making a home sparkle in celebration of the season might very well be the true definition of magic.
Today the tremendously talented, Francine Gardner (dash over to see her blog, Art de Vivre
-- it most definitely is the definition of l'art de vivre), lets us peek into her home to see how she sets her table, decorates her tree and welcomes her friends with the entry, pictured above.
My decorating suggestions: Keep it simple, ethereal, scented, filled with memories or treasured moments and always, always a real tree.
I prefer monochromatic trees and especially white. This year my tree is sparkling. I always have white doves perched on branches, small mirrors to reflect the lights, cascading seeds and rhinestones.
I love a chaise by the tree with a cashmere blankets and pillows where I rest in the evening, reading or reflecting on the year that is about to end.
I invite friends for Christmas lunch, usually for 16 to 20. My husband cooks and I set the table. We have a rich lunch of fois gras, duck a l'orange, a perfect Bordeaux, a buche de Noel and Armagnac -- I am, after all, from Gascogne.
I love formal table settings from bright reds and orange to pure white and silver. This year the table will be glittering white to end what has been a rather difficult year in shimmering style.
Finally, I dress my entry console with simple greenery.
And, in my showroom, I just placed butterflies on moss covered branches in lieu of ornaments.