Making a grand entrance Design: Designers advise not to skimp when it comes to decorating the door for the holidays.

November 17, 1996|By JoAnne C. Broadwater | JoAnne C. Broadwater,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When it comes time to decorate your door this holiday season, forget that old decorating maxim, "less is more." More is the key to a successful holiday display, according to several area designers.

Whether you prefer a lavish look or a simple elegance, be generous with your materials, says Ken Hobart, creative director for the Becker Group, one of the largest seasonal decorating companies in the world.

"If you love apples, then give me apples, give me a thousand apples," says Hobart, of Baltimore.

"One of the things people do is stop short of doing enough," he adds. "They hang a simple wreath with three apples and a bow and say, 'I'm done.' You've got to let your imagination go."

Floral designer Andrea Stieff has similar sentiments about door decor and warns against ruining an otherwise beautiful creation with a "skimpy bow."

She advises "gorgeous bows or no bows." Instead of the usual red velvet bows, she suggests investing in lavish, high-quality wired ribbons, perhaps in organdy, taffeta, tapestry or brocade.

"I am a 'more is more' person for my own door," she says. "It should be very, very overdone. Try to be distinctive."

A gorgeous bow is only one step in achieving a sumptuous

display. Layering is also important. If a wreath seems sparse, designers suggest putting a large and smaller one together. If pine roping or a fir swag is scraggly, combine two or three in layers and hang from the door knocker.

Variety of greenery

A full, tapestry effect can be achieved by wiring in not just one kind of greenery, but a variety of yard clippings: boxwood, yew, cypress, rhododendron, juniper, holly, cedar, pine, magnolia, laurel, Japanese maple, hydrangea, hemlock or blue spruce, whatever you have at hand.

For further texture, add visual sparkle with lights or glittery ornaments, pearlized fruit, gilded nuts. Something frosted or wintry always looks festive.

Decorators report a lot of demand this year for anything handcrafted, from gingerbread men to tin, hole-punched ornaments cut from flashing.

Tassels are another indoor decorating item turning up outside this year, according to floral designer Suzanne Rafferty.

And for those who want the latest color, she says chartreuse is popular.There's no need to stick to the conventional burgundy and evergreen shades, she says. "You should use whatever makes you happy -- not what Christmas dictates. I don't play to the seasons and I've never been a red and green person."

Instead, she chooses colors appropriate to the house. Any rich color will do, she says, from soft pastels to deep burgundy or purple to the most outrageous tartans.

Sharon Gordon, a floral designer and president of Flora et Fauna, says a charming Victorian look can be achieved by combining colors such as light peach, coral and sage green and tucking in a bit of baby's breath and some lace.

Most of the designers consulted suggested adding something to the door that reflects the personality of the owners.

What's your hobby?

You could add ornaments that represent your hobbies and interests. A gardener, for example, could decorate a wreath with tiny clay pots and tools. Cooks could use chili peppers and tiny wooden spoons or metal cookie cutters.

"It's a wonderful thing that says this is who we are and this is what we love," Stieff says.

A festive look for a birdwatcher's door might be a bundle of greens tied with ribbon and adorned with a spray of berries, twigs, a bird nest and shiny ornaments.

Gordon says a bird lover might just hang a birdhouse on the door and attach cardinals, greens and ribbons.

There's also no need to stop at the door and the frame. Step back and consider the planters, the porch rails and arches, the fence and even the gate as fair game for decoration.

Floral and landscape designer Jeffrey Conti says, "I try to do a complete vignette and not just a flat door. Often you don't need to do anything on the door itself because it has a beautiful knocker."

For a wintry look that will last through the holidays and beyond into February or March, try the subdued colors and varied textures of bunches of dark fruit-tree branches, greens such as LTC Japanese larch and fall cypress, lichens, bark, cones and seed pods.

Items such as red fabric and pomegranates can be included for the holidays and removed in the new year.

Festival of Trees

For more holiday decorating ideas for your front door, visit the 1996 Festival of Trees later this month at Timonium Fairgrounds, where about 75 wreaths will be on display.

Created primarily by area florists with dried or artificial material, the wreaths will be displayed on residential doors and will be available for purchase throughout the festival, which begins Nov. 27 and continues through Dec. 1.

The seventh annual Festival of Trees -- featuring about 100 decorated trees as well as a gingerbread-house display -- is the chief special-event fund-raiser for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, which provides comprehensive care for children with disabilities.

Cost of admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children under 12 and seniors. For daily hours and additional information, call (410) 550-TREE.

Pub Date: 11/17/96

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