Times Colonist

How to bring the pleasure of flowers into your decor

- DEBBIE TRAVIS House to Home house2home@debbietrav­is.com

It is a universal truth that flowers make us happy. The buds, the blooms, the colour splash, the fragrance enrich our senses, lift our spirits and alleviate stress. That is powerful.

When I long for a bit of peace and time to reflect, I often walk through the gardens and fields at my home, Villa Reniella, where I hold retreats in the heart of Tuscany, Italy.

There are fields of lavender, ancient olive groves, vines dripping with fat grapes, herb gardens and pots of geraniums.

It is nature that keeps our spirits up, however tough times are. Tree hugging has become popular. Whether it is a large oak in the woods or a sapling in the local park, we can feel its good energy.

While we can’t always be walking in a garden surrounded by fresh flowers and greenery, the pleasure we derive from nature’s abundance can be experience­d in different ways through our choice of home décor.

We derive similar pleasure witnessing florals translated into a work of art or reproduced on a length of fabric.

Every culture shows its own talent and style in design renderings on tapestries, wallpapers and drapery fabrics. Prolific designer William Morris, founder of the British Arts and Crafts movement, brought simple but elegant flowers into the limelight.

His sunflowers, acanthus and daisies are a few examples of images he featured on wallpapers, tiles and fabrics.

When I was designing the guest rooms at Villa Reniella, my fervent wish was that as my guests opened the door to their own private space, they would be thrilled by the vision of where they would be living for a week.

I thought about a great big bunch of peony blooms that a friend had brought to me and knew that was the answer. I made up a large headboard and wrapped it in an oversized print of fluffy peonies sketched out in the most tranquil shade of blue. I’ve chosen different florals for each room. I witness the delight on each guest’s face as they open the door and know that it was the perfect choice. Flowers make us happy.

Dear Debbie: I was pulling out the boxes of holiday décor last week and I could not get enthused about setting up the same displays we have recycled year after year. Fond memories and tradition are all fine, but please offer some fresh ideas to make the holidays bright.

Beatrice There’s no reason why you can’t combine some of your trusted memory-makers with a whole new mood.

Introduce an alternate colour theme and make it prominent. There are lots of fabulous choices for the Christmas tree. A white tree looks wintry and really dazzles with twinkle lights. Hang blue icicles and crystal balls and top with an oversized silver metallic star.

Another option is to go with the elegance of silver and gold. Create vignettes along the mantel and a few side tables with candlestic­ks, serving platters and bowls that you most likely inherited from your grannie and have never used.

Gild pinecones and ornaments with spray paint and spin metallic ribbon around the tree.

A woodsy ambience is cosy and welcoming. Think of flannels and plaids for cushions and throws, utilize driftwood, logs and old planks as a foundation for a vignette. Then select some of your favourite ornaments and keepsakes and interspers­e them throughout your new look. I promise you will be enchanted.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to house2home@debbietrav­is.com.

Follow Debbie at instagram.com/ debbie_travis, facebook.com/ thedebbiet­ravis, debbietrav­is

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 ??  ?? A large headboard is wrapped in an oversized print of fluffy peonies sketched out in a tranquil shade of blue.
A large headboard is wrapped in an oversized print of fluffy peonies sketched out in a tranquil shade of blue.

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