Surroundings Nov Dec 2011

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November/December 2011


Decor * Events * Travel * Trends * Ideas

Issue #9


Guide to Decorative Living

Holiday Style!

Behind the Cover There is something so cozy and nostalgic about an old-timey Cape Cod Christmas. For the cover shot, taken as always by Michael J. Lee, we created a nostalgia laden scene reminiscent of a Normal Rockwell moment. The decorating theme is a mix of high and low: silver, crystal and blown glass mixed with natural ingredients such as the birds nest flowers, straw and burlap. Orange pomanders scent the air with citrus and cloves while the traditional pomegranate, symbol of prosperity and ambition, graces the tables scape. The piéce-de-resistance of the table is a blown glass bird by Finnish artist Oiva Toikka, borrowed from the River Street Studio in Sandwich, MA, sitting atop an all natural “birds nest” of greens, thistles and berries.


Photographer Michael J Lee se2ng the shot.

Resources 1. Oiva Toikka blown glass bird, courtesy of River Street Studio in Sandwich, MA 2. Wallpaper design by Hobe Erwin believed to be Schumacher


COVER SHOT: photography by: MICHAEL J. LEE • holiday styling by: LINDA MERRILL 2

::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living

November / December 2011 IN THIS ISSUE Behind the Cover Cape Cod Christmas Dining Room Me with my designer friends Kathie Chrisicos, Donna Terry and Linda S:mson at a recent New England Home Magazine luncheon.

We’re entering the crazy season and it’s always important to not let all the planning and responsibilities overwhelm us. I’ve been busy with several clients who are in varying stages of their design projects as well as making my plans for the house I am going to be decorating in the upcoming Sandwich Holly Days House Tour on December 11th. Holly Days is actually two weeks of festive events in the historic seaside community of Sandwich, MA, located on Cape Cod. From story book train rides to carol singing, this series of events is chock-ablock full and has something fun for all ages. I’d love to see you on the tour on the 11th - where fourteen homes dating from the 1675 to 1998 will be festooned in holiday cheer. You can find all the details here.

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All Things Bright and Beautiful Favorite holiday color combinations from design experts across the country Page 4

Entertain! Setting the table

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Theme & Variation:

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Modern Glow

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The Thistle

Holiday Greetings!

Details: Surroundings. Finds. Style

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Who, What, Where & When

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Gift ideas from $50-$500

Credits and Contacts

Meanwhile, inside these pages are tons of great ideas for entertaining, holiday decorating and gift giving. I hope you find it useful as you plan your upcoming celebrations.


I wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends and fun!

Join me


::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living





All things bright and beautiful! Favorite holiday color combinations that sparkle. Twice a year during New York Fashion Week, luxury faucet brand Brizo invites a group of nineteen interior designers, kitchen designers and design bloggers for a two-day fantasy trip to NYC to learn about the Brizo brand, get to know one another and enjoy a trip to the Jason Wu fashion show. These groups, each known as the “Blogger 19”, are made up of some of the most creative and engaged professionals likely to be found anywhere. Some of my fellow Blogger 19 alumna share their favorite holiday color combinations.

KERRIE KELLY: Put a spin on your New Year’s celebration. Instead of basic black and white, create a new classic using navy blue or Benjamin Moore’s Almost Black coloration paired with neutrals or metals. Kerrie Kelly is an interior designer and author.

GLORIA GRAHAMSOLLICITO: Living in Florida, we can never expect to enjoy the pleasures of a white Christmas. However we can create a stunning white Christmas with our decor. I love to mix white and (never wanting to wander too far from the beach) blue and silver for a little bling. Gloria Graham-Sollicito is a

CARMEN CHRISTIANSEN: I love polished silver – because it sparkles and is festive; snow white – because it reminds me of my childhood, winter snow in Michigan; and just a touch of red and green because it reminds me of the traditions of Christmas Carmen Christiansen is a designer and blogger.

kitchen designer and blogger.

MICHELLE JENNINGS WEIBE: If you want a little shock and awe in your fall season, then this is definitely the way to go. I know it can seem a little intense, but it can also be a a lot of fun. I personally am a huge fan of bright, contrasting colors together while adding just a pinch of cool texture. It reminds me of that pile of leaves my dad used to rake up in the yard… Michelle is founder of Studio M Interiors


::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living

ERIN LOECHNER: My fave combination is gold and silver! Equal parts decadent and understated, it's the perfect color combo for celebratory entertaining all season long. Erin Loechner is a writer/ stylist/designer.

TYLER WISLER: I'm such a big believer in black with anything... So of course for the holidays I utilize black with touches of metallic red. It's festive, without hitting you over the head. (Like everyone doesn't already know what season it is) I actually have several different sizes of metallic tinsel trees in black and red... It's pretty chic. Tyler Wisler is an interior designer and has appeared on HGTV’s Design Star

MICHELLE CORTIZO: I love deep metallic turquoise, apple greens and copper for holiday decor. This year I'll be taking the palette cues straight from my home decor. This palette will start at the Thanksgiving table using lots of the copper tones and be extended right into holiday ornaments featuring the turquoise & green! Michelle Cortizo is an interior designer and blogger.

ANDIE DAY: Family Heirlooms: Depending on the mood you want to capture— fun and cheerful vs. elegant and chic —the following combinations work well for most decors. A modern version of traditional green and red, teal and cranberry is energized and interesting, while white plus metallics, such as gold and silver, give a sophisticated feel to your holiday theme. This year my inspiration will be Huzza's Seed Orb Ornament. It's elegant and beautifully organic. Andie Day is an interior designer and blogger.

RAINA KATTELSON : I'm not a red and green Christmas type girl and since my little ol’ abode is lime green, black and white with pops of turquoise and orange, I'm decorating it up with lots of shiny silver with hot pink and chartreuse for a super stylin’ holiday fest. Now if only my kids would let me forgo the live tree for foil hot pink… Raina

CARMEN NATSCHKE: My favorite holiday color combination is a standard classic: snow whites and ethereally shimmering silvers. It's elegant, timeless and serves as an elegantly neutral backdrop for adding pops of fresh color. Carmen Natschke is founding editor at The Decorting Diva

LORI GILDER: I love the clean natural tones of woods, crisp cream colored fabrics, camel toned throws and textured pillows - with the sparkle of silver and gold accessories. Monochromatic holiday elegance at its best.

Kattelson is a stylist and blogger.

Lori Gilder is an architectural interior designer.

::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living



ENTERTAINING may have become more casual over the last couple of decades but it doesn’t mean that the fun has gone out of setting a beautiful table. Interior designers and party planners love to create “tablescapes” that set the mood for a dinner or party, but it doesn’t take a design degree to create a beautiful table that will complement the food and celebrate the moment. And best of all, it doesn’t take a lot of money to do it, either. First and foremost, it’s about the food and it’s about the company. You start with the plates, glassware and utensils and make sure they serve a purpose. If you are serving soup, you will need soupspoons; if steak is on the menu, then steak knives will be appreciated. The utensils are there for the comfort of your guests. The job of the host is to make the guests comfortable. Whether it’s a backyard party with plastic cutlery or a more formal affair using Grandma’s old-world silver, the concept is the same. It’s okay to use paper and plastic for picnics and backyard events, although silver ads an unexpected twist, but never use them inside the house unless the guest lists consists of a pack of 8 year olds! These days, it’s fine to mix and match china and silver and use unmatched serving pieces. It’s more about the feel of the pieces, not that they are all flawless and matchy-matchy. Unmatched hand-me-down pieces and those found while treasure hunting at flea markets have stories to tell and are always appropriate. Formal Place Se2ng: Emily Post

Tablecloths and cloth napkins are a must for indoor dining. Of course, it’s quicker to just toss out paper, but washing tablecloths and napkins isn’t really all that tough either. Cotton and linen textiles wash well and are a snap to iron if done while still slightly damp. Cotton/poly blends are less likely to wrinkle, which can be a big time saver and white linens can easily be bleached clean – it’s why hotels always use white. Tablecloths are also great cover-ups for tables that have some wear and tear. If you’re lucky enough to own a beautiful dining table, using elegant place mats instead of a tablecloth is a nice way to let the finish shine! Red Tartan Table Cloth & Napkins at Williams-­‐Sonoma


::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living

Once you have the basic serving pieces set, it’s time to add the pizzazz! Candles are a great addition to evening events as they add a warm and flattering glow. Long tapers are always elegant, but shorter votive candles scattered across the table can have a whimsical feeling. Generally, designers would say that there can’t be enough candles, so don’t hesitate to really load up the space, but, remember to always use unscented, dripless candles. Scented candles interfere with the enjoyment of the meal itself, and many people are allergic to the scents.

Cathedral Tapers by TaFne

Floral centerpieces are, of course, a time honored part of the dining experience. As with scented candles, it’s best to stick with blooms that have little scent wherever possible. Always make sure your arrangements are set either below the line of sight for all guests, or are set on tall pedestals that raise them above the eye. The goal is to not block guests from being able to make eye contact across the table. Arrangements from the local florist are always nice, but you may find what you need in your own backyard as well. Small vases, which don’t have to match, filled with greens and local wildflowers will make wonderful arrangements. If you’re hosting a fall meal, such as the Thanksgiving dinner, you can create centerpieces from the “bounty of the season” such as hollowed out gourds filled with chrysanthemums, or stalks of wild corn tied together with a beautiful ribbon. Even simple glass apothecary jars filled with acorns or small pinecones will be elegant and eye catching. Anything that shows a little creativity and flair is always a hit.

Styling by Linda Merrill, photography by Michael J. Lee

A designer’s job is to make the best use of a given space, make it comfortable for everyone who uses the space and to make it beautiful. These are the same concepts employed when setting a beautiful table. Make it useful, make it comfortable, and make it beautiful.

And the most important ingredient?

Make it joyful! This arFcle is wriHen by Linda Merrill for

::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living


Theme and Variation: The Thistle The national flower of Scotland, the thistle represents beauty, tenacity and a stubborn grip on the land. Basically a weed, the beauty of the thistle has been capturing the imaginations of artists for hundreds of years. Scotia's thistle guards the grave, Where repose her dauntless brave; Never yet the foot of slave Has trod the wilds of Scotia. ~ Henry Scott Riddell (1798-1870)


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::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living


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::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living


Click Here for More Information and Tickets

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::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living

DETAILS: Modern Glow

Plumbers Pipe via Etsy

Double Candle Holder via Scandinavian Design Center

Numi CandlesFcks via CB2

Root Candelabra at West Elm

Fused Glass CandlesFcks via Etsy

RusFc Tapers via West Elm

Valencia CandlesFcks by Jaime Hayon

Heel Candle Holders via Etsy

::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living

Shabbat Tair Candleholder via Modern Tribe


Surroundings. Finds. Style.

Under $50

A curated collection of stylish gift ideas from $50-$500

Under $250

Bleaker Bar Ice Bucket- Williams-Sonoma, $49.95 | Cashmere Hot Water Bottles - Rest. Hardware, $49.00

Under $500

Vermont Cheese Board Set - Bennington Potters, $79.00| Copper Couscoussier - Williams Sonoma $199.95


Paris View Petite Cache Pot - John Derian, $320 | George Nelson Sunburst Clock - MoMA, $385 12

::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living

Gui de t o orat ive L iving




Linda received her design education at the acclaimed Boston Architectural College after a long career in public television marketing and product branding. She has decorated homes throughout Greater Boston, the South Shore & Cape Cod and across the globe via her virtual design services. Her love of interiors is but one of her artistic pursuits, and her studies in music and the fine arts continues to influence her design aesthetic. In addition to her blog ::Surroundings::, she has written a regular newsletter to a mailing list of nearly 1,000 (and growing) loyal readers for nearly 8 years, and is a regular writer for She is the founder and moderator of radio/podcast series called “The Skirted Roundtable”, available on iTunes.

Michael received his design training at the Wentworth Institute of Technology and, prior to becoming a professional photographer, worked as a interior designer for award winning designers Richard FitzGerald and Celeste Cooper. His design training has given him a unique perspective as he approaches a photography assignment. He understands a space and knows how to make it shine. His work regularly appears in all the regions’ major publications.

INTERIOR DESIGN :: Portfolio :: Design Services :: Virtual Decorating :: Press :: Bio

SPEAKING :: Jr. League of Boston on Decorating “Secret Splurges” :: Boston Society of Architects RDC show on Social Networking


BLOGS :: Surroundings:: :: Silverscreen Surroundings:: :: Master of your Domain :: The Skirted Roundtable - podcast

PRESS :: ShelterPop :: The Boston Globe Style :: The Boston Globe Magazine :: Alluminaire :: The Decorating Diva

PAST ISSUES Past Issues - Click Here

h t t p : / / surroundingsmagazi

:: Williams-Sonoma Designer Marketplace :: :: Divine Caroline :: Huffington Post :: Philadelphia Inquirer :: Chicago Tribune CONTACT &

CREDITS :: Written and edited by Linda Merrill :: Cover photography by Michael J. Lee

MEDIA KIT :: View Media Kit Here


Linda Merrill Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings PO Box 1206 Duxbury, MA 02331 781-585-0275

::Surroundings:: Guide to Decorative Living | ©Linda Merrill | 781-585-0275 |


::Happy Holidays::

Š2011 Linda Merrill Decorative Surroundings

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