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Incorporate Christmas decorations throughout your home and yard

Kirk and Debbie VanZee moved to St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood six weeks ago with four jumbo boxes of holiday decorations meant for a completely different type of house.

"Our Atlanta home was more traditional," Debbie says. "We put a 10-foot Christmas tree in the two-story foyer and garland on the banisters of the curved staircase." Now, the VanZees live in a single-level, Florida-style home with a cozy entrance and much lower ceilings.

Laura Fage of CasaTerra Designs found new uses for the old decorations — and repurposed everyday furnishings and threw in a handful of bargain buys — to transform the VanZees' porch and foyer into a vision of red and green.

"The holidays are the perfect time to move things around and mix it up," says Fage, who scouted inside and out for all things red and shiny.

The foyer illustrates Fage's two simple decorating mantras: theme and vignettes. Mirrored globe ornaments and a box of ribbons inspired some eye-catching scenes. The ornaments, which VanZee says got lost on her tree, now shimmer and shine, strung on translucent red ribbon from the light fixture. An ottoman beneath the light puts VanZee's favorite things center stage. "I'd always hung the stocking on the mantle, but I love it draped over a tray next to my daughter's picture."

A chaise became a cozy seat for Santa piled with red pillows snatched from sofas and beds. Under the windows, trimmed in greenery that once adorned a staircase, a red and gold leaf table from the living room finds a new home for the holidays. Piano benches, chairs and trunks are perfect for displaying glass balls, wrapped packages and holiday books, Fage says.

The natural beauty of the Christmas tree is illuminated with white lights, gold ribbon and reflective mirrored garland — simple elegance. Fage, who advocates multiple trees — one for family and others for fun — points out that a tree doesn't have to be large or laden with ornaments to make a big impact.

Wendy Nichols Clark is a freelance writer based in St. Petersburg. She can be reached at clarks1999@tampabay.rr.com.

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Everyday fabulous

Our top picks for everyday items to enhance your holiday decor:

• Wrap packages, pots, pillars, doors and cookie plates in aluminum foil to add a little shine.

• Round up red and green books, holiday cookbooks and children's books. Display them on mantles or ottomans. Stack or pile to vary the height of candlesticks or picture frames.

• Stick cloves in oranges and display them in wooden or glass bowls. Brush an egg wash on pears, apples or bunches of grapes. Roll the fruit in granulated sugar. Dry, then display.

• Fill vases, trays, bowls, terra cotta pots, galvanized buckets or hurricane glasses with glass balls. Or tie the balls onto ribbons and hang from windows or light fixtures, or attach them to greenery.

• Use spray paint to add metallic sparkle or color to baskets, branches, magnolia leaves, nuts, pinecones, pebbles, shells or anything that needs a new color or a bit of refreshing.

Wendy Nichols Clark

Decking your halls

If your holiday decorations have lost luster over the decades or you're feeling ho-hum about another year of the same old lights on the porch and bows on the pillars, here are ideas for sprucing things up without spending a lot of green.

FIND A FOCUS

"Now that I see how the decorator focused on reds and reflectives, I feel like I could do this myself," homeowner Debbie VanZee says. Find inspiration in an ornament, favorite color or a theme. Silvers, golds and metallics dazzle and reflect holiday lights for a sophisticated look. Or go tropical: Seashells mix beautifully with greenery, and hot pink and green are a fresh combination for the season. Add a palmetto wreath, key limes in a hurricane glass and birds of paradise instead of poinsettias.

Make it personal

Turn your collections into decorations. Hang teacups (carefully!) on your tree; arrange bells on a tray with glass balls; or corral teddy bears in front of the tree. Let your hobbies inspire you. Love to cook? Deck a tree with whisks, wooden spoons, cinnamon sticks, silverware and colorful measuring cups. Music lovers can add dazzle with CDs, and colorful seed packets strung on ribbons are the perfect accent for a gardener's tree.

MIX IT UP

The icicle lights that have always graced your front porch? Move them to the staircase inside. Hang small window wreaths on the back of dining room chairs, or try putting your tree topper over your front door. Put a tree on your front porch or poolside, trimmed in turquoise and silver to reflect the water.

Incorporate Christmas decorations throughout your home and yard 11/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 20, 2009 3:30am]
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