A design professional since 1976, Joanne Albritton has worked throughout the Tampa Bay area and Atlanta, transforming areas that range from model homes to historic properties to commercial structures.
These days, she is associated with the newly relocated Décor Studio 1 on Corey Avenue in St. Pete Beach. She has led many a holiday decorating operation, including the one she describes as her most challenging — an office lobby requiring trees that were 25 feet tall, on a 48-hour deadline.
Albritton is a bit of a traditionalist in her own home. "I have to have my Santa Claus and my home-sewn B-I-G stockings," she says. "They're gorgeous." How about some suggestions for the rest of us?
Are there guidelines for Floridians that differ from those for residents in other areas of the country?
Since most of our Florida homeowners derive from other states, I always suggest incorporating something they loved from their past seasons.
What are the greatest obstacles most homeowners face when they decorate for the holidays?
Budgets. Homeowners have their wish lists, and of course, most are over the top, but they don't realize the expense involved.
Any predominant themes or color-scheme trends for 2011?
With our economy, homemade ornaments and Christmas gifts are a big plus this holiday season. Also, pets are very important, and some clients request a puppy or kitty tree.
Please describe your different approaches to decorating a smaller space as opposed to a hotel lobby or storefront.
Color is the key. Maybe using only silver, gold and white, which can give an appearance of being large and not so crowded. Hotels and storefronts need to appeal to everyone. No odd, over-the-top colors. Always complement the structure and its furnishings.
Your best holiday tip?
Celebrate with one very special gift instead of 20 not-so-special ones.