It wouldn’t be Christmas without Suzanne. This year, she’s wrapped the holidays in festive tartan plaid, sprinkled them with ice white glitter and topped it all with her magical style. We sat down with our favorite interior designer to talk about her new holiday collection, her inspirations and her go-to decorating tips and tricks for a beautiful Christmas.
Ballard Designs: What were some of your inspirations as you were putting the collection together?
Suzanne Kasler: Classic Christmas is always the basis for my collection. I just love the idea of building upon my past holiday collections, so you can add to and mix and match with what you’ve already started. This year I was really in the mood for more white. We mixed white in with the Flocked Trees and Branches, like the Flocked Frasier Fir Tabletop Tree (above). I just love that mix of white with natural accents.
BD: You really bring it with the sparkle and shine this year, too. The winter whites mixed in with all of your shimmering, silvery accents makes for a beautiful setting.
SK: It’s a winter wonderland! I just love all of the sparkle this year. It’s just what I imagined.
BD: And you introduced a new plaid this year with the MacKenzie.
SK: We did a classic green plaid that I’m really excited about. It’s tartan-inspired and a great companion to the red Holiday Plaid from last year. I love that it’s Fabric By the Yard, so you can do throws, tablecloths, draperies and so much more. We used it as upholstery to show how it is a great detail for Christmas, but it’s classic enough to last past the holiday time.
BD: We’ve been ogling the pages of the new catalog for days now. We love the lodge look you dreamed up. It’s very rustic and chic at the same time.
SK: Log cabins are magical, especially during the holidays. It’s rustic and has the personality and charm of a cozy cabin – it really captured that magical feel the holidays bring about. The winter whites are beautiful here. It really looks like Christmas – and we shot it in July!
SK: I always tell my clients to decorate in multiples so you can create a collection. What we did with the flocked trees is really simple: we clustered the two trees together and put less decoration on them, which makes it interesting. I have the two new larger antlers, and we used those mixed in with the smaller ones. I also have a new color, a kind of taupe-y brown, so we even mixed the two colors together.
SK: My snowflakes are really great. I’m hanging them everywhere this year. I’m also going to use them to accent my wrapped gifts. I’ve always loved garland, and I particularly love the sparkle of the mercury glass. I’ll put it in a bowl on a table. And you can see how pretty it looks on the mantel. It certainly can go on the tree. The votives are also mercury glass and come in the same colors as the Glass Ball Ornaments from my original collection, so it all ties together beautifully.
BD: The votives are in your signature colors, of course. And for a great price!
SK: I think so, too. They’re really pretty. The great thing about the colors is that they work all year round. They’re kind of unusual muted colors that are not traditionally what you think as holiday. These smaller items really add that extra shimmer.
BD: Your Flocked Frasier Trees in burlap balls are back this year, and they’re lit. In addition to last year’s Bronze, you’ve added a new color.
SK: Is it any surprise that it’s silver? It just feels beautiful with the mercury glass and all the other silver accents. It’s a natural fit.
BD: The Sunburst Tree Topper is a must-have. What was the inspiration?
SK: It just seemed like a logical extension from my collection of sunburst mirrors. And it’s really hard to find a great tree topper. You’ll notice in the cabin scene that it’s really the only decoration we added to the trees, and I think it shows how you can use your collection differently from year to year to change your look. We put a lot of the ornaments in the big vase on the table, so you still have the sparkle of the ornaments and the detail, but they’re just not on the tree.
BD: We love that Rafina Urn with the Birch Branches in the center of the room.
SK: I’ve been wanting to make this planter for a while. I have the original, and it’s so great, because it can be used in so many different ways. It’s really big and scaled. I think it strengthens a room. It can be used on a table, counter or floor. It’s such a classic shape, and we did it in this beautiful plaster white.
BD: Where did you find the original?
SK: I found it at a local flea market. What’s interesting is that I’ve taken it on many photo shoots, and every time the client asks to keep it. I’ve had so many requests to leave it when they see how I’ve arranged it, but I love it so much. Now I finally have one they can keep.
BD: It’s versatile, too. It can stay out past the holidays and be used all year long.
SK: Yes, I use my big pot year-round. It’s one of my favorites.
BD: And the branches as well?
SK: Yes, the Birch Branches are great because they can be used throughout the year even though I’m just showing them here at holiday time. They look great anywhere, anytime.
BD: Of course, we have to talk about the Boyds Nicholas Bear. It’s a Suzanne Kasler tradition!
SK: This year he’s a beautiful oatmeal color, and the ribbon matches the tartan plaid. His name is Nicholas. Each year we do different sizes and colors – and this one is a darling bear. It ended up being a petite size this year, which makes him all the more endearing.
BD: Your collection of trimmed tree skirts and stockings is growing. This year you’ve added the MacKenzie Plaid.
SK: I love how the MacKenzie Plaid Tree Skirts turned out; both plaids are gorgeous. In the shot with the mostly green room we really played up the plaid. However, you can’t lose with the simplicity of the velvet winter white, red or green trim. I also added a plain Burlap Stocking with Tassel that’s simple and rustic.
SK: The wreaths are so pretty with the frosting. The greenery comes in pieces and is great for anywhere – in the fire log basket or on the mantel.
BD: How do you decorate with wreaths in your home?
SK: I love wreaths and I love to decorate with them inside. I put them on windows, over the hood in my kitchen and over my mirror in the dining room. The thing about a wreath is that it gives you a lot of look. It’s great on a wall or a staircase. It’s different from a garland. It gives you a whole different statement.
BD: Let’s talk about the wrapping collection. You’ve got new colors and new designs.
SK: We’ve created two different looks this year. The Classic Natural Wrap Kit is the red plaid and craft paper – a bit more rustic. The other, the Winter Wrap Kit, combines beautiful muted, metallic colors and a festive snowflake print. It has a casual elegance with a little more white and neutral colors. I would just say to order enough! Each year I have gone back to get more and they have run out for the season. Of course, I love all of the ribbons and tie ornaments. I also order the miniature Ball Ornaments and use those to tie onto the gift as well. They look great.
BD: A great idea! Speaking of gifts, what are some of your gift ideas from the collection?
SK: I love giving gifts that you bring out for Christmas. So, if you plan ahead, you can get the Antler Coir Mat monogrammed as a gift for your friends. I really love that mat. It’s something they can put away and bring out for the month every year. There are so many of these kinds of holiday-themed gifts, like the ornaments and bears that come in the vintage-style craft boxes. I love these details and they make for great gifts. They’re boxed up and look vintage, but it’s fresh and new at the same time.
BD: You’ve made us so excited about holiday decorating and gift giving. When do you personally get in the mood to decorate for the holidays?
SK: I decorate December 1st but I start thinking about it earlier. I always tell people to start planning right after Thanksgiving and get it out the first of December to really enjoy it. It’s a lot to get everything out, so it’s really more fun if you can enjoy it for the whole month. It transforms your house and it makes it have its own whole feel during that time.