Home meets Holiday with Floral Designer Sybil Sylvester

A slate roof, Tudor accents, and ornamental stonework exemplify the architectural vocabulary of Birmingham in the 1920s and ‘30s.

“This client likes to keep it pretty much the same from year to year,” Sylvester says of the homeowner. “By now, it almost feels like decorating my own house for the holidays, getting out all the wonderful containers and doing familiar treatments in the same spots in each room.” And because the holidays often bring out the sentimental side in us, any attempt to deviate from previous years won’t go unnoticed. “We decided to skip the greenery on the family room chandelier one year, and the wife called me to say her husband had asked where it was,” laughs Sylvester. “We had to decorate it after all.”

Sylvester stockpiles rose hips before the holidays to fashion a simple, impactful wreath for the front door.

In the entry hall, the floral designer pays tribute to the still life painting hanging over a chest by creating an arrangement of amaryllis, apples, and acacia. “It’s an art-in-bloom treatment,” she says of echoing the painting in floral design. In the kitchen and breakfast area, boxwood wreaths tied with broad satin ribbons hang in the windows and add a festive touch alongside a collection of nutcrackers. The family room gets the most attention, with a garland on the mantel, greenery on the chandelier, pots full of red amaryllis and poinsettias, and the resplendent Christmas tree. The living room, with its softer palette, displays more delicate touches such as pink satin ribbon that binds clusters of greenery, as well as pastel ranunculus in small arrangements around the room.

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