The holiday season isn’t just a time for gifts. It’s also a time for re-decorating. In recent years, traditional holiday decor has stayed in storage and been replaced with more contemporary styles. While social media has influenced this trend, it’s not the only reason. Laurence Carr who is the CEO and Founder of Laurence Carr Design explains why. “The traditional holiday style has not kept pace with modern lives and families living far away from each other. People are looking for a feeling of comfort and warmth with personalized holiday decor, such as unique, simple touches or small takeaways like candles. They are also embracing simplicity as a way of distressing from this hectic time of the year.”
It’s time to say goodbye to green and white and consider these holiday decorating ideas instead.
A few years after a first encounter at Cafe Milano, Rebecca Grunfeld, an attorney, and Ryan Samuel, a real-estate developer, bumped into one another at a Wizards game (her dad is team general manager Ernie Grunfeld). A few weeks later, Ryan called Rebecca to ask her out for coffee, which turned into watching the US men’s soccer team in a World Cup game at Logan Tavern, followed by an early bite at Le Diplomate. On Rebecca’s grandparents’ wedding anniversary a few years later, Ryan proposed in the home he and Rebecca had bought and renovated.
They married in an intimate ceremony at Rebecca’s parents’ house, where Rebecca’s sister-in-law officiated and Ryan’s two children (Rebecca’s “bonus babies”) read a book they made for the bride entitled Ten Things We Love About Becky. In the pool, inflatable swans adorned with floral wreaths added a whimsical touch, and reception decor included embroidered napkins, Chinese statues representing good health and happiness, and Rebecca’s mother’s china. For dinner: a family recipe for Caesar salad, beef tenderloin, penne alla vodka, and mushroom risotto. Dessert included mini cupcakes, Rice Krispie treats, and brownies à la mode, plus a vanilla funfetti wedding cake with strawberry buttercream.
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Denver’s decorating scene is better than ever, especially when it comes to locally owned boutiques: There’s one for every design style, whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist, midcentury-modern enthusiast, or someone whose aesthetic defies definition.
1. Bloom By Anuschka
Neighborhoods: Cherry Creek North and Union Station
When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she must have felt a bit like customers do upon entering this Cherry Creek boutique for the first time: completely enchanted. “The stores are supposed to feel like a fantasy world, a curated treasure hunt,” says owner Anuschka Pashel, who opened a sister store at Union Station in 2014. A former model who began traveling the world at 18, Pashel now brings the world to her storefront: You might spot a 6-foot-tall Balinese carved-stone sculpture, paintings by European artists Sabine Maes and Matti Berglund, ceramic origami-inspired incense holders, and a Brazilian quartz-crystal cluster (a striking focal point for your foyer) that weighs more than 200 pounds. What’s New: A collection of Moroccan wool rugs, from Beni Ourains to flatweaves, picked by Pashel. 300 University Blvd. and 1701 Wynkoop St.
2. The Lark
Neighborhood: Denver Country Club
If House Beautiful magazine were a shop, it might well be the Lark, a Dutch-doored storefront that’s lured traditional types with ginger-jar lamps, fox figurines, and boxwood topiaries since it opened in Country Club in 1970. “It’s so Larky is one of my favorite sayings!” says owner Jill Livran. Locals stop in for tins of key-lime cooler cookies from Savannah, Georgia, and Simon Pearce’s glassware, hand-blown in Vermont. What’s New: Refillable, liquid paraffin oil taper and pillar candles from New York-based Lucid Candles—buy once, use forever. 1219 E. Fourth Ave.
3. Eron Johnson Antiques
Neighborhood: Athmar Park
Eron Johnson was a high schooler when he began salvaging doors, mantels, and stained glass from 19th-century Denver homes marked for demolition, an obsession that led him to found his namesake store in 1972. His new location on South Lipan Street—open by appointment—is an antiques cache worthy of however much time it takes you to explore the depth of its riches. Here, you’ll find everything from pieces of an oak-paneled room from 16th century Suffolk, England (once part of the collection of the Denver Art Museum and now yours for a cool $190,000), to an early-20th-century cast-aluminum streetlight from Chicago’s Burnham Harbor. But don’t be daunted by the grandeur: Many pieces are priced under $500. What’s New: Current inventory includes design names you know and love—architectural pieces by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, glass from Louis Comfort Tiffany, and original furniture designed by Swiss starchitect Pierre Jeanneret. 377 S. Lipan St.
4. Lulu’s Furniture & Décor
For proof that change is good, look to mother/daughter duo Christy Brant and Caitlin Marsh, who moved their beloved Lulu’s from LoHi to Englewood in April. Now, floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to illuminate their hand-picked wares, including copper windows salvaged from New York City’s Hotel McAlpin and a modular sectional from Robin Bruce that transforms into multiple configurations. “We strongly believe that good design should be functional and doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive,” Brant says. Further evidence that the boutique is relatable, not stuffy: the shop dog, Whistlepig. What’s New: Canadian furniture line Sunpan—a fount of clean-lined pieces—and Zents, a Colorado-based toiletries collection with scents like fig and water. 3475 S. University Blvd., Englewood
Neighborhood: Cherry Creek North
The ironic thing about a store called Homebody—which debuted in October 2017—is that it’s a favorite among the most well-traveled design connoisseurs. Owner Dory Pratt scours the continents for design finds, from a 1970 abstract painting unearthed at a Paris flea market to an $8 set of mother-of-pearl-and-wood caviar spoons. “Opening Homebody allowed me to do two of my favorite things for a living: travel and shop,” Pratt says. She’s also the consummate hostess: The shop has a complimentary coffee bar and wraps gifts—gratis—in their signature botanical-print paper. What’s New: Homebody is now selling Swedish Byredo fragrances and Astier de Villatte ceramics made from black clay and finished with a snow-white glaze—both excellent gifts for design-lovers this season.