From the December 2018/January 2019 Issue  

Take a Bough

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Ciara Perrone  |  Designer Kelli Suozzo  |  Location Rumson, NJ  |  Holiday Décor Kristi Evans

The home’s stately front entry, festooned for the holidays, welcomed guests as part of the 2017 VNA Holiday House Tour.

Festive foliage accentuates a Rumson, New Jersey home

The interiors of this Rumson, New Jersey, home offered an ideal backdrop for Kristi Evans to work her holiday magic.

Evans, the owner of Pink Peony Events, a floral and event design company in Fair Haven, New Jersey, decked out the residence for the 2017 Visiting Nurse Association Holiday House Tour. “My design style leans more contemporary, with a nod to tradition,” Evans says. “I love the juxtaposition of glass and mirror with a Royal Stewart tartan, or ilex branches with a traditional red rose, so this transitional-style home was the perfect playground for me and my team.”

The interior design by Kelli Suozzo, owner of Bowerbird (currently in Rumson, New Jersey, but relocating to Red Bank, New Jersey, in the new year) and nest, a Red Bank, NJ design shop (set to open in the new year as well) informed Evans’s choices. “As a floral and event designer, I want the decor to enhance the environment, not fight with or take over the space,” Evans explains. “Kelli’s livable-luxury design style inspired our approach to the holiday decor. She had done such a magnificent job creating casually chic spaces that reflect this young family’s lifestyle; we just magnified the beauty!”

A garland of greenery adorns the banister. The family room Christmas tree is visible from the front hall.

Tour-goers were greeted in the foyer by a garland of cedar, juniper, pine and balsam on the home’s gently curved staircase. The unstructured greenery brought a casual touch to the crisp dark stain/white trim combination in the space. A console under the stairs, adorned with silver and white figurines on a silver tablecloth, added a bit of formal flair.

Holiday décor in the living room is understated. The Pink Peony team used the homeowners’ own vase to hold this arrangement of ilex, red roses, magnolia leaves and mixed greens.

In the living room, the Pink Peony team complemented the interiors by incorporating the homeowners’ existing pieces into the holiday décor. Lead designer Catherine Payne “was able to use many of the owners’ own vases to build her statement pieces,” Evans notes. When Payne “created a striking arrangement of ilex, red roses, magnolia leaves and mixed greens, she used a bowl in which to build the piece, then simply placed it on top of the homeowners’ urn to make it appear as though the arrangement was blooming right out of the urn.”

Compact floral arrangements don’t interfere with dinner conversation. Tall tapers add balance without obstruction. Evans worked with Laurie Caccavo of The China Closet & Home Furnishings in Fair Haven to create this tablescape. “The collaboration created an elegant, yet accessible tabletop design,” she says.

In the dining room, Evans collaborated with Laurie Caccavo of The China Closet & Home Furnishings in Fair Haven to create a feast-worthy table setting. Caccavo added holiday sparkle by pairing crystal stemware with silver and crystal candlesticks. “Down the center of the table, Catherine and I created a ‘runner’ made of mirrors to reflect the glow of the candles and crystal,” Evans says. The pair then used mirrored vessels to hold the arrangements. The three “centerpieces” featured ‘Red Charm’ peonies, heart roses, ilex, gardenia greens, pinecones with mixed holiday greens and Margarita Classic Blue Holland Hydrangea. That particular type of hydrangea “has such beautiful tones of blue, gray, lavender and sage,” Evans says. “It worked perfectly with the coloring in the dining room.” The traditional yet understated tablescape is ideal for the sophisticated space.

Silver candle holders and vases complement the silver accents found throughout the kitchen.

The kitchen décor has a more whimsical attitude. Nellie Harmon and Jane Orr of the Pink Peony team “brought a youthful creativity to the kitchen,” Evans says of the classic red and green additions to the predominantly white space. “We wanted the kitchen to be super fun for the kids. We thought they would get a kick out of the word ‘JOY’ hanging in the window!” The letters were made from fresh boxwood and hung on red ribbons. “We actually cut letters out of cardboard and used floral adhesive to attach the boxwood. That was much easier than wiring pieces of boxwood together in the shape of letters.”

A plaid table runner creates a colorful base for an arrangement of greenery and a lantern full of pinecones.

Assorted greens and flowers were displayed on the countertops. On one island, a group of silver containers held ilex and roses. On the other island, a three-tiered serving piece was trimmed with boxwood wreaths and topped with a silver Christmas tree. Gingerbread, a holiday classic, added a delightful touch to the kitchen. “The sweet gingerbread pieces, handmade by Nellie, knocked it out of the park!” The teamwork, Evans says, made this project a success. “It was such a pleasure collaborating with all of these creative, intelligent and fun women!”