Local designers who have filled five Lewiston homes with the glitter and glam of the holiday season, have some tips to share with decorating do-it-yourselfers including using what is on hand.
The designers, all of whom participated in the 14th annual Lewiston Tour of Homes, which concluded on Sunday, say that whether it’s finding items gilded by age or hunting for pine cones and twigs on the forest floor, there are an abundance of ways to decorate for the season.
Brooke Unversaw of The Chipped Cow is working with new design partner Teri Moseley of Transformations by Teri. The pair met last month, introduced by a friend because they had much in common including Unversaw’s Lewiston design business and Moseley’s background in real estate staging in Anchorage, Alaska, where she worked for 30 real estate agents.
Their project house was built in the 1960s and has a photography studio so the house is called, “The Studio,” and the women have incorporated vintage cameras in their holiday decor.
They are using a variety of doors in their designs. “We’re using a lot of cupboard doors and pantry doors. We’ve painted them and are using them as back drop up against the walls. We’re creating layers,” Unversaw said. They also downloaded images from the internet and applied them to wood as part of their decor.
Another home in the show was decorated by Sharon Venne, owner of Dianne’s Floral in North Tonawanda, and her sister, Lori Janik. The 1880s home they’ve decorated is called “The Painted Lady,” and is located at 4655 Lower River Road in Lewiston.
Among their many design scapes, Venne used over 200 red roses for a Victorian-style topiary on the sideboard in front of the stained glass window in the dining room.
When asked for a holiday design tip, she suggested an easy-to-make napkin holders incorporating the ribbon used in a table’s centerpiece. “A lot of people get fresh arrangements for their dining room table, so they can ask their florists for extra ribbon,” she said.
The excess ribbon can be wrapped around empty paper towel or toilet paper tubes, she noted, by using a little hot glue or scotch tape to hold the ribbon in place.
Another tip for holiday decorators, Venne said, would be to head outside for some natural recycling of twigs, pine cones, branches and more. “Take your dog for a walk or go out walking in the woods and see what you can find,” she said.
A group of decorators from The Country Doctor Gifts and Antiques in Lewiston, have decorated a home called “Hotchkiss House Revisited,” which was named as such because it has been in the holiday show before. Recently however, this home was completely restored to its original beauty.
Designer Sheila Strassburg said the owner, Thomas Burrows, has refinished the plank floors, restored the crown molding and built the home back to its former grandeur from the Federalist period.
“I just love it. As soon as you walk in the door, you can feel that time period take you over just a little bit,” Strassburg said.
She and her team, including Toddy St. Laurent and Linda Mascati, are using a lot of everyday items from the home, such as blue and white dishes to represent plates from the Federalist era.
“Lewiston was originally a port for shipping and there were a lot of captains, educators and doctors that lived on Plain Street where this house is located,” she said. “We decided to stick to the period and to use items from that era.”
“The decorating style we’re using traditionally incorporates fruits, nuts, berries, pines twigs,” Strassburg said. “Whatever was available in nature was brought into the home and incorporated into the decor and that’s what we did as well.”
Typically, the success of the Lewiston Show of Homes relies on the generosity of homeowners for it’s success, because they not only welcome decorators into their homes, but visitors also during the day-long event, which is an important fundraiser for the Lewiston Historical Society. Strassburg commended Burrows, who has spent his career in the arts including holding leadership positions at the University at Buffalo, the O’Keefe Center and the Shaw Festival.
“He’s been so generous with his time and with us,” Strassburg said. “We are just thrilled to be here.”
The Historical Association of Lewiston fundraiser which began Saturday and ended Sunday, included five decorated homes and took place alongside the Lewiston Christmas Walk, hosted by Lewiston businesses and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.