Everyone has a different idea of how to decorate for the holiday season. And I always tell people that is the reason why we have the choice of chocolate or vanilla: Some people go all-out for the holidays to the point of rivaling the windows at Macy’s or Bergdorf’s, while others allow the season to go by with out any evidence of holiday spirit, preferring to keep things rather simple. And of course, there is the stereotypical assumption that if you are an interior designer or florist, your home will set the standard for the rest of the world to follow. Well, don’t expect to see my home in these pages for inspiration as I fall into the 'simple' category—a result of too many years of festooning clients’ homes for the season. However, I thought it would be nice to showcase the home of one of our area's leading floral designers, and talk about his decor choices.
Scott Cooper is a floral designer with Walter Knoll Florist. He has been a floral designer for 36 years, beginning his career at the young age of 15 in a local flower shop in his hometown of Belleville, Ill. He shares his home, just south of the city, with his partner, Brad Fish.
During the past three decades, Cooper, too, has run the gamut from 'themed' Christmas trees to 'period/kitschy' silver tinsel trees, complete with a rotating colored light that that screams We all lived in the '60s! After many years of putting up more than one tree and draping everything with garland and ribbon (tastefully, of course), Cooper's holiday scheme is now pared down and more sentimental. “I don’t like to move things and store things in order to put up my decorations,” he says. “I am too practical now and can’t stand to have my home disrupted for the sake of holiday decoration.”
Cooper's Christmas tree has gone from a 10-foot tree covered in various-sized angels and tussy mussies filled with glittering fruit and feathers to one with 368 strategically placed ornaments, each with a special meaning from travels, friends or special occasions. “Brad puts the tree together and 'fluffs' it, and then it's all mine to decorate," he explains.
A buffet serves as the plateau for a hand-painted Nativity scene that Cooper’s late mother made for him in 1977. Each piece is delicately painted and glazed with a patina to give the impression of age.
Angels are a passion of Cooper’s. "Not pretty angels, but ones that really evoke a sense of spirit.” Furniture, pillows, garlands and paintings find homes for part of his collection. He also displays a part of his Christmas Spode dinnerware. “I bought my first pieces on a trip to England in the early '80s. You could only get it in fine department stores and Byron Cade at that time. Now Marshall’s has it. I still love it and get it out every year.”
An extensive orb collection is shown on a ledge in the foyer and surrounds a trio of silver trees. The staircase is draped in garland and dotted with red and white ornaments. The living room armoire, as well as an armoire in the kitchen, is topped with garlands and ornaments—not too much and not too little, just right. The kitchen garden window is reminiscent of stained glass with colorful ornaments, angels and glassware on display.
Commercialism doesn’t visit this home for the holidays. Family, sentiment and tradition live here—and maybe just a few angels.