Thursday, December 16, 2010

They Urned It Too!

Jaithan Kochar & Eddie Ross have urned it HERE and HERE

Stylists and designers and decorators have been putting Christmas trees in urns for as long as I have been in the business, which is like forever in dinosaur dog stylist years, and I reckon long before the word stylist was even bandied about.

I've gathered a bunch of images for you pinched from Google, a round up for your enjoyment and inspiration. Feel free to credit them for me.

It makes sense since chopping down a tree and bringing it into the house, is perhaps the most basic expression of using something from nature or the garden as the unexpected element being used in the house, the house being the expected element. Back in the 1990's the whole inside/out trend was in it's heyday. Decorators loved using the word juxtaposition.

Decorators were schlepping moss, twigs, birch trees and branches, dirt, sand, river rocks, autumn leaves, Galax and lemon leaves, dried flowers, rose petals, grapevine, and curly willow into house. Floral designers would throw it on dining tables as centerpieces, the idea of dining in close proximity of dirt seemed edgy and radical and beautiful. And it was. Just like an indoor picnic without living bugs.

Using containers meant for planting and potting flowers outdoors also became en vogue. The more moss covered they were the better, and Martha Stewart advised us to use a concoction of dirt and buttermilk to turn our pots into petri dishes to cultivate the green stuff. Tricksters like me simply hot glued moss to everything. I covered a Chanel bag with moss with a white gardenia adhered to the clasp for a bridal photo shoot, and covered another one entirely in hot pink decapitated rose heads.

The fiberglass urn was a godsend. A collection of them (and the coordinating pedestals and plinths) became the tools of the event designers trade. Concrete and plaster were still used, and terra cotta too, but nothing beat the ease of hauling fiberglass up and down freight elevators. The art of faux finishing flourished, and those urns and such would shock and awe as this petite stylist would hoist one on her shoulder, filled to the brim with flowering branches or baroque hedonistic bouquets heady with opulence. Some teamster type working in the hotel would stop dead in his tracks to marvel at the strong girl carrying a huge urn.

I kept alot of my props and equipment when I left New York and my design business there. And as things always do, stuff that was once special and hard to get, comes mainstream, and volia there's Martha at K-Mart offering urns and containers to the garden variety home decorator. We pros bought them too, because the price point was far better than the prices we paid at the wholesale prop vendors, florist supply shops, and garden centers. We scoured flea markets and antiques shows like Brimfield too searching for that just-perfect awesome urn with just the right amount of patina and crustiness.

I love the way a Christmas tree looks in an urn. Using a faux-fake-artificial tree is alot easier than using a heavy real tree. Table top size works best if you are intent on having a real tree.
Eddie Ross and Martha have great tips on their web sites in the how-to department.
Moi? This year I just shoved my tree in the urn and let the lower branches hold it in place. Of course I don't have children or a tree climbing pet to bother it. King Charles Spaniels rarely mess with decor, except to enhance a chair, a sofa, a bed, a bench, a throw, or a cushion with some artful lounging and poses.

When a tree is elevated in an urn you get the extra bonus of hanging space for the ornaments on the lower branches. Even when I don't use an urn, I tend to elevate a Christmas tree to get this extra display real estate.

Visual Vamp tree sans urn but still elevated on Tiffany boxes

Table top trees in urns are a good way to start. and yes every big box store and catalog sell a tree already lighted and already in an urn. Just fluff, and add ornaments. Antique style feather trees look swell in urns, and retro style tinsel or aluminum trees look wonderful in urns or placed in big retro style pots. Huge flower pots work well to, gilded or painted your favorite color, or if a terra cotta is your thing, use as is. Even a huge box would work, and you could always gift wrap it, or use the iconic darlings like the Tiffany box or the coveted orange Hermes box.

Visual Vamp Christmas tree in an urn HERE

I am sure none of this is news to you, so if anyone has potted their Christmas tree in an urn, tell us about it, and/or send me a photo because you know I love to show off readers homes and projects.


Kwana said...

Thanks for this, Guess I'm behind the times without my urn. Gotta get me one.

Trouvais said...

LOVE your tree Valorie! And that photo is a fabulous composition...the chair..checkered drapes, golden stripes, pear green wing chair, metal table, gilded leaves, adorable dog. Favorite Xmas decor this year! Trish

Carla said...

HI Valorie, I hope Alberto is feeling better and things are ok with you. Thanks for taking the time to find all these lovely photos of trees and urn.. I hope you have wonderful Christmas full of love. Carla x

Blondie said...

My mom does this too, but her urn is a huge gold crown! Kori xoxo

Carollynn @ designGumbo said...

I mimiced Barry Dixon's idea of placing a table top tree in a silver(mine is plated) punch bowl. I thought it was only appropriate since I'm in DC, and his was for an official Presidential guest residence. I'll send a photo tonight.

pve design said...

I am yearning for an urn! I love urns and garden ornaments....and you and all the talented people here in blog land.
hi to you and alberto- oh and cholo too~

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

My tree is always in an urn. The first time I saw that in a Martha mag...I was like...I am so doing that. So...I've been doing it for at least 12 years. I love how it makes a not so big tree seem big. My tree this year is in one, of course...I've used this urn about three years. Go by my blog and see!

I'm so happy to see you back posting. One of my best friends was in New Orleans over Thanksgiving. She is originally from there but lived in San Francisco for a very long time and now lives here in Oklahoma City. Anyway...I thought of you when she went silly as I've never met you but was like...wanting to say....could you check on Val and Albert while you are there? ha!

She does not do computers at all...and I'm always telling her about this and that I saw on the blogs. She loves to decorate and in a very New Orleans way.
Actually, her father who she does not get a long with too well is a ballroom dancer...he's quite elderly now...but maybe you know him?

His last name is D'Amico. I don't know his first. Her brother is a professional ballroom dancer too...but lives in Houston now where he runs a studio and also competes. I just thought of this that you might know of them.

pretty pink tulips said...

Love this look - it elevates the importance of the tree!
xoxo elizabeth

Hill House Ramblings said...

We do such a big tree every year that I'd be afraid to put it in an urn, but I'd love to try it with a table top tree. What a great idea! Adore your trees and decorations Valorie. Cholo looks adorable and very comfy!


Velvet and Linen said...

Your tree is beautiful, and Cholo looks excited for the holidays!
Love to you and Alberto. You both deserve a Happy and Healthy New Year!


NYCLQ said...

Glad to see you're back blogging again and this is a great post! Love the inspirational images and your tree looks FABULOUS!! Hope all is well and you're enjoying a festive holiday season!

:D Lynda

Kathysue said...

Love a tree in an urn, I use to have one in my living room window. Love, love your tree this year. Great pict of Jaithan, one of my favorite guys!! Kathysue

Jay said...

Down-sizingboomer here. Glad you brought out your Holly tree. I was afraid you wouldn't feel up to it or into it this year. By the way, did you read the book about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was a fun read.

La Petite Gallery said...

Your tree is beautiful and we all know you have a lot to be Thankfull for. wishing you a Merry Christmas.


The urn is great.