FEATURE | yuletide beauties
His first holiday in his new house in Rochester was just around the corner and bachelor Mark Dunn wanted his home to look special. Enter interior designer Denise Seifferlein, of Clarkston-based D’Avignon Interiors.
It seems Dunn appreciates not only the tradition of decking his home with holiday décor, but he also wanted to be certain that it was of good design. Dunn also admits that he thrives on change — and just days after his designer, Seifferlein, had put the finishing touches on his former home in Oakland Township, he called to tell her he had purchased a new home and was hoping she would be the designer.
“We had just finished doing the floors and carpeting in the former home, and we had put up a new chandelier, and then he called and said, ‘You’ll be surprised; I just bought a new home,’ ” Seifferlein recalls.
The new home was a huge single-unit condominium and, soon after the purchase was complete, Seifferlein transformed it into a handsome retreat replete with refurbished wood floors, a new palette featuring shades of navy and caramel, a fantastic re-done basement, and more.
“I asked him what his favorite color was and he said blue, so I replied, ‘OK, it’s time to add blue in your life,’ ” she recalls.
Seifferlein chose Benjamin Moore’s Newburyport Blue for parts of the home and complemented it with Benjamin Moore’s Rustic Taupe, Grant Beige, Great Plains Gold (one of her favorite colors), Fairway Oaks, and Beachcomber — all of which created a classic, timeless appeal.
After many of his new design appointments were in place, Dunn asked his designer if she would help with decorating his Christmas tree and adding festive touches throughout the home.
Seifferlein remembers that when he shared his vision with her, he asked her to do two trees. “And I replied, ‘As long as the new one isn’t a 9-footer!’ He laughed and said, ‘Sorry, I already bought it.’” Of course, the tree was 9 feet tall. “With the new one, he wanted a more rustic feel, more outdoorsy and north woods lodge. I asked, ‘Do you trust me? Can I run with it?’ And he said, ‘You bet.’ ”
The woodsy motif inspired Seifferlein to fashion a frosty flurry of snowy owls and charming foxes peeking from warm-toned plaid ribbons and bows, showcased by shimmery white lights. One of Seifferlein’s favorite items is a pair of wooden ice skates that hang at the top. “We (decorated the tree) piece-by-piece. I actually had to stand on a ladder above (the tree), and my assistant unwrapped each item and handed it to me.”
Referred to as the “north woods” tree, it’s located in the den and can be seen from outdoors through a bay window.
Seifferlein, who stresses that decorating trees is “not my claim to fame,” wound up adoring the tree. “I loved the foxes and owls, and the whole concept of it — the grapevine, the big moss balls, the caramels and browns and whites.”
Dunn’s other tannenbaum shines with glass-blown ornaments. “Someone gave Mark a Radko Santa years ago and he liked it a lot, so he added one Radko Santa every year,” Seifferlein says. The Radko tree, with its colorful beauties, stands in the more formal living room. Seifferlein outfitted its branches with berries and ribbons in the same browns, bronzes, and golds that she used on the stairway and in other areas. “The ornaments bring in the color, so I used more neutral tones around them,” she explains.
In various areas of the home, Seifferlein placed a few of Dunn’s favorite Santas. “He collects heritage Santas — each represents a country. I think his parents started giving him those, so he has accumulated quite a few.”
In the master bedroom, Seifferlein sprinkled holiday cheer in the way of pretty wrapped packages placed on an ottoman, while the powder room featured winter-white lilies and a vintage, white candle lantern.
Some of Seifferlein’s favorite shops for finding holiday décor are Nordlie in Flint and The Gateway in Clarkston. The designer purchased all of the ribbon, including a luxe brown velvet, and other decorative pieces at Bordine’s Nursery.
In her own home in Clarkston, Seifferlein decorates her tree with nostalgic ornaments. One, which used to belong to her grandmother, is an old-fashioned Norwegian Santa that’s white and black, “and I think made of papier-mache,” she says. Because the ornaments stay the same from year to year, Seifferlein likes to change up the rest of the tree. “Some years it’s metallics or red-andgreen plaids, sometimes casual and sometimes more sophisticated, but always with all white lights.” Now that she’s explored the woodsy motif for her holiday-loving client, perhaps this year she’ll tuck in a few foxes and owls.