Sister Act

A designer and her florist sibling get into the spirit come the holidays | Photograph by Beth Singer
MERRY-MERRY! Nicole Withers’ colorful Christmas tree showcases not only her designer talents, but her florist sister Gabrielle Reilly’s, as well.

Last year, florist Gabrielle Reilly, of Flowers by Gabrielle (in Grosse Pointe Park and Roseville), suggested to her sister, Nicole Withers, that she and her team could help Withers with her holiday décor. Withers, interior designer and principal at Birmingham’s Jones-Keena & Co., loves the holiday season and family time at home, and knew they could fashion quite a display.

From stairway greenery to tabletop pretties to the main-attraction living room Christmas tree, the decked-out elements of Withers’ home explode with color. Withers explains she likes to use a lot of color, “Maybe because most of my clients don’t use a lot of it (for their interiors). And with the long winters and not a lot of sun, colors make me feel energized.”

Her century-old Dutch Colonial home in Grosse Pointe is awash in colorful art and furnishings, and come the yuletide season it’s even more vibrant. Withers, who collects ornaments, says she’s especially fond of finding unique pieces during her travels. “For my tree, I use mostly hand-blown Eastern European ornaments, a few made by my children, and metal ones I found in Mexico. For my stairway greenery I use wooden folk ornaments,” says the designer, who has two daughters. “I like to get a real tree and garland every year because we love the smell.” The Fraser fir shown here is from Detroit’s Eastern Market.

As for the gifts under the tree, Withers says she and her family are very particular when it comes to how they wrap them. “It’s a fun competition on who can wrap the most creatively. We like to use glue guns and sparkles and glitter,” she says. “I crack up when I’m vacuuming months later and find glitter from the holidays.”

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