published Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Animal instinct: Incorporating hot animal prints into holiday home decorations

  • photo
    Pam Krum decorated her Ooltewah, Tenn., residence with black, gold, animal print and feathers for Christmas this year.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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Working with Deco mesh

Deco mesh was introduced on the market in 2011 but soared in popularity this year with the introduction of new, seasonal colors.

"I prefer to work with it rather than regular ribbon because it's so soft and you can do so much with it," says Marta Moses of Trees and Trends in Cleveland, Tenn. "If you save the spool, you can roll it back up after the holidays and reuse it. It's multiuse, very fun, very creative. It's easy for the beginner to start with."

Moses and Pam Krum advise that the mesh ribbon's ends are subject to unravel. To begin winding a tree's garland, Krum suggests wrapping one silk tree limb around the loose end of the ribbon to hold it in place and prevent unraveling, then continue to drape the ribbon.

If using Deco mesh in a bow, Moses says no wire is necessary to hold loops in place. She suggests taking two branches of silk greenery, bringing them up into the center of the bow (inside the loops) and twisting them together.

"That holds the bow in place, no wire involved," she explains.

Moses says one 7-foot tree can be trimmed in one roll of 21-inch-wide Deco mesh or two 11-inch-wide rolls.

Deck the halls in ... leopard print and feathers?

That's the dramatic holiday decor that welcomes guests at the Ooltewah home of Pam and Greg Krum.

Nontraditional? Quite.

But right on trend, according to area floral designers.

"Animal print this year is a big designer look. It's very popular," says Marta Moses, visual floral designer at Trees and Trends in Cleveland, Tenn. "Feathers have been in for several years. It's a nice feature, a natural texture on the tree."

"We started doing feathers and leopard print about three years ago," says Gil Cartwright of Gil & Curt Flowers. "That was ahead of the trend. It takes about three or four years for whatever is hot in the market to get here."

Pam Krum says she started decorating her home the last week of October and finished the end of November. She doesn't go with themes, "just whatever I'm in the mood for."

"I do this every year, but this year I've had more fun with it," she says.

That's due, in part, to her discovery of Deco mesh, a shimmering mesh ribbon available in a variety of colors that's a new fad in Christmas decorating. Krum used eight rolls -- each 30 feet long -- of the 11-inch-wide mesh ribbon in her home's decorations.

She Deco-rated trees in her great room and living room, swirled it around the front entryway and up the staircase and attached oversized Deco mesh bows at the corners of her dining table. She even made a visual statement by looping the mesh ribbon through the tiers of her foyer chandelier.

But what really makes her use of the popular trim pop is its pairing in a decorating scheme of black, bronze, leopard print and feathers. An unusual color combination for Christmas, but one that proves elegant in the way she has styled it.

The homeowner says she starts her tree-trimming with Deco mesh, draping the ribbon on branches from top to bottom of the living room's 9-foot tree. For a second garland, she layers wired bronze and leopard-print ribbons, then drapes them around the tree.

Next she saturates its branches in more than 100 ornaments. There are leopard-print globes, as well as zebra and tiger prints. Glittered finials dangle from branches, as do bronze, black, chocolate brown and gold balls in matte and high-gloss finishes. Sentimental family ornaments, such as the porcelain baby shoe representing a son's birth, are tucked into the branches as well.

Real and silk pheasant feathers shoot from the top tiers of the tree, a great way to balance the narrow top of the tree with its broader bottom tiers.

"It's amazing what she's done by herself. She's not an interior decorator, she's retired from TVA," says Greg Underwood, a family friend.

Krum says she doesn't buy new decorations each year, but repurposes pieces she already has in new ideas. For example, she points out clusters of glittered grapes, a decorating theme from Christmases past, that are incorporated in garlands on the staircase and great room mantel.

She says she has no background in design other than skills she has learned as a Master Gardener and her interest in landscaping.

"I'm a horticulturist, and I guess that's where my eye for design comes from," she says.

Do you have an interesting idea for a home or garden feature? Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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