Nook: Style Counsel: David Stark on Modern Holiday Decor


Style Counsel: David Stark on Modern Holiday Decor

We're completely smitten with David Stark's holiday collection for West Elm. It embodies the design philosophies that we value most: Simplicity, freshness, sustainability and, as you see, gorgeous minimalism.

His West Elm collection was inspired by the quiet, soothing still-lifes by Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, fused with David's commitment to sustainable design. (He made the amazing, overscale cardboard art pieces auctioned off at West Elm's recent Manhattan opening.) His thoughtful interpretation of trees, wreathes and stars are hand-crafted from recycled materials, and give us a new take on celebrating the season.

Morandi still life and Stark's oversized cardboard outlet

We invited David, who is best-known as one of NYC's hottest event planners, to share his tips on how to capture the the same merry, minimal holiday style, especially for those of us who go into tinsel-and-ornament shock around this time of year. In fact, we suspect that pretty much everyone is ready for a low-key, meaningful alternative.

Natural Weave 2' and 6' Trees

Neutrals Are the New Red & Green

One way to make neutral tones and materials festive is to merge earthy materials with iconic holiday shapes like stars and cones. We re-interpreted these forms in twine or other natural materials, and right now, they signal the holidays. But we approach design so that any item can be used year round. For example, you can keep a minimalist topiary near an entry door or on a fireplace mantle, but decorate with ornaments or pin cards to them to make them more festive. Once the holidays are over, store the ornaments but keep the topiary in place. I love items that have multiple uses and can be transformed in a variety of ways.

Sparkly decor wreathes, picks and silver bullion ball ornaments

Use Metallics Wisely

Pairing metallics with earthy textures creates a holiday look that is the epitome of understated chic and seasonally merriment. Use gold and silver in spare doses for maximum impact. To avoid crossing over into cheesy, overdone holiday looks, imagine you are adding jewelry to an outfit. Like getting dressed for a party, a pair of gold or silver earrings or a necklace enhance an outfit, not take it over. The holidays are a historically a time when people’s taste flies out the window, but it doesn’t mean you have to jump on the band wagon.

Let Nature In
I love that nature can transform design to such extreme ends. Add a touch or a big helping (whatever your desire) of live plant material a space. While flowers aren't a must for your vase, holiday foliage is both long lasting and instantly propels the look to the season. Add a bough of blue spruce or a giant pine cone to some neutral bottles some perfect holiday cheer. Reuse the same bottles in late summer table with giant sunflowers. (Above: Natural weave stars)

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle
Look to your recycling bin for decorating solutions! Empty wine bottles, beer bottles, even empty food cans can be wrapped in twine and string, transforming waste into elegant vases. I'm very proud that we used recycled bottles for our West Elm designs, and gave them new life. I created minimalist forms inspired by Morandi's paintings, and knowing that we are treading a little more lightly on this earth makes this collection mean so much more to me.

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