Home & Garden

The Beauty in the Branches

By Maria Elena Margarella

As a welcome sign for Christmas cheer, wreaths are hung on doors across our neighborhoods. But there’s so much more to this twiggy tradition. For instance, the circle is the wreath’s defining feature, and the shape itself represents unity and inclusion. At a time when loved ones gather to sing carols and sip eggnog, the circle indeed reflects how close we feel to our loved ones this season. Because the circle has no beginning or end, it embodies the cycle of the seasons and the promise that life goes on. It’s a beautiful and simple reminder that life endures. And there are so many different wreaths to help you beautify your front door! Wreaths made of holly symbolize protection and good luck, while those made of fir symbolize strength, friendship, and memory. Pine wreaths (with pinecones!) represent good health and prosperity, and if you want to add flowers, a floral touch signifies new life and spiritual growth. The well-known Poinsettia, called the Christmas Star or the Christmas Flower, is a symbol of good cheer and success. Hang a poinsettia wreath to make wishes of mirth and celebration; the flowers come in red, white, and pink. With a myriad of meanings beneath the wreaths, pick what best represents you and your family during this generous and loving season. Discover and display the beauty in the branches.

Family: The Classic Architecture

By Maria Elena Margarella

Family will never go out of style. Bri and Jay Smith even incorporated the classic element into the very foundation of their house. With three daughters, the couple designed a vision to fit their tight-knit family. “A lot of the layout of the house was because of family,” Bri says, “[It] connects the family. We live in every part of the house every single day.”

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Building from the ground up, the couple worked closely with an architect and an interior designer. Both traditional and contemporary designs then merged to create the aesthetic of a warm, inviting home that simultaneously upholds a professional physique. They admire classic architecture, so the plan was to build a new house that looked like it had already been there for years. Meanwhile, the Smiths’ family values take precedence. “The furniture we chose was family-friendly,” Bri continued, “[We wanted it to] feel comfortable not just for the kids but for everyone that we welcome in. All of our furniture is for that purpose.”

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The process took two years, but the product lasts forever. But the vision does not end when the house is built. “I’m having more fun with the decorating process on this end of it,” she says. Jay added, “The lesson learned is this: we didn’t build out every single process because we wanted to get in and live in it.” He advises to “keep a few things open” in order to figure out how you and your family function in your new environment. “It’s a learning process,” he says. And their favorite part of the house? The living room. “It’s so open with all the windows,” Bri says, “You can see the lake, and we can all be together.”