Simplicity equals elegance when it comes to decorating your home for the holidays, says veteran florist Gerry Arial of The Silver Rose.

Whether he’s working with clients or transforming his own Victorian home in Centretown, he opts for classy floral designs and sophisticated interior decor.

Ottawa veteran florist Gerry Arial of Silver Rose on O’Connor Street in Centretown is known for his attention to detail and elegant designs.

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“I don’t get into anything too wild,” says the creative genius. Through his work, Arial has rubbed shoulders with so many of Ottawa and the world’s elite over the past 50 years that his delightful stories fill a coffee table book, which he published in 2002. He may not get wild, but his attention to detail is impeccable.

Inspired by his traditional touch, we share his insights on preparing your home for the holidays through this variation on a classic tale:

While Arial repeats his theme on his door and table (the French horns and drums), he stops short with the mantel, carrying over only the colour scheme to avoid too much repetition. Instead, fresh blue spruce creates a bed for a handful of Christmas balls on the mantel, where a Malak Karsh piece called The Mennonites takes centre stage.

If you’re going to make your wreath, choose a variety of seasonal greens for texture. Arial uses cedar, balsam, hemlock and pine here. If you prefer to buy a wreath and personalize, choose one you can strip down to rebuild or simply order the wreath base from your florist. Personalize your wreath with things that are precious to you, like old ornaments.

This wreath uses just five elements: greens, French horns, drums, holly and ribbon. Arial wires his ornaments to his wreath as he lives in a high-traffic neighbourhood and then wires the wreath to a hangar that fits over his door. To make the bow, combine ribbon in your colours using about 2.5 metres.

“This is what I would do for any of my high-end clients,” says Gerry Arial, who decorates about 30 homes for the holidays, each with a different theme every year. “I call it elegant and simplicity.” The red and gold first found in the wreath repeats here, joined by silver. Simple arrangements of four red roses and pine in silver vases are paired with more French horns and drums for consistency. Christmas crackers that came with leaves, flowers and Scottish bows were taken apart and redressed to match his table. Elegant menu cards complete the look and can be easily created on a computer.

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