Sunday, December 2

Meet the designers and artists behind the Christmas Tree Extravaganza at Bartow Pell museum

photograph by Lynn Byrne
The designers and artists
behind the holiday project at Bartow Pell Museum
last week you may have read my story about a holiday tree I decorated for a month-long holiday celebration at the Bartow Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx.  This historic home has been thankfully preserved, just received a grant to refurbish the gardens (look for my story this spring about the garden project), and there are many historians working hard to keep this home intact.  I was one of eight designers chosen to decorate a tree in each room of the home with a children's storybook theme. 

  the Velveteen Rabbit
the double parlor room
decorated by Manhattan interior designer and freelance writer,
Tamara Matthews-Stephenson
the tree graces the front double room that holds many of the home's large events.  I knew it needed to be regal, special, yet hold sentiment feeling from the lovely book about a small stuffed animal who longed to live with the woodland creatures in nature. 
Please read about at the designers and artist who
decorated the seven other trees in the home to learn more about each of them:
Raggedy Andy Stories
upstairs parlor
decorated by Manhattan interior designer Bryant Keller
Bryant Keller opened his design firm in 2005, and   
creates elegant yet relaxed and intimate interiors, which are highly reflective of their owner's distinctive personalities and styles. He was recently named "event design guru" by Travel + Leisure magazine. You may remember his dramatic entryway at the 2012 Kips Bay Show House, which was beautifully wrapped in the classic Scalamandre zebra wallpaper. 
Check out Bryan's website and extensive portfolio of work 

Bryant utilized his childhood stuffed Raggedy Andy, and incorporated his personal antiques and accessories while stylizing the room graced with Aaron Burr's desk and period furniture.
Fabric company Scalamandre generously donated their fabric collections to him, which Bryant used to wrap the gifts, make custom slip covered sleeves for the furniture and beautiful cushions.  Bryant graced the slipcovers with Victorian style beading and swag, adding to the the room's beauty and charm
a former professional baker,
Bryant cooked up a batch of homemade gingerbread cookies for guests
who visited the room
Paddington Bear and the Christmas Surprise 
downstairs sitting room
decorated by Larchmont interior designer & freelance writer,
Jennifer Mehditash
Jennifer in an international designer, beginning her design career in Portugal with clients such as Staples, Portugal Telecom and Spatitude-Lisbon's largest urban day spa.  Jennifer also contributes regularly to, New England Home and Fashion + Decor.  She and her family relocated to New York in 2008, and she founded Mehditash Design, LLC and began writing her blog, Dec-a-Porter.  Having just returned from a sponsored trip to London Design Festival with industry company, Modenus, Jennifer approached the Paddington bear tree and mantel by bringing festive English ornaments and designs she picked up on her trip to incorporate layers of textures and rich colors.
Traditional English red plaid and beautiful
glass ornaments adorned Jennifer's Paddington Bear tree.  She decorated the mantel with bells, berries and lots of festive accessories.

Christmas Eve Blizzard
front hall
decorated by Brooklyn resident and artist, Isle Murdock
Isle serves as leader of the Family Art Project to Wave Hill, a year round program for families focusing on exploring Wave Hill's landscapes through art projects.  As an artist Isle has exhibited in numerous venues around the area and country.  She has been featured in the New York Times and the Art Fuse, and was recently named one of 30 Artists to Watch in 2012 in NY Arts Magazine 
 Eloise at Christmastime
the Lannuier bedroom
decorated by City Island resident and artist Anoosh J. Donahue
 Among other projects, Anoosh has developed a line of textiles and surface designs for home furnishings and accessories.  She hosts "Bronx Flowers" which is a series of digital/mixed media prints, and inspired by the unique beauty of her corner of  New York City.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Clarina Bartow's bedroom
decorated by Manhattan-based artist and designer Mary Rumser
Mary is the Artist in Residence for the Reggio Emilia-inspired Buckle My Shoe Nursery Schools in Tribeca and Greenwich Villages.  She has taught Creative Arts at the Mt. Sinai Hospital Bridge program for several years.

Babar and Father Christmas 
the dining room
decorated by fine artist and decorative painter,
Mary Colby and Marguerite Chadwick-Juner
 Mary is a fine art decorative painter, gardener and owner of Fe Fi Faux Decorative Painting on City Island.  She creates beautiful paintings including portraits, landscapes and abstracts at her studio, and writes a garden column for the City Island Currier
Marguerite Chadwick-Juner is a fine and graphic artist, and associate at Fe Fi Faux.  Margauerite creates watercolors, and recently her work was chosen to be included in SPLASH 23:  A Celebration of artist's visions.

Merry Christmas Curious George
George Bartow's bedroom
decorated by Docent Linda Sacewicz and
Curatorial Assistant Christine Willams
Both ladies are members of Bartow-Pell's valueable core of volunteers. They are well versed in the mansion's history and period as well as on its little known secrets and lores. Lina is a talented fine artist and craftswoman, and Christine's depth of knowledge in historic decorative arts give them a unique pairing for the tree about the mischievous monkey.
 Please stop by the house all month to see these trees in person and don't forget to pop into the gorgeous gift shop to pick up baked goods and beautiful gifts for those on your holiday list
And a special note and thank you to interior design blogger, Lynn Byrne of Decor Arts for bringing many of us together for this project.  Lynn is a board member of the house and was a key figure in obtaining the recent grant gifted to the home.  Lynn reached out to us in the social media community to help!