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10 Holiday Essentials: The Designer—Sara Gilbane

10 Holiday Essentials: The Designer—Sara Gilbane

Interior designer Sara Gilbane andher dream room for Christmas dinner—a room she designed that’s at once cozy and glamorous for the holidays and all year along(1, below).

For the next four weeks, four top style makers—a designer, an editor, a blogger, and a retailer—share their 10 holiday essentials with us.

Rising star Sara Gilbane has been named one of the top 20 “next wave” interior designers by House Beautiful and one of TradHome’s top 20 “new traditional” designers. She just released Gypsette, a fabric and wallpaper collaboration with Peter Fasano. And her furniture line, done in collaboration with The New Traditionalists, will be coming out this winter.

Whether it’s a wallcovering, a table, or a room, Sara’s playful yet traditional aesthetic is always apparent. So it’s no surprise that her holiday essentials capture that same vibe. She’s got all the classic trimmings—from fir garlands to Christmas trees to white lights—but never fails to give them an elegant and youthful twist. (There’s even a trip to Disney World on her family’s Christmas list.) Here, the 10 things Sara Gilbane can’t live without for the holidays.

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Sara Gilbane utilizes an abundance of fir garlands for holiday decorating (2, below). She also relies on loads of white candles for a sparkly glow (3, below).

1. Your dream room for a Christmas dinner? 
This dining room I designed is so cozy. The mossy green lacquered walls reflect light beautifully and the silver papered ceiling reflects the glow back down.

2. Your favorite item for decorating the front door, porch or hall?
A fir garland or magnolia wreath with a red or white satin ribbon. I line the hallway railing with garlands of fir and drape them over each doorway. The holidays are about spreading cheer and these decorations are manifestations of that joy.

3. For someone who doesn't have the time (or the budget) to go all-out decorating for the holidays, what's a quick and easy tip for making your home look festive?
Candles and white lights! That sparkly twinkle is so festive. Use votives, pillars, and lanterns of all sizes for a beautifully lit room.

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clockwise from top left: A Mary Nelson Sinclair painting tops Sara Gilbane’s personal holiday wish list (4, below). Champagne in crystal coups is Sara’s go-to holiday drink (5, below). Sara’s daughter made this advent wreath in Sunday school. An ice bucket like this Nantucket-inspired number is one of Sara’s no-fail hostess gifts (6, below). For the holiday table, Sara loves satin stitch napkins and placemats like these from Matouk’s Casual Couture collection (7, below).

4. If Santa really wants to make this a Christmas to remember, he'll bring you what this year?
A beautiful Mary Nelson Sinclair painting.

5. Your go-to holiday drink or cocktail?
Always champagne in crystal coups for an old-fashioned feeling.

6. The no-fail hostess gift you have stashed in your closet to cart to any open house or dinner party?
A bottle of wine and an ice bucket are fun and useful.

7.Holiday tabletop essential?
Placemats and napkins that feel festive, whether it is white linen with a silver or gold stitch or a true holiday motif. Matouk has a wonderful variety of satin stitch napkins and placemats that add a sophisticated pop of holiday spirit to any table setting.

8. If you are really going all-out with holiday decorating, what's one thing you're totally going to go for?
Decorating the outside as well as the inside. Sparkling white lights on key trees and bushes in the yard. White lights are a fail proof way to make things merry and bright.

9. For your children, the holidays wouldn't be complete without… 

They are requesting Disney World and swimming in the ocean, so we are heading down to Florida to make their wish come true!

10. You've been waiting all year to give your ______ this item for the holidays.
I am still searching, but I think for my husband it will be the gift of time on the golf course over the holidays! With two young children, we are both desperate for a little down time.