The Madcap Cottage Designers Share Their Merry and Meaningful Tree Trimming Ideas
When John Loecke (left) and Jason Oliver Nixon (right) decorate for the holidays, they become instant storytellers. The duo behind the home-decor brand Madcap Cottage, which embodies their penchant for prints and patterns, hones their 10-plus years of interior design experience to create a memory-making season, from beginning to end. "It's all about the unexpected," explains Nixon.
"Our cottage speaks to everyone. It evokes a spirit of adventure and brings that back home." To allow each Christmas tree in your house to look as splendid as the next, Loecke says, "Make it feel special and tell a story." Here, they invite us into their home and share four of their brightest ideas for trimming the tree.
Sparkle and Shine
Pulling together baby blues and creamy whites makes a grand entrance in this high-traffic area. "It ties in to the look of the space while creating a happy focal point," says Nixon. Keeping things simple, he and Loecke purchased paper honeycomb balls from a party-goods store and sequin garlands from a fabric shop to outfit the tree. The base, a Versailles Planter from Frontgate, carries an element from the garden into the foyer. The banister, adorned with cascading paper balls, draws the eye upward. The cheery cerulean palette and silver accents carry right over into New Year's celebrations.
The designers opted for a flocked tree in the living room. "It feels like it was just picked from the forest," enthuses Nixon. He and Loecke reserve this one to showcase ornaments from their travel adventures—from England to Florida to Morocco—and it's the only one with decorations that stay the same from year to year. "This is how most people's Christmas trees are—filled with memories and special meaning," says Nixon. To make a busy look seem less chaotic, incorporate consistent elements from top to bottom, like the layers of glass balls and candle ornaments hung on this one.
Pretty in Pink
A playful getup with colorful punches complements the dining room's existing garden-inspired palette without feeling forced. "If you entertain, you'll be using this room, so bring a tree into it," says Loecke. Vivid 1960s beaded balls and star-shaped sputnik ornaments, culled from his parents' collection, are layered with strands of blue-and-white lights. A vintage planter serves as the base, while the angel topper (another of Loecke's treasured hand-me-downs) is a gentle reminder of Christmases past.
Even small spaces can deliver big holiday cheer. It's as easy as adding a few pops of color on a mini display. Buck the traditional red-and-green scheme with a pink-and-orange grosgrain-ribbon topper. "These colors are arresting, feel magical, and elevate the experience," says Nixon. Hand-painted balls (purchased by Loecke during a trip to India) and vintage Martha Stewart ornaments add a delightful twist to this Charlie Brown-inspired creation. "Who wouldn't love seeing a penguin or a turtle on a tree?" asks Nixon.