The holiday season comes alive with “The Nature of Christmas”, the 2013 theme at The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. We talk with the designers behind this year-long project and take a tour through the grandest of rooms.
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The Banquet Hall Floral designer: Simone Bush
For Simone Bush and other members of Biltmore’s Floral Design Team, Christmas is much more than a holiday—it’s a masterpiece that requires a year of planning. Each team member is assigned the decorative design for several rooms in Biltmore House, including one of the grand rooms on the first floor. This year, Bush has taken on the crown jewel of Christmas at Biltmore: the lofty Banquet Hall that traditionally features a 35-foot fresh-cut Fraser fir as its centerpiece.
To envision the decorative elements needed to bring the Banquet Hall to life, Bush drew on the idea of families coming together at the holidays, and the wonderful ways in which their joy might be expressed. “I thought of Mr. Vanderbilt reading stories to his nieces and nephews by the fireplace when he first opened Biltmore House on Christmas Eve 1895. Everything was so elegant, and yet there was a sense of warmth and whimsy, too, with a house full of excited children waiting for Santa Claus.,” she says.
With the notion of whimsy in mind, Bush used decorative elements meant to delight all ages, including enormous ribbons in stripes, plaids and polka dots, huge paper chains, and a brightly-colored Harlequin figure perched atop the towering tree. While less formal than some interpretations of Christmas, Bush’s design is elegantly rendered in traditional shades of red, green and cream.