24 November 2007

faking it is glamorous (trust us)

note: you are going to have to take a bit of a leap of faith and trust us on this post- the fakedy-fake-fake maison21 tree (the post's subject), really is quite pretty, but the photos we took of it are not. we didn't anticipate the problems of taking photos of something white and back-lit, and at night, so our photos don't quite live up to the premise of the post. maison21 is but a humble decorator, not a professional photographer, so please accept our apologies and use your imagination to photoshop the fug photos into something a little more fabulous.

maison21 recently posted about his love of fake christmas trees, the faker the better, so we thought we'd share our current favorite fake with you, just in case some you feel like taking the plunge and faking it this year.

several years ago, maison21 found himself seriously unprepared for the holidays- in a fit of redecorating pique, he got rid of most of the maison21 atelier's furniture several months before xmas, thinking he would work a new look in time for the holidays. but of course the season arrived much faster than anticipated (as it always does), and m21 found himself both over-budget and under-decorated, with a long scheduled holiday cocktail party in honor of a friend's birthday looming near. a dramatic holiday decorating intervention was needed to draw attention away from the somewhat unfinished state of affairs, so we high-tailed it to our local discount stores to see what we could transform with a little sissy magic and a limited amount of cash.

first stop was the world's most dilapidated kmart store at third and fairfax, where we stepped over piles of trash and discarded merchandise to purchase a 7 foot white wire pre-lit lawn decor xmas tree on sale for 30 bucks. since our fake wire skeleton of a tree was white, we wanted to stick to that theme but the martha stewart white ornaments we thought would look great, were 8 bucks for a box of six, and since we would need hundreds for the tree, we had to move on to a cheaper source.

so on to the .99 cents only store, which made the junky kmart look all upscale and pretty. unfortunately they didn't have any white ornaments at all, so we decided to broaden the scope of our all white theme and bought up every box of no-color ornaments they had- pearl, cream, gunmetal, silver, shiny, matte, frosted or clear- we didn't care as long as they weren't colorful.

even though we bought out the stock of silver ornaments from the .99 cent store (about $25.00 dollars worth), we still didn't have nearly enough for the tree, so we proceeded to the next rung down on the discount store ladder, the big lots store in hollywood, whose idea of retail merchandising is to pile mounds of debris about 10 feet high in the store and let shoppers dig through them in the hopes of finding something that isn't broken or entirely ruined. well, low and behold, in those mounds, they had boxes of assorted mixed white, silver and clear ornaments, 3 for $2.00! even though many of the ornaments in the boxes were already broken, at that price, i didn't care and i bought them out too (roughly another $20.00). (i also picked up a rather fabulous door mat with a greek key border btw, for $3.00- just goes to show that there is good stuff everywhere, even at the dreaded big lots, you just have to keep your eyes open!)

the final item purchased was a splurge in comparison: $25, for the glitter starburst topper from crate and barrel (i've seen them knocked off at discounters since, for much, much less). i also added an $8 "dimma" switch from ikea, because being intended for the outdoors, the tree was bright enough blind, and if you've read my older posts, you know i am a firm believer in the dimmest of lighting.

tree and ornaments cost about about a hundred bucks total (far less that the price of a single artificial tree, even at the kmart ) and i thought the end results were quite pretty. the guests at the cocktail party all seemed to love it as well, and a version of the the same tree later even turned up in the windows of a well-known decorator's los angeles store! (i'm not sayin' they stolded my idea or nothin'- it was all store-bought, i didn't actually make it or anything, and great minds do think alike after all, but still, the gift of a pretty needlepoint pillow or a pottery horse would not have gone unappreciated by maison21).

this will be my 4th year working this tree, and i've said every year that it will be my last, but after putting it up this year, i've fallen in love with it all over again. let us know what you think- pretty fake? or pretty fugly? (and remember, please be kind- the photos are dreadful, and the fact that i was too tired to move the really, really heavy marble table it's perched on doesn't help matters either).




14 comments:

All Things Bright and Beautiful....Creative Flair Chic said...

maison21 - you, my dear, are hysterical!!!!!
I LOVE it - your humor and your tree!!!
I am now inspired to head down a dodgy Hong Kong market backlane & rummage through a piles of Christmas baubles - tho - knowing me I wont get such a good deal as you - I'm a useless bargainer!
Looking forward to your next post:-) You glitterbug you !

vie chaotique said...

Last picture looks pretty fab, just enjoy it!

Things That Inspire said...

Great tree - and great post - I love your style. You are really a unique voice among all of the design blogs.

maison21 said...

aawww, shucks- you guys are making me blush!

thanks for reading! i very much appreciate it!

Mrs. Blandings said...

m21 - total genius! Mister, it's easy to make the 12 foot Scotch pine and 5oo radko ornaments look fab - this is wonderful! And, stop already with the lighting and the backlighting - it looks dramatic and great. If it looks better in person you deserve a prize. Love it.

All Things Bright and Beautiful....Creative Flair Chic said...

Dear Maison, our pleasure - you are the wittiest blogette in blogspere:-)!!

Habitually Chic said...

I love your stories and your tree! I really think that there is no right or wrong where Christmas decorations are concerned. As long as the person who has to live with it loves it, that's all that matters. But in this case, it really is fabulous!

maison21 said...

chic- you are too kind. between your gracious introduction of me on your blog, and all your compliments, you have officially become my favorite person who i've never actually met!

Fairfax said...

Hilarious... i love big lots, though. you've got to dig to find the gold. I am even worse than you... i get my ornaments at the goodwill, decorate the tree in a monochrome theme and then either chuck the balls and lights out with the tree or if i am feeling "green" return lights and balls from whence they came - the thrift store.

Paloma said...

It looks beautiful in the last picture. This just goes to show that a white tree can look fabulous when done right.

halcyon said...

m21! I am jealous. I'm taking my carefully collected crystal and sterling tree and putting it out at the curb! Not really, but this is a great idea (and a healthy example of reverse-snobbism) This looks vaguely Chihouly-ish, and it's GREAT! Love the "dimma". Got to have the "dimma".

kate (pm) said...

Pretty & I LOVE it. It looks so dreamy... !

jlm725designs said...

What a Fab U Lous tree!!!!!!! Your tree is abosolutely gorgeous! Cheers and Happy Holidays!
p.s. soooo going to steal that idea! all it's missing is a little pink champagne!

CHELZERS said...

I really and truly LOVE it! I want it. I bought a white faker at KMART a few years ago on a post-Christmas sale for $25 bucks. I also bought tons of gold, copper and silver ornaments that same day on clearance for a total steal.
I have a picture of it on my blog---keep in mind that I, too, am not a photographer but to add insult to injury, I'm not a designer either. And to make matters worse, my three year old triplets decided to remove all the ornaments from the entire bottom half of the tree and I just didn't have time to re-do it "nicely" before the photo. Feel free to visit and critique if you have a spare moment. So that's my disclaimer....you told me to tell you EVERYTHING.... :)
Thanks for the inspiration. And oh how I DREAM to do a black faker....if only they weren't so expensive....