Last year, participants made and took home their own fresh wreaths during a workshop hosted by Detroit Design Co. during the annual Noel Night festivities in midtown Detroit.

Last year, participants made and took home their own fresh wreaths during a workshop hosted by Detroit Design Co. during the annual Noel Night festivities in midtown Detroit.

Photo provided by Detroit Design Co. on Instagram


Experts share tips on creating fresh décor to suit any taste

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published November 29, 2017

 Each choice for a holiday wreath can reflect a person’s personal style, according to Courtney Szymkiw, co-owner of Detroit Design Co. in St. Clair Shores.

Each choice for a holiday wreath can reflect a person’s personal style, according to Courtney Szymkiw, co-owner of Detroit Design Co. in St. Clair Shores.

Photo provided by Detroit Design Co. on Instagram

 Bunches of evergreens from across the country are sold by Greystone Gardens at the Oakland County Market in Pontiac.

Bunches of evergreens from across the country are sold by Greystone Gardens at the Oakland County Market in Pontiac.

Photo provided by Jeremy Brown

METRO DETROIT — Once again, as families fill the streets of downtown Detroit to celebrate the annual Noel Night Dec. 2, florist Courtney Szymkiw, of Detroit Design Co. in St. Clair Shores, will be in The Plaza building elbow-deep in winter greenery.

Her annual holiday wreath workshop is a hit with students young and old who come downtown to build their own fresh, personalized wreaths for the holiday season.

“Although they’re working with similar materials and guidelines, each arrangement is so different by the end, which makes it fun and inspiring for everyone, I think,” said Szymkiw. “I think our workshops attract all walks of life, and anyone who has an inch of creativity is welcome. We actively try to create an approachable environment where everyone can feel comfortable and just create.”

Making a wreath boils down to a few basics: Grab some floral wire and wire cutters, any ornaments and ribbons you want to add for flair, of course various kinds of fresh greenery to suit your taste, and then some sort of base, whether it’s a wired wreath base from the craft store or a twisted hoop of dogwood branches or grapevine. 

“Starting with your greens, you build small bunches and wire them to your base in a fanned-out pattern until you complete a hoop, making sure to hide the bottoms of the previous branches’ stems,” Szymkiw explained “Once your wreath is nice and full with greenery, you can decorate it until your heart’s content by wiring everything through the greens and back onto the base beneath. Put a ribbon around it, and it’s ready to be hung.”

Sure, your local craft shop or décor retailer would be happy to sell you a pre-made plastic wreath that will last for years to come, but it lacks that essence of tradition we associate with the season.

“Faux wreaths can be gorgeous, but nothing can beat the fragrance of fresh evergreens on your door. Not only is it the first scent that greets your guests, but it’s a warm welcome home every time for you too,” she said.

When it comes to buying your materials, you can keep that personal too. Your local farmers market likely has a great selection, like the vendors at the Oakland County Market in Waterford. 

“We’ve got porch pot bundles we sell for 7 bucks apiece,” said Melissa Renner, of Prielipp Farms, which sells at the market each week. “It has mixed greens in it, and it’s a nice variety to last through the winter. Throw them in a nice pot and put a bow on it, and you’re done. And I can give you the bow, too. I have 60 different colors. We sell out of the bundles every day.”

The market’s Greystone Gardens stall is a popular one for Oakland County do-it-yourselfers. Lloyd Michael, who runs the market stall for the farm, based in Armada, said picking greenery is about color, texture and location.

“I always suggest greenery from the Pacific Northwest for indoor work, and Michigan greens for outdoor work,” Michael explained. “We get very frosty mornings and frosty nights here, and that dries evergreens out.”

Greystone Farms likes to promote Michigan-grown products, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified Grade-1-or-Better trees that it will be selling downtown at Detroit’s Capitol Park pop-up market this season. But some aesthetics call for greens from more hydrated parts of the country for a bright color and full texture. Michael said he sells greenery and berries from California, the Carolinas, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon and some high-mountain desert states, to name a few. The further the greens travel to get here, the more they’ll likely cost. But it’s worth it, he said, for just the right look on your front door.

“If you’re making a big wreath for a big peak on the front of your house, use Michigan greens. But a wreath you’re going to hang inside over a fireplace, you’ll want to use western greens,” Michael said.

The type of greens could also depend on the color scheme and the feel you’re going for, according to Szymkiw.

“If your style is more modern, fresh magnolia will lend its glossy emerald leaves with velvety copper backs to the clean lines that you probably enjoy,” she said. “If your style is more romantic, cedar boughs will give you that understated elegance and classic holiday look that will complement every door.”

She added that dried citrus and rich textures like velvet are emerging trends for decorators with classic tastes, while more contemporary homes might lean toward a mid-century modern design with minimalist wreaths or asymmetrical hangings. There’s no end to what you can create — at the Noel Night wreath workshop and beyond.

“We’re there to guide and teach, but the real joy comes from seeing what others can do when you give them the opportunity,” Szymkiw said. “I think everyone leaves with a confidence that comes from making something from scratch with your hands.”


Make a plan to make

Tickets for the Noel Night Holiday Wreath Workshop with Detroit Design Co. cost $79.50 and can be purchased by clicking the Eventbrite link on the shop’s Facebook page. 

Detroit Design Co. is located at 29310 Harper Ave. in St. Clair Shores. Call (313) 924-4844 for more information.

The Oakland County Market is open 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through January, after which the market is open on Saturdays only until spring.

The market will host a special Holiday Market event with extended hours 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, featuring regular vendors and new artisans geared toward holiday gifting and decorating.

The market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Call (248) 858-5495 for more information.