Original Article:  Canada.com  Edmonton Journal
Author: Mairi MacLean
Published: 2006

Fresh, Modern and Light - Precious nest

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, home stylist Rhonda Brynko of Upstage Interiors is a great believer in using what she already has around her home.

She also loves the challenge of decorating on a budget.

"I do believe that a tight budget breeds creativity," says Brynko, whose home in the Westmount/Groat Estates neighbourhood of Edmonton glows with mid-winter charm. "You can go to any store and spend thousands on Christmas decorations," she says. "But you can also do it for $50."

For her mantel, Brynko took a group of vases in a variety of sizes and lined them with wrapping paper. This year, she chose two floral patterns in pinks and greens. "They've got an Asian thing," she says. "This one a chrysanthemum and this is a cherry blossom, and the pinks were different, but they worked well together."

She added some simple balls from her collection and wove a little stem with acrylic beads around a picture frame she picked up for free at a flea market. Inside the frame, she suspended three sparkly Christmas decorations tied with ribbons.

"It isn't the traditional Christmas colours, but you don't need traditional colours to make it Christmasy," she says. "You need the sparkle and the light."

Brynko creates a focal point in each room she decorates, then goes easy on the rest. "I make it a bit more subtle everywhere else," she says.

"Plus, when you have people over, you don't want to be moving things out of the way so they can put their drinks down."

In the living room, the centrepiece is the mantel. In the front room, it's the tree, which she placed in a corner by the windows. There, she draped simple panels of fabric from Ikea behind one side for a soft, seasonal backdrop for the tree. Then she used Christmas balls as the main theme on her tree. "The spherical shape is another very soft kind of look."

On a low table nearby, Brynko put together a collection of salvaged lighting fixtures that she lit with battery packs, a bird cage that has an orchid peeping through its bars, together with some little shadow-type boxes filled with small, shiny balls. It casts a beautiful glow in the evening.

In the kitchen area, she's placed little mini juniper trees and a sushi dish piled with balls on a side buffet, in front of a wall dotted with tiny stars.

On her dining table, a cake stand retrieved from a kitchen cabinet and scattered with little balls serves as smart, easy centrepiece. "It's nice," she says, "to bring Christmas into the house instead of moving everything out and then decorating."

You can reach Rhonda Brynko at 780 707-9795.