Le Dimora decks the halls


For the last few holiday seasons, Le Dimora in the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch has specialized in making Christmas bright. The interior design studio and 10,000-foot showroom owned by Rancho Santa Fe resident Maria Barry and Cindy Cerenzie, completely transforms to celebrate the season, decked out with a small grove of Christmas trees and festive and fun décor.

An upside down Christmas tree at Le Dimora.
(Karen Billing)
A frosted woodland tree.
(Karen Billing)

Getting the showroom ready for the holidays is an exhaustive team effort—they close the store for one full day in November to completely transform the room, keeping the look a surprise by covering the street-facing windows with cardboard, building a little hype.

“We’re like little elves,” said design assistant Jonathan Palinkas of the work that goes on behind the cardboard that day. The designers don’t leave anything untouched in, even the light fixtures in the ceiling get the holiday treatment.

There are 14 different trees on the floor and it takes two people about three hours to fully trim each tree: “It’s definitely a labor of love,” Palinkas said.

The trees feature all things shiny and snow-flocked, glittery silvers and golds, gigantic jingle bells and gingerbread men, Santas and snowmen.An ocean-themed tree is filled with sparkling starfish, bubble ornaments and sprays of coral. There is a whimsical upside down tree and a tree that offers a fresh take on Christmas colors by pairing red with rich purple and fuchsia.

A playful tree topped with a hat.
(Karen Billing)

The design “recipe” calls for trees stuffed with a variety of decorative picks, sprays of florals and big bulb ornaments. While you may find the traditional stars atop some trees, there are unexpected tree toppers too, such as a bouquet of flowers and a festive top hat.

Barry and Cerenzie opened Le Dimora in the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch in 2016 after nine years in Rancho Santa Fe’s Del Rayo Plaza. Since moving to the Village, the store has benefitted from a lot more walk-ins, people drawn in by the trees and window displays while on a Trader Joe’s run. Palinkas said many opt to bring their kids in for some Christmas cheer and the little ones have been enjoying the life-size reindeer, moose and polar bears. The large animals are popular this year, Palinkas said, as they seem to get snatched up as soon as they put a new one on the floor. New displays turn up nearly every day.

Customers can buy everything on the trees or the entire tree itself—VIP clients are given first dibs on the trees. Every year they host a holiday open house and quickly things start disappearing from the floor as more and more items are sold.

“It’s crazy, we have already exceeded our last year’s earnings, by the second week of December,” Palinkas said. “We have become a destination for decorations in this category which makes us really unique.”