Decorating business creates holiday magic


Each home design is unique, personal

While many people decorate their homes for the holidays, interior decorator and floral designer Leanne Michael helps her clients go all-out in creating magical memories for Christmas.

Michael’s Rancho Santa Fe-based business Bella Fiore, which is fresh floral, and Leanne Michael Interior, which deals with interior design, is fortunate to be located near some of the most beautiful homes in Southern California, Michael said.

Most of the homes she decorates are in Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch, although she does have clients in Santa Barbara, Vail and Beaver Creek, Colo., and even Atlanta, Ga.

“I am so lucky to be doing something that I truly love,” Michael said. “I can’t wait for the holidays to come.”

The most rewarding part is creating holiday memories for the children of the house through design, Michael said. “I can see it in their eyes. I can see it when they walk through the door and their jaws drop.”

Prior to founding her business, Michael was a vice president of sales and marketing for a gift company, and her job required her to travel all over the country and oversee 300 sales representatives.

During the first consultation with a client Michael gets a feeling about the meaning of Christmas for that particular family - whether they are religious, have small children or what their own Christmas traditions and memories are.

Designs will often have a particular theme.

One house was decorated with a teddy bear theme with the tree ornamented with little teddy bears and other teddy bear-related decorations.

Another couple had a Christmas tree dedicated to their English bulldogs. “I stayed up hours shellacking milk bones,” Michael said.

Some clients keep a particular design for several holiday seasons, while other clients change the theme every year.

One client wanted a patriotic tree decked out with red, white and blue the year the Set. 11 attacks occurred and another year a deep-snow look with an ornament-free white tree.

Also of importance is the decor, design and color palate the home already has, because the holiday decorations must mesh.

“Often the homes will dictate what that look will be,” Michael said. “It’s a fun process; it certainly is.”

Although most of her holiday decorating is for Christmas, Michael said Halloween and Easter are popular holidays for decorating. She even decorated a house for Valentine’s Day last year.

To contact Leanne Michael Interior, call (858) 245-5504. For Bella Fiore, call (858) 759-6100.