Karyn Brooke, owner of Sidelines Custom Floral Designs, creates Yuletide magic in people’s homes. Photo by Jill Draper
The Yuletide season comes alive at Sidelines Custom Floral Designs
By Jill Draper
A sprinkling of glitter shines on the forehead of Karyn Brooke as she helps customers at Sidelines, her custom floral shop in Martin City. Sparkly stuff is hard to avoid amidst her collection of Christmas garlands, ornaments, table centerpieces and candles. Sometimes during this time of year she wears a button that reads, “Yes, I know I have glitter on my face.”
Brooke and her team have been selling holiday décor items since Halloween, and they’ve been out in the community decorating people’s homes for Christmas since early November. They take a short break a few days before Thanksgiving to design table
centerpieces for clients, but then it’s back to creating Yuletide magic.
“We help people who enjoy having it done in one fell swoop,” she says. “We do commercial installations, too—CrossFirst Bank and country clubs like Loch Lloyd, Blue Hills and Indian Hills. These can be bigger and more oversized to make an impact. But every client is different.”
Some like a subdued elegant look using silver and gold or crystal and white, while others like lots of bright color. This year reds and plaids are trendy, she says, adding, “If your house is mostly neutral, red is a fun pop.”
For first-time clients, Brooke or one of her employees will go out to a house and see what there is to work with, including any collections of the homeowner such as nutcrackers, nativity scenes, snowmen, carolers and such. Then they’ll decide which spaces to decorate, ranging from mantels and kitchen islands to staircases and banisters.
“Sometimes it’s a coordinated look and sometimes every room is different. It should be what you think is fun and what you love,” Brooke says.
Her advice is to start with big things first, like trees, wreaths and garlands. She’s not a fan of pre-lit artificial trees. Unless the lights are LED, she says, they don’t last. It’s always better to add lights yourself, and if the tree needs height or protection from pets, put it in a container. And don’t limit your decorations to Christmas ornaments—items like pine cones, seed pods and berry stems can add interest.
When displaying collections, arrange pieces at various levels and add interest with greenery and candles. For chandeliers, consider wrapping them with boughs of greens or ribbons and adding picks of berries, branches and magnolia leaves.
What’s in her home? Brooke‘s tree features her mother’s vintage Christmas ornaments and old glass beads, while another space is filled with natural items like antlers, pheasant feathers, branches, paper birch stalks and huge sugar pine cones.
“The one mistake maybe everybody is guilty of is buying things too small,” Brooke says. “This is a time to go big or go home.”
Brooke has operated Sidelines in Martin City for 34 years. She started out by designing merchandise displays for a shoe store chain while enrolled at Avila University and later left that business to learn from some of Kansas City’s best floral designers. She was inducted in the American Institute of Floral Designers in 1992 (she is one of only nine in the area) and every year she attends the AIFD symposium to further her education.
After the holiday decorations come down in January, she’ll concentrate on the mainstay of her business—fresh flowers for weddings and events. But for now, it’s glitter season.