Vancouver designer Gillian Segal likes to put a unique spin on decorating for Hanukkah. “I don’t commit to modern or traditional. I like to bring a blend of both: a contemporary home with traditional details,” she says. See how she uses flowers, foliage and candles to dress up her Kitsilano home for the festival of lights!
House & Home: How did you bring Hanukkah style to your exterior?
Gillian Segal: I didn’t want a traditional wreath, so I chose to do one floral arrangement for high impact — and nothing too gaudy. Like the rest of the florals in my home, this dramatic front door arrangement was designed by Vancouver-local Hana by Celsia. She used floral elements and then added in portions that she spray-painted in silvers and blues for Hanukkah. It’s not your traditional ‘Hanukkah blue’ which keeps it from becoming too kitschy and allows it to pop-off the front door! It almost feels sculptural.
H&H: Did you have a color scheme in mind?
GS: Obviously blue is a huge theme in Hanukkah, but I didn’t want it to sway too literally, so I did different shades of blue.
H&H: Do you have any tips for decorating for Hanukkah?
GS: Even though you are working around a common theme, don’t forget about your own personal style or the pieces you naturally gravitate towards. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel! A modern menorah (CB2) and blue tray filled with chocolate Hanukkah coins is a classic way to bring in elements of the holiday, while a personalized arrangement adds character.
H&H: Tell us about your beautiful staircase garland!
GS: A big aspect of Hanukkah is eating foods fried in oil, so there is a big focus on olive oil. In the story of Hanukkah, there was just enough oil for one night, yet it lasted eight. To bring that tradition home, we placed olive branches throughout the house, including in the garland that runs up the stairs.
H&H: Do you have any Hanukkah traditions?
GS: It’s all about family time and eating as many latkes as we can!
H&H: We love your minimalist gift wrap. Any advice on wrapping gifts around the holidays?
GS: If you choose something solid, I would suggest a material that has a texture or sheen. This will add interest and not appear too flat! Plus, I love that these aren’t holiday specific. We can use them for friends and family that celebrate Christmas, or for birthday presents throughout the year!
H&H: How did you incorporate the holidays into other spaces of your home?
GS: I love doing a floral installation on my mantel. It is where you can have more fun with height and size. For more impact, consider creating one full arrangement that spans the full mantel. I also scattered additional smaller floral arrangements across the home, in the kitchen, primary bathroom and primary bedside tables.
H&H: Did you have a vision for your holiday decorating?
GS: I grew up celebrating Christmas with my family, and I converted to Judaism after I met my husband. When we started celebrating Hanukkah, I felt unsure how to make it feel festive — so I wanted to bring my own interpretation of what it could look like. For my tablescape, I opted for lower arrangements and candles to create that festive holiday feeling, while rich colors and natural elements give it a sophisticated feel.
Holiday Style Steal: A bowl of dreidels is a playful addition to living room or entryway catch-alls during the holiday of Hanukkah.