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Green season

Broken branches and animal troughs fill Marilee Johnson's house this holiday season. It's a bare contrast to the bewildering flurry of other Christmas decorations.

A simple centerpiece

Broken branches and animal troughs fill Marilee Johnson's house this holiday season. It's a bare contrast to the bewildering flurry of other Christmas decorations.

Johnson's West Fargo house is part of this year's Homes for the Holidays tour. Six businesses have decorated area homes - each set of decorations with a theme - on display noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday.

Kriss LeCocq arranged Johnson's home with the theme "Green Christmas." The materials LeCocq uses reflect her sustainable sentiment, though the look is utterly modern.

"This is what we're trying to focus on for Christmas: trying to do simple things that create a whole look for the season, not just the day, and using nature to do what it does best," says LeCocq, owner of Funky Junque in Fargo.

LeCocq suggests foraging backyards ands flowerbed for creative decorations. She pulled a broken bough from her backyard and set it in one of Johnson's corners, and then sparsely set in antique ornaments.

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A former surveyor's stand is fashioned into a lamp, paper packaging circles an artificial Christmas tree and an old animal trough holds upright twigs in a line.

In another trough, LeCocq put rocks, nuts, pinecones, twigs and sand. It works as a base for candles to avoid electric bulbs - "a great natural setting," LeCocq says.

Johnson says, "This economy, the way it is, people are thinking you need to buy all these Christmas decorations that you have up for a month." Yet LeCocq's cost-effective work stands as naked as winter.

An old door rests against one of Johnson's walls for a rustic, yet sophisticated, appeal. For LeCocq, such a makeover is art.

"I've always been about lines," LeCocq says. "You just look at these (decorations), and it's about the shape of (them)."

Much of the feel comes from LeCocq's giving the space some air, Johnson says.

"We think, 'Oh, there's a space there; you have to fill it up,' " Johnson says. "She's teaching us decluttering."

"It's so simple, it's almost elementary," LeCocq says.

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Other sights

Homes for the Holidays tickets are $15 and can be bought at area businesses or the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2001 44th St. S., Fargo. A portion of the tour's profits go to the Emergency Food Pantry.

- Funky Junque decorated Marilee and Randy Johnson's Home, 534 18th Ave.

E., West Fargo.

- Red River Coffee Co. and local artists decorated the

Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2001 44th St. S., Fargo.

- Completely Home Design Center decorated its model home at 3485 Loberg Lane, West Fargo.

- Shotwell Floral and Stabo Scandinavian Imports decorated the home of Heidi and Jeff Haaven, 4435 58th St. S., Fargo.

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- Meadowbrook Home Furnishings & Gifts decorated the home of Emily and Louis Maresca, 4712 43rd St. S., Fargo.

- Scheels Design Studio decorated the home of Deann and Mike Holm, 412 Allyson Circle, Moorhead.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Lee Morris at (701) 241-5523

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