In the middle of summer, when most people plan pool parties and beach barbecues, Alyssa Reed transforms her home into a winter wonderland. Since July, almost every corner of her downstairs living space has been covered by elaborate Christmas tree displays, each one carefully curated to fit a unique theme.
Reed is a holistic esthetician and a professional crafter. As the founder of NOFO Flower Company, she makes handcrafted wreaths and designs Christmas trees for individuals, catering primarily to the North Fork community.
“I was always into interior decorating,” she explained. “Even in my 20s, any studio apartment that I had, even if it was a little shack, I tried to make it look like some kind of scene from a magazine.”
In 2016, when Reed moved to her current home in Shoreham, she began creating grand tree displays, inspired by her boyfriend’s love for Christmas. After sharing her home decor on social media, she received positive feedback from followers, encouraging her to turn her decorating skills into a business.
“People started reaching out saying, ‘Hey, do you offer this as a service?’ ” she explained.
Now, Reed shares her design expertise with others, taking requests online through her website and social media.
“I love that I can help make a house a home for the holiday,” she said. “What it really comes down to is a whimsy, magical feeling.”
Her home serves as a test kitchen for her designs, as well as a space where she can photograph her trees to build her online portfolio.
“The house is always done up — I love it,” said Reed. “The trees in my house are an example of what I can do, but we can also tweak it.”
Reed works with customers to develop a design that makes sense with their space and style. Some customers will ask her to incorporate their personal ornaments into the design, while others will request a tree that’s like one that Reed has showcased on social media.
One of Reed’s most notable designs is a nautical-themed tree with a red and white “Locals Only” sign front and center. A variety of buoys, ropes, and nautical ribbons are draped around the 6 1/2-foot spruce tree. When possible, she likes to incorporate items that she’s thrifted, like the copper lobsters poking out from the Locals Only Tree’s branches.
A holiday decor maximalist, she also likes to create scenes around her trees. Small details, like antique fishermen statues resting on top of the mantel and gifts covered with lobster-patterned wrapping paper, complete the nautical look.
“I love to coordinate the wrapping paper with my trees — it really ties the whole thing together,” she explained. “I don’t really want just a tree in the corner of the room and nothing else.”
In her at-home apothecary, where she gives luxury facials and other holistic skincare treatments to clients, she’s created a particularly unique tree scene. When clients enter the room, they’re greeted by soothing earth tones, furniture made of natural materials and lots of greenery.
“I always wanted to make my treatment room feel like you’re coming into a forest,” she explained. This year, she’s designed a mystical woodland tree to fit the space. The incredibly detailed tree is nothing short of magical — featuring shades of green moss, velvet fern, real pine cones and a variety of ornamental mushrooms. Reed also added miniature wreaths to the tree, crafting them out of twigs and embellishing them with monarch butterflies and quartz crystals.
“I put a lot of love and care into what I do,” she explained. “I’ve been told in the past by friends that I should really do this professionally and whatnot, and I would always laugh at it … you never really know what will become of anything.”
To those looking to elevate their home tree this year, Reed offered the following advice:
“Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy, there’s so many different ways you can execute it,” she said.
When designing a tree, it’s important to pick a focus. Reed will often center her design around a theme, a color palette, or even a special ribbon.
“I might be thinking about a theme for weeks and it’ll take a long time to execute it … other times, I’ll just know,” she said.
Another aspect to consider is the type of tree. Reed recommends using artificial trees because they’re easier to work with and are more predictable. They’re also better for flocking — a popular technique used on trees to create a natural, snow-covered look.
Once it’s decorating time, a key step in creating a well-designed tree is filling in the spaces between branches. “A lot of trees, when you put them up, they’ll have a lot of gaps and they’ll feel quite dreary,” she said. “Fill that with floral picks, different floral stems … you can even fill it in with stuff you find outside like pine cones.”
Throughout the process, Reed will stand back to analyze the tree, adjusting as she goes. “Sometimes it’s trial and error,” she explained. “It’s okay to take it down and start again.”
Looking for some inspiration? Follow Reed on Instagram @nofoflowerco or visit nofoflowerco.com.