For Everything There is a Season
“I’ve always loved decorating for the season,” said Peg Fenstermaker with a grin. “It has been my favorite thing to do for as long as I can remember.
Fenstermaker’s creativity inspired her to open a unique home décor store on the Woodstock Square. Seasons by Peg (103 E. Van Buren St.) is the result of many years of decorating.
The store is completely transformed for each season. In the fall, warm colors and seasonal décor are paired with Thanksgiving and Halloween items. Christmas and Hanukkah follow soon after. Springtime means Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras and Easter decorations. And, summer is a beach theme. Last year, an impressive ocean sculpture filled the store’s front window.
“If we can’t find a holiday, we make one up,” said Fenstermaker. “We try to change the look of the store completely each season. We want to surprise and delight our customers. We want them to enjoy coming here and not know what they’re going to see each time they visit.”
The theatrical influence in the store is obvious in the layout. Some of Fenstermaker’s staff have theater backgrounds, and set design is something she is interested in.
“We want to make the store an attraction,” she said, “someplace fun for people to visit; otherwise, they could shop on the Internet.” Shopping on the Internet does not compare to the experience customers will have at Seasons by Peg. Internet shoppers will not be able to appreciate the hard work Fenstermaker and her staff put into each of the store’s transformations. Planning can take weeks, and the store is closed for up to six days while the staff works on creating their next masterpiece.
“We work long days,” said Fenstermaker. “We clear out all the old merchandise and clean the store. Then, we move in the things from the warehouse.”
Seasons by Peg is not limited to their in-store design. The staff can be called upon to decorate for events and will decorate homes as well. Their Web site (www.seasonsbypeg.com) also features items for purchase if you can’t make it to the store.
Tips for the Uninspired
If decorating is not your forte, Fenstermaker says not to worry. She offers a few tips for those who are less creative.
“Don’t just decorate the line of sight,” she said. “Work from the top to the bottom. You may want something on the ground level, such as a rug. Then, decorate a table at eye level. And, make sure to work all the way up to the ceiling, hanging things. Floor-to-ceiling decorations look the best.”
“On a flat surface, such as a table, place things at different heights,” she continued. “You can follow geometric shapes, like an S-curve or a pyramid. Build things up high using pillars. It’s pleasing to the eye and anyone can do it.”
In the design world, it is important to keep up with the trends. Fenstermaker said most people, about 80 percent, choose the traditional Christmas colors: red, green and gold. The other 20 percent go for the untraditional colors. For these people, Fenstermaker will carry more than your traditional Christmas tree. The store will have platinum, chestnut, red and lime green trees for sale. Since this year is an election year, they will also have a Christmas tree with presidential ornaments and more Americana decorations.
Fenstermaker stresses that you don’t have to go over the top to make an impact with decorating. Candles make a huge difference. Her favorite are electric candles because they are safe to leave unattended.
“You can set them on a pretty plate, and you don’t have to worry about burning your house down,” she said. “Garlands are nice too. You always want to use light. Lights make everything look magical.” It’s no surprise that Fenstermaker has such a connection to celebrating the holidays and seasons. She was born on Halloween. The business is an easy extension from her daily life.
“Most of my time is spent working here—it’s like a brand new baby,” she said. “If I get time off, I spend it with my husband, Doug, and our two Ragdoll cats at our new home in Woodstock.” The Fenstermaker’s recent move to Woodstock has been a great experience. “The people here are so friendly, and we’ve made a lot of new friends,” she said. “The people are very approachable—I love that.”