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Holiday Decorating tips from Designer Scot Meacham Wood

Designer Scot Meacham Wood has a Scotsman's love for all things plaid

Written by Jenny Bradley
  • John Merkl

    Though he’s a Southerner through and through, designer Scot Meacham Wood has a Scotsman’s love for all things plaid. It’s no wonder, then, that his new eponymous line of fabrics, furnishings, and accessories is chock-full of tartan treasures—from throw pillows to tufted sofas—each with a modern take on the classic pattern.

    This holiday season, the San Francisco-based designer gives us a peek inside his petite, plaid-clad home in the City by the Bay and shares his tips on decking the halls, Meacham Wood-style.

    Photography: John Merkl

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    Festive Hallway

    “I love using the house to create something new and different each Christmas,” the designer says. “This year, it’s all about my love for Edwardian style and my own Southern heritage. I ended up pulling many of my ideas from historical references from the South in the early 1800s and used simple, fresh greenery mixed with interesting woodsy details.”

    With visions of tartan dancing in his head, of course. And why not? “Tartan and Christmas go together like, well, like tartan and Christmas,” he says with a laugh. 

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    Tartan Living Room

    Designer Scot Meacham Wood’s cozy living room pays homage to his love of all things tartan.

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    Pretty Wreath

    “I buy faux wreaths and weave fresh greenery into them. Here, I used fresh magnolia leaves with Douglas and Noble fir branches, oranges, pears, green apples, crabapples, and pinecones.”

  • John Merkl

    Mix and Match

    “Add layers to your holiday table. This year, I used a vintage tartan shawl, charming Ralph Lauren salad plates, and antique stag-handled flatware from Asprey in London to dress the table.”

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    Set a Foundation

    “I collect china—like this blue-and-white Transferware from England—in the same way I buy clothes. I make sure I have all the basics covered and then have a great time buying accessories.”

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    Yin and Yang

    “Just ‘handsome’ can be overwhelming and just ‘elegant’ can feel museumlike and cold. Combining them—and balancing the masculine and the feminine—creates a beautifully designed space.”

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    No Chimney? No Problem!

    “When you don’t have a mantel, you have to improvise!” A bookcase—including one doubling as a bar (“a bar is all about options and access”)—is a great place to hang stockings.

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    Find Balance

    “My true leaning at the holidays is ‘more is more,’ but I’m also an editor. Every room has one big, serious Christmas decorating moment supported by several small items. It’s all about balance.”

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    Reuse and Recycle

    “As I finish decorating the trees and garlands, I set aside the ‘debris’ to use for gift wrapping. Little leftover ornaments and sprigs of greenery are my favorite way to finish off wrapping presents.”

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    It’s in the Delivery

    “Both God and the devil are in the details. It’s as easy as layering a small piece of greenery onto a dessert plate or adding a bit of ribbon to a serving piece. The key is to use one color for consistency.”

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    Surprise Guests

    “When you inject interiors with a bit of whimsy—those great moments of design surprise—it helps create an interesting conversation. Spaces then don’t feel overwrought, but attended to.”

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    Decorate Everywhere

    “I love to bring the holiday season into the more private parts of our house,” says Meacham Wood. “Sometimes just adding fresh wreaths in the windows can make all the difference in a room.”

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    Lighten Up

    “Our bedroom is full of such dark, saturated colors. I thought the lemons would add an amazing accent color for the holidays. I love the contrast of the brown cloves on these citron-yellow lemons!”

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    Wrapped Up in Tartan

    A tartan headboard and blanket welcome in the bedroom.

  • John Merkl

    Designer Scot Meacham Wood

    “My love of tartan is a complicated onion to peel,” says Meacham Wood. “It has military connotations, but there is a lush, romantic part as well.” The designer’s new line is available at