A Merry Vintage Christmas

Washington, D.C., event planners Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez thrive on creating extraordinary experiences. But when their work is done, they retreat to the simple pleasures of farm life—especially during the holidays
front door holiday decor
The arch above Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez’s front door is composed of evergreens, holly, English ivy, pine cones, and birch. The wreath showcases pepperberry, roses, and hypericum berry. The spruce “trees” are actually cut limbs anchored in the large containers.

Life as an event planner means late nights, weekends, and multitasking in a million different directions. But it’s the thrill of those creative aha moments that drives Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez to spend their hours sketching, planning, and ultimately creating the backdrop for some of the most important events of our lives. Rick, a floral designer, and Christopher, a set designer, combine their talents, along with a team of artists, seamstresses, carpenters, and upholsterers, to reimage everyday spaces into the stuff of fantasy.

They turn drab conference rooms into lush, candlelit gardens brimming with walls of fresh greenery and blankets of moss. They finesse bland ballrooms with bursts of color and whimsical, storybook-inspired wonders. They bring art masterpieces to life with dramatic palettes, swaths of silk, and sweeping floral arrangements. Whatever the occasion, it becomes a little more meaningful thanks to their ability to strike a mood and set a scene. When it comes to their own life, however, it’s all about finding comfort in familiarity at their farmhouse in Maryland’s historic St. Mary’s County.

boxwood reindeer
The boxwood reindeer with moss antlers is right at home on the wooded farm.
evergreen holiday garland
The banister is draped with a garland of spruce, cedar, and fir. Vintage shutters and antique pitchforks hang on the walls.

“We moved to the country 17 years ago so we could try it out,” says Rick. “We wanted to buy something old, but all of the houses looked like money pits.” Frustrated with the area’s housing stock but inspired by its Colonial-era charms, the duo set out to do what they do best; they decided to build a new farmhouse and fill it with all the best parts of a historic home.

“We’ve learned a lot of tricks in this business,” Rick says. “We do complete build-outs for parties, so we knew we could do the same with a home. And if you build something new that looks old, you know that everything will work.”

Holiday vignette with vintage blown-glass tree toppers in old bottles, retro-style small decorative Christmas trees, and a Tole candleholder fashioned to look like a vase of cream-colored flowers in the home of event planners Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez
Tole candle holders mix with vintage holiday finds. Learn about Italian tole.
The scene includes an iron sculpture of a deer head with antlers, a leaded glass box holding vintage ornaments, and an red rose and evergreen floral arrangement on the coffee table. On the stone fireplace behind it, the rustic wood mantel is decorated with a mixed evergreen garland, two decorative partridges, and pottery vessel field with branches of red berries
Vintage ornaments decorate the living room coffee table.

To that end, Rick and Christopher set their sights on a small farm with all the requisite makings of their dream. “We saw it on a blue-sky October day when the leaves were falling,” Rick says. “We were just standing there when it hit us and we thought, ‘This is it.’ ”

The 27 acres were mostly wooded with a pond and stream. There were pastures for growing dahlias and a barn that could shelter their rare birds and heritage farm animals. The little house that came with the property would suffice until the couple could build. The country life agreed with Rick and Christopher, and now their new old house is at the center of it all. “We put together four binders with pictures from magazines to find the look we wanted,” Rick says. “If we didn’t have that collection of ideas, it wouldn’t have worked.

The chest sits under a natural-wood mullioned window. Decorating with antiques and choosing such architectural details are how event planners Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez made their new country home look like an old farmhouse in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
An arrangement of amaryllis, ilex berries, pine cones, and evergreens sits atop a circa 1800s trunk found at an antiques store.

Playing to historical notions, their design included retrofitting architectural salvage and replicating period designs. “We are always creating something new for our clients, but at home we don’t change much,” says Rick. “Occasionally we may work in a few new pieces here and there, but when we buy something we like, we keep it.”

When Christmas comes, the house gets even cozier thanks to a traditional red-and-green scheme and collected ornaments. Heirlooms come to the forefront, and with them, cherished memories. Years ago, Rick crafted an angel tree-topper by upcycling two different ornaments. “I made it when we first moved out of the city when I didn’t have much money,” he says. “It has so much sentimental value. Why would I ever get rid of that?” Clip-on mushrooms are reminders of a trip to Amsterdam, and the gold tassels belonged to Rick’s grandmother.

holiday centerpiece
The dining table centerpiece is an arrangement of lady’s slipper orchids, hydrangeas, hypericum berry, pine cones, and evergreens.
Kitchen Christmas Tree, Norway Spruce
Paying homage to farm life, glass chicken ornaments fill the Norway spruce in the kitchen.

Traditions are equally important to the couple. “Every year, we host two big Christmas parties—one for city friends and country friends and another for family,” Rick says. “This house has brought us all together.”

Farm-Fresh Holiday Decorating Tips

Stick With Tradition

Red and green are classic color choices when it comes to holiday decor. Rick and Christopher infused their home with boughs of evergreens and pine cones mixed with red flowers and berries, including amaryllis, cyclamen, roses, hypericum, and holly. Red plaid ribbon and other holiday accents add to the scheme.

Living room vignette with an antique upholstered chair, antique wood and glass display cabinet, and a blue spruce covered in ornaments and white holiday lights
The living room’s blue spruce was chosen for its strong limbs that can support lots of ornaments. The tree-topper, crafted by Rick, is a sentimental favorite.
Spruce Christmas tree, bedroom
The spruce in the main bedroom is filled with vintage glass balls in shades of blue.
Layer In Seasonal Decor

Mix seasonal elements with year-round decor. “Adding to your collections makes them fresh again,” Rick says. Similarly, liven up everyday spaces with fresh flowers and greenery. Highlight windows and doors with wreaths and garlands.

Tell A Story

Rick and Christopher’s life events can be told through their holiday collections. Ornaments recall travels, family moments, and special events. For instance, the Christmas stockings crafted from vintage fabric were the first holiday items the couple purchased at a craft fair 25 years ago and still hold pride of place fireside.

vintage Christmas decorations
An antique beam in the foyer holds an assembly of found objects.
Start A Collection

Rick and Christopher started collecting candlesticks a year ago. They now have enough to fill every tabletop in their house during parties. “We all gravitate toward things that have a common thread, which makes it easy to mix new finds in with your home’s decor,” Rick says. “Buy what you love and it’s guaranteed to work.”

Continue the Tour

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A pair of cyclamens flank a farmhouse kitchen sink. Three small wreaths adorned the mullioned window between the kitchen and adjacent room. A pinecone garland hangs above.
Red cyclamens are a favorite potted flower for Christmas. “They last longer than cut flowers,” Rick says.
Dining room with exposed beams, a rustic heavy wood dining table, antique chairs, and a rustic-modern candle metal chandelier with red glass votives. Six Audubon prints are hung in a single row on the main wall.
Vintage Audubon prints decorate the walls throughout the house.
Christmas flowers
An arrangement of roses and evergreens complements the floral paintings in the powder room.
living room Christmas decor in the home of event planners Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez
An antique mirror and salvaged iron fence hang on the living room’s Pennsylvania fieldstone fireplace surround. Shelves are lined with amaryllis, cyclamen, and a large tree fern.
Photo of a turned wood antique bed with a natural white quilt, with a red knit throw folded at the bottom. Holiday accents include a "Merry Christmas" decorative pillow and a small Santa and vintage faux tree on the bedside table.
A few well-placed holiday accents jolly-up a guest bedroom.
Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez are the owners of Amaryllis Floral & Event Design, one of Washington, DC’s premiere floral design and event production firms
Rick Davis (standing) and Christopher Vazquez enjoy decorating with collections old and new during the holidays.

By Cathy Still McGowin | Photographed by Jenn Verrier | Floral design and interiors by Rick Davis and Christopher Vazquez, Amaryllis Floral & Event Design