Denise Cosgrove, a Willow House Design Consultant, was recently featured in Better Homes and Gardens on their “I Did It!” page for winning their centerpiece contest.
Denise was able to win the contest with her out-of-the-box style of thinking and with her Willow House home products.
“I noticed that Better Homes and Gardens had a contest for fall centerpieces one evening when I was surfing around on Facebook. I took a look at all of the entries and noticed that they all looked the same with the typical fall colors of oranges and golds,” said Denise.
So to separate herself from the crowd Denise submitted a floral arrangement that she put together using late seasonal blooms from her garden. She explained that in Seattle the fall can actually be expressed with roses and hydrangeas.
“This kind of thinking and setting myself apart from the rest helped me to get noticed and win a thousand dollar prize!” she said.
For the winning centerpiece photo shoot Denise used the Villa Stoneware plates, the Tall Glass Dome and the Beaumont Container. Better Homes and Gardens asked her to create a very casual and informal table. So she just stacked the plates and created a magnificent flower arrangement in the container.
Denise always begins her styling process for a centerpiece with one of the many containers from Willow House. She said, “Sometimes I may keep it simple and just toss some lemons into the Ruffle Glass Bowl. Other times, I enjoy creating a more elaborate centerpiece that starts out by using wet floral foam, which I’m convinced can make anyone look like a pro.”
She sees the beauty in the produce department at the grocery store and almost always tries to incorporate fruit or vegetables into her arrangements. “I love to place green apples or limes on wooden skewers and tuck them in amongst the blooms and foliage from my garden,” she said.
Denise seeks inspiration in all kinds of places. “Found objects from a day spent scouring my favorite flea market in Canton, Texas to a nature walk through the woods all inspire my style. I often begin building my vignettes with a rusty old door knob, a bird’s nest, or antlers perched on top of vintage books,” she said.
She tries to mix these types of things in with her favorite Willow House products to give her home a sought after acquired look, a look that uniquely expresses her personality. “I don’t want people to walk into my home and say ‘what a great paint color,’ but instead I want to create an overall feeling of comfort, beauty and style.”
This fall Denise enjoys using the Athena Crackle Vase to add a burst of color to her décor, especially her centerpieces. She simply fills them with fall foliage or branches. Or she suggests to, “Nestle some winter squash at the base for an easy and beautiful fall vignette.”
Denise had some styling tips for other Consultants trying to achieve similar success. She said, “Always include something personal in your vignettes that tells your own unique story of home. It can be as simple as some found shells from a day spent at the beach or a picture of your kids tucked inside of a hurricane.
“It’s not about being ‘perfect,’ but rather about being interesting. Layering and mixing it up help to achieve that, for example create a fun jolt of surprise by adding a contemporary lamp to a traditional home. One of my favorite compliments is, ‘I would have never thought of that!’
“You can’t go wrong when you include something from nature in your style. When I find that something is just ‘missing,’ a bowl of green apples or pinecones nearly always does the trick. Also, when in doubt, use burlap. It adds that all-important element of texture.”
Denise lives by her own motto that, “a home is not a museum, but rather a place where memories are made.”
Denise Cosgrove grew up in Waxahachie, Texas. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest in Snohomish, Wash. near Seattle, but will always be a southern girl at heart. She is the proud mother of her daughter, Lauralee, who is also a Willow House Design Consultant. Denise was a flight attendant for Delta Airlines for 20 years and she has also taught high school. She now enjoys substitute teaching and inspiring young people to be the best that they can possibly be.