Meet the artist: Seasonal Decorator Gabriela Ferrara

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By Mia Bertelsen

Tis the season to make your house look merry and festive.  The sales of Christmas trees and decorations have increased almost 30% this month. Economists predicted that with the crippled economy from the COVID-19 shutdown, all areas of Christmas sales would suffer.  But our desire to be festive and have beautiful homes has not died during this season.  I have heard of people complaining that they can’t find the pre-lit, artificial trees in the stores anymore.  All Christmas decorations are going fast.

I am not sure if you are like me.  I am not good at home decoration and when the Christmas season is on us, I try to find excuses to not drag out the boxes and boxes and try to make something wonderful happen in my house.  Mostly it turns out okay.  I do end up having fun putting it all together, but honestly it just feels like another thing on my never-ending to do list.

I was thrilled to learn that there are solutions for people like me.  I sat down and talked with the most talented seasonal decorator Gabriela Ferrara.  She has always liked art and she grew up taking all kinds of classes and learning.  Her professional career was very different than what she is doing today.  In Mexico she studied to be a lawyer.  Good for us, she found her true inspiration in decoration and hasn’t looked back.

“I have been decorating professionally for three years now.  My friends encouraged me to do this because they told me that I have so much talent,” Ferrara said.  “At first I thought that no one would want to hire me.  But then I got excited about it and started to promote my services on Instagram.  I posted pictures of my tables, flower arrangements and the decorations I made in my house.  Then people started to look for me.”

As a seasonal decorator and she stays busy all year long.  Ferrara is hired to go into people’s homes and create a beautiful scene or theme.  It could be for a special holiday or a party.  Her services are in high demand right now to decorate Christmas trees.  To decorate a tree the price begins at $150 for a 7-foot tree.  If you would like her to bring decorations with a certain theme, the client pays for the decorations as well.  “My last client didn’t have any decorations for her two trees nor an idea of what to buy,” she explained.  “I went and bought everything and she was so happy with the result.”

She really enjoys decorating dining room tables with varied themes.  If you go to her house, there is always a new theme for every month of the year.  In the Summer time you will find a beach theme, picnic theme or 4th of July.

Once a client explains to her what theme of decorations is needed, she will go out and buy all the items to create the experience, or she will make them herself and then Ferrara arrives at their house to set it all up.  She is a Chula Vista resident and works all over San Diego county.  Her services are so valuable for people who have busy schedules and don’t have the time to dedicate to planning, purchasing and setting it all up.  Even some people who are in the decorating industry call her because they appreciate her work.  After it is all over, the people generally keep the items and put it away themselves at their own leisure.

Her passion is to study the trends of decoration and find out what is the latest style.  She follows many famous decorators on Instagram and in return they follow her too.  She especially admires Jennifer Houghton from Turtle Creek Lane and gets feedback from Houghton on her own posts.  “They are decorators who have more than 500,000 followers and they have put likes and comments on my posts and pictures,” she beamed.  “I am very proud.  My Fao Schwarz inspired Christmas tree was even liked by the actual store’s Instagram. I had the good luck to be trained by a celebrity stylist who I met at my daughter’s preschool.  Her name is Sarah Eaton and she is a professional florist and is part of Jeff Leatham’s team.  They do all of the floral arrangements for the Kardashians.”

Another important teacher for her was Brad Schmidt who is a celebrity designer in West Hollywood and Hong Kong.  She was one of his students.  Currently Schmidt is featured in People Magazine this month.

She leaves us with a tip for those of you who haven’t decorated your tree yet.  “To decorate your pre-lit tree, first start with ribbons, next place the tree topper, then place the big ornaments and next the small ornaments.”

Her favorite stores are Hobby Lobby or Michaels to find everything you need to decorate.  “This year I have been more busy than past years,” she explained.  “People wanted to put up their Christmas decorations earlier and in the stores all of the decorations are sold out.”

Ferrara is all smiles this season.  Business is good and it is fills her spirit to create beauty in this world.

You can find her on Instagram at:  decorbygabyferrara