An executive decorator
But decorating the White House for the holidays? Very few can claim to have had that honor.
Loudoun’s own Holly Chapple, of Holly Heider Chapple Flowers in Lucketts, spent several days at the beginning of December assisting with hanging the extensive array of holiday decorations at the White House.
This was her third year participating in this all-volunteer effort that spans an entire five-day period.
“There is nothing more prestigious or exciting than to help design at the White House during the holidays. It is awe inspiring when the gate opens and you are allowed to go through to begin,” said Chapple.
Chapple explained almost all of the decorations are handmade, and designers actually begin the process in June. She said the White House florist is already working on ideas for next year.
“It is a blessing to be able to decorate at the White House. As a trained floral designer, I hope I am a good ally for the team and can help inspire and make sure the installations go in properly,” Chapple said.
In order to participate, volunteers are hand-selected by the White House. Many of the people do not normally work in the trade, according to Chapple.
Instead, they are often Christmas fanatics who love holiday décor, teachers, historians and “many wonderful people from around the country,” Chapple said.
Chapple said she applied for the job because she loves the holidays and floral design, and living relatively close to Washington, D.C. makes it easy for her to participate.
“It is an amazing, mind-boggling amount of work and the people there are wonderful. I am still friends with the people I worked with the first year,” Chapple said.
Chapple worked on the lower cross hall downstairs this year, creating iron archways made with garland, twinkly lights and birch branches. She spent most of the time on a ladder tying on lights and adding glitter.
“It has a winter wonderland feel, very beautiful,” Chapple said.
“The big challenge is to get it done on time. The whole hall is lined with wooden boxes that hold the materials. It was so beautiful when it was completed,” Chapple said.
The White House tours and guests who visit for parties during the holiday season will walk through the hallway Chapple helped decorate.
Born and raised in Loudoun, her father owned Heider Nursery, which is now Meadows Farms. She learned how to make wreaths, kissing balls and other holiday décor at her family’s business.
Chapple has owned her Lucketts-based floral and event designing business for the last 23 years.
She and her husband, Evan, have seven children. The business has grown and evolved over the years, and she has recently become an agribusiness, using local flowers from her gardens.
Five years ago, through the power of networking on social media and her blog "The Full Bouquet," she launched an organization called “The Chapel Designers.”
It is an international group of wedding and floral designers. Chapple teaches, supports and mentors people around the world, including in New York, Moscow, Australia and London.
Chapple’s next challenge?
She just launched http://www.loudounweddings.com which, will be a clearinghouse for the growing wedding industry in Loudoun.
“I have wanted to do Loudounweddings.com for many years, to showcase all of the beautiful venues and spaces and talented vendors in our area. It is exciting,” Chapple said.