Dangling a silver spoon in front of Eddie Ross clinched the deal.
Let me explain.
The former Top Design contestant and Martha Stewart Living senior style editor is enchanted with silver: silver toast racks in which to hold stationery, hotel flatware found at flea markets and tarnished candlesticks that found their way into his audition tape for Top Design.
When he heard that both the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Historical Society have silver collections to die for, a visit Richmond became even more of a must-do.
A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Ross has catered, styled for the Food Network and served as decorating editor at House Beautiful. He recently was featured on HGTV's Oct. 18 Halloween Block Party special and will be part of an HGTV holiday special to air in December. He'll also appear in the pages of December's House Beautiful.
With the mantra "Beautiful doesn't have to mean expensive," Ross and his partner, Jaithan Kochar, are flea-market devotees. They blog about their many finds, their new home and transformations (eddieross.com). They also run a store on the online site Etsy and offer flea-market tours throughout the country.
Turning to the upcoming holiday season, Ross shared some of his favorite memories with RHome along with a few other fun facts.
Q: As far as your family holiday â€¨traditions, what stands out?
A: My grandmother Dottie did the big, elaborate Christmas, complete with table settings and the stringing of popcorn and cranberries. She would mix and match things every year, so the table would look different. And my grandfather Eddie was a horticulturalist on an estate, so we'd always have great arrangements with cut poinsettias.
Q: What's your best entertaining trick from your catering days?
A: Rent glasses and let people bring something if they ask. They can bring a bottle of wine and (you should) ask for something specific, like a Pinot or Prosecco.
Q: Who puts on a party to remember?
A: Barry Dixon and Michael Schmidt's house at the holidays in Warrenton. They have 16 trees, one for each room. From the food to the flowers to the décor to them being so warm. Talk about lifestyle. [See a Halloween shoot that Eddie produced at the Dixon and Schmidt home on his Web site.]
Q: Best party you've given?
A: It was a party that Jaithan and I threw in our 700-square-foot apartment [in New York City]. We had 70 to 80 guests, and people were literally in the hallway and the roof. It was so much fun and nobody cared about the space. It was cozy and pretty, and the music was fun. It felt amazing.
Q: What's one thing you won't find at your house at the holidays?
A: Faux greenery. No fake red berries or fake pinecones. And no nativity out in the front yard. Your Jewish friends do not want to see the baby Jesus on the lawn.
Q: What would you like to find under your tree on Christmas morning?
A: A larger staff to help with the business … and a contract for my own line of table-â€¨top products.