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Las Vegas designer decks the halls of celebrity homes

Updated December 21, 2021 - 1:25 pm

Christopher Todd’s luxurious holiday designs evoke a sense of childhood wonder.

“There is nothing better than the look and smell of Christmas,” Todd said. “It makes you feel good.”

Todd, owner and principal designer of Christopher Todd Designs, travels around the country designing and installing magical Christmas displays for an elite clientele.

His designs, ranging from $4,500 to over $65,000, grace the interiors of Las Vegas luxury resorts, celebrity homes and multimillionaire properties.

“We decorate between 10 and 12 homes every year for the holidays,” Todd said. “Most of our holiday clients start as an interior design client.”

New York

One of Todd’s exciting projects this season was transforming the New York home of singer, actress and fashion model Vanessa Williams into an elegant space.

Starting with only photographs of Williams’ interior, Todd created a striking personal display using one of her songs as inspiration.

“I did my research and tried to put meaning into things I thought she would like,” Todd said. “I noticed in the pictures she had quite a bit of blue in the home. One of her songs is “Midnight Blue,” so we went with an entire blue theme.”

Todd chose a fresh Colorado Blue Spruce Christmas tree for her grand entry.

It served as a distinct contrast to Williams’ beautiful stone wall. A mix of midnight blue, gold, white and deep red ornaments completed the holiday aesthetic.

“The stonework has a lot of grays and taupe colors,” Todd said. “The Colorado Blue Spruce isn’t quite as green as a normal Christmas tree, so the contrast is spectacular.”

Adjacent to the tree, Todd decorated the grand staircase with fresh greenery, white lights and rich midnight blue ribbon.

“It’s the best thing when Vanessa says: ‘Just so you know Christopher, I’m never going to do Christmas again,’” Todd said. “That is music to my ears.”

Summerlin

Incredible Christmas interiors traditionally blend with the home’s interior design and color palette.

In the premier Summerlin community, The Ridges, where homes display a modern design aesthetic, Todd created a sophisticated holiday interior for his client.

“Their home is very sleek and modern,” Todd said. “Sometimes, that is a challenge to create a similar look with Christmas décor.”

Todd’s chic design incorporates a traditional shaped white Christmas tree flocked to enhance the striking white base.

The tree displayed twinkling white lights and beautiful blown glass ball-shaped ornaments.

“The ornaments have a bit of iridescent look to it,” Todd said. “It gave it a modern but a bit traditional look. It was beautiful.”

Kentucky

Todd’s most elaborate holiday designs are for an exclusive client in Kentucky. This season marked the sixth year he transformed the entire two-story home.

“It’s an extremely extravagant home,” Todd said. “We do six Christmas trees. One is a traditional tree and everything else is a themed tree.”

Todd’s transformation begins in the front entry with an opulent 12-foot Christmas tree adorned with crystals as well as a mix of gold, silver and ivory ornaments. The top of the tree reaches the bottom of a massive crystal chandelier, which acts as the tree topper. A winding staircase flows upward around the back of the tree, decorated with green garland embellished with ribbon and a cluster of ornaments.

Christmas trees in the library and dining room, located on either side of the entry, mirror the entry’s color palette and décor.

An upper-level children’s wing showcases an incredible “planes, trains and automobiles” tree.

“It’s full of every type of vehicle from an 18-wheeler to a taxicab,” Todd said. “I ran train track pieces with attached trains all through the tree. It’s really something.”

Tabletop design

Another significant element in Todd’s holiday creations is his stylish tabletop design.

“I love doing tabletop,” Todd said. “Other than the Christmas tree that is the best way to showcase a holiday décor.”

One of Todd’s favorite displays involved a simple, elegant design placed on top of a 150-year-old custom wood table that extended 10-feet in a Nashville home.

“We created this table display with a bit of a farmhouse look,” Todd said. “I used lots of wood, beautiful glassware and white dishes.”

Mercury glass silver trees, glass candlesticks of varying heights and a large urn filled with pomegranates and fresh greenery fill the center of the table.

“I like to use other elements besides flowers on a dining table,” Todd said. “On this one I used pomegranates. The color is pretty, and you have all the freshness that will last for weeks.”

Christopher Todd

Christmas, to Todd, conjures magical memories of his childhood growing up in Arkansas and spending time decorating his family’s home. He recalled collecting pine cones and fresh trimmings from their yard so he could decorate his home’s fireplace mantle.

“I would put things together and my mother loved it,” Todd said. “Each year I would get better at it. Eventually, I felt that was my calling.”

His intimate connection to the past inspires Todd’s Christmas décor. A 12-foot Christmas tree standing in his home’s main living area showcases a collection of more than 400 ornaments, which he began collecting at the age of 14.

“My tree is a collection that I like to describe as a scrapbook of my life,” Todd said. “I get to reread it every single year when I install it.

“Most kids aren’t taking their burger money and buying Christmas ornaments,” Todd continued. “But that is kind of what I did. I loved it and it just kept growing.”

Todd’s Christmas collection features childhood pictures and artwork, classmate exchanges, travel memorabilia, television programs and iconic Vegas shows and resorts.

His two favorite ornaments are placed at the front of his tree every year. One is a small ornament he found tossed on the ground as a child while Christmas shopping with his mother.

The other is a glass-blown hand-painted Santa Claus designed by Christopher Radko.

“They are both equally my favorite,” Todd said. “The one was my most expensive and the other is trash, so it has a lot of symbolism for me.”

In 2019, a freak accident cost Todd several of his prized collection.

“There was so much weight on the tree the base couldn’t hold it,” Todd said. “As I was walking back with the tree topper, it slammed on the ground.”

He has regained most of what he lost, even recovering an autographed 25th Anniversary of Dollywood ornament.

He found the rare ornament while attending the Atlantic market last year. He first approached the ornament makers but was told no more existed.

Leaving the show by a different exit than usual, he walked by a window box where the last known 25th Anniversary Dollywood ornament in existence hung on a display.

“Within a week, they took it out, signed it and shipped it,” Todd said. “It was remarkable to recoup so much what I had lost.”

Todd still adds ornaments that commemorate milestones or are otherwise meaningful to his collection. He also designs his own annual Christmas ornament.

“This is our eighth year,” Todd said. “And I do put one of those on my tree each year. We sell those and give them to our customers.”

This year’s ornament has an extra special meaning. It is a replica of his childhood fireplace mantle from his home in Arkansas.

“This year we decided to do an ornament that honored my dad, who passed away in July,” Todd said. “My parents moved into the house 18 days before I was born, it was the only house I knew my whole life. I learned how to decorate for Christmas on the mantel, so the ornament is closure to that house. It’s a very special ornament to me.”

The ornament depicts two red stockings hanging from a decorated fireplace mantle filled with greenery. The center of the fireplace surround hangs a large wreath.

In addition to his interior design, residential and commercial Christmas decorating services, Todd opened his retail store in 2016, located 2706 N. Green Valley Parkway in Henderson.

“The store started as a gift shop,” Todd said. “Since then, we have expanded it into a full-scale interior design studio”

Todd’s studio displays seven themed Christmas trees as inspiration to his clientele.

Highlights include a navy-blue Christmas tree with peacock blue feathers, a fuchsia pink tree adorned with alcohol-themed decor and inspiration for musical lovers featuring busts of different singers such as Beyonce and Madonna.

“There is nothing more fun to me than seeing a department store’s Christmas décor,” Todd said. “I loved that when I was growing up, so I still try to create that in our space. We’re one of the few stores that do a Christmas display to the extent that we do.”

Todd’s favorite themed tree showcases different kinds of food items through whimsical ornaments such as macaroni &cheese, Doritos, Hostess cupcakes and a cube of butter.

“I have a silly sense of humor,” Todd said. “And I find these ornaments that crack me up. We have silly ornaments on this tree, and they are so much fun.”

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