Our final Tastemaker introduction of the 2022 holiday season is Tessa Foley, founder of Tessa Foley Interiors, and the creator of the blog and online shop, Nine and Sixteen Home. Tessa’s designs are inspired by her love of coastal New England and center around her passion for pattern mixing with beautiful textiles, resulting in charming and timeless homes for clients across the country. Her work has been published in two books, Country House Style and Blue and White Home, as well as in national publications including Midwest Living, Victoria, and Country Living. Additionally, Tessa creates delightful collections of hand blocked items for the home, available soon on her online shop.

Tessa was paired with Dogwood Hill artist and designer Holly Hollon who created the beautiful pieces for Tessa’s Quincy’s Cottage Tastemaker Collection. Tessa’s mood board, pictured below, was a great starting point for the design process and presented the warm and inviting color palette found throughout her collection.

“I worked with Tessa on the branding for her business, so I was already familiar with her brand, aesthetic, and her love of textiles. One of my goals in creating her suites was to build layers of patterns that could be mixed and matched like she does in her interior work. Tessa hosts an annual wreath making workshop that I also used as inspiration for the collection.” Holly said. The collection is named after Tessa’s Golden Retriever, Quincy.

Continue scrolling for a look at the Quincy’s Cottage Tastemaker Collection as well as our Holiday Q&A with Tessa. We have also included a few of our favorite snapshots of Tessa’s distinctly English-inspired interiors at the end of the post.

Which cards will you be sending out to family and friends this year?

I couldn’t choose just one so I will be sending three: one card for friends and family with our annual family photo, another card for invites to my annual wreath making party and lastly a professional card that I will send to my design clients. I also plan to use the golden retriever gift tags on treats we give to our favorite 4 legged friends.

What is the inspiration behind your holiday suite?

My collection was inspired by all the charming details and thoughtful touches that make the holidays feel special. The smell of fresh greenery, citrus and cinnamon, rooms lit by a crackling fireplace and a mantle full of candles, cable knit sweaters and homemade hot chocolate, family recipes and packages tied with velvet ribbons.

What was the process like designing your holiday suite with the Dogwood Hill team?

The whole process was a dream come true! I’ve been a long time devoted Dogwood Hill enthusiast. I have such a weakness (obsession) for beautifully designed paper goods. I had the honor of working with Holly Hollon as the artist for this collection and her work always blows me away. Holly and I previously worked together on my branding and website redesign, so she has a solid understanding of my style and aesthetic, which made this collaboration seamless.

What do you love most about the holiday season?

It is my absolute favorite time of the year – always has been. I love traditions and our holidays are filled with them. We live in a small historic town that kicks off the season the first Saturday in December by lighting up all the streets with luminaria, Santa arrives in the old towne square on a firetruck for the lighting of the village tree, there are horse drawn carriage rides and girl scouts caroling – the whole affair is very Norman Rockwell-esque and I love it.

Another favorite, long standing tradition, is my annual “Nutcracker Hunt Day” with my eldest son. We started when he was 6 (he just turned 20) taking one day to go antiquing each December in search of a vintage nutcracker to add to his collection, it’s become something we both really look forward to. Christmas Eve at my parent’s home is always a highlight too – my mum is an incredible hostess. We pop crackers and wear silly paper crowns while eating. We exchange gifts and finish the evening with her masterpiece of a Buche de Noel.

What is your most memorable holiday and why?

I don’t have a favorite that stands out more than the others. There are moments from many that rise to the top. The year I made Christmas crackers and filled them with tiny baby themed items to announce to my family that we were expecting our first baby is one of the most memorable.

If you had to pick one holiday movie to use as inspiration to decorate your own house, what would it be?

This is an easy one – “The Holiday”. The scenes in the cottage are so cozy and lovely, but it’s Graham’s house that I’m crazy about – the final scene where they are dancing around the living room on New Year’s Eve and the home is still decorated for Christmas is magic. Holiday decor is more than just the seasonal items you pull out of the bins in the attic, it’s the way your home feels, smells and sounds, it’s the music playing and the cookies in the oven, the little jar of fresh holly on the window sill and the handmade ornaments on the tree. That home in the Holiday just hit all those notes.

What kind of holiday shopper are you – Black Friday, Christmas Eve or year long stasher?

I am 100% a year long stasher! By September, I have already purchased for multiple people! I’m only last minute when it comes to stocking stuffers – they are tough with a house full of boys!

What (if anything) brings you a sense of calm during the holiday season?

Not treating the holidays as a checklist – which is sometimes easier said than done. I try to find joy in the process by decorating a little throughout the holiday season rather than all at once. I like to add a new color scheme with ribbons and gift wrap each year to keep things fresh. I also keep the decor natural and simple, lots of candles, fresh greenery, and minimize the knick knacks.

Are you team real or faux tree?

Real tree, always. We walk up to the corner Boy Scout Tree lot in our village the first weekend in December to pick out our tree then my sons wheel it back home on a wagon and I decorate it the same evening. It’s been our annual tradition for as long as I can remember.

Are you team white lights or colored lights?

White lights.

What is your favorite holiday dessert? Would you be open to sharing the recipe?

My mum’s Buche de Noel is my all favorite holiday dessert but it’s a labor of love, so I’ll share my favorite recipe for Glazed, cranberry, orange, walnut bread instead which I love to bring as a hostess gift.

Is there one holiday entertaining hack or secret you can share?

Most tree lots just toss the branches they trim from the bottoms of their trees, go fill up your trunk (with their permission) and have fun making wonderful and dramatic arrangements in your home a day or so before your party. It will smell amazing, feel incredibly festive and magical, and it won’t cost anything.

Who is your dream holiday party guest?

If applicable, please share their Instagram handles. Ina Garten. I’m not just her biggest fan of all time (I loved her before she even had a TV show and have cooked pretty much every single recipe in all her cookbooks) but she seems like she would be the perfect guest. She would have to bring Jeffrey too, of course.

And what are you most looking forward to in the New Year?

The same things I am always most thankful for – my family and friends! Personally, I have a big wedding anniversary coming up – 25 years and we have a special trip planned to celebrate. Professionally – I’ve just recently moved into a new design studio space and I’m looking forward to building a team and pursuing new creative projects I haven’t had the space or time to do before.

What is one item on your wish list this holiday season?

A Nantucket Lightship Basket

Card photography: Mary Margaret Smith

Interior photography: Nine and Sixteen Home

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