One by one they parade up the path, like an army of elves bearing gifts. One carries wreaths, another garlands, two more wobble under great swaths of ribbon, baubles, and bows. Behind them come more helpers with crates and crates of flowers: There is delicate lisianthus, pale pink rice flower, creamy white roses, and ranunculus. And here comes white hydrangea, amaryllis, tulips, and orchids, plus fragrant eucalyptus, and magnolia leaves.
Quickly, quietly the workers scurry about, climbing ladders, spreading tree skirts, hanging ornaments, and curling ribbons, all under guidance by the holiday-decor maestro himself: Arturo Mar, owner of longtime Lake Forest floral studio, Lord & Mar, Ltd.
“We are just about there!” Mar beams, speeding about, never in just one place for more than a minute, but somehow in all of them at once.
Room by room a transformation occurs, until the entire space—from entry hall, to living room, to dining room, kitchen, den, and study, glitters with holiday light, scent and spangle.
“Oh, I just love my job!” Mar enthuses, as the homeowners take it all in.
That much is readily apparent. What’s lesser known is that this former McAllen-Texas boy, who has owned and operated his Lord & Mar floral and event orchestration business for more than 20 years, built that business into a thriving, relied-upon venture solely by word-of-mouth.
“We’ve never advertised or had a website,” says Mar. “I just grew the business by caring for each client’s needs one by one, always doing my best to not only give them what they needed but to exceed expectations.”
Each family Mar worked for came to rely on his artistic talents not just for flower arranging, but for his ability to accessorize an entire home in a cohesive, but non-redundant fashion, attentive to client tastes and preferences.
“You develop relationships with your clients over the years,” says Mar, “as you work with them through the timeline of celebrations, baptisms, proms, engagement parties, weddings, and all of the seasonal events in between. I get to know their homes, their likes and dislikes. And in turn, they respect me as an artist and look to me for insights on new trends in floral arranging, and in colors and accessories.”
This year for example, “Muted tones are very popular,” says Mar, “soft shades of blue and aqua, light browns, creams, and grays.” Mar gestures to velvet flocked reindeer, fawn-colored fur trees, and robins-egg blue baubles.
When decorating a home for the holidays, Mar first meets with clients to view their home and learn about their preferences in color. “How they live, what they like, traditional, avant-garde, etc.”
Once the scope of a project has been determined, Mar will work with colors in the various rooms (hues in paint, rugs, wall treatments) to create a plan for everything from the main living room tree, to decorated railings, fireplace mantles, family rooms, and kitchens.
While some clients still ask for fresh greenery for the holidays (garlands, wreaths, and trees) most have now moved to “permanent botanical” arrangements (the new term for silk or otherwise artificial plants).
“People want to invest in something that will last through the season, and, that can be repurposed the next season with a refreshed color scheme, ornaments, and ribbon,” says Mar.
“I feel very blessed and thankful to have a talent that my clients rely on in order to create a joyful and festive setting for their gatherings with family and friends,” he concludes. “Nothing makes me happier.”
Lord & Mar is located at 836 North Western Avenue in Lake Forest, 847-295-5456. For more information about the interior design, visit scmurphyllc.com.