Ernst Hupel is one of the two Hs in the design firm 2H Interior Design. He and his business partner Danielle Hannah are known for their sophisticated, high-style interiors and their firm is one of the most respected in the city.
As a regular designer for several years on the annual Homes for the Holidays tour to benefit Hospice Care Ottawa, Ernst has seen his share of holiday décor. He brings a warm and genuine approach to each of his tour clients to showcase their homes with the authenticity of a traditional Christmas, based on nostalgic warmth. He applies the same elements to decorating the home he shares with his two daughters Klara and Milena, and husband Michael Mancini.
In his design work, Ernst seeks to enhance the existing space based on the elements that are already working for the client. The thoughtful designer believes that Christmas is about memories and tradition, which he seeks to preserve in holiday décor. “It’s important to discover and work with elements that are meaningful to clients, rather than imposing my own tastes and preferences on another person’s living space,” he says.
Stating that he would never say, “This year we are going silver and white,” he adds, “I like to make decisions based on items on hand that trigger an emotional, nostalgic response for the homeowners.” His ultimate joy comes when he hears his own children reminisce over past traditions.
Ernst urges people not to feel the pressure of decorating for perfection over the holidays, and advises them to go for a look that speaks to the warmth and good cheer that is synonymous with the season.
Decorators are known to work with the concept of concentrating on three key areas, and Ernst applies this notion to his own holiday scheme. He will lavishly deck out only these three key spaces, while leaving the rest of the home as it is. His first priority is the front door, followed by the foyer stair rail and the tree, of course! Ernst cautions that over decorating a home can be exhausting to look at, and encourages maintaining some undecorated living space over the holiday season.
For his heritage home in Sandy Hill, built in 1848, Ernst complemented the Victorian architectural detailing. He used cedar, dried hydrangea and upholstery-webbing tape to create a natural scheme for the ornate door, which is a work of art on its own. The clever designer creates his own swag using florist’s wire and artfully weaves the ribbon through it to create a tasteful display of vintage holiday décor.