Orland Park resident Debi Ross could be considered one of Santa’s special helpers.
Her business, Special Looks, has been getting homes and businesses in Orland Park and the surrounding communities ready for the holiday season for nearly 14 years.
She’s even traveled out-of-state to give homes that “Special Look."
“People want to have their homes look festive for the season, but for different reasons—whether they are too busy, (physically) unable or don’t quite have the knack—they turn to us for help,” said Ross. “And we love doing it.”
Ross began her love of Christmas decorating nearly 30 years ago, working for a local florist, where during the holiday season she was in charge of creating special arrangements for clients. Even after the business folded, clients continued to seek Ross’ holiday magic.
Besides her experience in the floral and decorating industry, Ross attends several trade shows to come up with the latest styles and one-of-a-kind ornaments and embellishments. Glitter is big this year, as well as lighted branches and candles, according to Ross.
“Color is also important. In the past years, we’re finding ornaments and decorations available in a range of colors, from turquoises, yellows and blues, instead of your typical red and green, silver and gold.”
Special Looks also has a trusted staff of 10 ready to tackle projects, large or small. Each staff member is specially trained to stage business and home exteriors and interiors including cabinets, mantles and stair railings, into Michigan Avenue-worthy holiday scenes. They can even create unique wreaths and centerpieces.
Christmas trees are Ross’ specialty.
“I am absolutely passionate about Christmas trees,” said Ross. “I love to put combinations of things on a tree to make it look unexpected, and presented in a way you would never imagine. Many customers routinely have us create various trees—a coordinated tree for formal spaces and a more casual tree for family spaces.”
What makes a Special Looks tree different?
“We use materials on our trees which really have no business being on a tree; but used in a way to make it work,” explained Ross, citing feathers as an example. “The tree really has to be a reflection of the environment that it’s in—instead of just a tree. It’s also important to consider the size of the room and tree when picking ornaments, so scale is important.”
Demand even extends after the holiday. So much so, Ross created an offshoot business, Inside Looks, which offers decorating and staging services year-round.
“Clients often turn to us to help them redecorate, whether to freshen up a particular room or for a total renovation,” said Ross. Inside Looks is a full-service business offering upholstery, draperies, painting or procuring unique accessories.
“It’s become very synergistic. Inside Looks customers become Special Looks customers. Special Looks customers become Inside Looks customers”
And if it’s a service not offered by either Special Looks or Inside Looks, Ross turns to her trusted roster of vendors and contractors to get the job done. One of Special Looks' most requested service is tree dismantling and take-down of holiday décor.
Orland Park resident Beth Doyle, a loyal Special Looks and Inside Looks customer for the past ten years, relies on Ross’ expertise to get her home ready for Christmas.
“She pays great attention even to the smallest detail,” praised Doyle. “Her work is exquisite—just mind-blowing.”