Decor Diva

‘Body, Mind Spirit’ a repeat winner
of Madison’s decorating contest

Her store was featured in
‘Country Sampler’ magazine

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(December 2012) – Tami Brindel Tatman has been bringing a smile to faces of Madison, Ind., residents for years with her Christmas decorations that draw from the traditions of days gone by. Whether visitors stop by her house or walk by her downtown storefront, her flare for design has viewers pulling out their cameras and reminiscing about their own past holidays.


Photo by Lela Bradshaw

Tami Tatman each year uses her
creative talent to build
beautiful holiday displays.

However, this year her signature vision is delighting and inspiring lovers of an old-fashioned Christmas across the country as her 1800s log cabin home was featured in the November edition of the nationwide magazine Country Sampler. Through the photos of Bill Mathews, readers can enjoy a Madison Christmas in the comfort of their own homes.
For Tatman, her home and store are just more canvases to explore. She explains that “Art is my first love,” and her artistic eye is evident in her uses of color and her ability to bring out the beauty and character in aged and vintage items. While she can appreciate modern trends in decorating, for herself she says, “I like the traditional,” and “I love old things.”
She describes her style as primitive and believes that things such as weathered sleds and colorful quilts add a welcoming feel to a room. “I like the way they decorated in the 1800s,” she says.
Tatman makes frequent use of fresh evergreens in her Christmas decorations appreciating not only the look but also the scent they lend to the area. Tatman sees decorating as a way to capture not only the past of the frontier days but also her own personal past as well.
“I love using family items – my dad’s toy truck, my grandmother’s buttons,” she explains.

Tami Tatman

Photo provided

Tami Tatman holds the copy
of Country Sampler magazine in
which she is featured for her decor.

To Tatman, who lost her parents early, using family heirlooms is a way of staying connected to relatives who have died. Decorating has become a favorite hobby of hers and she says, “It’s like my fishing or golf.”
She estimates that she changes the decorations in her house three or four times a year, and says that it is not uncommon for her family to come home and find that she has rearranged the furniture yet again.
While Tatman’s home may be providing inspiration for readers across the country, her talent for decorating is also being recognized by local residents. Her storefront decorations at Body Mind and Spirit Therapeutic Massage, 324 W. Main St., were voted first place in the decorating contest sponsored by the Nights Before Christmas Candelight Tour of Homes. On Friday, Nov. 16, the Ayers’ Windy Hill Bed and Breakfast provided trolley tours of downtown to allow riders a chance to enjoy the decorations and to vote for their favorites. Tour of Homes Coordinator Marci Jones explains that “The whole idea behind the contest is to get businesses dressed up before the tours,” which begin the day after Thanksgiving. The Candelight Tour of Homes offers prize money to first through third place in the contest, with the top award being $250. Tatman’s hand painted Santa Claus, homemade snowman, and festive greens caught the eye and votes of downtown visitors.
Jones says Tatman has taken first place in the contest before, adding, “She’s very creative.” She also notes that Tatman doesn’t just decorate for Christmas but that her store is kept eye catching throughout the year.
“She changes her store with the season,” Jones says.
For Tatman, it is important to take the time to give shops a good presentation.“I think it reflects who you are. It draws people in,” she says of the attention store owners put into their decorations.
She sees a nicely trimmed door as a way to show that she cares about her business. Neighboring store owner Cara Fox agrees with the importance of having a nicely decorated space. “It sets the mood for the customers. Everyone want to see something pretty.”
For the owner of the Little Golden Fox, who characterizes her store as “Pinterest brought to Main Street,” keeping her own shop decorated is a natural extension of her business selling eclectic handmade and antique items. However, she points out that as Tatman’s Body Mind and Spirit shop is not a retail store. Her decorations draw from “a love of creating and a desire to see someone smile.”
Fox has owned her store for a little over a year and has found Tatman to be a wonderful neighbor during that time. “She is definitely a pleasure to be next to,” she says.
As Fox favors a vintage style, it was natural that the Christmas decorations of the neighboring stores fit well together. “I wanted it to kind of blend,” Fox says and is grateful to Tatman for helping to hang the greenery that provides the backdrop for the classic silver ornaments that add sparkle to the corner shop.
Whether decorating a tree or decorating her store, Tatman starts off with a particular vision in mind while allowing for some of the smaller details to develop during the process. She explains her method saying, “I have a plan. It might veer off. You set your foundation and then you just add to it.”
However, her strongest decorating advice is for people to simply pay attention to what they love. She says, “I always tell people whatever speaks to you, you should do. Don’t decorate for someone else.”

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