Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (2024)

Hi, there!

Back in the early 1990s my wife and I purchased a beautiful new two-story townhome. We had been living with our toddler son in a three-room condo, and moving into a three-bedroom townhome was liberating, to say the least. Because we had it built, we were able to make modifications to the floor plan, and one of the things I wanted was a formal living room. You know, the kind you had as a kid and weren’t allowed into except on holidays? We installed white carpeting and double doors (which remained closed most of the time so my son wouldn’t wander in). I painted the room a buttery yellow and we hung purple (yes, purple!) drapes. Can you say Easter egg?

Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (1)

Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (2)

We only had a few pieces of furniture and the corner near the window needed something. A coworker mentioned she had a baby grand piano for sale. Even though I’m tone deaf and can’t even play a kazoo, I always wanted a grand piano—especially now that I had a formal living room to put it in! I went to her home to look at it and saw that the top needed to be refinished. Then there was the cost of moving it. She was only asking $500, but I ultimately had to pass on the piano and my chance to become the next Richard Clayderman.

However, after speaking with Valerie Parr Hill at the November InsideQ holiday photo shoot, I realized that I wouldn’t have been cut out for learning to play the piano. Valerie, who performed the piano arrangements for her Musical Eggs (H193463), studied piano for 14 years. “I went to college as a piano performance major. That required me to be in the practice room alone at the piano on a bench for five hours a day. Can you see that happening?” Valerie laughed. “So it was clear I was not going on a concert tour anytime soon! But I do love to play. I shared my love of the piano with my son, Jeffrey, and he plays much better than I do and is much more gifted than I am. It’s fun to share with your children things that you love.”

Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (3)

Watching Valerie decorate the trees, hearth, mantle and tables for the photos started to inspire me. I admit, now that my son is an adult, I tend to do less decorating for the holidays, but seeing how easy Valerie makes it look, I might have to forego the table-top tree for the real thing this year. When I asked her if she does all the decorating at her house, she told me holiday decorating is a family affair. “My kids are more responsible for putting the tree together than I am these days. I do the tree in the sun room and they do the big tree in the living room.”

“Do they have free reign, or does Mom supervise?” I wanted to know. “They have free reign,” Valerie laughed. “They’re 18 and 16, Troy! Do you think they’re listening to me?”

Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (4)

As she was putting the finishing touches on the holiday table, I asked Valerie who she typically has at her table for the holidays. “We spend Thanksgiving with my husband Will’s family on Long Island and Christmas with my family in New Jersey. Last year we did a ‘Kentucky Christmas’ in Lexington with my folks (who are now 85 and 86), which is always a treat. My brothers and their families were also there.”

Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (5)

Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (6)

Who do you usually have around your holiday table?

It was a long day for Valerie. She arrived early in the morning to unpack the decorations and make sure they were displayed just right, posed for the photos, and took all the decorations down and packed them up again. Yet she still took the time to hang two of her autumn wreaths in the QVC cafeteria before she left!

Look for my next blog in a couple of weeks when I preview some of the amazing new apparel, toys, home décor and beauty items in the November InsideQ. If you’re not already an InsideQ member, Click here to join today!

For advance news about what’s coming up in InsideQ and on InsideQ Online, follow my tweets at

Happy trails!


Editor, InsideQ magazine

Behind the Scenes with Valerie Parr Hill (2024)


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