table settings meet fashion

As part of the 3 table event I hosted at Furbish, we discussed fashion and make-up for each event style! Make-up artist Emily McHugh provided make-up styling and tips for each table design, and I offered some fashion correlations for each setting. Here’s a quick download on it! (See the blog post below for the details on the menu and table settings.)

This citrus and white ensemble from Louis Vuitton seemed to evoke the feeling of our coral and white table, though the color palette is not an exact match. For this look Emily talked about coral lips and we discussed how there are many versions of coral, with blue, orange, yellow, grey, and other undertones.

The rustic, earthy chic look of this casual table brought to mind this fall’s Anthropologie catalog. A great match, don’t you think? Emily discussed beautiful, healthy skin for this pared down look.

I designed this table setting this summer after seeing the Chanel pre-fall ad. This ad campaign inspired us to no end this year, as it tapped into a blend of earthy, glam, and history that felt so appropriate to me and my design style. Emily correlated this look to the smoky eye, and we discussed how blues, purples, greys,  can all be used to create a smoky effect.

 

3 looks (and menus) for the holiday table

Special thanks to Chris Jorda for providing all the photography for this spread!

Early this month I had an amazing time hosting an event for some gal pals, featuring 3 ways to style your holiday party, including 3 menus and 3 coordinating tablescapes.

I wanted to share the tips I provided at my party with you too. Below I take you through the tables and menus, all based around our low-key luxe, natural design style.

#1 CLASSIC & ELEGANT

This look features a white, pale green, and coral color palette. The look is linear and symmetrical.

Here I styled a buffet table with coral berries, coral and white roses in silver cups, and silver, white, and pale green ornaments. Long white serving trays are a simple classic way to serve food, and play up the lines of this table layout.

Pale green textured linen layered over a classic white tablecloth adds a bit of earthiness to the sparkle and bold color.

MENU

I paired this tablescape with brunch inspired hors d’oeuvres.

  • Olive, tomato, thyme tartlets
  • Twice baked potatoes
  • Salad rolls
  • Laduree macarons
  • Rosemary and blood orange mimosas

 

#2 EARTHY CHIC

This look features a white, deep green, bronze, and golden color palette. The look features a loose layout and casual feeling.

I styled our marble and wood table with a rustic, yet chic collection of earthenware plates and bowls, textured linen napkins, bright green glasses, and a beautiful floral arrangement featuring fall leaves, white roses, greenery, and some gold accents.

MENU

I paired this setting with casual foods with a bit of kick to them!

  • Deviled eggs
  • Spicy tomato soup
  • Grilled cheese with white cheddar, pear, and harissa
  • Chocolate chip, peanut cinnamon cookies with ice cream
  • Pear cider

 

#3 DRAMATIC & GLAM

This look features a deep royal blue, taupe, bronze, gold, beige, and purple color palette. The look is formal, but edgy and earthy as well.

I styled this formal table setting with cream and gold china, golden utensils, trays loaded with jewel like stones, pearl napkin rings, and blue velvet runner. The florals feature white roses, purple grapes and deep burgundy leaves in a golden box container.

MENU

This table was inspired by a Byzantine look, so I paired it with traditional Greek and Turkish foods.

  • Marinated Haloumi cheese
  • Spiced Carrot Salad
  • Greek yogurt with pomegranate paste
  • Eggplant stew and couscous with turkish apricots and pistachio
  • Fig and chocolate cake
  • Sparkling red wine

Reach out to us for your own custom designs for your entertaining and holiday needs. And please check out the amazing photography of Chris Jorda for your next event.

how i work: the design phase

This is a room in progress based on the board above.

Potential clients will sometimes ask if I will go shopping with them or how involved they will be in the design process.

I generally do not go shopping with clients or sort through tons of fabric swatches with them. I am happy to consider any furnishings or fabrics clients have found that they love, but I need to be able to evaluate everything independently to see if it really will create the overall feeling the client wants, and if it really is the best option from a space planning perspective.

I can only do this type of evaluation in the quiet of my studio, where I have the rooms on paper and all the other design elements thought out so that I can consider everything in relationship to one another.

There are several points in the design process where the work is collaborative. There is in the initial phase where the client tells us about their lifestyle and shares inspiration and ideas for the design. This is your opportunity to consider all the options and bring us absolutely every idea that strikes your fancy. This meeting sets the agenda for the entire project.

Then again in the revision phase the client points out any elements in the design that they do not absolutely love, and we work together to find replacements. At this point we can shop together for a few signature items or sort through things together to find replacements for anything that is not working.

I know it disappoints some people that I will not work hourly or shop with them, but this is really not the way most professional designers work. I think Million Dollar Decorators, which I wrote about in my last post, is a great depiction of how top designers create. They consult with the client but they do the work, the shopping, the editing, separately.

If you hire a designer it should be because you trust that this person can accomplish a result that you cannot get on your own. If this is true then, as a client, you have to communicate your point of view best you can and then let your designer do the design.

Many of my best clients have told me upfront that they want to be very involved, but when they see what we create for them they realize we have hit the nail on the head and that they do not really need to be there every step of the way to get the space of their dreams.

What do you think? Are you a designer? How do you prefer to work? Have any of you ever had a great experience with a designer who worked differently than this?

summer obsession #2: million dollar decorators

Bravo’s new TV show, Million Dollar Decorators, is my ultimate guilty pleasure of the moment.  After all, we are talking about interior design royalty and their juicy exploits here! I bought a season pass on I Tunes and have been downloading episodes at the earliest possible moment each week.

It feels like I am watching an amped up version of my own life, but since it is not me I can laugh at it with abandon and objectively see how hilarious the whole thing is!

Last week I was crying tears of laughter when Jeffrey Alan Marks spent a small fortune on a spot table for his own home, only to find it was way too small to fill the space he was planning for it.

The rational brain had to know the table would be too small, but the passionate brain saw a great, signature piece that it just had to have and make work somehow. Admit it, you’ve been there too right?

In the end a great designer will always do the right thing, which is realize it doesn’t work and adjust the plan.  In the case of JAM he settled on the table as an accent piece and started planning new shopping trips where he might just find the perfect cocktail table to fill the space.

What strikes me most about this show is how over the top ALL the designers are, each in their own way. Watch out folks. I may be inspired to unleash my inner diva! A side that only my team here really gets to see.

Who is your favorite character? Do you have a favorite moment on the show? Do tell.

reads: good to great by jim collins

I love reading business books and memoirs of successful entrepreneurs. I picked up Good to Great by Jim Collins while I was in Chicago and re-read it last week.

I love the idea Collins calls a “Hedgehog Concept,” a central idea that is simple, and guides the decisions and actions of a business consistently, religiously even.

What is interesting, is that a good interior design is similar in that it requires a single concept that dictates the thousand different choices you have to make to put a room together. Not adhering to the central concept for a room or a house can mean a house is good, not great, or worse yet, a complete design disaster!

Like the businesses Collins discusses the key ingredient is discipline. It takes discipline to not meander off concept in interior design. Keeping clients on a clear path towards their design goals and away from the distraction of the hundreds of thousands of other choices out there is one of my key responsibilities.

Can I do that with the business direction too? That is harder for me. We’ll see! I’m working with my team on what our hedgehog concept might be.