A Stylish Setting

Who wouldn't want to spend a weekend at Rosecliff Mansion, the stunning ocean front property on historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport? The house was the setting for the annual Newport Flower Show. The show which is fast becoming the grand dame of flower shows on the east coast was brimming with inspiration around every corner. From the judged arrangements to the garden installations on the front lawn of the mansion the creativity of the participants was boundless.

Our table on the terrace of Rosecliff. The Fretwork tablecloth is made in a custom blue for the show. Garden Folly seat covers on the white ballroom chairs in leaf echo the lettuce Charlotte dinner plates from my collection.
Thomas and I were very happy to have been asked to be a part of this esteemed event this year. The table we designed for the oceanside terrace was inspired by the colors of nature that engulf the property: blue and green. We really tried to achieve a modern formal setting that reflected the history of Newport society and that would offer a fresh background for the judged arrangements that were displayed on the table.
The new Thomas charger in gold paired with the Charlotte dinner plate
in lettuce and Charlotte dessert plate in Celeste Bleu.
The custom blue of the my fretwork fabric printed on white fit the bill and when paired with the blue, green and gold of my china it really looked crisp and summery. A clean, modern and traditional table perfect for today.
Bettie Pardee's summery arrangement. 
The four flower arrangements that were displayed on the table were done by the shows participates and were judged arrangements. I was very lucky that Newport style maven Bettie Pardee decided to come out of flower show arrangement retirement and do one for our table. Hers was an airy symphony of complimentary blues and greens that fit the table perfectly.
Arrangement by Jeri Bedient.
Jeri Bedient did a wonderful arrangement that used an heirloom punchbowl from her collection. I got to meet Jeri while I was there and her arrangement is as delightful as she is. She went out of her way and bought my book to have an idea of our style and her interpretation of it was pitch perfect.
Custom napkins by Julia B.
The amazing Julia B. and her line of custom linens came to the rescue and created these amazing monogramed napkins for the table. Since Thomas and couldn't decide which monogram to use we split them fifty fifty and alternated napkins on the table.
Hand painted place cards that I made to echo the Garden Folly fabric motif. Vintage place card holders from Etsy.
Why are fun place cards so hard to find? I had a deuce of a time finding cute ones. So I decided just to make my own using watercolors in a fun loose style. Presto, interesting and unique place cards. For additional images please check my Instagram or our Traditional Home Magazine Designer Takeover feed from the show, both have fun videos and a broad array of beautiful images from the show and Newport.

We are thrilled that we have been asked back to do it again next year! The shows theme is Fete des Fleurs: Paintings and Parterres and will be held again at Rosecliff and starts June 23, 2017. 

An Event of Beauty

Rosecliff, the setting for the Newport Flower Show.

One of my most memorable book signing events that I have done was two years ago at the Newport Flower Show. To have had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Newport, Rhode Island against the back drop of the stunning Rosecliff Mansion surrounded by the beauty of the show and the location was a a magical dream. Needless to say when I was asked to be a part of this years show it took about a spilt second to say yes.
Thomas and I are thrilled to be designing one of the two show exhibit tables that will be featured on the oceanside terrace of Rosecliff for the service a la Russe floral class. Using a custom color of my fretwork fabric as a tablecloth, my hand painted dinnerware of course and Julia B. custom napkins as a foundation we have set out to create a fresh summery take on formal dining. I will also be showing my new Thomas gold chargers for the first time on this table.

Sneak peek of the upcoming table setting. 
This year marks the 21st year of the show whose theme is Gilded - Artful Living. The show starts this weekend Friday June 24th to Sunday June 26th. You can follow all the fun of the show, the table, flowers, gardens and mansion on my Instagram feed. We will also be taking over Traditonal Home MagazineInstagram starting Friday night at 5 pm for the weekend during our #designertakeover.

Designer Bunny Williams
There will be numerous speakers throughout the three day speaker series which is kicked off by a luncheon lecture by designer Bunny Williams on Friday. She will be discussing garden design during her lecture Classic Style Inside and Out. Saturday's luncheon presentation is by floral designer Bruno Duarte, who will be sharing his design experiences during his lecture Leaf Manipulation/
Floral Art. The full list of the topics and times is available here for all the great things happening at the show.

One of last years inspiring display gardens at the show. 
I was fascinated by the display gardens that were installed on the lawn of Rosecliff. The originality of the plantings and colors as well as the execution is amazing. In addition to amazing floral displays, fantastic speakers and events there is an entire array of vendors with tempting wares in the Oceanside Boutiques and the Gardener's Marketplace.

Hello Summer!

The library/dining room.
"Everyday is all there is" is a quote I learned from my mentor and and former boss Suzanne Rheinstein, explained the New York designer Eliza Dyson while I was interviewing her. Eliza and her husband are known for their impromptu dinner parties which they love to give. She finds it much more fun and comfortable to entertain at home, which was recently featured in the December issue of House Beautiful. The airy Park Avenue apartment features a large dining room that doubles as a library, "we love books and love to share them, my husband is always sending guests home with them," she said. I was lucky enough to catch up with her and glean some entertaining tips before the family decamps to their upstate country house for the summer.

Eliza Dyson
Tell me about the meal you made.
The beginning of each summer we host a Welcome Summer Dinner for friends. We serve crispy fried chicken, a refreshing feta and tomato salad with mint and basil, corn pudding and the easiest dessert in the world, a buttermilk pie, our friends love it.

Peonies from her mothers garden in her home town of Millbrook, NY. 
Do you have a signature dish you make?
Now that we have kids we like easy to prepare foods. In winter we make Osso Bucco often and we love pasta. Our favorite pasta cookbook is Pasta Fresca by Viana La Place and Evan Kleinman. We use is all the time, the recipes are easy and quick to prepare.

Tip: When setting the table mix good with everyday. The contrast makes for an interesting table.

The antique Nuremberg china, an assortment of hotel sliver, William Yeoward glasses, vintage salad plates from Etsy and monogram linen napkins all from Eliza's extensive collection of tableware.

Who most influenced your entertaining style?
My mom. She is an amazing cook and loves to entertain. When she has a large group she likes to use luncheon sized placemats on the table because they are smaller than normal ones and she can seat more people at the table. Her tables are always beautiful and fun, for example at Christmas she literally covers the table with chocolate soldiers, it's so fun!

Tip: Always hire a teenager if you can or somebody to do the dishes during the meal. It makes it so much easier and you get to enjoy the evening more if you don't have to think about cleaning up after the guests leave.
The Welcome Summer Dinner features a delicious main course of fried chicken and tomato feta salad. 
What experience has set your entertaining style?
When my husband and I were first married we moved to LA. It was there that we developed our style. We had a garden that was filled with beautiful citrus and avocado trees, it felt like we were living in Italy. We had friends over for dinner all the time. Before the kids, we did elaborate meals and complex dishes now everything is much simpler.

Tip: When I need a great simple dessert I use Fresh Direct. They have these amazing frozen chocolate souffles that come in beautiful ramekins that only need to be baked. It couldn't be easier.

Buttermilk pie with local blueberries is Eliza's go to easy dessert recipe.

Do you have a favorite tabletop item you collect?
Like my mom, I love anything to do with the table. I have a large collection of china and glassware. I also like unusual serving implements, like small silver shovels for salt cellars or bottle sleeves for jars of hot sauce.

Out and About

I am really excited to be speaking to the New Canaan chapter of the National Charity League tomorrow night. This mother and daughter organization was founded in 1925 to do charitable works in the community. Today it's scope includes community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.
I will talk about entertaining in style this summer, ideas about gardening and other topics of interest. There will also be a book signing before and after the presentation.  Hope to see you there!

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