Halloween Entertaining

Halloween is by far my most favorite holiday. So much in fact, that I don’t do the traditional crazy decorating… I don’t want to “work” on Halloween, I want to go out and ENJOY it! However, I must admit to loving fall entertaining with a hint of Halloween. Here you will find this years “tablescape” and “entry bar”, with a little info on how to achieve the look.

Start with anything black & white, as it sets a great foundation. As you may already know, I love to mix metals; so don’t be afraid to use both silver AND gold. Most people associate spooky Halloween as cold and dark- black, white, and silver. But I’m a “more is more” person, and adding gold or bronze, as well as the definitive orange, really add a gleaming glow in the candlelight. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns- its all about texture: it creates depth! Here you can see the place settings are strictly black, white, silver; and a hint of gold with the silverware. Black wineglasses finish the moody look. I used both gold and black candlestick holders, with white and bronze candles, as well as gold glass pumpkin vases- as pillar holders. Use tapers to bring height to a table; but remember to not block any diners views!

Low and long flower groupings provide the fall warmth, and a scattering of mini pumpkins make it festive. Being adults, my favorite “spirit” to celebrate Halloween with is Champagne; and what better brand than Veuve Clicquot? They are already known for their infamous Yelloween Parties, so why not continue at home? Here I happen to have a Veuve bucket, but using a large skull bucket at the end of the table keeps the bottles close by!

I always like to start dinner guests off with drinks, while still getting into the theme of the party. If you have an area to create a “bar”, go for it. Set before the table, it provides guests with a party kickoff. My go-to Bar stand is the one from West Elm, as its collapsible, storable, and interchangeable with different colored trays. Adding lanterns throughout the home- on floors, in windowsills- not only help bring a spooky atmosphere, but bring flickering light to unsuspecting corners.

Here is another option- more of a long display area, to create an actual “bar” feel. Bucket set up can hold many bottles, an area for glassware, and a highlighted area to drop off the always appreciated guest bottle! (Find some fun Halloween towels to keep on hand- as you don’t want ice water dripping everywhere).

Lastly, there is a fun wine I think is definitely appropriate for Halloween. Its called “Poizin”, and it’s actually from my hometown of Healdsburg, in Sonoma County! Not only are the bottles so cool with the etched skulls and dripping wax seal, but they come in a coffin..! How perfect is that? (also to note- the bottle’s theme colors can be chosen to your preference! Here I chose a neutral Silver).

Happy Halloween!

 

The Bohemian Traveler

I recently had the pleasure of giving an interior “facelift” to a friends home in Hancock Park.  Originally from Vancouver and loving LA, her laid-back lifestyle gives off an ecclectic hippy spirit. Not needing to spend money on new items; but rather just “repurposing” and reallocating pieces, a new open flow was achieved. By simplifying cluttered objects and designating specific areas, it created a relaxed So Cal vibe. From her love of all things French, to vintage flea market finds and Native American ancestry; you will see how all of her influences work together in a harmonious tone.

A Front Door Facelift

The entry to your home is an important, yet often overlooked aspect in decorating; it sets the tone of your life, and who YOU are. It can welcome guests with a feeling of good energy, carry wonderful scents, and provide ease and comfortability. If you own a home, most often a garage is the point of entry, and the owner rarely uses the front door. Figuring out what works for you, maintenance-wise, is key. If you’re going to add potted plants, will you remember to water them? Do you have a path or steps that need lighting to guide guests? Do your friends have a difficult time finding your home due to lack of a visual address?

Here we start with a “plain ol'” entrance. A faded door, no address posted, dead plants, and sad looking steps. It looks like this could be a winter picture, however it is springtime in LA.

With this entrance now changed, a whole new life and energy has been brought to the home! The door was repainted, not only in a rich, dark color; but also in a semi-gloss, to create a luxe feel. Instead of changing out the existing weathered handles and locks (which can get expensive), they were repainted in a rich tone that still reflects the colors of the house. An address plaque was ordered in matching tones, and instead of adding to the door (which is dark at night), was attached to the building under the “welcome light”- thus making it easy for guests to find.

New trees were planted, here olive trees; perfect for a Mediterranean style home. In staying in style with the existing pieces, new planters (same shape) but with a glaze (like the new door), reflect the polish, and provide depth to the appearance. Planting a variety of succulents keeps them easy to maintain, and don’t be afraid to mix and match- create height with tall, soften with big and round, and have some drip down the side. Or if you want to add color, plant flowers that bring you a sense of happiness- and remember about seasonal changes!

Noticing there are plenty of steps where one could stumble, lantern were placed accordingly. The lanterns’ oxidized metal look was chosen to reflect those of the tree planters, creating a cohesive look.The great thing about these is that they can be moved around to different levels; bringing light to various areas. Also, for those worried about leaving candles unobserved, a perfect solution- remote battery operated! With just a touch on your remote, candle on or off (you can find them at most stores carrying home goods).

Lastly, a new welcome mat was added. Depending on your climate, seasons, etc; have a few stored away, and bring out when appropriate. For the majority of the year, find one that means something to you. It can be grand, monogrammed, modern- and I prefer oversized… make a statement!

Back to Basics: Black & White

The simplicity that is black and white; and not to be confused with old or boring. Using these 2 colors (or non-colors, as some would argue) can be the building steps to creating a fresh, clean and dramatic look to your homes. 

 

Starting with lighting, it can be a huge change to add something dramatic and black. Many think black lighting is too gothic, but it can also just add drama to an all white room, or toughen up a space with its color. If you don’t want too much black, you can always try a clear/crystal lighting, and either add dark shades, or place it in a dark room to add brightness. Remember, once the fixture’s turned on, there is light!

 

Lets now address accessories. Adding just the right piece of art, whether formal or whimsical, can bring you just a touch of glamour.  Have fun with pillows, like these shown (patent faux croc and cowhide, against a black leather couch) which add depth and texture. Coffee table books in a tray keep the accessories consistent,  while still inviting guests to peek. A great feature can be wallpaper- with literally thousands to choose from, you can definitely find something right for you, even if it’s just an accent wall. Want a playful addition? A white greyhound statue added to the mix will make your place feel regal and protected!

 

Providing guests with hidden nooks of simple color make both the spaces stand out on their own, as well as providing a chic and clean color pallet as a backdrop. 

 

Finally, styling your home to entertain. Crystal, metallics, and glass create strong lines, while helping reflect light against dark walls and furniture. While fluffy white flowers bring softness and a welcoming tone. Playing patters against each other is also a fun way to bring life to your black and white space. Upholstered chairs with luxe dinnerware, against modern lines of a vase and flatware, combined with linens and glasswares- all keeping in line with color blocking- provide a feast for the eyes… no food needed! 

Setting a New Year’s Eve Table

Oh, the big New Year’s decision: go out and party like a rockstar, or stay in and throw a fabulous dinner party? Depending on your situation, a dinner party is always a good idea- not being out amongst drunk drivers, not eating from an overpriced preset menu you cannot change, not dealing with belligerent party goers- I’d say a dinner party sounds great!

You know everyone wants to drink champagne, dance, and enjoy good food; so creating an equally exciting ambience for your guests is the fun part of getting your home ready. Setting the perfect table will bring that “going out” experience to the home!

 

Start with an empty table, pulling away any extra chairs, and giving you a clear way to view the overall layout, deciding how your guests will be situated, and making sure everyone has enough room (no one wants to be elbowing each other!)

Start the layering process. Adding textured metallic, and mix matching metals will really bring out the traditional colors of New Year’s: black, silver, white, and gold. Here I have silver and black woven placemats with silver chargers, and then gold-rimmed white dinner and salad plates.

 

Add stemware and silverware. Depending on what you’re serving, (and what your courses are), make sure you have enough. Here I’m mixing a clear water glass with black wine goblets, and gold trimmed champagne glasses. Your guests will definitely not be confused as to which glass contains what, and the color scheme is continuing.

 

This is also the time to break out the fancy silverware you’ve been holding on to. If you have wedding china, grandparents heirlooms, or anything else decorative- this is the reason to use it! After all, you’re setting a table for the last night of the year, and the start of a new one- make it special!

 

Add flowers and candles. This is where the first step (clearing the table completely) really helps. You can get an overview of exactly how the finishing touches are going to be, and make sure they don’t interfere with the guest’s eye-line and conversation. There is nothing more difficult than trying to hold a conversation over a too-tall floral arrangement, or dodging candles in the way of a face. Low flowers (white fluffy hydrangeas) spread down the table give fullness and bring softness, while mixed metal candles and tapers (again, white, silver, black and gold) complete the continuity. Adding place cards finishes the layout and clears confusion for guests.

 

For the after-dinner festivities, have a table ready with party favors. Guest can have fun and dress up in spirit, and ring in the New Year with props to make all the photos you’re going to take- New Year’s Eve festively perfect!

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

 

Choosing a Color- Themed Holiday: Winter White

The Holidays are a long festive time filled with friends, dinners and parties- which means a bunch of frenzy, Christmas sweaters, color and personality. Every year, we choose a Holiday color theme that will be incorporated throughout the house. It provides cohesiveness to the environment you are providing your guests- as well as keeping you sane. This year we chose to do peaceful Winter White. To break it up, we included metallics, mainly silver; along with hints of gold, bronze, crystal, and glitter. Check out the pictures below for this years decor, and I will break down the easy how-to steps!

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Our home was already neutral with whites and grays, so that was a plus. Buying some metallic silver holiday pillows, and adding a white Amaryllis in a holiday pot finishes a crisp look. An added touch? Silver spray painted cranberries to top off the potted plant!

 

The mantle is always a focal piece in the house, aside from the tree. Usually people go all out with swag, and it can look busy and cluttered. We didn’t want the already detailed and  ornate stonework to be overshadowed, so it was kept minimal. Simple lit garland entwined with silver acorns kept it clean, while added height with Paper Whites in glazed white pots created height. Of course, there cannot be a chimney for Santa without stockings- these white faux fur were one of the the best finds this year! Three stockings are hung by silver mantle pieces, while the other two are bronze and crystal.

 

Of course, the tree. Applying only clear lights, and every existing ornament we already had in white, silver, metallic, or glass. Then picking up a few items- silver bell garland, icicle drips, snowflakes, silver acorns (again, creating an even theme/flow throughout) and my favorite; the piece-de-resistance: our silver crown tree topper! After first seeing it in a design catalog, this was actually the idea which started our theme.

 

Now this might be going to the next level for some, but I definitely love the result. Choosing the wrapping paper to stick with the color theme. It’s such a crisp and clean look on Christmas morning, and as people have said, “it looks like it’s out of a catalog!” Well, that’s the whole idea in the end- to have a picture perfect holiday! As you can see, even certain brands will create or option special holiday edition wrapping or packaging- which makes it easy!

 

Side tables, or other areas can provide perfect places for extra holiday decor. In sticking with our theme, the glass vitrines (which we change monthly depending on season or holiday) were filled with white and silver ornaments, and candy. One jar has only silver wrapped chocolates; the other, white peppermint m&ms- both of which are easy to find during this time of year, and it creates an inviting reason for guests to come and enjoy!

 

Lastly, we added floral finishing touches throughout the home. The tall white vase is home to dried branches; some are plain, others are coated in silver or “crystal/glitter snow”. To bring in just a little bit of holiday warmth, the bouquets are kept simple- white flowers, with just a touch of red berries. The evergreen branches create volume, provide a wonderful scent with the roses, and of course; a little added “snow spray” continues the white theme!

A Little Paint goes a Long Way

When decorating a room, many people forego one very important step- painting the walls. Most often, people will just put up some framed art, a mirror, or sometimes nothing at all. This draws your eyes to only the floor and the furniture, and makes your rooms look small and furnishings look lonely.

Many people who don’t own a house, or rent; will oversee the painting because they feel they “don’t want to waste the money if they don’t live there”, and “will have to pay to paint it back before moving out”. This is not the case. The amount of time spent in your home is so much more valuable when you enjoy it and make it your own. The cost vs. happiness is definitely outweighed. Also, the majority of landlords will appreciate the time and upkeep you are doing to their place.

Every former apartment I have lived in, the first thing I did was paint. One place I lived in for 4 years- I repainted the rooms probably 2 or 3 times. When I moved out I didn’t paint them back, and the owner was fine with it- I had improved their space.  With another former apartment; when it was shown to new potential tenants- they asked to have the walls kept the way they were (even had wallpapered walls)!

So don’t be afraid of going for it. Paint changes everything!

If you notice with the rooms I’ve shown, I have used dark paint. People feel the rule with dark colors is that it will make the room look to small. I say, “if a room looks small, it’s because it is”. The dark colors actually create definition, drama, and contrast; as opposed to a lighter color which tends to compliment a room, not make it stand out.