January 23, 2011

Turning up the Heat

As we settle into deep midwinter and the temperature continues to drop, we crave warmth - withering heat in the midst of numbing cold. This juxtaposition of temperature is what inspired my work yesterday. My client hosted a dinner for twenty-four guests and wanted the look to be all reds:  rich, abundant, and sultry. The challenge was how to do this without making it look like Valentine's Day or gaudy.  And, given the time of year, I had to select available materials that looked wintery but not holiday.

I love the way these turned out - I used multiple shades and varieties of red flowers ranging from deep blackish burgundy to bright, almost orangey, red. All were arranged in silvery stone urns and julep cups I placed among the sterling silver candelabras which ran the length of the silk dupioni skirted table. As a finishing touch, I added the texture and shape of kangaroo paw, phontinia, miniature seeded eucalyptus, and lots of the herb, sage. Using the herb was both an aesthetic decision (I wanted to use silvery greens to offset the darkness of the flowers) as well as a nod to the dinner - a winter feast of hearty seasonal courses and wine pairings.

So on one of the coldest nights of the year, the guests enjoyed a night of repose from the frigid world in a lovely setting of glowing warmth. What a wonderful way to celebrate the midwinter!

Other material includes - roses: Gospel, Black Bacarra, Black Magic, Red Charlotte. Burgundy Aranal calla lilies, pussy willow, gerbera daisies, phontinia, kangaroo paw, sage, miniature seeded eucalyptus, burgundy snapdragons.

Dining Room -

Front Hall - for this, I added dried pods (I painted pewter) at the base and pussy willow shooting out of the top -

Great Room -

Powder Room -

January 18, 2011

Hello, New Year

It may be eighteen days into the New Year, but to me, it still feels new! With the fresh year comes the promise of spring - the sun shines longer in the sky, the stores are filled with citrus fruit, and tulips are in season (in overseas flower markets, clearly not on the east coast).  Hello, New Year, with your endless possibilities.

To usher in the new year, we must say goodbye to the old year with a bang. This December 31, I had a New Year's wedding and a large party. I've done a lot of New Year's weddings over the years, and it is a wonderful way to begin anew.  I only have some shots of the bridesmaids' bouquets - simple nosegays of vendela cream roses and juniper western berry. I really love the look of juniper.

For the party, I was asked to use blue and silver - fairly traditional New Year's colors - and I added a pop of coral orange for interest and warmth. I used a random assortment of silver and blue vases, enormous silver flutes, and icy blue hydrangea, electric blue delphinium, eskimo white roses, vivienne white spray roses, donna coral roses, marlisse coral roses, and lots of seeded eucalyptus, slivery glittery branches, and silver-dipped Italian ruscus. We used a host of different silver cloths - jacquards, sheers, and even sequins! It was a lot of fun to create.

I look back on 2010 and thank all of my wonderful brides who asked me to do their flowers - I loved working with you!

2011 brides, I can't wait for the adventures ahead!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Bridesmaid's bouquet -

January 17, 2011

Inspiration in Chaos

People who are in the floral, catering, or really any service-based industry will tell you that the holidays are the hardest. We work to feed, decorate, and take care of our clients so much for the first 23 days of December so that when it comes time for us to tend to our own homes, we are drained and can barely eek out the inspiration or the cheer so essential to this time of year.

Nevertheless, no matter how busy I am, I do look forward to the holidays and the chance to use my own much-loved things as well as new treasures I have discovered to decorate my home. In the days leading up to Christmas, I am able to take some quiet time and really play with color, light, and texture and design things I would have a hard time replicating on a large scale. These designs are meant to be looked upon, savored, and enjoyed over the course of many days of merriment.

For me, it's the few moments of stillness amidst the chaos that I relish most of all - snow falling, candlelight flickering, flowers opening. I hope you all had a marvelous holiday season!

Table set for Christmas morning - narcissus and clementines -

Old-fashioned tree with much-loved ornaments -

Christmas Day - dinner at night -

Snow on the day after Christmas -

From the outside -

And from the inside - I love my window!