Monday, August 16, 2010

Budding romance ...

I love a great centerpiece. There, I said it. Whether I'm entertaining, creating tablescapes for clients, or just giving my decor a shot of adrenaline, I love to set the stage with a bit of WOW. My adoration for a real showstopper, however, isn't limited to elaborate floral arrangements. As a matter of fact, I'm much more drawn to the simplicity of something au naturale.

Simple rose buds (Duchesse de Brabant) cut from my garden are tied with jute
and placed in shot glasses for a casual display in my studio.

What could be more natural than fruit? When I’m looking for a light touch on the dinner table, using citrus solo or in combination with flowers, always fits the occasion. The really impressive thing about citrus, or berries for that matter, is that they look fab whole or sliced.

1. Whole limes secured in a tight bouquet for a formal look; 2. Relaxed design with sliced limes and flowers; 3 & 5. I love how antiques dress up flowers (I particularly love the moss and branches in the old tin urn); and 4. I designed the fresh florals for an al fresco soiree using limes, roses and sunflowers in a 'trompe l'oeil' copper trough (it was really a blue, plastic wallpaper trough purchased for a song at Home Depot and spray-painted copper -- think outside the box girls and boys)  

Combining metals (zinc is my current fav) with wood elements, wildflowers and grasses brings on a euphoric stupor. If I’ve seen it in a magazine, the page will join dozens of others collected and saved for future inspiration. I’m constantly collecting urns, vases and time-worn antiques to serve as a springboard for centerpiece basics. Then, when the time is right, I’ll pull together the inspirational pics and the collected, raw materials to create something fresh and new.

1. A potting bench serves as an impromptu buffet with gardening elements at centerstage; 2. Antique goblets fit the bill for tablescape succulents; 3. Grass takes this arrangement to a zen place; 4. Leaves, apples and grapes make this themed centerpiece naturally stunning.

Of course, you can never go wrong with candles. Somehow, they magically give the table a shot of fairy dust, bringing flattering light to guests and drama to the setting.

1. I created a floating candle centerpiece for my daughter's Jamaican wedding - hauling all the raw materials in a trunk to Montego Bay and pulling it together onsite with orchid petals strewn on the tabletops, floating hibiscus candles in a ribboned glass vase filled with sand and shells; 2. Inspired by this saved photo, I repeated the fish tank centerpiece at a corporate event - the client loved it!; 3. All I can say is, 'ooh, la, la;' 4. This makes me long for the holidays. 

Even a Ball Jar with dainty bug-shaped lights can be a dinner conversation-starter. Add a few more for a grouping (sit them on platforms made of wood logs cut at varying heights) to create a charming tablescape.

All raw materials have the bones to create a stunning centerpiece. Just think beyond the 'flowers only' formula and get those creative juices flowing.

Wedding planners and florists' websites are great places to find inspiration. Take a cue from these professionals, and don't forget to check out your favorite merchant's shops for great ways to add drama to a room.

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