My Midsummer Night’s Dream.…
Photography by Winnie Au.
I’ve been dreaming of creating a bohemian-style dinner at my summer home in Amagansett for as long as I can remember. You can’t help but be inspired by the beach living here in summer: lounging in the sand and on the grass…where the open sky transitions from bright blue to dusky midnight as day turns to night. This low-key, casual beach life has contributed to my wanting to establish an EyeSwoon dinner series. I have yearned for this since I launched EyeSwoon, have gone as far as writing up dummy menus for a “one day dinner.” The designer in me has also dreamt up specific design treatments and scenarios, just for fun, just in case … one day.
A constant fantasy design element in this far-off dream has been a long, low communal table in the grass, with Moroccan rugs scattered across the lawn and twinkly lights hanging above. My new partnership with Cointreau turned this dream into a reality, and I swooned like never before.
As this summer soirée began to take shape, it was full steam ahead in terms of planning. The décor, communal table, and tabletop pieces were the most fun for me to design. I worked closely with Canvas Home to select the stylish dinnerware, serving pieces, and glassware to adorn the low, 50-foot-long plywood table dressed simply with a craft paper runner. Custom dip-dye raw-edged linen napkins in an ombre white-to-orange palette (a nod to Cointreau’s signature orange) lent a dramatic moment to the tablescape. Vintage Cointreau brown bottles housed the florals dotting the tabletop. The Moroccan and Turkish rugs I’ve collected over the years added a touch of geometric mismatched whimsy, underscoring the bohemian beachy ambiance in my garden.
I collaborated with my friend, chef Jeff Schwarz, to curate a summer menu that highlighted the local farms and seasonal produce right here in Amagansett. And while I wanted the dinner to telegraph elegance and beauty, I also wanted a relaxed, casual experience, which Jeff’s family-style food enhanced. We started with vibrant summer veggie salads and grains from Amber Waves Farm punctuated with bright herbs, followed by a duo of surf and turf kebabs, and finished with Cointreau-glazed grilled peaches, ice cream, and crunchy pistachio brittle. It was a true dining celebration of our local summer stars.