The holidays tend to be about excess, so when the lovely team at The Line invited me to curate a holiday feast in their space, The Apartment, I was thrilled to take a less expected route. The chic, minimal elements that they’re fond of practically called for it, after all! I’d been itching to work with them for months, and this time of year is always perfect for bringing like-minded folk together. With that in mind, I’d also yearned to work with my uber talented friends Michael & Darroch of Putnam & Putnam flowers—the more, the merrier, right?
The aesthetic of The Line—which emphasizes clean, minimalist and effortless design—drove all of my choices. I focused most on the swoon-worthy white marble table that would play host to our meal and tablescape. After sharing a moodboad of inspired images that expressed a Scandinavian direction, a palette was settled upon —the most important part of any décor scheme! Wanting to lend the scene a little something special, without overdoing it, we settled on a winter wonderland – silvery sage, with hints of lavender and white berries and blooms throughout. Greenery was the star of the show, though, as it’s so accessible and much more cost effective than elaborate florals.
As part of the backdrop for this vision, I knew the tableware had to be just right. I gravitate towards artisanal ceramics, with their beautifully imperfect quality, so I chose Speck & Stone’s Pebble dinnerware. Contrast is crucial for me, and these added a much-needed rustic element to offset all the bright white and the glam touches like the delicate brass serving set from Spartan Shop that rested upon the maple Westwind Orchard board. The floral palette also dictated the silvery grey napkins by Linum at Lost & Found. Playing with opposing elements – is always in the forefront of my mind when I create any spread – a touch of elegance seen in the white and gold votives and a hint of the handmade expressed in the striped bowls by M Quan that held the briny olives. The food, the table décor, the florals – it is always about the right mix of aesthetics – color, texture and composition – it’s a delicate dance that causes me to swoon. Bundles of fragrant lavender coupled with cumquat citrus were simply tied with a linen ribbon rested upon each napkin – a sweet gesture for each guest!
For the food, I focused on seasonal ingredients and dishes that could be prepared in advance—a must for any holiday gathering. I settled on a delicious and savory roast squash crostini— the fanciest comfort food—and a winter abundant blood orange galette that I’d been dying to whip up. Rather than serving individual crostinis, I sliced an entire loaf of peasant bread down the equator and dollopped the ricotta & squash down the length, saving time and making for an amazing presentation! I also love to create a festive signature cocktail for every gathering. This cocktail served in crystal glassware conjures up the idea of sparkling winter spice. The Cointreau plays off the citrus flavors in the menu, ginger has a nice spicy bite to it that feels perfect for winter, and the prosecco makes it celebratory. Who doesn’t love a little bubbly and a little spice around the holidays?
Handwritten menus were the final touch, cleverly written on utilitarian brown bags with homemade sweet & spicy nuts inside and tied with a few leftover sprigs of greenery. Thoughtful, simple and unexpected, it’s an addition that does double duty: sending a little love to your guests while helping your feast stand out from the many that take place this time of year.
My love of collaboration is not simply practical, but eye opening, too. Nothing excites me more than creating beauty, seeing your vision come to life while also expanding – learning a thing or two! When I first saw the olive branch garland being put together, sprinkled with white berries, I wanted to squeal—it was striking yet effortless, and expressed exactly the drama & beauty that the Holidays should. These qualities were echoed in everything Putman & Putnam arranged for the day, like a fresh semi-circle of olive branches in lieu of the usual wreath. Working with them and creating with them – within the already-beautiful space of The Apartment triggered such a rush of inspiration—the best gift this girl could ask for, really!
Hop over to The Line and Style.com for further holiday entertaining inspiration. Athena wearing Proenza Schouler & jewelry shopable from The Line. Photography by Matthew Sprout. Prop assistant Michelle Zacks.