When surrounded by nature, you don’t have to look too far for inspiration in setting a stunning scene! The idea of rustic simplicity, thoughtfully executed, is a theme that runs through all of my décor and design projects—touching every space, event and dinner that I work on.
With Westwind Orchard as my backdrop, the swoony task of curating a harvest dinner under the stars was almost too good to be true. With all that the farm had to offer—a lush apple orchard, autumn leaves strewn amidst the perfectly seasonal pumpkins, and a herb garden to get lost in—it was easy to bring to life that same vision of rustic simplicity that I love so much. In fact, much of the work was already done for me.
The countless offerings of the farm served as inspiration for the dishes and drinks whipped up by Chef Jody Williams and the Cointreau team, so it was only fitting that the land inspire the décor too. With an eye towards casual comfort, bails of hay seemed like the perfect spots to set our bums upon. But to elevate this farm classic just a bit, I cozied each one up with a plush sheep skin—functional yet chic, super simple to execute and—thanks to the genius of IKEA—quite inexpensive, too! Wanting to add that harvest touch, I then snipped elements from the herb garden (sprigs of wheat, rosemary and sage) to tie into bundles that adorned each place setting. This simple addition was nonetheless special, and a truly accessible décor tip—one easily prepared in advance, preferably placed in a water jar to keep fresh.
More than anything, I do hope that these ideas inspire your own mind to wander, or perhaps have you pulling out some twine to see what you can do with the greenery from your own yard or local market. Beautiful design does not have to be excessive or unattainable. The candles that allowed our table to twinkle come night fall, for instance, were nothing more than .99 cent mason jars that we cleverly tied seating cards upon, once more with twine. Though place cards might be perceived as a thing of the past—too hoity toity for a rustic farm dinner—we took them down a notch, keeping them fun, crafty and, of course, easy. Equally low-key were the floral arrangements—mostly vibrant greens of seeded euchalyptus and wild flowers, mixed with a few sleeker blooms that felt dainty and unpretentious. These were plopped into warm glass bottles (a mix of label-free Cointreau bottles and apothecary jars) and then scattered down the table’s center.
My favorite last minute design choice, however, was the decision to string lights overhead, anchoring them with vintage apple orchard ladders that we’d snooped on the property. It was just another unexpected moment of inspiration that presented itself while on the farm.
Celebrating such simplicity, quality, and rustic yet elevated design is what unites us all: the folks behind Westwind, Cointreau and EyeSwoon. Cointreau, with it’s unparalleled bitter and sweet citrus notes that stands out entirely on it’s own. Westwind, with their appreciation for harvesting organic fruits, vegetables and other edible products—keeping them all pure and simple but dialing up the presentation a notch to pique your attention. And, of course, Eye-Swoon, which always seeks out and celebrates quality, artistry and inspiration. The takeaway? Let nature guide you—in what you eat, what you create and what inspires you—and beauty will never be far.
Photography by Winnie Au