Tag Archives: decorations

If You Set It…They Will Come (to Thanksgiving Dinner)

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about….more beautiful Thanksgiving tablescapes! Who doesn’t love a holiday that is totally devoted to eating? The only way to make it even better is to set an equally decadent table to enjoy the experience; good food, good wine, good company and good times.

Last month, I was the featured speaker at a meeting of the International Furnishings and Design Association at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. I was thrilled to share my passion for entertaining, while I demonstrated my philosophies about how to set over the top buffets and tablescapes for the holidays. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to show you some interesting ways in which to make your table a little more enchanting.


While Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, I was inspired by more of an elegant woodland theme. Layering gives your table a luscious feeling. I like to pile on the linens (Bed, Bath and Beyond thanks me…)! A tablecloth is the perfect foundation, setting the tone from the get go. If you have a round table, there is nothing more sophisticated than a tablecloth that touches the ground. It’s so grand! Don’t have one? It’s as simple as renting one from a party rental store. Here I selected a chocolate brown because it’s neutral, it coordinates with everything, it shows a little imagination and the dark color hides a multitude of sins (think gravy).  

A table-topper is a must because it adds some personality. I love to use throw blankets as toppers. Some are washable and others are simply beautiful works of art. I had to have this gorgeous, nubby gingerbread, eggplant, terra-cotta and sage throw. Customarily, my next layer would be a traditional placemat. I like the idea of delineating everyone’s personal space. To make my woodland theme more authentic, I chose to incorporate berry wreaths as placemats. Talk about interest and dimension! The hues in the berries compliment the weave in the throw beautifully.  


Formal tablesetting’s definitely require a charger. In order to keep up with all of the other textures, I selected brown leather chargers rather than a gold leaf. It felt more rustic. I do not happen to own a set of formal china because I prefer the option to mix and match my dishes to create more interesting designs. I am head over heals for my gold buffet plates from Pottery Barn. Their rustic nature blends beautifully with my woodland theme. They are actually very practical and I’ve had them forever. They are perfect for just about every occasion other than Valentines Day. How about that for versatile? Whether I need it or not, I always set my table with a decorative salad plate. It’s an opportunity to tie your whole tablescape together. Here I am using my pear plates with an apple green and gold leaf edge. To coordinate with the pear plates, it would be a great idea to place a real pear at each place setting, with a place card tied to the stem of the pear with raffia. Seating arrangements are a way to control chaos (or just an excuse for an additional layer on your table).

I love proper cloth napkins at a formal table. They just scream special occasion. Here I used a golden, textural woven, simply slid through a copper ring. As an alternative to breaking out (and polishing) the good silver, I have selected flatware with a honed, pearl handle as an additional compliment. Rather than use a standard clear glass, I placed an amber glass footed goblet at each place setting. The amber offers a lovely warm glow.

Every table needs a centerpiece. I know that this one is over the top, and it should be. When a guest comes to an event in my home, my intention is for them to be swept up by the magic. Green is my favorite neutral, which is why I was completely drawn to this fabulous urn. For height, I filled the urn with willow branches. They have an elegant, wispy quality. To reinforce my woodland theme, I selected evergreen branches with pines cones. The hydrangeas in purple, gold and red add a pop of color nestled in at the base. Now I do recognize that this arrangement is too tall to keep on the table during dinner (unless there are relatives on the other side that you would just as soon not see), so when it’s time to eat, whisk it off the table and set it aside. That might sound like extra work, but I’m not about simple, I’m about meaningful……

It’s time for the finishing touches. Turkeys and pumpkins are so predictable. I prefer to feature more elegant pheasants during the fall and winter seasons. I have three gold gilt birds scattered around the table. What a treat it is to dine by candlelight. I have chosen leather candlesticks, in varying heights with taper candles. To capture the candlelit sparkle, I have also included mirrored candlesticks with pillar candles.

Pop in the turkey and all the fixings, light the candles, turn up the music and enjoy dinner with your family and friends.

More extravagance, more beauty, more breaking bread, more gratitude….

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The Art of Arranging a Bookshelf…

As the More is More Mom®, you know how I am all about…..appreciating the beauty of my surroundings. In my Interior Design business, I have the honor of helping my clients create an experience that is personal to their family and tells the story of their lives.

One of the questions that I am most often asked is, “How do I decorate my bookshelves?” Well, the very best place to start is with books!

I am a paperback book snob. While there is always a time and a place for our most beloved paperbacks, gracing our bookshelves is not it. The formality of a proper book shelf screams gorgeous hardcover. Now, if the bookshelf in question is in a Library, Office or Den, then it is perfectly acceptable, expected almost, for the books to stack vertically on each shelf, from the floor to the ceiling. On the other hand, if your shelves are in a position to provide a little flirtatious function, then there are so many ways for them to be interesting and fun.

The most important factor to consider when selecting which books will adorn your shelves should be that the subject matter is of interest to you. This photograph is of a piece that lives in my Family Room. It is a perfect blend of books that interest me, revealing a personal side of myself, and mementos that celebrate my family and our interests.


The books I have chosen to share here are some of my very favorite subjects; Hollywood Glamour (live for it), Biographies (hope to learn from it), Manners and Etiquette (want to emulate it), Interior Design (immerse myself in it). Notice that in order to create a pleasing arrangement, there needs to be an organizing principle. I sort my books by subject matter and size so the groupings make sense. Here I have four rows of shelves, with three columns. The very top row of shelves are glass and I have lighting that shines downward. I have selected to allow the light to peek through the glass which is why I don’t have a sold mass of books on those shelves. For the sake of symmetry and balance, the third row of shelves from the bottom and the bottom shelves are treated similarly; the two outer columns display books that are arranged vertically, while the center column shows books that are stacked horizontally. They are arranged with the largest books on the bottom and the smaller books on top, again for a sense of balance. The second row of shelves from the bottom creates the opposite effect with the two outer columns featuring books that are stacked horizontally.

Now that we have selected our books and settled on an arrangement, it is time to intersperse our family’s personality onto the shelves. Sharing the shelves with my books are some of my beloved photographs; my Nicky on the evening he lost his first tooth and was putting it under his pillow, my Amanda the same evening when she insisted she also have her photograph taken, me with my girlfriends, Nick and Amanda together, Amanda with our Wrigley, Chuck and me at our wedding and my mom and me when I was just a tot. Tucked amongst the pictures are my beloved, porcelain Tiffany Boxes, a bronze sleeping bunny (I’m crazy for bunnies), a camel from a family trip to Arizona which represents the Camelback Mountains, a brown dog in honor of our brown dog,  statuary of a pixie fairy and a beehive because I love bees (and bugs and butterflies).

The very top shelves share a common theme; each displays one of a series of a study of leaves (I love the idea of nature). One shelf is home to a decorative plate, an urn and an elephant (trunks up for good luck). The center shelf displays a pitcher with a bamboo handle (a renewable resource), a lions head and a monkey statue that is charming and tall enough to balance out the height of the pitcher. The last shelf showcases a pagoda (in honor of my adoration of Chinoisserie), a froggy pedestal dish because frogs are cute and a Lalique, glass elephant which is just an amazing piece of artwork.

The most important design rule to remember is that the more you love it, the more it will feel like home…..

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