A client of mine wants me to design a table with tablecloth for an upcoming party in her greenhouse and I’ve been going through my files searching for inspiration and came across these images and drawings. A few years ago, I was asked by Schumacher, the to-the-trade fabric and wallcoverings company (www.fschumacher.com), to design a table they were sponsoring for a gala to benefit Lenox Hill Neighborhood House (www.lenoxhill.org).
Lenox Hill provides an extensive array of effective and integrated services–social, educational, legal, housing, health, mental health and fitness–which significantly improve the lives of 20,000 people in need each year, ages 3 to 103, on the East Side of Manhattan. The theme was, if I remember correctly, “A Moment in Time” and I chose Chekov’s “The Cherry Orchard” primarily because the event is always held in the spring and I knew the cherry blossoms would be bountiful. I also felt I could execute a most Rustic Chic table around them.
The design began with the palest, most etherial, iciest pink cherry blossoms and branches I could find. As I wanted something simple but dramatic, I used two colors of a heavy cotton, matte satin (my favorite fabric) for the tablecloth – a deep chocolate brown and a creamy ivory satin. Since the table was to seat ten, I divided the tablecloth into ten pie-shaped wedges alternating the chocolate with the ivory. About eight inches above the floor I placed a seam with a discreet bias flange made from a pencil striped satin in the same colors. Where the alternating colors met, I placed a covered button and lined the kick pleats both in the same striped fabric and again alternated the colors to the floor.
I used very tall tapered candles in brown and ivory and for the cushions of the bamboo chairs I again used the same colors and tufted the seats with the same covered buttons as the tablecloth. One of my favorite touches was using the pencil stripe for very long ties and as you will see below, I criss-crossed them ballerina-style down the backs of the chair legs and tied them off neatly with bows. It was a flirty touch.
It’s a demonstration that design events in the heart of Manhattan can be both rustic and chic at the same time. Indeed my friend, Robert Rufino, who was at that time vice president of creative services at Tiffany & Company and now editor at large for House Beautiful, pronounced it “chic as a Galanos ballgown.” What a wonderful compliment for something so Rustic Chic.
Photos from Schumacher
Sketch by Joel Woodard