Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Affair to Remember--Party Planning in Autumn

We, along with several of our close friends, recently hosted a dinner party celebrating the marriage of two people whom we all love dearly.  My assignment was to host this sit-down dinner for 30 in our home.  I was not responsible for the food which gave me plenty of time to really give this event the attention to detail it deserved.  Like all my interior design projects, my parties begin with an inspiration piece--in this case, the inspiration for the party décor was this beautiful fabric!

This brown, green, red, orange and pink fabric was the jumping off point for the special occasion planning process!  Once I found the fabric and gave instructions to my amazing seamstress regarding the squares and runners for the tables, we began to think about the invitations.  I much prefer handmade invitations for relatively intimate casual events--I also love printed ones, but there is something that just feels good about receiving an invitation that clearly was thought about and made with care.
The guests of honor are avid bikers--we thought it would be cool to do an invitation with a bicycle built for two--Grace drew the cover graphic, inspired by Ramona and Beezus, and we scanned and printed the invites.  The grosgrain ribbon and the ric rac on the inside were just neat little details that made the invitations extra fun and festive:)
I love tabletops and all things related.  I begin every tabletop with at least the bones of the actual tablescape--the big pieces, or centerpiece if it is a small table
Table squares were placed, then the foundation of the tablescape.  The wooden fruit pieces with the cherubs are some of my favorite pieces to use for the table--they are showy enough for special events and holidays, but they are not so large that they obstruct views.  Sugared and natural fruit, roses and ivory tapers complete the major decorative components of the tablescape.
The vine adds an earthy organic feel to the scheme--the juxtaposition makes me happy, especially when the delicate roses get involved!  I learned this week that the juxtaposition that I have always loved and craved in every aspect of interior design is called "tension".  I LOVE tension in design.  You will find it in almost all my work.
Napkins are a great way to add special details to the tabletop.  It is at this point in every tabletop design that I really really wish I had listened to Mrs. Virginia Grice and my BFF Sandy Loggains Massey when they begged me to apply myself during the sewing portion of Home Ec.  I was wrong, and I regret it at least twice a week.
  I favor white napkins for almost every occasion.  I repeated the orange accents from the inspiration fabric and the invitations and added a super fun trim to the napkin edges.  I used a neat little product called Liquid Stitch for this project (see above, failed home ec), and I'm happy to report they weathered the washer VERY well!  Note--do not use the Singer brand fabric glue stuff.  It does not work, or at least it did not for me.  Liquid Stitch works.
I think they are so pretty!  I can't wait to have another reason to use them!
I love to give our guests a little something to take with them when they leave--a party parting gift.  It makes them feel good and packaged properly, it adds a fun element to the table décor.  For this party, we selected small jars of jellies and preserves.  The idea of that made me happy--my sister-in-law's Grandma makes delicious pear preserves and I was lucky enough to have enjoyed 2 new jars around the time I was planning this party.  I thought about a play-on of the word pear/pair as in "think of this sweet pair when you enjoy this sweet pear" or something like that.  In the end, I decided against it because we honestly did not want to share Grandma's pear preserves and I couldn't find any store-bought pear jelly or preserves.  Instead we went with raspberry-key lime and strawberry rhubarb.  They turned out great; nothing nearly as incredible as Noreen's pear preserves which Mark eats directly out of the jar (he says when something is that good, bread just gets in the way), but pretty good!
We printed labels with a cute picture of the couple--you might not think this is difficult.  When you are as technologically challenged as I, however, you could spend literally days trying to figure out how to size these little things.
Eventually, they turned out perfectly!  And by eventually, I mean a couple of days later. 
We used the same ribbon on the invitations and the jelly jars.  Place cards were added to the bow--2 birds, one stone, whatever.. 
Selecting the china, crystal and table linens for this event were so much fun for me. 
Mom and I both love dinnerware and we use it.  We don't save our china, crystal, and sterling because "special dishes are for special people, not special occasions."--Ma to Half Pint on LHOP (Little House on the Prairie if you aren't a fan, LHOP to me).  Because this event was a sit-down event for 30, I got to use several different sets and I LOVED it. I mixed sets like Fitz and Floyd salmon dinner plates with my precious Lou Lou's vintage rose salad/dessert .  There is never an event at my house where Lou is not well-represented.  I mentioned that to Mom when we were prepping and she said she would give anything to be able to tell her that.  We miss her.
Tulips are my favorite flowers.  They can really surprise you though, particularly overnight.  They can be drooping perfectly the day before your event and then stand straight up overnight.  They are beautiful nonetheless!  I love that we were able to find orange ones. 

The most special and beautiful parties, parties that are remembered and talked about for years, are those in which great attention is paid to detail.  My favorite special detail to date has to be these phenomenal cookies made by Sarah DeClerk of Annie Potter Baking Company.  If you don't know about Sarah, you need to.  We gave Sarah the invitation and told her a few things about the couple.  We were blown away when we received these little works of art.
I hope all your holiday parties are beautiful and special, filled with as much love and fun as this one was!  Happy late Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hillcrest Kitchen Update and Gorgeous Banquette!

The historic Hillcrest neighborhood in LR is home to a brand spanking new kitchen!  Homes in Hillcrest are very much sought after and are sold at a premium price.  Rarely, however do they come equipped with premium kitchens, modern plumbing, or ample closet space.  My clients, who elected to tackle the kitchen first, understandably wanted updated appliances and modern conveniences, and both favored a much more modern than traditional feel.  Incorporating sleek surfaces and furnishings in a craftsman era home can be tricky and one must be careful not to ignore the architectural significance of the house itself as well as the other rooms and furnishings which are still relatively traditional.  Check out the before and afters--I think the fusion of modern and craftsman is super cool, super functional, and beautiful!

Originally the kitchen and dining area were separate rooms, small and rather cramped.

BEFORE:  This is the view looking from the living area thru the dining area and into the kitchen--but don't worry!!  That wall is coming out!!

BEFORE:  Small, dark dining area with purposeless window seat

BEFORE:  Kitchen window that actually looked onto the sun/utility porch--not a fantastic view


And now for the big reveal--what a light, airy, clean and modern AFTER!!!

Our custom table by James & James of NWA is such a salute to this craftsman style home, and the button tufted banquette is a showstopper!  The banquette was crafted by my own upholsterer (who is amazing) in North Arkansas--I always head for the hills to find the true artists!! We made the existing window seat functional and added a second section on the adjoining wall--I can't say enough about the beauty of this banquette--it is pretty in this picture but it is absolutely amazing in person!!

We repurposed the homeowner's glass top console table into a handy bar area for entertaining

That window that looked out onto the sun/utility porch was walled and highlighted with this wonderful glass tile!  And what a gorgeous sink! 

Sleek appliances and white countertops highlight the lovely espresso stained cabinetry.  And there's the Lamb's floursack dishtowel!  You will find him in all the best dressed homes! 

Wall mounted flat screen--perfect for game watching or catching the news after work while preparing dinner--you can also see a wide shot of the area where the window was above the sink.  Clean, unobtrusive vent hood that does not distract from the overall kitchen design makes for a seamless view.

One of my favorite shots that includes the wool rug and the curve of the barstools.  A fantastic kitchen and dining area for fantastic clients! 


Monday, September 9, 2013

I want to be your party girl!

One of the services long enjoyed by Lamb's residential clients has been what Mom and I like to call "GETTING PARTY READY"!  When it's time to entertain family and friends for the holidays, engagement parties, birthday dinners, or a dinner party for your potential clients, it is important that your home and your serving and dining tables represent your shining spirit. We are always honored to make sure Lamb's clients receive raves from guests WITHOUT THE STRESS!

As lifelong entertainers, Mom and I have always used a sensory approach to party planning--if it looks good, sounds good, smells good and tastes good, it's gonna feel good!  We have helped plan and prepared for (honestly) hundreds of feel good parties and would love to help you with your next special occasion!

We have never had events professionally photographed--we are about to--but I have over the years taken my own (yes still crappy) photos of events I have hosted in my home

Formal Celebrations

This event was held very close to Thanksgiving but we wanted to ensure that it was celebrated as a completely separate and special occasion.  We therefore opted for a chocolate and Tiffany blue color scheme--plenty of homage to Autumn, yet 100% non-T-giving
Formal dinner parties sometimes call for a menu card as this one did.  We handmade these with cardstock and coordinating ribbon
Your guests will remember the special occasion as well as your hospitality when you include a small gift for them at their place setting. 
Mom and I love to use beautiful tea towels as napkins--even in this formal dinner setting, this beautifully screened linen tea towel is right at home and a pretty addition to the table
Holiday Entertaining.   

From traditional to fun & funky, we make holidays easier for Lamb's clients by creating a festive setting that is always the hit of the gathering
 So festive to bring out the holiday china; using live greenery, including rosemary sprigs on the napkins makes the dining area smell wonderful

I try to incorporate the King into all my celebrations as well as my children's holiday creations.  Tasteful, beautiful presentation of all your priceless pieces makes your holiday décor personal and meaningful.

Our Thanksgiving table would not be complete without the turkey votive holders; many generations of PA kids have these at home; we just happen to showcase ours at least once a year!

I love to mix crystal patterns, and it's fortunate that I do, because I rarely have enough of one pattern to serve all our guests; we have large gatherings:)

Preparing the buffet table for our Easter celebration--and note the Happy Easter Egg plate, handmade by one of my children--looks lovely and makes my girls feel proud even though they might claim otherwise!
I have as of late been super obsessed with transfers.  I made these Easter napkins and they are more beautiful than any I have ever seen on the market.  Sometimes I'm pretty crafty; sometimes it just doesn't go well.
But this time it went perfectly.
Summer Brunch table settings--how lovely for a bridesmaid's luncheon or midmorning Easter feast
Homemade preserves as a guest gift is sure to be appreciated--homemade by someone.. 
Fiesta!!--and I'm not talking about piñatas and sombreros; we went authentic old Mexico, very special and a little creepy at the same time!
Extra special events call for handmade invitations, using fine papers and ribbons, and sometimes stuff you find in your yard! 

These invitations we created for the Engagement Fiesta were so cool--we used heavy recycled cardstock, a vintage Mexican wedding photo and some pretty ribbon banding
Décor is so important to create a truly festive atmosphere--we really had a blast incorporating bits of Old Mexico throughout the common areas of our home!
Antique Mexican dolls adorned the appetizer tables--I promise I moved their hands before I served up the guac and the pico
Frida totally freaks me out but I love her.  I just love her to death.
I love to use persimmons for arrangements in the fall and they were perfect for the Fiesta color scheme
Colorful wine bottles and a little ribbon and a little glue make gorgeous candleholders
Whether your next event is casual, formal or totally funky (my own personal fave) step it up a notch and let Lamb's create a special party atmosphere just for you!!  Your event might be the one that we select for professional photos!  Pick up the phone, I'm always home!