I asked my great friend and talented design expert, Julia Elliott, to do something special for le sauce for the holidays. Whenever Julia hosts a celebration, the table is as thoughtful as the menu. Her guests are treated to beautiful details in a table-scape that reflects the specialness of the meal and event–which is especially relevant for holiday feasts yet often overlooked or left to the last minute. Julia styled this holiday table for le sauce, and deconstructs it with us below to leave us with tips that are equally practical and inspiring.
Special and sincere thanks to James Piper for all photographs within.
le sauce (LS): Can you talk about the visual elements and your starting point?
Julia Elliott (JE): It started with the branches. I wanted something to give the table some height to make up for the pendant light above my table being higher than I’d like right now! So I used the branches to fill in the space. I hung clear, silver and blue glass balls from the branches and that’s where the colour started too. I only have one plate set right now, all white, so that means I can go with any colour I want. I brought red in with the blue because I’ve always loved turquoise and red, especially for Christmas. I was happy when I found the red flowers at the florist–that tied in perfectly–and the addition of green in the candle holders and the plants is a nod to the traditional.
The table runner fabric is re purposed and from here, I might keep using them this way or turn them into pillows.
LS: What makes this table “work” for the event you had in mind–in this case, a holiday dinner?
JE: I think this table is festive but it’s not fussy. For me, a traditional dinner for Christmas is turkey with all of the sides. I didn’t lay the table with salt and pepper and everything you’d need to start eating, but I can see this table working with what I’d serve. I’m not a fan of big, heavy centrepieces at the dinner table. This one is open and airy enough and again, fills in the space (vertically), without being cumbersome.
“In a world of store-bought everything, it’s so important to have these pieces from the past at the table.”
LS: What did you make, what did you buy, and why?
JE: The only thing I bought was the flowers. Aside from liking the red ones, I used them to tie the colours in the accents on the table together. I don’t know how seasonal peonies are but the florist had them and they were simple enough to work for the setting I had in mind. I prefer them over roses which I see a lot of over the holidays. The branches I picked up last year and simply set them in a clear vase on my hutch, so I didn’t even have to dig them out, just bring them back to the forefront. The runners are fabric scraps that can be used any time of year. The only thing I kind of wanted that I didn’t have was brushed gold cutlery instead of silver!
LS: What makes this table special or “yours”? I think it’s so you to have living elements as part of your setting. I learned from you how important it is to have flowers at the dinner table.
JE: I would have fresh flowers every week–just $10 worth makes such a difference.
The colour scheme is one I’m very fond of. The silver plates that the clementines are sitting on are from my grandmother and from Dan’s grandmother (Julia’s partner). In a world of store-bought everything, it’s so important to have these pieces from the past at the table. It’s something to talk about over dinner and to share with the people around your table.