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Filtering by Tag: design

The Modern-Day Mary Poppins for April VIE

Suzanne Pollak

images 9.40.47 PM.jpg

“Meet Dennise Church — part modern-day Mary Poppins, part house whisperer, part intuitive soul seer who knows when someone needs their hand held spiritually. She flies around the country organizing, advising, and even putting clients to work as she sees fit, transforming and working her magic in ways that a life or business coach does not. Her specialty is making people feel differently about their living spaces, helping them to find stability in the midst of the turmoil in the world….”

Read more about the Dean’s personal M.P. in the latest issue of VIE HERE.

Pick from Your Neighborhood

Suzanne Pollak

When he walks down the steps and sees the fronds, the person living here thinks,  This is my kind of house!

When he walks down the steps and sees the fronds, the person living here thinks, This is my kind of house!

Even if you must sneak out before dawn so as not to get caught, do it! Clipping fronds and ferns is not really stealing. Leaves grow back. The trick to the chicest arrangements is choosing different textures, colors and heights. Stuff your pickings into a long vase filled with water, bottom leaves stripped so as not to contaminate the water.

Think of this as an architecture project. Take a look at your space and then use your imagination. Leaving air between leaves allows imaginary butterflies to fly through. The goal is to for the width and height to fill the space on a hall table so every time you walk by, or go up and down the stairs, wherever your interior path may lead -- a jolt of jolly green pleasure hits you.

Natural, fresh, sometimes with a delicious aroma, this easy-to-DIY project breathes life into your space. The arrangement can actually make you feel different, like you are in the house that you deserve to be in. 

Blow Open Your Tabletops

Suzanne Pollak

Now to address a few burning Bridal FAQs re: table settings, centerpieces, and personal style. A wedding registry is no time for strict guidelines, but rather a chance to begin building your collection for decades of dinner parties to come. No matter what stress should ever consume your day, you can ease out of it by cooking dinner, sipping a glass of wine, and setting the table (and mood) for the night ahead.

No need to register for two china patterns, one fancy and one for everyday. Way too old school! Far better to delve deep into your inner being and suss out all the aspects of your person. Think color, moods, passions, place...

For example, maybe you appreciate hand-carved wood -- consider a collection of handmade bowls. There's no end to what you can do with these. Use smaller ones for olives and nuts at cocktail hour, or for individual starter salads at dinner. Fill larger bowls with BIG salads, or perhaps something else interesting (citrus, hankies, pens and paper for a parlor game) to set as a centerpiece. Or, choose wooden chargers. And you know what looks good with wood? Gold, of course!

Just look at this extravagant, marvelous, opulent Royal Crown Derby. Who can afford to collect a whole set? And besides that, who wants to? It is so too much, simply over the top. All that gold cancels out to equal a big let down, where a one-size plate sizzles and shines on the table. Perfection! A gold salad plate looks amazing filled with greens for a salad course, chocolate tart for dessert... Actually, everything looks good with gold.

Okay, how to satisfy your love of birds? Consider Ginori. There is nothing as wonderful as a set of 8 or 12 or 24 dinner plates featuring birds. These beauties yearn for a Thanksgiving dinner to be placed on them, but dazzle even under an everyday roast chicken. These plates say something about you; your passion for nature, individual style, love of design. What could be more boring than a whole set of one china pattern covering the table? The older the Dean gets, the more she thinks, YUCK. This person has let someone else tell her what to do, and ignored that inner voice of what she likes.

What appeals most to us? Anything but flipping through ad-filled magazines, shopping at bridal superstores, or listening to friends and family who have never identified true style. Plates and objects on a table are a way to express yourself. So are centerpieces: flowers mixed with fruit, bunches of veggies and greens that will become tomorrows main course, a handmade pie that will become tonight's dessert.

Have fun with the rest! Modern flatware choices might include horn (so chic) or bronze (gleams on the table and unique to boot) but there is still something to be said for a classic silver pattern. The most popular through the ages? Francis the First has that swirly Baroque feel which pairs so well with plain, stark, straight. Don't be afraid to mix high and low. As for napkins, it's all about juxtaposing different colors, textures, and aspects of your personality. Sometimes you feel flirty and fun, other times more composed and traditional. Sometimes girly, sometimes a huntress.

Let it all out on the table, loves. These kind of style decisions will get you well on your way to bolstering your confidence. No one needs to tell you they approve. If you like it, then go for it. That’s exactly what the Dean does, and it has always worked for her. 

Cheetahs, Usain Bolt, and You

Suzanne Pollak

Bolt hits his top speed of about 27 miles per hour at the 70 meter mark. A cheetah reaches their top speed of 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds. You, my dear, have all night to reach your peak, and win your gold medal. Cheetahs, Usain Bolt and other incredible fast runners have to slow down quickly, after a few seconds. Hosts slow down too, the moment the first guest comes through the front door. That’s when we get our groove, relax into our rhythm and timing, pace and energy to set the mood. Our purpose is to lull guests into relaxed, comfortable feeling, or sometimes an anticipatory excited state…depending on our goals.

Usain and cheetahs have more in common than fast running -- they are both beautiful and graceful, as you will be too when you greet your guests, scented and dressed, everything ready to go. Going for gold means thinking through that first drink, the timing of dinner, music for mood, lighting to create a mystery (relying on the full moon outdoors.) Notice that food is not the most important part of entertaining at home. The end goal is to make guests feel good inside: connected, seen, heard, entertained. Imagine all this taking place in your own four walls! It’s amazing what a house can do if you just set it up correctly. Your impact can be lasting, solid gold in the Academy’s world. Filling others with delight, even for a couple of hours, makes your own life more enjoyable and can spark surprising results. Watch what happens!

This Thursday: Double Up on Design Classes!

Suzanne Pollak

Lest anyone think the Academy is all about learning how to cook dinner and set the table...on Thursday we bring in Flowershop to teach the art of arranging flowers in the morning, and Charleston Interior Stylist to show us the ins & outs of home design in the evening.

                         Portrait of Lily Peterson by  Olivia Rae James .

                         Portrait of Lily Peterson by Olivia Rae James.

FLORALS WORKSHOP: The Basics with Lily Peterson, Flowershop

It’s easy to lose confidence when shoving flowers and greens into a centerpiece. These stems don’t do what you want them to, if you even know what you want. This is one of those jobs that looks easy, but with anything that looks easy, it’s not. However, with just a little handholding from expert Lily Peterson, your own flower expertise will emerge and stay embedded within your brain, giving you a life long skill, with you leaving class owning a new cool container to be expertly filled at a moments notice by a new expert -- YOU!

STYLE + ORDER with Charleston Interior Stylist

Nathalie Naylor is our favorite kind of Interior Designer. Her approach is completely different than most designers, more financially friendly and instructional. Natalie curates your stuff, items you bought and collected and liked, or thought you liked (you must have attached value at one time to these objects.) Nathalie reworks what you already own to make your interiors more beautiful, organized and livable, without you having to buy any anything new -- furniture, curtains, rugs, art. Nathalie is not imposing her taste on yours; she is gently guiding yours. What a democratic and practical way to improve interiors!

Bring one or many photos of your space to class (at Nathalie's house on Sullivan's Island), enjoy Sancerre and snacks, and let Nathalie give recommendations…just look at Nathalie’s her magazine covers!

There are still a couple of tickets available over on our SHOP -- purchase one for yourself or gift to a friend.  Pick one or make a day of it.  Either way, don't miss out!