The turkey may be the most important thing on your table come Thanksgiving Day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your decor some thought, too. We checked in with local interior designer Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors to get some tips on how to create a festive atmosphere for giving thanks. The key? Cavin-Winfrey says the surest way to a perfect tablescape is to let your existing decor dictate your direction. “If your dining room walls are pink, then there should be a pink element to your table,” she says. But she does have one hard-and-fast rule: When it comes to your table, don’t use red. “It’s disastrous—unless it’s Valentine’s Day or Christmas,” she says.
Whether you want to go big and use ’em all or keep it simple with just one, read on for more of Cavin-Winfrey’s tips for sprucing up the Turkey Day table.
1) Placemat Photo Collage
A combination of wax paper, vibrant leaves, and old photos of dinner guests can create a table runner that inspires memories from years past. Simply press the leaves and pictures between the paper, then run it vertically down the center of the table. “Create a collage with the leaves so you’ve got a really neat patchwork,” Cavin-Winfrey says.
2) I’m Thankful for . . .
Write this phrase at the top of a note card (or buy these) and place one at each table setting in a Mason jar or dish, along with a pencil. Read them out loud and see if guests can figure out who authored each one.
3) Go for Gourds
There’s no time like Thanksgiving to load your dining room with fall’s colorful produce. Stop by your local pumpkin patch or farmstand to pick up some baby pumpkins, then arrange them on the table or in a bowl as a centerpiece. Add a few flowers for balance, and make sure to keep the arrangement low so it doesn’t block conversation.
4) Rustic Lighting
“Candlelight is always really important,” Cavin-Woodfrey says. Wrapping some straw or twigs around a candelabra will introduce rustic touches into a formal dining room setting. Apartment-bound with no woods in sight? Take the easy way out with this West Elm black aluminum faux-manzanita candelabra, $99.
Thursday night, Logan Circle’s Room & Board store hosts a book launch party to celebrate the release of design blog AphroChic’s first book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul. The bloggers behind the site, policy-attorney-turned-designer Jeanine Hays and her husband, Bryan Mason, will be on hand to chat about their aesthetic and sign books, but here’s our favorite part: Turns out Hays’s sister, Angela Hays Belt, is Room & Board’s head visual designer right here in DC. Impeccable design taste must run in their genes: Belt’s Navy Yard apartment (which she shares with her husband, Leon, a videographer and graphic designer) is one of the five homes featured in the book, and it’s chock-full of inspiring design. Keep reading to see more of the Belts’ artistic-meets-midcentury-industrial loft, then swing by the 14th Street store tonight to meet both Hays and Belt in person.
AphroChic book launch party, Thursday 6 to 8:30 PM. Presentation at 6:30 PM. 1840 14th St., NW; 202-729-8300. RSVP online.
Brilliant blue walls. A bold chevron rug. Hints of orange and red.
Vibrant hues and graphic lines make this Chevy Chase home a looker—but there’s more to the story than a striking paint choice and an eye-catching pattern. The homeowner, a New Zealand native, wanted to find an interesting way to display his collection of international art in the first-floor library. He turned to local architect Doug Pettit of Landis Construction, who, after talking with the homeowner, decided to use Dutch painter Piet Mondrian as the muse for the space.
“As we talked about possibilites, it occurred to me that we might accentuate the dimensions of this small, exposed space,” Petit says. “I pictured floor-to-ceiling shelving that frames the window as one focal point within an asymmetrical system of cubbies. The cubbies would display selected collectibles. Mondrian says, ‘To create equilibrium among such disparate elements you have to find the golden ratio.’”
In the attached dining room, local interior designer Annie Elliot of Bossy Color used bright color and graphic patterns to complement the Mondrian-influenced library. Elliot chose a chevron flatweave rug from India, black-and-white furniture, and a bold blue paint while preserving the home’s original wainscoting and white tray ceiling. The result of Pettit and Elliot’s work: Midcentury meets global, to stunning effect.
Love the look but can’t hire the pros? You can recreate this look using similar (and reasonably priced) pieces—read on for details on how to do it.
Looking for a few quick tricks to give your home a little fall refresh? We asked Georgetown-based designer Zoe Feldman to share three ways to transition your decor into autumn—without a heavy-duty redo. Read on to snag her secrets. (Spoiler: texture is key!)
Try: West Elm's pillows combine soft, pale hues and lush velvet texture. Studded velvet pillow covers, $34-$39 at West Elm.
Try: Lafco candle in Den Brown Redwood, which combines notes of coastal redwood, cedar, and huckleberry; or Diptyque’s Feu de Bois, meant to invoke a log fire. Lafco and Diptyque candles, $60 at Bluemercury.
Try: Restoration Hardware’s cashmere throws impart a super-soft bit of luxury. 555-Gram cashmere throws, $199 at Restoration Hardware.
From HGTV to designer showrooms, white kitchens are everywhere. And it’s no surprise people love them—they create a clean, crisp look; they fit well in traditional and contemporary homes; and they attract sunlight and can brighten a space. But white also shows dirt and grime, which can give homeowners pause, especially those with children or pets. We asked kitchen designers for tips on creating a white kitchen that’s practical and easy to keep clean.
Not doing anything on Sunday afternoon? Now you are: For the 28th year, the historic Kalorama neighborhood allows guests inside some of the area’s most spectacular properties during its annual House and Embassy Tour, which is hosted by and benefits the President Woodrow Wilson House.
This year, Dupont Circle’s Beaux Arts Andrew Mellon Building, built in 1915 to house luxury apartments, joins the list of architectural sites included on the tour. Among the other participants: Peek inside the home of the Ambassador of Austria and the just-redecorated residence of the Ambassador of Portugal, plus the Slovenian Embassy, the Textile Museum, and four private homes, including that of graphic designer Supon, whose playful decor is pictured here.
28th Annual Kalorama House and Embassy Tour. Starts at Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St., NW. Sunday noon to 5. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door.
This year’s DC Design House, a newly constructed, five-level home in Wesley Heights, designed by GTM Architects, opens to the public this weekend. It’s currently on the market for $14.9 million. Tours of the house are available Tuesday through Sunday until May 12. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite sights here, though there are many more. More information about tickets (20 percent of proceeds go to Children’s National Medical Center) and tour availability can be found at the DC Design House website.
America’s favorite design pair, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, are known for mixing flea market finds with contemporary design. They’re also known for starring in HGTV’s Home by Novogratz, managing their firm Sixx Design, authoring Downtown Chic, and raising seven children between the ages of 3 and 15. October also brings the launch of their debut furniture line with CB2 and a new book, Home by Novogratz. We caught up with Robert and Cortney to chat about upcoming projects, Washington’s style, and how they manage to stay grounded.
What makes Home by Novogratz different from other design books?
We break down the costs and budget for each project and give people a realistic look at things, as well as sharing great design tips. Some design books are just pretty pictures, but our book is filled with insider tips, fun interviews with various experts, and, of course, some humor.
How would you describe Washington’s style?
Robert: I grew up in Alexandria, so I know the area quite well. It’s sophisticated, conservative, and really preppy, which we love. In fact, the new hotel we’re working on is going to be really preppy.
Cortney: We had the privilege of filming with Tipper Gore, and her art is featured in our books, as well. We feel she personifies the classy Washingtonian woman.
I was immediately drawn to the bold blue in George Iso’s “Red Stone,” and was interested in the inspiration behind the work. The fact that he has a background in architecture suggests the impulsive lines could be representative of his past training.
What interests Iso is the exuberant throbbing of cities, channeled by the fluidity of his forms and color schemes. According to the artist's website: “The act of committing himself to the canvas by way of gestures, with no [preexisting] order, makes Iso’s abstractionism akin to the tradition of North American abstract expressionism. With no prior logical requirement, the canvas is the result of the artist’s immediate impulse as he directly faces the surface.”
“Red Stone” reminds me of a cozy library, with warm, rich leather, wood, stacks of classics, and the faint scent of a pipe. Curl up with a cup of coffee and bask in the feeling of being transported to another era.
As the former style director of Real Simple, Marcus Hay is no stranger to producing unforgettable magazine spreads and breathtaking interiors. The Australia native has worked with some of the industry’s most sought-after clientele, including Vogue Australia, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Design Within Reach, and West Elm. So when Kimberly Steward of Kess Agency gave Hay free rein to design a living/work space in Manhattan’s Financial District, he jumped at the opportunity. We caught up with the designer to learn a bit more about the decor choices he made.