4 essential tips for an impeccable table

 
Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

 
 

In October I organized a one day floral workshop focused on how to decorate a table from start to finish. I asked Manuela Piccoli an expert interior designer, to join us and to  give inspirational insights on table etiquette.

During the preparation of the course I kept in mind 4 key points :

  • Style

  • Palette and flowers

  • table preparation

  • less is more

Style

First of all I chose the style. I went for a very romantic, elegant and baroque look. While I was looking for inspiration  I discovered that  next year one trend in wedding decorations will be  “New baroque”. I’m curious to see how the baroque style will evolve this time around. Baroque style always includes ornate gold, extravagant locations and luxurious decorations; how interpret it is completely up to you.

Palette and flowers

I always choose the style and colours at the same time. It’s so important to have a clear idea of the palette from the start. For this event I went for opulent shades of burgundy paired with bright pearl-ivory and gentle gold/caramel tones.  The selective use of colour gave me the freedom to choose the best flowers and greenery. Thanks to the different shapes and petals, I could express the uniqueness and elegance of baroque.

Among the flowers chosen there were:

  • “Antik caramel” garden roses for their sumptuous candy caramel shade

  • Yves Piaget “Ivory” garden roses with their ethereal petals reminiscent of  Japanese silk paper.

  • “Dark chocolate” dahlia with its velvety opulent dark chocolate hue

  • Intense burgundy and light cappuccino carnations

  • Translucent pearl leaves of  Lunaria

  • The beautiful long lithe shape of Stock and Cat’s tail

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

ph @Paolo Castagnedi

ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

 Table setting

After deciding on the style, colour mood and flowers  I met Manuela in her atelier to select all the necessary items. Keeping the style and colours in mind we chose  elegant and timeless white. We picked out old linen table cloths,  fine white bone china dishes decorated in gold, French cutlery and antique crystal glasses.

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Less is more

When I’m decorating I never forget this golden rule. For this event it meant not adding  any more colours to the ones we already had. Manuela and I immediately agreed that the best and only choice was white for everything.

Ph @Paolo Castegnedi

Ph @Paolo Castegnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

To wrap up:

  • Don’t forget to use candles

  • Find objects in yours cupboards and use them in an unsual way

  • Don’t forget to decorate the rest of your home or location with a detail inspired by your table design: a colour, a flower or …

  • And don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagendi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

A big thanks to Orietta for having us in her beautiful relais and to Paolo for the incredible photos.

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

Ph @Paolo Castagnedi

 

6 floral installations at the Milan design week

 
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Every April Milan opens its doors to the design week and events of “Fuorisalone”.

For me the Fuorisalone has became an absolute must. In this edition two elements that immediately caught my attention were: flowers and the combination between modern and antique.

As soon as I arrived I went straight  to see the Danish brand “Hay” which was hosted at Palazzo Clerici. The Nordic style was perfectly integrated in the magnificent neoclassical rooms decorated with marble and golden stuccos. The floral arrangements added a cosy atmosphere to the grandeur of the palace.

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Moving on I stopped at the baroque Palazzo Litta, that held the installation  “Temple in the forest” designed by the London studio of Asif Kahn.

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Next I was taken by surprise by the pop up store that Raw had created especially for the Fuorisalone. The new collection of floral fabric born from the collaboration of the amercan brand John Derian and the English  Designer Guild, had a very romantic feel.  Intense pink flowers styled by “Flo” were surrounded by candles to set the scene.

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Arriving in Piazza Duomo I went to see Tiffany’s shop windows. For this occasion Tiffany had asked 5 artists to create a special installation in a silver greenhouse. When I stepped inside I was immediately enchanted by a spectacular curtain of flowers displayed before me.

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In the afternoon there were 2 palaces to visit.

In Palazzo Serbelloni’s courtyard there was the “Swarosky palace”. Upon entering I marveled at the effect of the glittering dancing lights everywhere.

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On the first floor of Palazzo Serbelloni I was blown away by the incredible and stunning floral arrangements created by Christian Tortu for  the Danish brand Gubi. The choice of colours, flowers and natural elements from the vegetable world were perfectly matched with the awesome rooms and furniture.

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To end this amazing day I visited the installation created for Louis Vitton at Palazzo Bocconi. Just inside the courtyard was the incredible Hexacube House “Bubble house” designed by the Greek designer Goerge Candilllis in 1970. Stepping inside the palace, at the top of a majestic staircase I was welcomed by a cascade of 10.000 paper flowers.

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Did you have any chance to visit the Fuori salone? Let me know what surprised you most!

 

intensive floral workshop in Milan

 
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Last March I organised the intensive floral workshop in a new location “Le spezie gentili” in the heart of Milan. Spring was in the air as I strolled down on an unusually quiet tree line street showing the first signes of blossom on the trees. Once  arrived Valeria, the owner, gave us a warm welcome and looked after us very well throughout our stay.

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On Saturday we focused on how to create a basic bouquet. This was followed by the creation of a floral arrangement using a sponge base. I chose shades of pink to introduce the concept of colour. Pale pink scented “O’Hara” roses, radiant pink anemones were a perfect combination topped off with the dramatic purple-red ranunculus.

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On the second day we played around with a palette of spring colours. Deep red tulips, intense burgundy scabious were intertwined with romantic vintage “Garden” roses, lilac clematis and peach branches.

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For the floral arrangement in sponge the essence of spring was my inspiration.  Pastel tones of pink, light blue, delicate yellow were combined with a touch of vivid orange and red. Orange centred narcissus and bright red strawberries were perfect for this purpose.

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The next intensive floral course will be held in the beautiful hills of Custoza in Verona.

If you are interested please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Intensive floral workshop with an autumn twist

 
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There was a unique vibe during my last intensive floral work-shop in October.

The special ingredients that made these two days so incredible were: an amazing group of curious and focused women: Natascia, Alessia, Nadia, Giorgia, Caterina, Silvia and Elena. Each one with her own dreams, passions, but above all very determined to share this experience.

The wonderfully welcoming Relais Corte Guastalla location set amongst the Custoza vineyard was the perfect backdrop for our week-end.

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I chose the vibrant autumn palette of : the bordeaux chrysanthemum, the chocolate of the Cosmos, the ruby red of the hydrangea  and the more delicate tones of pastel pink of the perfumed O’Hara roses.

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At the beginning of the course I gave a small  floral patterned notebook to each partecipant. Here they could note down any tips that they’d picked up during the week-end.

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This was my fourth  intensive floral workshop and I must say it was a really magical experience for us all.  Here are some special words from Natascia from Parma:”Wood of Ceylon, powerful, crisp, exciting, magical, special  and unique. This was how Tania welcomed us on the  first morning. The morning light shimmering through the windows of the villa, candles flickering, a folded apron on the table, and a unique patterned  notebook. A small branch of red apples laid out to remind us that nature is a work of art, and all our flowers displayed magnificently on the mantelpiece.

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A special thanks to Elena, who captured those two days beautifully with her camera.

 

A JOURNAL OF THE INTENSIVE TWO-DAY WORKSHOP

 
 
 
 

It’s been a few months since  Marco Bravi gave me the photos of the last intensive floral workshop which I held in February. In the meantime I’ve restyled my website, a hard but rewarding task and I’ve launched a new series of floral workshop focused on wedding and event design.

When I saw the images for the first time I was left speechless. It was incredible what Marco managed to capture through his lens. Small details about the location were brought to light, the concentration, attention and joy on the faces of the participants. It was wonderful to see each participant opening up to this new world and growing in knowledge.

Being spring, I was spoiled for choice by the variety of species and colours of the flowers. From tulips to ranunculus, hyacinths, anemones right down to the intense blue iris.

If you would like to know more about my intensive workshop click on the link for more information.

Before leaving to enjoy the images I would like to thank  all the attendees, Chiara, Federica, Bianca, Martina, Samantha, Sara, Caterina, Arianna e Cinzia, Marco for the amazing  photos, and Giulia the owner of Villa La Valverde for her wonderful hospitality.

 

HYGGE AND FLOWERS

 
 

The Danish untranslatable word “Hygge” is the latest trend at the moment. What does it mean exactly? The meaning is more or less: “how to create a cosy and pleasant atmosphere, enjoying life with our loved ones.” Recently we were in Copenaghen and we felt this way of living everywhere. Upon our arrival we were impressed by the lack of noise and this calmness stayed with us all day long. A very relaxing and liveable city with an intense light and nature was very strongly present everywhere.

It was so inspiring for me. I could dedicate myself to the discovery of the Danish design (which I’ll be seeing again next week during the Milan design week).

What impressed me most? The constant presence of flowers and plants. Flowers and plants everywhere: in vases, hanging from the ceiling, on tables and even decorating the plates. Everywhere you go from the small bar to the design store the attention to details is amazing.

 

A beautiful historic palace was the setting for the Danish design company of Hay House. We stepped into a world of hygge design and from the tall impressive windows we had an incredible view over the busy square.

Next stop was the Royal Copenaghen store, one of the world’s oldest companies, established in 1775. Easter was the main theme with moss, trees, flowers, bulbs and fine china eggs in every corner.

Moving on we arrived in a quaint, little street home of the romantic and eclectic shop Stillleben.

From there we headed for lunch to a nice restaurant with an incredible inner greenhouse.

In the afternoon although the elements were against us, we popped over to The little mermaid on the sea. We stopped off at a coffee shop along the way to warm ourselves and to try a delicious Danish pastry.

 

Don’t miss my post next week about the Design Week in Milan.

A special thanks to Pauline  of PetitePassaport for her very useful guide of Copenaghen.

 
 
 
 
 

inspiring home decorations

 
 

Last Saturday I found inspiration in the beautiful greenhouse of Villa la Valverde. I started choosing the flowers and vases to use in the decorations the day before.

I combined a range of different berries with Norway pine, moss and hyacinth bulbs. Berries are an absolute must for any Christmas decoration for their amazing colours and textures. I decided to resume a Swedish Christmas tradition. In December in Sweden all homes have bulbs and when the flowers blossom, the scent spreads through every room. Bulbs are very easy to take care of. You need to water the bulb and the flower every 3 to 4 days. When kept indoors they blossom after 10 days. When the flowers wither, cut the leaves and the flower and store them in a paper bag in a dark, dry place. You’ll be able to plant them either inside or out next year.

As you can see from the photos, I used different types of bottles, small vases and other things that I found in the greenhouse to create interest. Always try to use at least 3 elements and dare to be different by making unusual combinations. For examples I put a succulent in a simple pottery pot together with an old wooden tool box which gave an unusual twist.

Don’t miss my next post about Christmas table decorations!
Have you put your decorations up yet? Send me your photos!

Notebooks and gift wraps from Lino’s & Co.

 
 

ideas for decorating your home at Christmas

 
 

In the last few days I’ve been checking out the latest Christmas decorations. Out of the many Christmas images I was always attracted to a natural and cozy atmosphere.

Let’s start with some useful tips:

  • As I wrote in my last post, do start by choosing your colour palette (maximum 3) and the style you desire to have in your home. These two tips will make it easier for you to focus on what you like best and how to make it. (Do take a look at what you have at your disposal)
  • Do use a lot of candles, they help a lot to create a warm atmosphere.
  • Do try to decorate all your home so each room will look festive

By the way the official date to start all Christmas decorations is the 8th of December, but we can start them a little bit earlier to make the magic last longer!

I love to use what nature offers in this season, so I’ll give you a list of foliage that you can buy at the local florist or find in the woods

Pine

Pine is the king of this season. In the shops, you may find two different varieties that don’t lose needles and last for all the period: Norway pine (bottle green colour) and silver pine (silver green). Not forgetting the very perfumed strobus pine.

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Cypress

Silver and green cypress branches always remind me of vintage lace and will add an unusual twist.

Eucalyptus

When dried, eucalyptus silver green leaves change to an ash grey colour. I personally love the silver berried eucalyptus as they look like little fireworks when blossoming.

Berries

You’ll be spoiled for choice with berries: from pillar box red right down to a wide range of browns and burgundies.

Moss

Moss is an absolute must for any festive occasion. Its softness will add a fairy magic to your home!

Here are some photos of easy and interesting things to make.

In a nutshell try to use different kinds of foliage to add texture to your creations. And don’t forget a splash of colour!

Do you find this post helpful? Send me your feedback and photos about your creations.

Some pics are mine, other from Pinterest!

 
 

4 essential floral design rules to create yours decorations

 
 

As Christmas time is approaching, I would like to share with you 4 essential floral design rules which can be very useful for decorating the Christmas dinner table or even for a birthday party or a wedding.

To show you what I mean let’s take an example of a creation I made in February. The task was to create a complete inspirational scenery for a wedding setting.

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1. COLOUR

The first rule is to choose a colour or a palette of colours (my advice maximum 3). It will be then easier to make all the other choices. Possible colour combinations can be based on tones, contrasting colours or even neighbouring colours on the colour wheel.

For this particular work I chose a delicate pink and white palette with neutral green as a base. Be careful not to gather too many colours as there is no place for the eye to rest.

2. MOODBOARD

It’s essential to create a moodboard in order to find out your tastes, ideas and style. Different types of magazines are great for providing inspiration. Pinterest is fantastic for helping you wrap up your ideas. The important thing is to go with the flow and not have too many preconceptions. Have a look at my Christmas board on Pinterest.

3. LESS IS MORE

It’s important to keep in mind the location and what is at your disposal. Remember to keep it well balanced and don’t go overboard: less is more. Try to focus your attention on one element which could be either the flowers, the tablecloth colour or the place setting, the others elements will be the backdrop.

4. CONTEXTUALIZE

Always keep in mind where you are going to do your creation, the colours that are already there, the interior design, the style and what you have. For example, for your wedding if you’ve already chosen the location, the style of all the floral decorations has to be in harmony with the setting.

Just going back to the scene I created in February my starting point for every single choice was a big glass wall. I imagined it to be a corner of a country winter garden, so the style was romantic with a vintage accent.

In a nutshell, always follow these rules whether it to be a dinner with friends, a photo shoot or any special event.

In the next post I’ll be giving you some ideas on how to decorate your home for Christmas.

Let me know what you think!

The location and all materials are from Ambroso.
Marco Bravi was the photographer.