Bunny Williams is a luminary of interior design and one of the biggest names in the business. She also happens to be one of the nicest, most down-to-earth decorators I know. I met Bunny years ago when I was a newbie editor at House Beautiful and she was already a star. But over time, while it’s tempting for any designer to repeat methods that work, Bunny always manages to create rooms, furniture and fabrics that feel fresh. Take this print she designed for Lee Jofa. It’s a classically English floral with a subtle pixelation, giving the fabric an edge up over its mumsy competition. The palette steers clear of traditional Christmas colors, creating a canvas for a table that’s surprising and chic.
To cut down on costs, pair high and low fabrics for a modern mix: buy an inexpensive main cloth, then splurge on a custom topper. On my table, the ikat print from a discount fabric store adds graphic contrast to Bunny’s floral; grosgrain ribbon trim gives the pairing a finished feel.
I’m a big fan of Bunny’s line at Ballard with stylish china, linens and flatware at prices everyone can afford. Reinvent your go-to china this season by layering in new elements. On my table, dinner plates from Bunny’s Gold Star collection add a festive look to handmade chargers and my own antique English salad plates. When it comes to mixing china, repetition is power. It can give even the most unexpected combinations purpose. The same holds true for flatware: pair simple and elaborate shapes that work well together. Here, I used my own vintage forks and knives with pieces from Bunny’s Paris Flea Market collection. Mixing metals gives any table modern appeal.
Once you’ve created place settings with a mix that makes you happy, now comes the real fun! Details are the true personalities on a table, so let yours shine. Carved reindeer from Bunny’s collection lend woodland charm. Embellish them to suit your style. Candy in vintage and handmade vessels says the table doesn’t take itself too seriously (and neither should the guests). Skip the scramble for seats and send guests home happy with place cards that double as parting gifts. On my table, I personalized boxes of white chocolate peppermint bark with glittered letters from Michael’s. Salt cellars, shakers and pepper mills add a pinch of glamour, like fancy jewels for the table. Fill them with colorful salts such as Pink Himalayan.
Plants bring lush greenery to a table and trim costs by cutting down on flowers. Here, I paired low topiaries with a tonal arrangement of roses, amaryllises and seasonal berries in a blue-and-white ginger jar from Bunny’s showroom. Colorful tapers from Creative Candles carry up the blue from my own French opaline goblets; simple bobeches add a festive touch to the candlesticks.
For years, I’ve found inspiration in Bunny’s books, dreaming of a house and gardens to love. (Soon!)
But in the meantime, her foreword to my own book Modern Mix is a gift for which I will always be grateful.
Happy holiday entertaining, everyone!