Celebrating Spring: The Making of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

One of our favorite spring traditions is designing a table for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Spring Gala. This year, Elizabeth wanted to create a romantic setting for guests that would transport them from the cavernous Cipriani into a garden on a warm spring night. Making her ideas a reality began with a sketch:

Move over, Jeremiah Goodman.

Elizabeth gave the drawing to her trusted friends and florists, Les Newman and Bob Mihalik of Botanica, knowing they could recreate her vision. The “foliage”, in reality plastic “cherry tree sprigs”, was affixed to a real wisteria branch “trunk”,  and was carefully bent and adjusted into the shape of a canopy. The “trunk” was left spare to encourage easy conversation between guests.

Elizabeth and Les discuss the table arrangement.

Elizabeth chose a cheerful tulip fabric from Quadrille for the tablecloth and chair slipcovers, in keeping with the table name “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”. She hung lit paper lanterns amongst the branches, and placed antique mercury votive candles at the base of the tree for intimacy and warmth.

Elizabeth, Les and Bob hang the paper lanterns.

The overflowing flowers and the antique mercury votives heightened the sense of romance.

Elizabeth borrowed chargers from Scully & Scully and embellished the napkins with the Quadrille fabric. As a final touch, she commissioned her talented friend Kate Pickett of Pickett’s Press to design customized McMillen notepads for every guest.

The final view.

Photos 1-4 © Tristan Offit, photo 5 © Elizabeth Pyne, photo 6 courtesy of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House.

We Love a Good Party

A tablescape for a themed seated dinner-dance is the perfect occasion to do something over-the-top! We can put all our energy into designs that are purely fun and indulgent. The most whimsical and creative ideas go beyond the confines of practicality. Nobody actually needs a 1,000-tulip centerpiece (or do they…) but the WOW factor is undeniable.

Our table for the 2011 Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Spring Gala.

This Missoni-for-Stark fabric was meant to embody the Cole Porter song “You’re the Top” and convey a 30s-style deco glow.

This peachy pink metallic in candlelight made every complexion flawless!

The base of the centerpiece was a ceramic stool from Mecox Gardens that we had copper-leafed by our florist, Botanica. (They also dyed the tulips to better match the fabric!) The crowning glory of 1,000 tulips weighed no less than 80 pounds. As party favors to our guests, we made CDs featuring Cole Porter and other hits from the 1930s.

We like to think this table landed Elizabeth and Ann in Bill Cunningham’s NY Times article the following Sunday.

courtesy of the New York Times

Our inaugural Lenox Hill table was in 2010. The theme was “Shall We Dance?” and, as Penelope Green of the NY Times put it, we used a mirrored disk with crystals and flowers to create an upside-down dance floor.

We used an inexpensive purple Dupioni silk from Stark with an overlay of silver lace from Schumacher.

For a party at the Metropolitan Club honoring Mario Buatta, McMillen was asked to do two tables and we gladly accepted!

Mary Beth Donohue chose this bright pink chintz in honor of the Prince of Chintz.

Elizabeth puts on the finishing touches.

Look at how Belfair designed this tiny green border to complement the greens of the plates and chintz. Could this be any cuter? The answer is no.

Inevitably, every good party has to come to an end. But we’re always looking forward to the next one!

Elizabeth's turban was the party favor/place setting from Christopher Spitzmiller's amazing table. Chris is the Design Chair of the Lenox Hill Neighborhood Spring Gala.