it’s a Dark and moody holiday tablescape



Sometimes I like my tablescapes like I like my men: Masculine, moody, and dark …

I’ve styled so many crazy colorful girly shoots lately that I needed to visually take a break from the girly (stay tuned for Thursday — I’m revealing my holiday decorations and it overflows with pinks and bows). So when Mark and Graham, the newest baby in the William Sonoma family to join West Elm, Rejuvenation, and William Sonoma home, asked me to style their product in my own way, I decided to do something different and get my moody on.

So I chose a palette of black, white, grey, and a warm ochre. It’s not terribly holiday because I wanted to do something more year round for my book, but it is very winter.

I wanted it to feel more modern and masculine, less frills, no florals, no bows, but with some feminine lines here and there (hello, it’s me). And while at first I wanted it to be minimalist, ultimately I do love myself some layers and textures. The key to styling in a masculine way is to keep the color palette fairly simple and choose pieces that have texture, but less pattern or ornate detailing. So I kept all the shapes of the plates, flatware, platters, etc. really simple and straight or at times going towards rustic (like that West Elm pretty black casserole dish), but there was nothing nothing overly decorative with flourishes.

And yes, it doesn’t hurt that I shot at my friend’s house, which is gorgeous (you’ll see WAY more of that in a couple months when we finish the living room and nursery, unless we pitch it to magazines first.)

I recieved the Mark and Graham Typographers Linen Napkins with my H for Holla! (JK, although that is what we will be telling our dinner guests) in the very classic font of Didot regular. Totally pretty and simple.

The gray bowls are from Heath — the Chez Panisse line for $35 a piece.

The white plates are these fancy Chaucer plates that I found at a thrift store for $1 a piece and are paper thin and totally revered by all. After Brian broke two of the matching salad plates, I decided to bequeath them to my friend Scott who WORSHIPS them. I used to get worried that Scott came over to just say hi to the plates sometimes.

The flatware is Crate and Barrel, Aero for $59.99 a place setting.

The casserole dish is West Elm, Terrain Bakeware $29.99.

The black and white plaid tea towel is Fog Linen from Nicky Kehoe in Los Angeles.

Footed black olive holder is actually an incense burner (but I just loved the shape) and also from Nicky Kehoe.

That amazing white rustic pitcher (that can’t hold liquid, it’s a “looking at pitcher” not a “pouring out water” pitcher) was from The Conran Shop, which no longer exists in America — only England.

The vase with the amazing French tulips in them is from Heath as well. The candle holder, footed vessel, and adorable little black/white patterned bowl are all vintage and borrowed from my friend Scott.

Oh, the menu? It’s just delicoius. It’s dark green/purple and black olives, white mozzarella, grilled mango, bread, and yellow beets. SUCH A TREAT! Clearly we bought food at Whole Foods that would work in the color palette and no dinner party actually is happening. My poor (non-existent) guests.

This was a challenge with my friends and fellow bloggers: Cassandra from Coco Kelley, Caitlin from Sacramento Street, Camille from Camille Styles, and Jenny from Little Green Notebook — four blogs that I check regularly and so should you. Go over there and see what they did for the challenge.

So Mark and Graham is hosting a big of a design challenge that all of us are participating in on their Facebook page today. The tablescape designer that gets the most likes will get $500 in Mark and Graham items, and then one of you that votes will randomly win the same. So get on over there and vote. The contest ends on Friday, 12/16, and you know you want some free dough, so go for it.

And there she is sans the Christmas tree, for all of those pinners out there that want to pin it on year round boards. I’m very accomodating like that. :)

All beautiful photographs are by Bethany Nauert, who i can’t thank enough. :)

  1. Melissa

    OMG that chandelier! Insane. Love.

  2. I love it! You have such a range, yet this still seems approachable and cozy. Voting for you!

  3. Wanda

    I am speechless over that chandelier! It is beyond LOVE!

  4. Nat

    oh, I have to third everyone before me, WHAT IS THAT CHANDELIER! :) Coveting that casserole dish too.

  5. Emily Henderson

    OH, i'll get chandelier info asap and post it!!!!! I know its a repro of a vintage piece i think it was purchased at 20th century or someplace amazing like that in LA, but stay tuned….

  6. I can't wait to hear about the chandelier, it is amazing!
    Emily, I am such a fan! Your blog has got to be my favorite!

  7. Gillianne

    Love. Everything. Warm hues for cold weather. Matte-finish Heath ceramics. The natural textures of your table and chairs. That light fixture! The Giamcometti-like sculptural candlesticks. The shine from the gold vase and the interesting look of the other vases. The wheat-mustard table runner against the grained wood (what IS that color?). And yes, the Mark and Graham napkins. Love.

  8. Lynne

    Emily, do I just Facebook like your page from your blog? I can't find anything on their Facebook page about voting?

  9. Shane O

    I'm in LOVE! Did you have to make the collage art piece above the credenza? I remember them being sold separately…

  10. Bradley Clifford


    This is one of my favorite post from you. I too love the chandelier and your styling in this. Wish we had met while in Portland at the fundraiser. Happy Holidays and thanks for sharing.

    My best

  11. dm

    Brilliant! Exquisite! Love the warm colors! It's Pottery Barn warmth, but way more cool and updated! How did you do that? It's the blue grey bowls and flowers, isn't it? Please, please talk more about the palette. I learn so much from your blogs.

  12. Sara

    Oh Emily! Love the dark and moody. Love the chandelier. SO perfect! And the HOUSE. Good Lord, the HOUSE – it's insane how much I love this. When that first picture popped up on my screen my head went a little dizzy and gasped – I tend to do that when I love something so much – it's weird, I know. And happens frequently when looking at your blog.

  13. Lisa

    Beautiful setting, a dinner party I want to attend! Do you have more info on the table? It looks fabulous. Modern/rustic, yet with a leaf insert, which is hard to find…

  14. Ash BRaun

    OMG, I audibly gasped at my desk when I saw those images! Amazing styling Emily!

    PS I love your posts all the way down here in Australia! Keep up the great work…

  15. Jo

    just came across your site – i LOVE this post.

  16. Chris

    Emily – Your presentation and photos here are gorgeous. This is just awesome.

  17. Sheila S.

    Wow! So MCM and so TODAY all at the same time! The chandelier, the Heath ceramics, the (now you see 'em, now you don't) brass deer on the sideboard, the contrasting florals (little yellow satellites, spiky blue thistles and fresh, lush white tulips) – every element relates to others around the table and in the room so beautifully. I'm just dying to be invited around for cocktails here someday – any chance of that??? Bravo!

  18. sofia

    it is amazing!! love the "A Single Man" movie feeling. it's great. absolutely great taste!!

  19. Voted for you! Such a fun masculine change from your normal, also-amazing style!

  20. Love the Mid-Century vibe!

  21. michele double you

    Chandelier love. I don't just want it; I want want it. I will dream of it. Truly, deeply, madly.

  22. Tori

    Sending more chandy love! I COVET!!!

  23. BonnieJean

    I LOVE the chandelier along with everyone else, can't wait to read the info about it!!!!

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