Last week I spent a fabulous day with the inspirational Kim Beedie who runs Figa & Co. Kim has a background in interior design and now specialises in floral styling for events. Every season she holds a series of courses in beautiful locations in Suffolk where she shares her floral styling expertise. Last week I was very lucky to attend one of her festive styling days at the stunning location of Glemham Hall. Imagine the delight in spending a flower filled day in a genuine ancestral home complete with family portraits, heirloom silver and crystal and an enormous dining table that you can almost hear groaning with Dickensian Christmas treats!
Kim had designed a whole host of ideas to inspire us. The enormous table looked fantastic and quite daunting, but it was surprising how easy Kim’s ideas would be to recreate on a smaller scale at home. Do remember as you browse through these photos that this table is huge and Kim had left plenty of room for the diners.
Feast your eyes on these beautiful old silver candleabra and crystal bowls that belong to Glemham Hall. Kim added the greenery, evergreen wreaths, pink peppercorns, metal house lanterns and tiny birds to create a visual feast with a contemporary edge.
Look closely at the photo above and you will see how Kim has placed a large box ball at the end of the table and then placed birch branches into the box ball to add height to the table arrangements. Imagining a box ball at each end of each table will give you some idea of the scale of this dining table – a garland was suspended between the birch twigs to carry the theme above the guests heads – you can see the greenery hanging down in the top off the photo.
Simple green wreaths decorated with pink peppercorns were used to top crystal bowls illuminated with tea lights and to add drama to the already stunning candelabra.
I have never seen a crystal bowl as large as this one!
Kim taught us that it is not just the grand gesture that is important when designing a festive table. Her attention to the little details was stunning – just look at that tiny hellebore in a liqueur glass with a touch of supporting moss. The plain white napkin was decorated with a sprig of rosemary and a bunch of pink peppercorns tied around with ribbon. Both the hellebore and the napkin were arranged on a dinner plate to delight the guests (that was us!!).
I really loved these tin house lanterns – I have been very tempted to buy one or two this year but refrained as I was not quite sure how to incorporate them in my decorations – here they were magical adding low level candlelight to the table.
These little birds were used to decorate the table at all levels. Everywhere you looked there was something new to surprise!
The back of each chair was decorated with a fake moss wreath and ribbon.
Even ornaments had been commissioned into use as table decorations. The beauty of this styling is that so much of what we already have at home could be used to add an unusual festive touch to our Christmas table. I would never have thought to use wine glasses as tea light holders, liqueur glasses as mini flower pots, unused decanters and crystal bowls as containers for greenery or animal ornaments to add a touch of whimsy and yet I have all of these things at home.
After Kim talked us though the details on the table, explaining how she planned in layers starting with the large scale box balls, garland and chair wreaths and then working out the smaller details at eye level, she showed us how even a small room could use this styling technique by just making up a tray of unusual details.
Kim used a standard myrtle bush, one of the hellebore liqueur glasses, a wine glass with a tea light in it and some smaller tea light holders and a large christmas tree decoration – with a bit of imagination the concept from the large table scene was reduced to the size of a brass tray.
After Kim had finished talking us through the details and given us time to appreciate all the many items on the table, we were taken outside for a walk around the grounds. The gardens at Glemham Hall were breath taxingly beautiful, even in December and I am saving the photos for a separate post. On our return inside this delicious lunch awaited us!
A beautiful cheese and onion tart, focaccia, new potatoes, coleslaw and a salmon salad,
Followed by this stunning Italian christmas cake topped with pistachios and pomegranate seeds. The cake was based on a Nigella Lawson recipe for a panettone christmas pudding cake.
After lunch the flowers awaited and we spent the final part of our day making our festive wreaths with Kim’s guidance and inspiration. Sadly the afternoon light was too poor to take good photographs, but I will show you my finished wreath next week.
We had a fabulous day and came away buzzing with ideas and, of course, our completed Christmas wreaths all thanks to Kim who was such an inspiration!!
I wish you a very happy and relaxing weekend (although I am sure that many of you, like me, will be tearing around finishing last minute preparations) and I will be back on Monday with some festive greenery.