Last Spring, I travelled with my family to France and dined (and danced) under the stars in Paris. Each evening, sitting at a cafe table in Paris, I saw more than the company I was with and the food I was served. I could see PARIS. The feeling of that moment - the time in the evening when friends, family, and lovers fill the outdoor cafe tables to dine together - this was the inspiration for my picnic table presented at DIFFA's Urban Picnic by Design.
Preparations began immediately following the honor of acceptance as one of the inaugural Interior Designer's for the event. I partnered with David Wilkes Builders to execute my vision of dining under the stars in Paris.
The initial concept was to create a canopy structure that would house hundreds of tiny lights to act as the stars for the evening. A few iterations on materiality and support for the canopy landed me in the steel fabricators shop sketching out the details of the steel structure that would act as the base for hundreds of 'stars', the night sky, and a nod to the architecture of Paris with a custom crown moulding.
Details are king when desiging any space, structure, or even picnic table and basket. Creating a cohesive design from the start to finish was paramount.
Sewing the custom pink satin liner for the picnic basket. The basket was completely transformed from its original state to include metallic paint on the exterior, the custom pink satin liner, removal of the original handles and the addition of a custom fabricated acrylic lid with a lovely acrylic and brushed steel handle. Fabrics were generously donated by Kravet and the pull was also donated by my friend Jonathan Heibert with Push Pull Open Close.
As Paris is the birthplace of Haute Couture, and because of my deep love for all things fashion, I created hand illustrated backs for my custom head chair slipcovers. Inspired by the fashionable ladies of Paris today and from years past (note the Marie Antionette inspired hair), with their pink ruffles and ostrich feathers, these ladies helped set the tone for the evening.
Final preparations under way the day of the event!
The custom fabricated and painted table top is on and the GORGEOUS antique mirror top is installed. (See the lovely banquet table in the background that each designer started with.)
Our steel canopy with crown moulding is ready to place on top of the table.
The stars are illuminated in preparation for the guests arrival.
The city of Paris integrates the new with the old seamlessly. The antique mirror table top was a lovely juxtaposition to the modern steel structure.
A suitable 'french chic' picnic outfit is selected complete with new pink sparkly Kate Spade shoes (a birthday treat - my daughter and I chose matching shoes - what wardrobe is complete without a little sparkle).
And the final result! An evening in Paris under the stars - right here in Austin!
I had such an amazing time dreaming of Paris as I designed the table. The event was a huge success even exceeding expectations of the organizers in raising money for AIDS Services of Austin. I look forward to the event next year and hope that I am able to participate. I know it will be even bigger and better for those of you who were not able to make it!
David Wilkes Builders : built table top and canopy top, installation, take down, and transportation of materials (including Todd Campbell, Steve Messenger, Alan Heine, Jim Donovan)
Anchor Ventana : donation of glass table top
Kravet Fabrics : donation of fabrics used on basket and napkin rings
Personal Wine : supplied wine and engraved wine box for picnic basket
Coleman Interiors : custom slip covers
Push Pull Open Close : picnic basket handle
Dog Iron Press : sponsorship of table top decor
BPI Team : sponsorship of florals, ribbons, and vases
Professional photos Jake Holt Photography (photos under final result and first photo of post)