Monday, June 22, 2015

Styling for HomeGoods, Part Two

Part two of my story continues! 
 I left the location house that second day with the understanding that the dinner table vision I was working on needed to be tweaked with more color.  Of course I could remedy the situation, and in my mind's eye I saw the solution to be the centerpiece.  So my plan for the last day of styling would be to stop at the local Whole Foods and get the components for the centerpiece on my way to the location.    That night I formulated my plan to get the color into the table.  I would bring a few things from my home, then I would get the centerpiece materials and speed back to the house.  I thought I had a genius idea for the centerpiece! Wouldn't it be great to make a centerpiece using vegetables in purples and greens instead of flowers.  In a nod to harvest time, this unusual centerpiece would be beautiful and the wow factor.  I began thinking of all the different kinds of vegetables I would look for at Whole Foods.  Eggplants and artichokes,  kale and cabbages with purple were what I hoped to find. 
 When I left the house I grabbed a large antique silver tray along with a little stack of my beloved purple transferware desert dishes.  I had this idea that I would layer a transferware dish underneath the glass compote dish, and it would sit on top of the silver salad plate, which set on top of the grey stoneware dinner plate. There would be elements of wood in some sliced wooden pedestals and wooden serving pieces that would play nicely off the metallic silver dishes and flatware. Green pears were my choice to set inside the compote dishes, and little wooden tags strung with twine would be the place cards at each setting.  Above you can see the small stack of transferware and my silver tray, and in the lower left hand corner there is a package of Rosemary and some twine.  Imagine how pretty and "harvesty" it would be to have the vegetables on the platter and tiny candles lit all over the table.  Some classic white napkins with a sprig of Rosemary on the napkin underneath the twine and wooden name tags would be a nice rustic touch.  
Next stop was Whole Foods and everything went according to plan.  Well, maybe not completely~let me explain.  I found every vegetable, except no artichokes.  I wanted to try artichokes in the compote dishes, not pears.  But alas, they had none.  So I got 8 green pears, and much to my amazement, they had a bunch of purple cauliflower! Beautiful and bright purple, this cauliflower was a gift from the universe telling me that my vision was right on! Other winners in the veggie aisle were teeny tiny potatoes in taupe, beige and purple, brussels sprouts, rutabagas in white and purple, and wonderful ruffled edge kale with tinged purple leaves. I grabbed all of these and more.  But the not so great part was my  floral centerpiece idea.  There was a small florist stand, and I knew I wanted a floral centerpiece as a backup incase the vegetable thing fell flat.   Standing in the floral booth creating pretty looking cluster bouquets was a  jolly green giant kind of young guy.  I thought, I will kill two birds with one stone, and ask him to make up a centerpiece.  Everything around him appeared to be done so well!  I asked Jolly Green if he could create a centerpiece for me, and I happened to have a long wooden box container in my car.  Could he use that and fill it with the flowers I selected?  Yes, he said he could do that for me while I shopped for vegetables.  Yippee!! I would have two good centerpiece options when I rolled into the location.
I showed Jolly Green this instagram photo that I saved in my phone photo gallery.  This would be the idea for how I wanted him to assemble the flowers I selected, but they would be in a long wooden box.  I selected green roses, purple asters and an orangey-berry type sprig.  Explaining that this was for a photo shoot for fall, I wanted purple and autumn colors to enhance the dinner table I was creating.  Oh yes, he said....and off I went to gather my vegetables.  Well when I returned, what he showed me looked nothing like this image.  I can laugh now, but in reality~ I was mildly horrified.  Jolly Green had added pink peonies and big gold colored gerber daisies to the mix.  And he cut them all the same height and then stuck them in the box that was filled with florist foam I had given him.  All the stems were exposed, all the foam was exposed, and if you can imagine that it just looked like a crayola box that was opened with multi-colors on sticks marching in a straight line.  It was pretty awful.  Well, what was I to say? It was too late to do anything about his lack of florist skills. I asked him to give me a few more bunches of the purple asters and the berry bunches. If needed I could rearrange it all when I arrived to the location.  I loaded up the car and drove to the location house.  
Once there I took all the groceries and flowers into the butlers pantry that we were using as a staging area for the dining room.  This house was an old house and it had some beautiful features, one of which was this old zinc sink dropped into a wooden countertop.  Behind it was an old fashioned pantry for storing serving dishes.  I unpacked the vegetables and set to making the centerpiece.
 It came together as beautifully as I imagined it would.   I placed the small vintage transferware dishes under the glass compotes and plunked an organic pear inside for the green color. A tester sprig of rosemary was threaded underneath the napkin. Since my handwriting is atrocious, I asked my assistant to write up the place cards. I was in love with the result. 
 An ariel view shows the most amazing purple cauliflower and the tiny potatoes and the wonderful rutabagas, baby eggplants, brussel sprouts and fresh beets all set on a foundation of curly edged kale.
More things would be added to the table later, but this was all set up so that we could try switching out different elements until we got the look that was best.  
The decisions were made:  
Use the rosemary sprig, ditch the transferware, we used a purple compote dish that we had as backup.  Done.  The disastrous floral centerpiece was never reworked as the beautiful vegetable centerpiece told the story of a harvest dinner. 
The table would look like this moving forward.  
I was very happy with the way it presented, and I went home on a bit of a cloud.  
Fast forward to the next day of the photo shoot.
 This little shot above is from my iPhone taking in what the photographer shot, and how it appears on his computer monitor so the team can see what he is capturing. The colors read a bit more brilliant than they really were, but isn't it amazing?  Part three is coming up~the day of the shoot, as well as how I snuck bits of my personal life into a few of the shots.  Hey, a girls gotta have a keepsake memory of this exciting experience when all was said and done, right?  

Read Part One HERE

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  1. Your centerpiece is nothing short of spectacular. The colors are gorgeous.
    Well played.

    1. thx Lisa, you are very kind to say that! xox

  2. Replies
    1. thank you Penelope, I am glad you think so. xo

  3. Morning Amy,
    So much fun being a part of all this with you, via the blog! It is going to be amazing for sure.
    I hope you have a good recipe for vegetable stew!!!!

    Looking forward to the next installment

    The Empty Nest

    1. hahha right Janet, a big stew! Except I had to go straight to Newport to work for a client, so the cooking thing was out.

  4. Beautiful! I will remember this center piece for Thanksgiving..

    1. Me too Dolores, and my mom loved it as well. I think its a simple idea that could be quite spectacular depending upon the container, tray etc and the vegetables or fruits chosen.

  5. Beautiful! I will remember this center piece for Thanksgiving..

  6. Another gorgeous masterpiece "styled by Amy" ..... let me know if you need a "location house" in NC! :) I am sure you are loving every moment of doing this for HomeGoods!

    1. Thank you Shirley, your house is totally photo shoot worthy....but the thing is you have to empty your rooms practically. And yours just were featured in a magazine so you have it perfect RIGHT now!!!

  7. Amy, first let me say congrats on the Home Goods opportunity! Fall is certainly about harvest and your vision of the veggie centerpiece was spot on. Changing the compote from clear glass to purple key to changing that whole look....the clear glass fell flat for sure. Nice job over all and best of luck!

    1. It was a stroke of luck by the HG team that they found the purple glasses! Teamwork was key!! Thank you for your nice words, and I hope you like part three. xo


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