5 Steps to a Modern Holiday Table Setting

Author: Sydney Piwowar

  1. Pick a Theme

This year, I am keeping a simple Scandinavian winter theme with a neutral palette. Natural textures, greenery and soft candlelight create a relaxed setting where the focus can be on the great food and conversation around the table.

Setting by Ruby and James

Setting by Ruby and James

2. Simple Textures

Layering up textures is very important. Here, starting with a layer of white linen sets a soft tone. A rough grey linen runner lines the table adding needed balance against the perfect white. Notice that the grey and white tones call back to the dive grey dishes set on the table.

Setting by Bukatron

Setting by Bukatron

3. Natural Accents

They say that scent is the strongest memory trigger. The smell of pine at this time of year reminds me of all the great holidays of my past and to come. Using the left over tree trimming is an easy way to add a more festive feel to any holiday table.

Setting by Julie Banner

Setting by Julie Banner

4. Add Height

I don't like focus of a table setting to be down. I like to give the eye eye freedom to travel around the room. One easy trick is to add height which is easily done with the addition of a few tall candlesticks. In the winter months, candlelight is essential to any gathering. Burning candles creates the ultimate cozy ambiance. Another trick to fill up a larger table is to add a combination of tall candlesticks and low tea lights scattered along the table foliage so there's light at different levels. 

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

5. Simple Accessories

Black and brass candle sticks are a simple, yet gutsy way to go. This trend pays homage to traditional candles, but adds a fun and celebratory feel. This is also an opportunity to showcase special occasion cutlery that is more exciting than the everyday stainless steel set. Textured or patterned napkins serve as a pop against the white setting here.. Tying the edgy black stainless steel in with the rest of the clean, elegant, table setting.

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

To see more amazing table setting inspiration images, check out my Pinterest board HERE!

Top 5 Interior Glass Walls

We were all in shock when the trend hit in early 2017 and have been drooling over them since. Black powder coated steel framed glazed partitions. In other words, those beautiful black framed window walls that we are seeing in interior spaces. After the swoon faded, I discovered a very practical issue with these walls… Arent walls supposed to separate spaces and provide privacy? Well, not these ones. The goal of these window walls are to separate zones in space without compromising on light, still maintaining the open feel of the space. To prove it to you, I have rounded up our top 5 favorite PRACTICAL applications for these.

  1. Interstitial Spaces

Designed by: De Rosee Sa

Designed by: De Rosee Sa

Interstitial spaces can be a pain to design. Often, they become this weird in-between space with no purpose other than to offer a transition in space. These glass walls offers a connection from the outside in, making a smoother and aesthetically pleasing transition.

2. Studio Dividers

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Anyone who has ever owned a studio apartment or condo knows the struggle of defining zones within a larger, open space. We have seen endless Ikea temporary hacks, but for those who are in it for the long run, this offers a solution that embraces your small space.

3. Quiet Zones

Since the development of open concept, our clients have come to us with lots of noise control issues. Families are finding that noise carries through the house in unwanted areas. No one wants to hear the kids playing cops and robbers while you’re trying to make a work call in our home office. These glazing walls offer create barrier between spaces, blocking some sound, and separating quiet spaces like your office.

4. Stair Railings

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It sounds contradictory to build a wall to open up the space, but this glazing wall offers a protective railing for the stairs without the cluttered, repetitive lines of balusters.

5. Messy Spaces

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There are some spaces, like mudrooms, that unfortunately receive a lot of light as they are connected to the exterior of the home, but get VERY messy. Frosted glass partitions offer a way to carry in that light without seeing the mess! This can be a great solution for spaces like kids play rooms, pantries, offices, etc.

This is a steel and glass wall we did for a modern condo in the West Loop to split the master bedroom from the main living area. We also had custom cast brass door handles made.

Jen Talbot Design Glass Wall.jpg
Jen Talbot Design Brass Door Handle.jpg
Jen Talbot Design.jpg

Top 5 Trim Options that AREN'T White

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Contrast trim became famous for providing non-contractor grade options for trim. It was a missed opportunity for years to provide another aspect of color and depth to space. Rather than just picking the base grade or what ever is cheapest at Home Depot, we encourage you to put an interesting spin on a building necessity. Here are our current Top 5 Favorite Contrast Trim Colors now.

  1. Classy Black

We have all heard of the black trim trend at this point. At JTD, we appreciate the unique ways people are using black in space. Here is a great space where the designer chose to trim a unique white wallpaper with black.

Designed By Anne Hepfer

Designed By Anne Hepfer

2. Calming Grey

Although providing a visual contrast, this soft grey brings a sense of comfort into the space.

Photo By  Tessa Neustadt

3. Eclectic Green

We love the way this emerald toned trim compliments the original stained glass windows. This is a great way to modernize traditional spaces.

Photo By  Homelife

Photo By Homelife

4. Pretty In Pink

If your kids are anything like I was, they constantly want to update their room. An easy, non permanent way to do that is to paint trim. No need for painting or wallpapering whole walls.

Designed by Hedda Pier

Designed by Hedda Pier

5. Buoyant Blue

This soft, baby blue paint color was pulled to compliment the paper pattern.

Photo By:  Shanon Montrose

Photo By: Shanon Montrose

Brass Swing Arm Sconces

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Heres the truth about swing arm sconces - people are too afraid to use them. A light that attaches to the wall and sticks out far into the room can be intimidating because it is very permanent. Their placement can determine the layout of a room. With the help from your favorite designers at JTD, we are here to tell you that they are aren't scary. They take a designer with the right experience to make sure you are putting them in the right place for your space. We have curated a few of our favorite applications to prove it to you. 

1. Ambient Lighting - Long Swing Arm Sconce

2. Bed Task Lighting - Short Swing Arm Sconce

3. Direct Lighting - Short Swing Arm Sconce

4. Task Lighting - Bent Swing Arm Sconce

Designer Unknown

Designer Unknown

5. Spot Light - Directional Swing Arm Sconce