Dinner by Design is back, and with it the chance to spot designers creating a little magic at the dinner table—and to bring that style home.
Dinner by Design returns to Vancouver on September 15 and 16, and this time it spans two full floors at the Harbour Event Centre. Presented by the Social Concierge—with partial proceeds benefiting local art and design students—the event will see 15 designers, including newcomers Tina Dhillon, Christine Kardum and Rachelle Chambers, crafting a fully immersive tablescape or custom bar setting from a room no larger than 144 square feet. The spaces play host to a cocktail party and multi-course dinner before some are whisked away to IDS Vancouver, where they’ll join four other never-before-seen tablescapes on display from September 22 to 25. As we count down to this fall’s celebration, here’s a taste of one of last year’s standout showcases.
The Look: Hamptons Holiday
An all-American getaway awaits in this collaborative tablescape from designers Karla Amadatsu and Stephanie Giesbrecht. From the preppy blue-and-white palette and lush foliage to the upholstered banquette and crystal chandelier, the laid-back space exudes a summer-in-the-Hamptons vibe through and through.
Break up wallpaper To keep bold wallpaper from overwhelming a room, apply the print in small hits. Here, crisp white panelling—a classic Hamptons element—offers a tidy guide for trellis wallpaper. Think au naturel Pair elegant dinnerware with more relaxed pieces, like faux bamboo chairs, woven chargers and vintage milk-glass planters. The look is sophisticated without being stuffy. Embrace the table skirt When done wrong, table skirts can scream corporate catering. But Amadatsu and Giesbrecht’s choice of a banded linen iteration works. “It’s a little bit of a throwback, but we did it in a really tailored way,” says Amadatsu.
The Look: Raw Retreat
Nine sheets of oriented strand board (OSB) are the source of this raw yet refined retreat by designer Sean Pearson of RUFproject. The interlocking furnishings are cut from the same slabs of LED-lit wood that cocoons them, bridging the two-dimensional setting and the light that streams in.
Opt for benches. To accommodate larger parties—and get crowds chatting—reconfigure your space to include benches. Pearson crafted extra-wide seats that fit from three to six diners each. Play with tableware. Textured dinner- and glassware—modelled after melting ice—allows the LED-layered tabletop to shine, but it’s the Japanese chopsticks and cartoonish porcelain holders that add whimsy to mealtime. Leave floors bare. Pearson kept the attention on his ethereal dining table and floating pieces of OSB by forgoing floor coverings. “The table itself was so intense,” he notes. “There was no need to have anything underneath it.”
The Look: Modern Marrakesh
Take a trip to the crown jewel of North Africa in designer Stephanie Brown’s exquisite Marrakesh-inspired room. Textured walls, moody hues and Moroccan poufs evoke an alluring, old-world feel, while clean lines and contemporary accessories update the space for everyday.
Ditch the tablecloth. Shop outside the table-covering aisle to achieve a look that jibes best with your decor theme. Here, sheer gold organza and luxe purple velvet stand in for the traditional cloth and runner, respectively. Carve a niche. A cozy recess—lined with gold-leafed lattice wallpaper—houses a medley of votives and candelabras in three surrounding walls. It’s a clever way to showcase trinkets without sacrificing square footage. Repurpose drapery. Brown hung panels of white silk curtain—a perfect match with the shell-like chandelier—to help soften the room’s rigid makeup. “The white kept it fresh because we had so many things going on,” the designer says.