Thursday, July 1, 2010


I first met Joe Nye when I was out in Laguna Beach photographing one of his client's houses for House Beautiful. I was struck from the outset by his incredible sense of style and superb use of among many things, color and pattern. Since that time, we have developed both a friendship and a working relationship of mutual respect and admiration.

I worked with Joe some time later to help him build his brand and expand his creative vision with product development. Part of this effort was to work with him on a book with Rizzoli. It has manifested itself in an incredibly charming square format that is filled with glorious pictures of Joe's ideas for table settings and entertaining. Without question, "Flair" comes naturally to Joe -- he has it in spades. The book shows readers how to entertain with panache and discusses choosing invitations, place cards, setting the table and arranging flowers. Joe's high energy and constant creative ideas are inspiring to be around -- his love of fabrics with bold patterns, pretty china, and a vision of how it should come together are ever present. Now that summer is in full swing, entertaining is on many of our minds. How do you create a memorable experience? Well, with Joe Nye's Flair as your guide, your guests will feel especially welcome.

The cover of Flair starts it off with a bang, showing Joe's beloved hand painted Isis ceramics with Juliska's classic black bamboo flatware on a tablecloth made from a fabric that pairs unexpected colors. The book gives a true sense of Joe's ability to create young traditional settings with beautiful decorative elements and high design details. Setting the scene for ladies lunches, birthday celebrations and memorable dinners, the book shares ideas you can use, ways to work with what you already own, and how to tie a whole look together.

We visited the LA flower market, a huge warehouse space with rows and rows of bright bunches. Carnations are a favorite of Joe's so they play a starring role in the book. His pale green sweater looks great against the pale lilac of the Hydrangea.

Red, white and blue is a perennial summer favorite. With the 4th of July coming, this table looks just right. A red toile tablecloth sets the groundwork for mixing high and low. Crate and Barrel lanterns are shown next to Dahlia's in antique silver containers. Use what you have and mix high and low together. To add visual interest, use flutes and lower water glasses at different heights.

Each place setting has a guest gift of Teuscher truffles, flown in daily from Switzerland. Give your guests a sweet little something as a take home gift so the event lingers in their memory. Grab a freshly cut stem and place it at each setting-- it's all in the details.

Baby's Breath, "are much maligned flower" in Joe - speak, used here en masse to great dramatic effect. He teaches us to look singular flower arrangements, and to look at certain types of inexpensive flowers with a new eye. They can look great when done right. Luckily, Joe had great environments to work with. Many of the shoots took place in homes he designed, so he was very familiar with the surroundings!

Every book needs a signature element. In this case, each place setting is shown up close and personal. This way, you get the whole story, show how the varied elements come together. Joe mixed his Flight Barr and Barr antique china with a Home, James! Chinatown Charger. The look is unexpected and fun. For the flowers, he pulled out colors found in the china, and for napkins, a shade of aqua.

Photos by Edmund Barr
Aubergine and kelly green make a great pairing. Don't be afraid to mix and match patterns that are vastly different. The geometric border of Elsie from Charlotte Moss for Pickard works well with my favorite pattern, Chelsea Flowers by Mottahedeh. Purple William Yeoward Crystal goblets bring out the flowers in the china.


Liz, Viive and Benji said...

Ooh, I will definitely be picking up a copy of Flair! Thanks for posting the gorgeous 4th of July table - I needed some inspiration. I love the lantern, the Dahlias, the bright blue champagne flutes - that table really pops. I must protest the Swiss chocolates though. As delicious as they must be, I must do the American thing and serve M&Ms!!
-Dovecote Decor

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Joe's red, white & blue table is magnificent. Flair looks like a book every person who loves to entertain should own. Thanks for the peek inside the pages.

Have a safe & fun 4th weekend!

susan's buzz said...

what a gorgeous book!

Marisa said...

Yes, it is such a pretty book and it makes a great summer hostess gift as well