Decking the Table for the Holidays

This Grosse Pointe Farms family’s holiday traditions always include a beautiful dining scene.
Photograph by Joseph Tiano

When the holidays roll around, interior designer Alexis Elley sets a dining table that’s a veritable feast for the eyes.

“Every year, it is decked, perhaps with small Christmas trees, eucalyptus, acorns; it’s a production,” says Elley, who runs Textures Interior Design in Grosse Pointe Farms.

A typical Christmas finds Elley; her husband, Jed; their children, Isabelle and Finn; and Elley’s parents seated at the table enjoying a holiday meal.

Her dining room didn’t always look the way it does now. A few years ago, while the Elleys were out of town, their master bathroom sprung a leak, and the water “ran for days.” A total overhaul was necessary.

Today, an updated open floor plan features Elley’s design stamp, including influences from the other places she and her husband have lived: California and Cape Town, South Africa, where Jed grew up.

“We also added new millwork on the ceiling, and we took down a wall that separated the kitchen and dining room. It feels so much bigger now, and it’s a reflection of how people live these days,” Elley says.

Here, Elley shares some festive tablescape ideas.

Photograph by Joseph Tiano.

Once upon a sconce

The sconces, which Elley likes to dim at dinnertime, provide mood lighting. They’re the Aerin style from City Lights Detroit at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.

Window shopping

In Cape Town, Elley says, one sees a lot of rattan and organic furnishings. “We like that look, so I selected light rattan wooden window shades. It’s a clean look against a darker trim.”

Basket case

“We go to Africa every year after the holidays, and I always see beautiful baskets, which inspired the purchase of the one I have hanging in the dining room. I love its authentic look.”

Choice chandelier

The Ralph Lauren chandelier exudes warmth with its leather and brass.

Cozy and comfy

“I add sheepskin throws to the host and hostess armchairs [from RH] for texture and coziness.” She chose a “performance fabric for those chairs, because life happens and I love white furniture.”

Table talk

The dark wood color of the RH table echoes the dark window trim, reminiscent of the decor the Elleys had in their home in South Africa. Light-colored bamboo chairs from Villa & House offer a refreshing contrast.

Charged up

Elley prefers for the table’s beauty to shine through her holiday vignette, so she places moss-green iron chargers — hand- forged by designer Jan Barboglio — beneath the plates. “They’re cool and different.”

Pattern play

The family’s Tiffany & Co. Christmas china brightens the table with a pattern that features greenery, pears, pinecones, and ribbons all awash in greens, golds, and reds.


Moser crystal glassware affords additional sparkle.

Cutlery couture

Elley brings out her Tiffany & Co. Audubon sterling silver flatware for special occasions. It’s inspired by 19th-century Japanese bird paintings, she says.

This story is from the December 2022 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition. And click here to see more metro Detroit interiors.