When the holidays roll around, interior designer Alexis Elley sets a dining table that’s a veritable feast for the eyes.
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.
Once upon a sconce
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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Elley brings out her Tiffany & Co. Audubon sterling silver flatware for special occasions. It’s inspired by 19th-century Japanese bird paintings, she says.