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Here on the Front Range, there’s no better time to entertain outdoors than right now—hello, mild nights and twinkle lights! We asked a few local shop owners and florists to imagine their dream al fresco dinner parties. Steal their ideas and invite your besties to toast the end of another perfect Colorado summer.
Ceder & Hyde Mercantile, Boulder
A spectacular Eldorado Canyon view inspires this earthy, organic, farm-to-table spread.
Sisters Poss and Christie Lambert spend all their waking hours running their flawlessly edited Boulder clothing and home-goods store, Cedar & Hyde. It’s a pace that, while rewarding, can “create a longing for intimacy and sacred spaces,” Poss says. So when we asked the sisters to set the table for their dream dinner party, they came up with this: A setting that “tantalizes all the senses”—right down to the wood bundle that is meant to be burned before the meal is served to “cleanse the day and allow each guest to be present,” Poss says. “We envision a group of busy professionals finally taking the time to connect with each other and nature. The aesthetic is calming, grounded, and relaxed.” To that we say, Om.
“The decorations are hand-to-table,” Poss says of the handmade items (all available at Cedar & Hyde) that compose the table setting. Among the elegantly neutral items they chose: a cotton table runner and placemats by Creative Women (from Ethiopia); flatware, glasses, salad servers, and a pitcher by Farmhouse Pottery (from Vermont); plates by Humble Ceramics (from California); nesting bowls by Kati von Lehman (from Oregon); a ceramic serving dish by MQuan (from New York); and floral centerpieces by Tara Huston of Fawns Leap (from Boulder). The main floral arrangement is set inside a hollowed-out grapewood log and features plants chosen for their “interesting texture,” Huston says, including tropical banksia flowers and green peperomia leaves.
Lulu’s Furniture & Decor, LoHi, Denver
Sculptural chairs and metallic accents create easy glamour for an intimate gathering in Denver.
Mother-daughter duo Christy Vranesic Brant and Caitlin Brant Marsh opened LoHi mainstay Lulu’s Furniture & Decor 10 years ago—and all this time later, it’s clear their design synergy is stronger than ever. So it’s no surprise that for the table they set in Christy’s backyard in southeast Denver’s Southern Hills neighborhood, they dreamed up this glamorous look. “The table has both masculine and feminine elements, so it would lend itself to a young, urban couple’s dinner party,” Marsh says. “We combined hushed tones and natural materials to give the table a tasteful, sophisticated, and laid-back feel, while the pops of gold add understated glamour.” We’ll toast to that.
An indoor/outdoor Simone bistro table and Kade dining chairs from Four Hands (all available at Lulu’s) set the tablescape’s elegant tone. “The metal tabletop’s aged patina creates a neutral backdrop that highlights the geometric place settings,” Marsh says. “We love the layers of the tablescape, specifically the marble bowls and mixed-metal servers [both by Roost].” Mercury rose gold votives (by Accent Decor) and hammered-finish glassware (by Roost) add sparkle, and a cluster of simple white hydrangeas—cut from the garden—keep the whole vibe unfussy yet pretty.
Pure & Simple
River North Workshop, RiNo, Denver
This easy-does-it gathering at a Curtis Park eatery proves that less is always more.
“We love simplicity in our settings and color schemes,” says Fiona Arnold, president of River North Workshop, the home-goods store in RiNo that carries handmade, small-batch items, all crafted in the United States. When we asked her and the store’s creative director, Alicia Hendricks, to set a table on the patio of the Populist restaurant in Curtis Park, they didn’t stray from that guiding principal: “The gorgeous wood of the outdoor table and deep-green ivy wall provided the perfect foil for our neutral table,” Arnold says. Simple white dinnerware, natural linen placemats, and a few conversation-starting serving pieces (oh, hello there, clay pitcher…) showcase the perfection of a pared-down look.
Locally made linen place mats by Urban Flax and Alex Marshall Studios’ all-white dinnerware get a pop of color from yellow Honeycomb Flower flour-sack napkins by June & December. Carnevale Clay’s brown clay pitchers and Urbana Sac’s washable paper bag are utilitarian and elegant. Truck and camper salt-and-pepper shakers by Belle & Union add some much-appreciated whimsy to the whole setting. For flowers: Tiny succulents hand-wrapped in craft paper double as party favors. Grocery-store mums are elevated by Candy Relics vases.