The LA Times stopped by our studio recently to talk New Year's hosting with Simone. We've collected a few highlights - tips to keep in mind when looking to inspire a fresh perspective for gatherings for the year to come.
“One thing we never seem to have time to do is take stock of where we are, and sit and breathe. I think New Year's is the perfect time to do that. I love to create something that pulls you into yourself, and to set intentions." Simone explains. Designing a table setting for the New Year draws on the importance of creating a central space with an open, warm and reflective atmosphere.
"By combining touches that are irresistibly Californian: bright whites, natural elements, and a lush green centerpiece, you create a space that represents newness; white representing a blank slate or bright fresh florals to keep us thinking forward toward Spring."
Her lush New Year's Eve table spread includes a subtle vignette with cards, pencils, small bells and a geode stone, designed to inspire the process of setting intentions, but which people are free to use or ignore. "I like the idea of allowing people the opportunity to take it deeper if they want, but not forcing it," she says. In the place setting, she tucks a translucent crystal, delicate spears of selenite, to be used to solidify one's intentions for the new year. It’s also a wonderful conversation starter or party gift.
Selenite, a translucent crystal named for Selene, the Greek moon goddess, serves multiple purposes for the gathering. It purportedly "helps with memory, which is important [for] reflection," LeBlanc says, and "is a really nice conversation starter, too. It gets an honest communication going on a light and loose level," she adds.
A moment for writing intentions is created with a serving board, pencils, and paper. An added touch of bells, candles and perhaps a geode brings a bit of magic to the process.
For the overall mood, Simone aspires to a level of old-school graciousness, and an aesthetic equilibrium. "Working with a neutral base, layering colors, moments, and elements for contrast" summarizes her general approach to creating a holiday-appropriate table. Florals in particular need "to have a looseness and rambling quality," while other components should "feel consistent and considered."
A linen tablecloth doesn't need to be starched and ironed, for instance, but it should fit the surface well.
The New Year's tablescape is "a balance of modernity and antiquated" components, such as black and white patterned napkins and vintage flatware. Champagne coupes capture classic New Year's Eve elegance.
In entertaining guests, most importantly, the focus should be on creating a space where guests can relax, a space which, whether formal or casual, feels welcoming. The intention is guests should feel comfort in being taken care of.