Modern Monday: Transitional Retro Dining Room

Modern Monday takes us to Arkansas. Yes, there. This room has an abundance of delicious style that it is hard to find a starting place. My favorite dilemma. The ceiling. That marbelized treatment in the tray ceilings is a visual treat with a mix of past and futuristic touches. Lower your eyes to that retro […]

Friday Finds: Danish Felt Lighting

Nearly everyday I encounter exquisitely designed items of furniture, fashion, floral arrangements, tabletop accessories and more. These discoveries inspired me to start Friday Finds. I feature items I love to share with you. If you are interested, then let’s talk about bringing any of these items to your space when applicable.

To kick off my series, direct your attention to these sophisticated chandeliers and pendants fabricated out of felt from Antwerp. Two charming and stylish European men chatted me up on  a recent travel excursions to a furniture, tabletop and gift market. Their store is dedicated to sustainability and houses upcycled and vintage items of furniture and home accessories. Their mission to keep beautifully designed objects out of the landfills and to find them new homes.

Cheers to that!






Wall Wednesday: Public Art

Life without art is unimaginable. I have such gratitude for the efforts of those who design, build and curate public art. It’s impact on our minds, bodies and souls is priceless.

Welcome to Walls Wednesday; my weekly series dedicated to art hung everywhere!

Tabletop Tuesday: Black + White GeoCosmo

Tabletop Tuesday is all about geo cosmo ~ a cosmopolitan setting stacked on top of modern, geometric plate patterns. This black and white color scheme creates a high-impact visual effect because they are the complete opposite on the greyscale spectrum.

The plates feature a mix of the same shapes repeated in different formations and sizes. I love the cityscape of the top plate. The apple is a metaphor and the black glasses command to be filled with fine liquid libations.

Your tablesettings, along with your food, can transport you to other places, times and sceneries. It’s like a good book; a timeless journey to other dimensions.

A Yvette Craddock Designs original tablesetting.

Modern Monday: B + W Bed

Modern Monday invites you to bed B&B Italia style.

The iconic Italian brand designs elegant furniture with streamlined finesse. This bedroom features a glossy white bed with curved lines. The side table is a portable egg-shaped stand with a sleek silhouette. The white area rug has an abstract pattern in black that plays off of the linen.

The design takeaway is that in an all white space, you can layer style using one color by adding different textures and finishes to the items in which that color appears. You can choose one contrasting color and repeat that for a high-impact space.

Image: B&B Italia

Tabletop Tuesday: Love Dish

It’s Tabletop Tuesday. Let’s keep renewing the vows of love. Love of self, family, friends, community and the world at large. When we focus our purest intentions with the heartbeat of love at the forefront, the frequencies of that intention will reverberate throughout our lives. It’s like the wind in a storm. The more we power we give love, the stronger its commanding force.

Since this is a tabletop post, of course, the love theme includes food. Food that comforts us, nourishes us, strengthens us and just makes us purely happy regardless of category. It is my belief that food is fuel for our brains, our hearts and soul.

Eat with style. Eat with pleasure. Remember to send love and some food to those who are less fortunate than us. When we give abundantly, it will always show up in every area of our lives. Renew your vows with love today.

Designed by Yvette Craddock

Modern Monday: Wood + Teal

Modern Monday sets a big table for a lovely meal surrounded by beauty and balance. This symmetrical room achieves style, dimension, height and drama with its chandelier, furniture, mirror and accessories without any one item overpowering the other. It’s like the perfect tango or a symbiotic relationship in nature.

Coffered ceilings are often in traditional/transitional homes. This design details is an elegant feature that provides depth and also signifies a level of grandeur to a room through the illusion of visual weight.

This spacious room gives the large wood table with elegant two-tone fabric chairs (with contrasting textures) in teal and aqua plenty of breathing space. Space to layout a spread amongst loved ones. It balances intimate exchanges between guests and hearty exchanges across the table.

Did you notice the flowers hydrangeas? That lush flower symbolizes heart-felt gratitude for some cultures and for others a note of boastfulness. It is your decision. Just give and receive with style and soul.

Credit: Bridgehampton Weitzman Halpern Design


Tabletop Tuesday: Mayan Music

Tuesday Tabletop reminds me of the many vibrant, luscious days on Mexican beaches surrounding by lush palm trees, white sand, turquoise waters, great food and laughter. The colors in the Mexican culture are like rich jewels dancing in the sunlight to a rhythmic beat of life.

It is only natural to smile when you a colorful place setting atop a playful linen is before you. It is the foundation for enjoying all of the rich textures that life, friendship, food and great music bring you.

This is an original Yvette Craddock Designs place setting.

Modern Monday: Primary Ribbons

Modern Monday embraces the freedom of summer. The freedom of unrestricted movement. The deep breathes of childhood that power full belly  laughter. The criss cross of patterns,  spirals, shapes and colors spinning into a synchronized expression of unity.

This dining room, specifically the art, ushers in those playful summer memories. The room is anchored by the extremes of the grayscale spectrum anchoring below with white through the chairs and above with the black lights. At the visual midpoint, the honey-colored wood table and matching mid-century modern chair legs is nearly the same color as the paint which makes the colors seem to flat. The painting incorporates pastels and nearly full pigment hues stroked with delicious texture to create a balance of energy through color, space and shapes. Colors, shapes and materials ground you in your space and drives the physiological energy right to the soul root.

Celebrate summer. Celebrate life. Celebrate design. Celebrate the privilege and pleasure of mealtime with loved ones and strangers.

Room by Arent & Pike

How to be the Host with the Most

We love to entertain. There is something innately gratifying about opening your doors to cherished guests to celebrate a variety of special occasions. The elation of planning an event is most often accompanied with some anxiety. The questions that keep people up at night include: 1) Is the date and time the least conflictive with your guests’ schedules? 2) Will they show up? 3) Will your guests enjoy themselves? 4) What type and quantity of food should be served? 5) Will everything go smoothly?

Hosting an unforgettable event is a rewarding endeavor that requires time and energy. Sometimes focusing on the big things can leave the door open to unintentionally dropping the ball on the little, yet essential items. How can you ensure that your event will be the one that you envision and that your guests will love?

Here is my checklist for striking the right balance of food, beverages, space, activities and the timeline for an optimal experience.


Let’s start with the heart of the stomach. It is advantageous to streamline your menu for preparation efficiency, quality and quantity. Planning a larger quantity of fewer, complementary tasting items is ideal.

Hors d’oeuvres

Cheese platters are the top choice for a spectrum of casual to elegant gatherings. They can be simple or include an abundant display of exotic and unusual selections. An ideal platter combines hard, medium and soft cheeses with an assortment of crackers and bread, meat, fruit and nuts.

Preparation Tip: Arrange cheese platters the day before, cover with saran wrap and store them in the refrigerator. Add meat, fruit and nuts to the tray. In today’s age, I place nuts in a separate bowl to avoid anyone with a nut allergy from having a reaction. Place the crackers and bread in bowls or on a platter prior to the event.

Serving Size: A large cheese tray can typically feed up between 10 – 15 people. If your guests are hearty eaters, then make one extra tray to avoid running out of food, especially if that is important to you. Otherwise it is acceptable for hors d’oeuvres to be prepared and consumed as supplies last since more food will be available.

Supplies: Have a sign introducing each cheese. People love to learn plus some cheeses can be easily confused. Provide one cheese knife per brick/roll and at least one tong each per cracker/bread, fruit and meats. If you place nuts in a separate serving bowl, a teaspoon is acceptable as a serving utensil. My ideal rule-of-thumb is one tong per offering to discourage hands-only selections and provide smaller utensils for forks or spoons to manage inventory. Plates and napkins should be available as well. I place and utensils napkins at the end of a table or buffet for guest ease and to avoid waste from dropped or dirty items while guests are moving through a buffet.

Serving Time: Set up the hors d’oeuvres fifteen to twenty minutes prior to guest arrival. Consider the item you are serving and the temperature in which it will be served. For instance, dairy in the summer is not a good idea in the heat. If you do, place it on ice and keep that ice fresh and freezing at all times.


Meal preparation takes more time and thought in today’s age of nutritional plans, allergies and other consumption considerations. Therefore, clusters of two can keep you covered to accommodate a range of guest dietary needs. Here is a sampling of offerings for buffet-style service:

  • 2 salads with complementary dressings (dairy and non-dairy options)
  • 2 veggies
  • 2 meats (such as chicken and salmon or steak and chicken)
  • 2 breads or rolls
  • Butter and/or spreads (stick for small groups, packets for large groups)

Preparations: If you are cooking the food, especially meat, prepare and serve it in deep enough pans if sauce and vegetables are included. If you are transferring your items to a chafer, fancy or wire frame styles, be sure to have a bottom pan. This pan is filed (about pinkie fingertip deep) to heat up water to maintain heat. Select sternos that last for four hours and light those thirty minutes prior to service time. Pre-cut your meat for guest ease and to keep the buffet line flowing. Always start your meat cooking process at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to the end time it needs to be done in order to maintain your event timeline. Usually Murphy’s Law kicks in with an oven, stove or other type of delay when preparing meat for service. Just have a plan so that you or your staff can keep everything on track, stress-free.

Set up Tips: You can have a menu sign with plates at the beginning of a buffet. Set out all items at once, with salad and bread at the beginning and make sure you announce to all guests that the meal is ready to be served. I have seen guests start serving themselves before all of the food was ready and set out. Have a server in the area to courteously inform guests of the progress and plan. If you have between 50 to 100 guests, make your buffet line double-sided to allow for faster service.

Serving Size: Anticipate that each guest has a second helping and plan accordingly. If you are providing lots of alcohol or have a long event, plan about 20% more food on top of the two helpings per person guideline.

Supplies: Have a sign with the menu at the front of the line or signs for each dish. If you have guests with nutritional stipulations, it is courtesy to add a few ingredient details on the sign or have a side conversation with that guest. Tongs for salads and bread, spoons for veggies, ladles for dressings and sauces and a knife and fork for meat, butter knife for butter. I usually place a small plate in front of bowls and platters to rest utensils. This avoids people putting utensils on the table and hopefully using the same utensil for multiple dishes.

My ideal rule-of-thumb is one tong per offering to discourage hands-only selections and provide smaller utensils for forks or spoons to manage inventory. I place the napkins and condiments at the end of a buffet line to avoid waste and line flow delays.

Serving Time: Offer dinner within 60 minutes of guests arriving and consuming hors d’oeuvres.

NOTE: If you are having your event catered, a truly professional caterer will provide all of these items. Be sure to have them outline what they are bringing and the quantities. However, I have seen many caterers that provide drop-off service not provide the above items. Have a back-up plan.

If you are preparing all of the food yourself and are hiring staff to help you, please provide them with an outline of the night’s activities which includes a food menu, instructions and timelines.


Three selections hit the spot. These days it makes sense to have a full fat/sugar option (let’s refer to it as a traditional offering), one gluten-free and one decadent taste in small bites.

Preparation: Refrigerate respective desserts until 10 minutes prior to serving. Have tiered platters or stands to make the desserts accessible and presentation beautiful. Plates, napkins and utensils should be available. If you are serving ice cream, have some way to keep it as cold and firm as possible.

Serving Size: Anticipate that each guest has seconds and plan accordingly. If you are providing lots of alcohol or have a long event, plan about 20% more food on top of the two helpings per person guideline.

Supplies: Have a sign with the menu at the front of the line or signs for each dish. As a guest courtesy, include signs with a few key ingredient details (namely dairy, wheat and nuts). Tongs, spatulas, knifes and a scooper usually cover the spectrum of desserts available.

Serving Time: Offer desserts within 20 to 30 minutes after 75% of guests have finished their meal.


If you plan to have guests greeted with a beverage, set up a beverage area in your welcome area. A chilling bucket for champagne or wines along with glasses and cocktail napkins. If you are displaying a build-your-own Bloody Mary, coffee or chocolate bar, make sure the glasses or cupware are first in line with everything else accessible through layers of height accompanied by serving utensils. Have different types of condiments available. Think of your guests. You might not take sugar in your coffee but someone will want regular, raw or a sweetener. Place napkins at the end of the bar.

Preparation: Remember to polish glassware prior to set up, have a towel and wine/bottle opener on hand with cocktail napkins available.

Supplies: A small receptacle for trash and an area for dirty glassware is appropriate. You can rent oval trays for dirty glasses. A nice touch is to add a clean, decorative napkin across the top. It is customary to not mix clean and dirty in the same area or on the same tray.

A few other tips:

  • Double check that all dishware and flatware are clean and polished prior to setting out.
  • Serving bowls and platters need to accommodate the food.
  • Risers for serving dishware make the food more easily accessible to guests and allow you to maximize table space. See my original designs here.
  • Keep food service in two areas and keep platters full. The more you spread out, the less it looks like you have. These tips do not apply to progressive dinners.
  • Have plenty of ice on hand.
  • If you serve mixed drinks, remember the lemons and limes.

You can confidently follow-up tips proudly wear your host/hostess crown! That or just call me.

Photo credit: Rhianon Lassila