Engaged Part II: A Simple, Elegant Table

October 29th, 2014

Yesterday I took you through the first of my styled tables for the Engaged wedding event, where I hosted three styling workshops over the course of the one day event. I’m excited to share with you the second table, slightly different but still resonating with the overall wintry theme of the event, Holly style! Natural, pared down with a touch of opulence, here’s the full scoop captured to perfection by Anouschka Rokebrand.

blue table 1

As I mentioned in my last post, the purpose of the workshops was to show people how to style their tables for their wedding or event, drawing on my experience as both a recent bride {who adored putting her wedding tables together!} and a stylist. So I created a coupe of styled tables as an encamp of how to put together gorgeous tables, using unique items, and combining them with simpler pieces, with some basic, affordable but lovely DIYs to inspire them. So let’s talk about this table…

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

Moody, cool, dramatic but quaint at the same time and oh-so-lovely. I think this was my favourite table of the two, but that may be because I’m right into blue at the moment, particularly the dark shades. I combined a linen runner {Dille end Kamille} on a rustic wooden table, paired a mix of new and vintage side plates with basic round dinner plates. Brass and rosewood vintage cutlery, thin stemmed brass candlesticks {Hélène Millot Furnishings} and fine glassware took the look to the next level and added a bit of drama to the look without being over the top.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

I used cuttings of dried daisies {purchased by the bunch at Dille en Kamille} to embellish simple linen napkins, tied onto the napkin with string, and dotted a few heads intermittently down the center of the table. So delicate and lovely. But seriously, daisies aside, that flatware is something else! Must find me some brass flatware to use at home.

It seems this table was also a favourite of my workshop attendees, because on almost all of the 9 tables that emerged on the day, the brass candlesticks appeared, as did either the blue side plates or table runner. Every single time. Must be a trend!

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

So here’s what else I picked up on with each table my groups styled. Perhaps it was just that there was just soooo much inspiration flying around on the day, or that gigantic table of props laid out before them, or that making style choices as a group was tough {or all of the above}, but something that every group did was overstyle their tables. Not hard to do by any means but less is definitely more when it comes to table styling. Keeping the table minimal in style will mean:

- a calming first impression

- more attention to beautiful details

- more space on the tables for food, particularly if you’re going for Italian family style dining, like we did at our wedding, where the dishes are placed on the table for guests to share amongst themselves, or are hosting a dinner party. Wedding tables fill up fast with water glasses, cameras, mobile phones, wedding favors moved to the side, bouquets etc.

blue table 2

Coco Chanel used to say: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”

I try to apply this to my work as a stylist and always remove something right before photographing or presenting a space, and do the same when I style tables. Less is always more.

But I was equally amazed at how creative the attendees were with the props at hand. One table wrapped wool around the base of the champagne glasses. Another used feathers they’d found in the flowers put together by the event florist {Bloom Your Life} to style their napkins. They surprised an inspired me so much!

Which table do you prefer, folks? The green table or this blue table?

Hope you enjoyed these posts and I’ll be back to interiors later this week.

Holly x

Styling: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Dinner plates and blue sideplates: Ikea / Cutlery, vintage side plates, candlesticks and glassware: Helene Millot Furnishings / Napkins, wooden chair, dried daisies and table runner: Dille en Kamille 

Engaged Part I: A Natural, Organic Table

October 28th, 2014

Hey guys! I’ve been a bit sporadic in my posts lately, and one of the reasons is I have even really busy prepping for an event called Engaged {you might recall reading about it in this post}, which took place over the weekend. Over the course of the day, I hosted three styling workshops for around 40 women {some brides-to-be, some wedding planners, some just there for fun!} all looking to learn how to beautify tables like a pro. I spent weeks gathering props from far and wide to give my attendees plenty of pretty to play around with and gosh, it was fun seeing it all come to life on the day! Naturally, I prepared a couple of example tables to inspire my attendees, but knew I’d be too busy on the day to worry about photographing them for you to see so I enlisted my good friend, the talented photographer Anouschka Rokebrand, to shoot the tables at the industrial venue the event was held {Lijm en Cultuur Delft, our wedding venue!} the day prior. That meant a whooole lotta running around, unpacking, repacking boxes of props props etc but I’m so pleased to be able to share the images she captured so beautifully with you guys. First up, a natural and organic table to perhaps inspire your next dinner party?

natural, organic table

The theme for the event was winter, so I made sure that my two example tables communicated that theme in an understated way. The look and feel of this year’s event was very woodsy {is that a word?}, so I drew on that as my inspiration for this table and created something organic, natural and green.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

My style tends to lean towards being organic, feminine, clean and somewhat minimalistic. I like simplicity however appreciate detail and try to infuse my work with texture, incorporating unique pieces not often seen as well as simple takes on well known concepts.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

Click on image to view a larger version

For this table I brought together stunning vintage items {earthenware side plates, bone, silver and wooden handled cutlery and beautifully fine glassware} from Helene Millot Furnishings, whose items I used for my wedding back in May, my favourite dinnerware made from fallen palm leaves by VerTerra, linen napkins and tiny gold-topped jars – which I filled with sea salt and dried rosemary – from Dille en Kamille and a pistachio hued silk table cloth I picked up at my local upholsterers.

I wanted to show my workshop attendees {many of whom were brides that wanted to be able to take away ideas to incorporate into their wedding day} how to combine old with new in a very elegant and affordable way, so brought in simple white dinner plates from Ikea {s most wedding venues already have white round dinner plates on hand they were a good base to start off with} and I made an easy, inexpensive but creative centerpieces that can easily be replicated.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged  Click on image to view a larger version

To compliment the theme of the event, I created a centerpiece from a branch wrapped in a climbing plant and wool.To make it, I simply took two small branches, tied them together using natural twine {to blend in with the wood}, wrapped and draped lengths of wool around the branches followed by snipped off lengths of vine around the stems and that’s it.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

On the day I talked to my attendees about my own wedding and why for me the tables were the most exciting part of the day, why a beautifully styled table can set the tone for the whole event, what you need on your table depending on the look and feel of your event and catering preference, and how I put my tables together. I then walked them through a table full of props {plates, side plates, napkins, table cloths and runners, cutlery, glasses of all shapes an sizes, flowers, twine, string, trinkets - you name it, it was most likely there on that table!} which I had laid out for them to dig into later on, divided them into groups and let them create their own styled table. It was amazing to see 9 completely different tables throughout the course of the day using the same set of props! And of course so great to see everyone having fun. I then critiqued and judged each table and gave the group that created the winning table a little gift {a sweet little terracotta pot with a mini plant in it – of course!}.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/engaged

It was an incredibly rewarding day filled with positivity and joy. Though I was cooped up in my workshop area from 8am until 7pm setting and resetting tables, the energy was buzzing and there were smiles on everyone’s faces. The organiser Judith van Lent {a photographer at Velvetine} put her heart and soul into the event and it showed. I hosted workshops last year too and was excited to be involved again, and this year I also gave Judith a helping hand with the styling of the event. Will share more of the event as the images arrive. My good friend Hanke Arkenbout {the amazing photographer who is responsible for the images on my ‘About‘ page!} was walking around with her camera so I am sure her rolls of film are on their way to the developers as I type!

I’ll be back later with my second styled table and tell you what made me pick the winning tables, what I noticed each group doing with their styled tables and a styling tip!

See you back here soon!

Holly x

Styling: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Dinner plates: Ikea / Cutlery, earthenware side plates and glassware: Helene Millot Furnishings / Napkins, mini jars and wooden chairs: Dille en Kamille / Mini bowls: VerTerra Dinnerware

Textiles by Nienke Hoogvliet

October 22nd, 2014

There’s a talented textile designer out there and her name is Nienke Hoogvliet. I discovered her work when I borrowed one of her stunning blankets for an interior shoot a few months back and just recently, Nienke entrusted me to style and photograph her exclusive collection of blankets. Her initial collection, intricately handmade out of mohair, linen and cotton, consists of two beautiful blankets; one in gorgeous grey tones and the other in the softest pink. One look at the images below and you’ll understand why sending these beauties back to their designer is proving rather difficult, particularly as the weather is getting icier by the day!




Gorgeously soft and infinitely textured, there is more to these blankets than meets the eye. With her designs, Nienke tries to raise awareness for issues she finds fascinating and is drawn to vulnerability: in human, society and nature. Entitled ‘Hide’, Nienke’s blanket collection is a metaphor for the feeling of protection in a society where vulnerability is seen as a weakness. Skin served as the inspiration for the design as it borders our inner world from the outside one. Two blankets. Two skins. One fragile human skin and one thick and rigid elephant skin.




To capture the texture and delicacy of the blankets I styled them simply using bed linens from By Mölle (in a beautiful nude shade), in various settings including my studio space and bedroom






You might recognize the image above – my bedroom served as the perfect backdrop for the grey ‘Hide’. I paired the blanket with stonewashed linen bedding from Couleur Locale {duvet in taupe, pillows in dark grey}. It’s almost painful to have to send this blanket back, it works so well in this space!

Nienke Hoogvliet is currently exhibiting her work at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, so if any of you are down there, make sure you pop in and say hello to her for me! For more about her work, click here.

Back soon. Apologies for the sporadic posting of late, It’s been intensely busy on my end but I have a ton of gorgeous to share with you so bear with me!

Holly x

// Styling & Photography: Holly Marder/Avenue Lifestyle

Meet Superfront!

October 10th, 2014

Have you guys heard of Superfront? If not, it’s definitely a brand you will want to know about because I’m certain that pretty much everyone reading this blog has at least one Ikea product in their home. The Swedish company designs and manufactures the most beautiful fronts, handles, legs, sides and tops that fit Ikea’s most common cabinets. It’s a concept beautifully executed that has blown me out of the water and once you take a look below, you’ll see why!


Superfront offers products for Pax wardrobes, kitchen doors and drawer fronts for Metod and Faktum kitchens, and doors for Bestå sideboards and cabinets. All items are designed and manufactured locally in Sweden, and are currently shipping to Scandinavia, Europe and the UK.

Run and operated in Stockholm, Sweden, the company was founded by Mick Born, Monica Born and Sander Aarts. With varied backgrounds that include visual communication, carpentry and creative advertising, the trio founded Superfront after noticing an uprise in Ikea hacking amongst their friends and peers. They began with a small pop-up-store before relocating to a permanent showroom in central Stockholm.

superfront 1

The company endorse high quality, classic materials such as brass, copper, marble, birch wood and leather to accompany the MDF paneled elements and marble tops.

Their range of products for sideboards and kitchens includes patterned or plain cupboard fronts, tops in marble or MDF, as well as a stunning collection of handles and legs, all available in a gorgeous colour palette. Below are some of my favorites {clearly, I’m loving the brass, but each handle and leg comes with brass, copper or silver hardware}.


Click on the image above to make it larger

superfront 4.1

Aren’t they beautiful? What I love about this product though is the sheer amount of fun you can have creating and recreating a basic Ikea piece. The options are endless and any combination is possible. Choose classic, moody, funky, streamlined, fun, whatever. Just have fun with it and create a combo that works for your home. And as much as we all love Ikea for it’s practicality, simplicity and affordability, Superfront will certainly elevate your piece of furniture to become a true design item in your interior, and can make serious impact in your Ikea kitchen.

SUPERFRONT_4560 copy



Click on the images above to make them larger

I’m excited about this company because I haven’t found anything like it that makes it so simple to upgrade your Ikea item in such a beautiful and relatively affordable way. Last year I happily discovered Koak design, who craft beautiful solid oak fronts for ikea kitchen cabinets {they were behind this stunning kitchen that appeared on the cover of vtwonen magazine in March}, but I haven’t come across any other company that offers as much diversity in colour and style as Superfront. 

So have some fun browsing the Superfront website. Make sure you get comfortable though because, trust me, you’ll be there a while!

Have a great weekend,

Holly x

// Image courtesy of Superfront

Avenue Lifestyle wins vtwonen Best New Blog Award!

October 7th, 2014

I launched Avenue Lifestyle in March 2013, just over a year ago, as a way to share and document the work I do as an interior journalist and stylist. It was born from a genuine desire to create, share, express and inspire. If you’ve been following along on my social media channels {mainly Instragram}, you may already know that this last weekend was a big one for Avenue Lifestyle. My blog won a very exciting award - Best New Blog Award - handed out by Carlein Kieboom, the editor in chief of vtwonen, the Netherlands’ most prominent interiors and lifestyle magazine at the annual Meet the Blogger conference. This achievement is certainly one to celebrate but also to share, because I believe we should all give ourselves a pat on the back from time to time and this weekend, I felt nothing but pride and gratitude {and a few nerves too!}.

photo 3 copy-3

I knew that my blog had been one of the 3 shortlisted blogs in the New Bloggers category, which in itself was a huge honour, along with Elske Leenstra and My Dubio. I was asked to prepare a moodboard which represents my blog to be displayed in a special section featuring nominated bloggers at the event. That’s what I was doing when I took the above picture {on my iPhone} the day before the event. So you can imagine my nerves when Carlein entered the stage to announce the winners! The recipient of the Best Established Blog Award went to the talented duo behind April & May, Jantine Vaartjes and Vivian Hoebe. Congrats girls! Honoured to stand beside such talent.

Being the recipient of this award means involvement with the most inspirational publication the country has to offer. I’ve had styling work featured in vtwonen earlier this year when one of my interior productions photographed by Jansje Klazinga became the cover story of the March ’14 edition, and I look forward to working more with vtwonen in the near future. 


It’s certainly been an exciting happening for me and the blog, but what I have been most bowled over by is the immense support and encouragement from everyone around me. I’ve worked incredibly hard this past year in particular to not only establish a blog that features quality original content, but also a brand and aesthetic - sometimes at the detriment to my time together with my family, and often without payment - so it has been incredibly humbling to know that all this hasn’t gone unnoticed. Not just by the magazine, but by my blogger peers and friends who have seen it all unfold since before this blog even existed. What I have come to admire the most about the world of online publishing is the enormous sense of community that prevails. Everyone is so encouraging and supportive, because I suppose those who blog are creatives with a passion for creating, sharing and documenting, and that is something we all have in common. Standing up on that stage with so many smiling faces cheering me on in that conference hall reduced me to a bit of a chin wobble, which I quickly recovered, thankfully!

To all of you who read Avenue Lifestyle and follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, a very sincere THANK YOU. I hope this award means lots of exciting things over the next while that will add inspiration and meaning to your lives in some way.

Holly xo


Images // 1. Taken by me, Holly Marder, on my iPhone; 2. Taken by my good friend and incredible food stylist Ajda Mehmet on her iPhone