Sunday 5 January 2014

Rustic Pacifc Alfresco

I'm a west coast girl with wanderlust, and I like the ritual of dining outside, or bringing your furniture to street level, like Europeans do; one easily adapted to our mild climate, and unique natural landscape. Pass the BC Pinot and Sockeye Salmon please!

Designed and Rendered by Michelle Morelan

Plan a Big Night or Babette's Feast of of your own...engage all the senses, using music, lighting, food, wine, and watch your friends and family linger over warm candlelight. Use colours from your natural outdoor palette like soft blues, and greys. Add texture- linen, ceramics and wood. Mix the lines and styles of your seating, flatware and stemware, like you just threw it all together.

Don't have a large enough table? Use sawhorses and long planks of wood. Mix your good french dishes with rustic bowls, and lots of variety of shape. Nod to history with simple lines of glasses, dinnerware, cast iron dutch ovens, handmade cutting boards and spoons. Add softness and warmth with blankets and pillows.

Layer lighting with battery operated tea lights within a woodpile, and hang lanterns or patio lighting from fences and trees- or from a great pergola like this one of greyed cedar and metal fasteners.
Cook it all ahead, and enjoy. Don't fuss, it doesn't go with the theme ;)


Brent Comber's Tafoni 2 bench celebrates west coast weathered rock formations, and is one of my new favourite things! I always imagine his work, not newly sculpted, but after the elements have loved it.


Flatiron dining table by Restoration Hardware; works because of it's rustic nature and industrial, portable like base. It's like you pulled it out from inside.


Beautiful handcrafted spoons and boards by Ariele Alasko; what can I say, I saw her work on instagram and I was smitten. You will be too. Go visit her here:

 Dutch Ovens

A great pot of stew or soup in Le Cruscet's cast iron pots like I have seen in foodie movies like Russel Crowe in "A Good Year" or "A Big Night" I like the dune, fennel and truffle colours


The linens from Restoration Hardware are heavenly, and come in such a wide range of colours. The drape and ease of cleaning make these my go to napkin. They also make cocktail napkins and larger European size lap napkins.



This bistro chair from Country Furniture is classic and rustic, easy to transport outside when your outdoor feast is ready.

Stunning walnut chair by O&G Studio through Bespoke Global has a nod to history, but more modern lines for today. Bespoke Global is worth a website visit; I'm in awe of their product and artisans.

 The Wishbone chair is another classic chair; mix the lines with other, less expensive seats like the bistro chair.

Bespoke Global's Foxpoint Chair by O&G Studio...historical and rustic.


Pillow Fabric

This linen by Lauren Liess is is perfect for the pillows; the pattern isn't overwhelming and I like the repetitive nature of the geometry, it's like a texture when viewed from a distance. I would use it for throw pillows for some of the chairs in a lumbar and also a square shape, with a foam insert and down outer. I like the idea of all the design choices being based on relationship to nature.


The Fez Lantern by Pottery Barn has a great finish and I love the simplicity, yet detail of it...just enough, but not too frilly for a "node to nature" feast.


This bamboo throw from West Elm is soft and cozy for those with less Pinot in them ;)


The Hampshire Chair from Restoration Hardware in this faded grey is comfortable, classic and the lines work with the mix of chairs. Every space needs the texture which wicker provides. It could be in Italy, Hawaii or BC, placeless, timeless.


The ARV setting by Ikea has a European feel, at a great price. Don't be afraid of something traditional mixed with something more modern...if the lines work, and they play well together, then go with it. This pattern reminds me of a much more expensive french one I have seen at ABC in NYC and also Chintz and Company.

This Eclectique set by Williams Sonoma is pricey but lovely; a high option to the low above by Ikea. I like the different textured edges, and the way it works with other alike tones.

Salad Bowls

The Prescott Bowl from Crate and Barrel is large at 17" and the dark walnut colour  and soft graining complement the table and setting. It's a crowd pleaser, and I have featured two of them, along with other bowls of natural materials and glass.


 Love this Roscoe bowl from Crate and Barrel; it's organic nature and traditional, yet modern shape is oh so West Coast. The matte finish and gorgeous colours mimic the outdoor palette, and add the element of proportion. Perfect for your Grandmother's Potato Salad.


 The Pokal Series of glassware at Ikea is durable and versitile; perfect for an outdoor event, and you can buy them cheaper than you can rent them. It reminds me of Italian lingering lunches alfresco, so let's throw it in our mix. It comes in red wine size, white wine size and sparkling water size. *do you see where I'm going with this?

Next Month..."Surfer Shack Chic"


Thoughts on Design said...

Hope there's a extra place setting for me at the table!


Dawna Jones Design said...

Love it Michelle, and cannot wait for the season to once again be upon us!

Happy New Year.

Glamour Drops said...

Well as an Australian you had me convinced by the middle of the first sentence…absolutely adore the alfresco lifestyle, and we are lucky here to live it for a lot of the year.

But what I cannot stop looking at is your illustration…the first image…completely, utterly, magical….

Carla Aston said...

Love your renderings. Are they marker?

Michelle said...

They are mostly markers Carla, thank you :)