Channeling a summer’s day in Positano, the designer sets a molto chic scene.
Atlanta interior designer Clary Bosbyshell creates spaces that fuse classicism, color and hits of global flair and whimsy as part of Margaux Interiors Ltd., a firm she helms with her mother, who founded the company in 1982. Their chic, timeless work has been published in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and Southern Living.
A busy wife and mother, Bosbyshell entertains often but likes to keep it intimate and easy going. “Having friends and family over for dinner and creating a beautiful table is one of the ways I show love,” says Bosbyshell. “I like to have more intimate dinners, eight at the most, so you can talk, have meaningful conversations and create a comfortable environment.”
For a recent summer soiree al fresco, Bosbyshell channeled the color and charm of the Italian seaside. “My husband and I took an anniversary trip to the Amalfi Coast. In Positano, we stayed at a magical hotel, Le Sirenuse…,” she says. “I love the china they use and it happened to be sold across the street. So it became the inspiration for my “La Dolce Vita” table.”
Come away to see how Bosbyshell pulled together the sun-soaked look using pieces from our tabletop collection. She’s also revealing some of her tried-and-true styling secrets. Ciao!
All images by Heidi Geldhauser.
“I like to have more intimate dinners, eight at the most, so you can talk, have meaningful conversations and create a comfortable environment.”
Plan Your Palette
"My favorite color combo is blue and white so it was natural I would pick those color as a base,” says Bosbyshell. “And I love the way blue looks with yellow!” The bright Italian ceramics she brought back from Italy keep the look happy and casual. “I was drawn to the Calypso tablecloth because of the color and the simplicity. The bust and ceramics already have a lot of pattern and color,” she explains. “Since Italian food tends to be a bit messy I choose the white Border Napkin with trim, figuring that if some sauce spilled, it would be easier to spot treat the linen.”
“I was drawn to the Calypso tablecloth because of the color and the simplicity."
Keep It Interesting
Instead of using one full set of china or glassware, Bosbyshell cleverly combined color, texture, and style to create a elegant and effortless mix. “I started with white dishes and used the Italian ceramics as the bread plates,” she says. “Since this was a casual summer dinner, I didn’t want to use silver, so I opted for bamboo-handled china.” The turquoise stemmed glasses are a homage to her mother. “We had some growing up and I was able to find a set on eBay.”
Add Personal Touches
The gorgeous menus were hand drawn by the designer’s mother-in-law. “She has painted pillows for famous interior designers like Mario Buatta,” says Bosbyshell. “I love the personal touch of a menu -- it adds another layer to the table.” Other ways Bosbyshell makes guests feel extra welcome is to whip up a signature drink and plan for a lingering soiree. “You know it’s a fun party when guests stay late into the night,” she says. “So I add string lights and votives -- everyone looks better in a little candlelight,” says Bosbyshell. One final touch is a few books (in blue, of course) about Positano.
“I love the personal touch of a menu -- it adds another layer to the table."
Invite a Cool Character
Conversation-starting decor takes center stage at Bosbyshell’s table. “One of my favorite antique stores in Atlanta is Parc Monceau,” she says. “I saw the bust while shopping for a client and thought it would be the best centerpiece. Our hotel in Capri had similar busts with lemons for décor on the breakfast buffet.” Overflowing with bright citrus, it echoes the table’s palette and is a surprising alternative to flowers.
Let Planters Shine
In lieu of formal arrangements, the designer took another cue from Italy. “Most of the tables I saw had potted flowers rather than cut arrangements,” she says. “Most of the flowers in Amalfi were pink and red so I mixed varieties in those hues.”
Don’t Do It All
While Bosbyshell loves to cook, she wants to spend time with guests, not be tied to a stove during her parties. “I like to do ‘semi’ homemade,” says Bosbyshell. “Some of my favorites are Gio’s Famous Sorrento Lemon Chicken and Storico Fresco’s Bolognese Lasagna. I do make a big fresh salad and dessert. But having the main part of dish already made is so helpful.”
Entertaining Style: Lightning Round
Tablecloth, placemats or both? “Both”
Go to entertaining music? “Van Morrison”
Buffet, Family Style or Service? “Family Style”
Cocktail or Wine? “Wine”
Dress Code or Come as You Are? “It’s fun to dress for dinner…”
A good party can never have to many… “Laughs! Always important to never take life too seriously.”