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Gary Spain and Restoration Hardware Team Up For San Francisco's DIFFA Dining by Design

Designer Gary Spain Talks Dining by Design!

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, and Thursday, Nov. 18, top talents in the worlds of fashion, interior design, art, architecture, and fine cuisine will collaborate to design awe-inspiring dining environments for DIFFA's 10th annual Dining by Design. You can check out the incredible table designs in person at the Table Hop & Taste Preview Party on Wednesday, and a gala dinner and silent auction will be held on Thursday. If you can't make it, check out other Dining by Design events across the country.

One table that I'm definitely going to make a beeline for is Restoration Hardware's "Secret Garden" installation, created by designers Gary Spain and Will Wick. I recently caught up with Gary Spain to chat about the table design and his tips for creating tablescapes.

CasaSugar: The theme for your Dining by Design tablescape is "Secret Garden." What inspired this theme?

Gary Spain: The theme was really inspired through a process of discovery. We came across several beautiful shutters in a Belgian garden, which served as a jumping off point. We then found some amazing garden crates, which we turned over and topped off with waxed canvas cushions to use as stools. These two great finds inspired us toward a secret garden setting.

Keep reading for Gary's tablescaping tips, as well as a sneak peek of the stools!

CS: What elements are you incorporating from Restoration Hardware that support this theme?

GS: The shutters, the crates, zinc mirrors, the trestle dining table, and big chandeliers made of rope.


CS: I love your vibrant design sense. How will it translate to the idea of an English garden?

GS: By using nature — all the colors and textures of moss, lichen, ferns, and florals — the design will exude a vibrant energy.

CS: Can you tell me a little about working with moss on the tablescape? Is it a difficult element to use?

GS: No, moss is actually quite malleable. It organically melds with a surface when it’s applied to a surface.


CS: What other natural elements will you be adding to the tablescape?

GS: We are working a lot with texture. The softness of moss is juxtaposed with tree trunks, branches, and bark. The wood also helps give a bit more shape and height to the table display.

CS: How does Restoration Hardware’s new collection lend itself to the theme for your tablescape?

GS: Restoration Hardware’s collections feature reclaimed woods, weathered finishes, and patinas, which are reflected in our Dining by Design table.

CS: What inspires you about DIFFA and Dining by Design?

GS: The cause inspires us, and it’s great we are able to contribute in some way. Proceeds from Dining by Design benefit low-income patients at the San Francisco’s largest — and the world’s first — HIV/AIDS clinic.

CS: What are some of your favorite ways to add beauty to a tablescape?

GS: I like to use collections and unexpected pairings. It keeps it more interesting that way.

CS: What are some of your favorite ways to add pop to a holiday table?

GS:Champagne of course! And the scale of decoration is very important.

CS: Do you have a favorite flower or foliage that you like to add to a Thanksgiving table?

GS: It's always great to use elements from nature in your tablescape.

CS: What's one easy way a host can quickly add polish to a tablescape?

GS: Two words: minimize and edit.

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