Designer Courtney Thomas lives and works in La Cañada Flintridge, but the inspiration for her entry in Pasadena’s November charity tablescape competition appeared over three thousand miles away, in North Carolina.
Since this was Thomas’s first appearance in the event — a joint benefit for the Junior League of Pasadena and Leadership Pasadena — she wanted to make an indelible impression. After weeks of exploring ideas, she began chatting with a colleague at North Carolina’s High Point Market home furnishings trade show about how to best interpret the event’s theme, The World of Conversation.
The two hit on the idea of creating eight settings that reflected key moments of our lives, from birth to golden years — the times that spark truly memorable conversations. Thomas’s colleague suggested approaching Replacements, Ltd., the world’s largest supplier of vintage and current dinnerware, crystal, silver and collectibles, about partnering with her. The company was delighted to participate, and the Courtney Thomas Design entry took spectacular shape.
Thomas’s creative collaboration with Replacements and Ixora Florals Sierra Madre produced a work of art that had guests dashing away to bring others back for a look. Around a soaring centerpiece of entwined golden rings interwoven with greenery and ivory and burgundy flowers, the varied place settings interpreted eight life highlights. Tree trunk slices, their rings reflecting the passage of years, served as chargers. Other symbols of time — a silver clock, a golden hourglass — completed the expressive statement.
Thomas has a special place in her heart for the work of both event sponsors. “My grandfather, an engineer, worked on Sherman Tanks and served with Patton in the Battle of the Bulge,” she says. “When he came home, he needed to feel he had a purpose. Both Leadership Pasadena and the Junior League help people find that kind of purpose through community service.”
Thomas and her team are already hard at work on their next high-profile project, The Pasadena Showcase House of Design, which benefits a range of local music programs. Rather than one of the home’s more spectacular settings, she pitched for a small add-on room beyond the kitchen, off the garage. She plans to transform it into a mudroom, laundry and pet bath. “Even in a climate without much mud, mud rooms can change lives,” she says. “They keep multiple backpacks from being dropped wherever. And in today’s world, pets are critical to our well-being. To say nothing of clean laundry. We’re out to show this is the true heart of the home.”
For someone who constantly uses her boundless creativity to transform entire homes, mudrooms and pet hair are just the next intriguing challenge.