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A Place In The Sun

The promise of fall and cooler days are on the horizon, but summer weather is still here with plenty of time left for outdoor entertaining and activities. To many people the best part of summer is all about the joy it can bring. Remember the anticipation of school letting out for the year and how exciting it was to be on summer vacation? To be outdoors from morning until night, playing hide and seek, waiting for the tinkering bell of the ice cream truck, or soaking up the sun at the pool with friends all day long. And, we can’t forget the drive-in movies! It was a glorious time to feel alive. The sense of freedom and all that it meant, we just couldn’t get enough of the dog days of summer. Those were the days!

Life was good….Life is good!

Throughout the years, the summer activities may have changed, but the reminiscent feelings still arise when the flowers are abundant and the daylight stretches into evening. The gorgeous Santa Fe sunsets, with the warm sun-kissed air, signals a time to get away whether it’s a tropical beach destination, a mountain retreat, or exploring a new city. Summer gives us the chance to escape the daily routine and live a little extra, even when it’s a staycation, a good book, and a tasty margarita on a delightful lazy afternoon.

Along with weekend trips to the farmer’s markets, art festivals and music events will surely make the summer’s bucket list. Here in New Mexico, we are so fortunate with the wide range of outdoor activities, and never too far away. Swimming, hiking, camping, picnics, stargazing, or simply relaxing in the company of family and friends – you name it, our landscape is a playground for this time of year!

Here at The V & R Store, the sun-drenched days give us a chance to play with entertaining essentials. We think of backyard parties, the colors of summer and how they blend into fall, how to create ambience and functionality for all types of gatherings. To make any experience special is a definite in our designing wheelhouse, and something we very much love to do! After all, who doesn’t love a great open-air dinner party?! In this month’s column, we’d like to showcase some of our favorite pieces to fit the season, and to give ideas for elevating your entertaining experience. Let’s get this party started!

The Add-ons We Love For Summer and Fall

What about a bar trolley? What is there not to love about this idea! Our bar cart is handcrafted from rattan and inspired by sketches from the 1950s and 1960s. Remember the “Mad Men” era when cocktails at work were encouraged…..Crazy right?! Although, if we are telling the truth, when Cinco de Mayo rolls around and when the end of the day is near, we’ve been known to take on a libation in the daylight hours! (hehe)

The fact is the rolling drink cart has been around for over 100 years and has never really gone out of style. It was first popularized during the Victorian era of the late 1800s, and known then as the tea trolley. Soon after the days of Prohibition, cocktails appeared again and the drink cart was reborn. Hollywood took on the fascination and the cart appeared in many Golden Age set designs for the next big up and coming movie. We’re thinking of Cary Grant!

Whether it’s for tea, mixed and non-alcoholic drinks, or simply for serving appetizers – the bar cart is a great piece when a bit of extra table top space is needed (and on wheels)! Timeless designs like this will stay the course.

Next up – Hand woven Burmese rattan trays, placemats, coasters, and a thermal carafe! Rattan is durable and easy to use everyday and can make any table beautiful.

Our Tulip Lounge Chair, inspired by a 1940s design, fits into this category too, and while we’re on the subject, here’s a bit of rattan trivia for you. Paul Frankl was one of the first prominent designers to use rattan in modern design, breaking convention by introducing wicker and rattan into the dining room and intermixing it with upholstered furniture. Most of us will remember the 1960s and 70s for the ornate rattan and wicker renaissance of sorts, and how it created a casual and relaxed atmosphere inside and outside our homes. It was the cool furniture to have, and in our opinion, rattan will always add style to any space.

Colored glass!

Glass blowing is a captivating art form that involves heating molten glass and shaping it into various intricate designs and objects using a blowpipe. A type of art dating back to ancient times. It requires skill, precision, and the creativity of the artist.

We love colored glass any time of year for its reflective luster, and the touch of vibrancy it brings to the dining mood. Featured here is the Cantine drinking glass in turquoise and miel, a beautiful honey color – all handblown in Paris, using recycled glass. Entirely made by hand, each creation is unique with slight variation in color, texture, and size between each piece. On the base of each item, you can feel the pontil mark left by the glassblower’s cane. The presence of this mark indicates that the glass was blown freehand. This is the beauty of handmade, and you know how much we appreciate the artist’s touch in everything we do.

The French way of dining also includes flowers, flowers, flowers! These petite vases are perfect for holding a garden flower or candle. We highly recommend creating happiness whenever you can, and these little vessels on a table do it for us!

Speaking of creating ambience in a space, clean-aromatic candles can do the trick. For our season’s picks, we choose aromatherapy straight from the garden. Hand-poured candles of tomato, sage, and rosemary – all complimentary to any dining experience. The subtle nuances and rich botanicals of this grouping will work well together as a set. One on the kitchen island, one on the dining table, and one for good measure! Made with vegetable wax and a recyclable glass container. Also, makes a great hostess gift!

For the chef’s companions, we recommend olive oil from 150 year old trees and aged oak-barrel blackberry vinegar. You will not believe how good these are. We really do think it's one of the best olive oils we've ever had!

And, we can’t let this column come to an end without giving a nod to our resident Italian and the olive wood pizza board. Whether serving a good gourmet pizza from a local restaurant or creating your own with lots of yummy farmer’s market toppings, this board is a cut above. Do we think Michael can make a great pizza? We’re not sure, but it sounds like it could be a good challenge to throw in his direction. We do know Michael is Italian and can pour a nice glass of red wine, so he’s off to a good start!

That being said, as the season begins to wind down, we do hope summer has been a happy adventure in all the best possible ways!

Cheers…..and get those pizza ovens fired up!


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