When we choose a venue, the first thing we keep in mind is how the place feels and the magic we can create around it.
We like to use new locations and undiscovered places, even if this entails quite a lot of heavy-weight lifting on our part. We saw an un-habited hamlet in the heart of Tuscany and immediately fell in love with it.
The place was deserted and the gardens outgrown. Planning an event in a venue like that was in fact the start of an entire “beautification” project. But the little church that stood in the middle of this quaint village was an authentic gem of the eighteenth century, with lovely stuccoes that looked like soft embroidery in the candle-lit afternoon light. Facing the church, the main villa with its faded grandeur needed an incredible amount of repair and cleaning but had such a beautiful terrace and a great dining room that continued to tickle our creative spurts.
We could not give up the idea but had to set up a plan of action. The church only needed serious cleaning after all and we had 5 months to fix the walled garden.
We had fallen in love with the place and started to toy with the idea of creating an event in a place that had magically come back to life from its ruins.. We loved the scuffed walls and the exposed bricks of the barn, the ancient terracotta tiles of the old roofs of the building nearby.
So we had the idea of creating an enchanted, secret garden as you could only enetr it through a very old and damaged door. The barn that overlooked the garden was seriously damaged so we thought to gently dress the door and make the scruffy look more delicate by using some draping. We liked the contrast of the curtain with ruined wall and exposed bricks of the barn.
For the cocktail in the secret garden we only used the furniture that was scattered in the villa and the current owner very generously let us scout the massive storage space where they kept all the furniture, objects and artifacts that were found in the hamlet at the time of the acquisition. We were incredulous at the amount of interesting objects that were piled up there: old toys, paintings, embroidered tablecloths as well as ancient tools, glassware and a huge amount of chests, old tables, mirrors etc.
We decided to only use what we could find there.
The result was a very sweet garden place with vintage sofas, paint-chipped iron chairs and tables, scattered wicker chairs and low table.
We use minimal money to buy new Ikea pillows and some sunflowers for one terracotta vase we had found.
The villa was more complicated. The main dining room needed more than a touch up and we did not want to start any serious renovation.
We came up with the idea of dressing it up with some rich fabrics to return it to the old splendors with the use of intense colors such us a dark red and a sapphire blue.
The window curtains immediately made the difference and reached exactly the dramatic effect we had hoped for.
For the huge table in the middle, we liked to use only a blue silk runner with no tablecloth. We wanted the table to look as opulent as an authentic Renaissance table and for this reason we used golden extra tall candelabras and scattered gold rimmed vintage looking jars for the candles placed amid a heap of dark red rose petals.