Staying In: How to Set a Valentine’s Table for Two, Courtesy of Ajiri Aki


Instead of dining out on Valentine’s Day—in a restaurant packed with strangers and dripping with paper hearts—wouldn’t it be more intimate, in every sense of the word, to stay in? That’s always been our preference: candles, a table set for two, and perhaps pajamas over crowds and cold.

When we emailed recently with Ajiri Aki, the France-based doyenne of stylish, effortless table settings (she runs the vintage tableware shop and linen purveyor Madame de la Maison), we were happy to hear that she feels the same, all the way over in Paris. Here’s how she sets the table for a simple Valentine’s dinner for two—plus her tips for making it just a bit romantic, never fussy.

Photography by Ajiri Aki.

1. Resist the urge to go pink.

Just because it&#8
Above: Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you should drape the table with all the pink things you can find. “As much as I love pink everything, I wanted to go with a simple, soft, romantic look using the orage tablecloth and sable napkins,” Ajiri says. “The orage linen is grey-ish blue, kind of like a storm. Orage means storm in French. It’s a soft color palette without going full-on pink.”

2. Choose petite flowers over big bouquets.

In lieu of a big (quite possibly overpriced) bouquet or centerpiece, tuck just a few small stems into mix-and-match glass jars. This is an intimate dinner at home, remember; the scale should be small. Ajiri used vintage apothecary bottles and vanity jars; simple jam jars work, too.
Above: In lieu of a big (quite possibly overpriced) bouquet or centerpiece, tuck just a few small stems into mix-and-match glass jars. This is an intimate dinner at home, remember; the scale should be small. Ajiri used vintage apothecary bottles and vanity jars; simple jam jars work, too.

3. Sprinkle some roses.

Above: “I always add one little stereotypical element that connects to the holiday,” Ajiri says. For a romantic touch, she scattered a handful of dry rose buds down the center of the table.

4. Use the good china.

Keep the meal simple, but serve it with favorite pieces. &#8
Above: Keep the meal simple, but serve it with favorite pieces. “These mussels in white wine sauce take a whopping 20 minutes to make, but they are always served in beautiful antique finds,” Ajiri says.

5. Embrace imperfection.

Let the table be a little beautifully imperfect, not prim or overdone.  &#8
Above: Let the table be a little beautifully imperfect, not prim or overdone.  “I rarely iron my linens because I find the texture beautiful,” Ajiri says.

6. Sit kitty-corner.

Set two places kitty-corner from one another. It&#8
Above: Set two places kitty-corner from one another. It’s more casual than facing each other—and you won’t have a table between you.

P.S. See more of Ajiri’s entertaining tips in Joyeux Noël: How to Throw a Holiday Party the French Way. And here’s our original feature on her work: Vintage French Style You Can Rent: Madame de la Maison in Paris.



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Architects’ 12 Favorite Blush Pink Paints


One the eve of Valentine’s Day, we asked our experts from the Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory for their go-to “millennial pink” paints. Their picks range from sweet and subtle to downright seductive, and neutral enough to look at year-round. Here are their favorites.

Photography by Mel Walbridge.

(N.B.: Featured photograph, above, by Justine Hand for Remodelista, from Cape Cod Summer Bedrooms Refreshed with Farrow & Ball Paint.)

The full range of pinks.
Above: The full range of pinks.
 Kriste Michelini of California firm Kriste Michelini Interiors recommends Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: Kriste Michelini of California firm Kriste Michelini Interiors recommends Benjamin Moore’s Bridal Pink, with peachy tones.
For pink in &#8
Above: For pink in “subtle tones,” San Francisco–based Medium Plenty chooses Farrow & Ball’s Peignoir. (It’s also the color that Justine chose for her daughter’s bedroom; see picture at top.)
Santa Monica-based MLK Studio opts for Calamine from Farrow & Ball.
Above: Santa Monica-based MLK Studio opts for Calamine from Farrow & Ball.

Also recommended by Kriste Michelini: soft Touch of Pink by Benjamin Moore.
Above: Also recommended by Kriste Michelini: soft Touch of Pink by Benjamin Moore.
 Ellen Hamilton of Hamilton Design Associates prefers Wild Aster from Benjamin Moore.
Above: Ellen Hamilton of Hamilton Design Associates prefers Wild Aster from Benjamin Moore.
 Both LA-based Nickey Kehoe and Lauren Geremia of Bay Area–based Geremia Design named Farrow & Ball’s Pink Ground as their favorite go-to &#8
Above: Both LA-based Nickey Kehoe and Lauren Geremia of Bay Area–based Geremia Design named Farrow & Ball’s Pink Ground as their favorite go-to “millennial pink.”
Jayne Michaels of New York City–based firm
Above: Jayne Michaels of New York City–based firm 2 Michaels opts for Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster: “The pigments are earthy, smudgy, and warm, without a hint of sweetness,” she says.
 Brooklyn firm Made has devised a favorite custom pink: a coat of Seashell low-sheen paint by Australian company Sydney Harbour, topped with a coat of their French Wash, which creates a mottled patina look.
Above: Brooklyn firm Made has devised a favorite custom pink: a coat of Seashell low-sheen paint by Australian company Sydney Harbour, topped with a coat of their French Wash, which creates a mottled patina look.
Another, more rosy, choice from Medium Plenty: Cinder Rose by Farrow & Ball.
Above: Another, more rosy, choice from Medium Plenty: Cinder Rose by Farrow & Ball.

Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs in New York City likes Valspar’s Pale Satin Peach, adding, “Fresh pinks like this bring a flush to the face and warmth to a room.”
Above: Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs in New York City likes Valspar’s Pale Satin Peach, adding, “Fresh pinks like this bring a flush to the face and warmth to a room.”
Marysia Rybock of Scavullo Design recommends Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: Marysia Rybock of Scavullo Design recommends Benjamin Moore’s Southern Charm. “I actually used this in my own bedroom several years ago,” she says. “Soft pink with a beige undertone. Very classic looking.”

And finally, the brightest of the picks: Michael Howell of Howells Architecture & Design in Portland, Oregon, suggests Benjamin Moore’s Coral Reef. A little bit of this shade goes a long way; consider using it as an unexpected accent, rather than a full wall.
Above: And finally, the brightest of the picks: Michael Howell of Howells Architecture & Design in Portland, Oregon, suggests Benjamin Moore’s Coral Reef. A little bit of this shade goes a long way; consider using it as an unexpected accent, rather than a full wall.

Not pictured: Marie Fisher Interior Design uses Rose Pále from Les Couleurs’ Le Corbusier collection of pigments.

For more on our top paint picks, head to our Palette & Paints tag page. And for more pink palettes, see:



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Blush in the Bedroom: 9 Unexpectedly Unfussy Pink Boudoirs


Up ’til now, I admit, I’ve much preferred earthier colors—for wearing and for interiors—than what I’ve always thought of as somewhat frilly, not-me pink. But lately I’ve surprised myself by being rather drawn to it: There’s a slew of pinks out there to love—not all of them bubblegum or tutu—from dusty mauve to soft salmon to just barely barely pink. And, contrary to my previous (maybe popular) belief, pink in interiors needn’t be fussy, or young-looking: It can be bold, romantic, playful, unexpected, even a little cheeky.

Proof? Just take a look at these bedrooms—some with just a touch of pink, others dressed head to toe—that I’m seeing in new light.

A lush salmon-colored canopy frames the bed (and dark-blue velvet headboard) at the Grands Boulevards Hotel in Paris. See more of the dramatic guest rooms (each with a touch of pink) in Beds Take a Bow.
Above: A lush salmon-colored canopy frames the bed (and dark-blue velvet headboard) at the Grands Boulevards Hotel in Paris. See more of the dramatic guest rooms (each with a touch of pink) in Beds Take a Bow.
There&#8
Above: There’s a dreaminess to all of the rooms in costume designer Céline Sathal’s country house near Tolouse, France, and this blush bedroom is no exception. Sathal sews the mix-and-match pillow cases herself; “every sheepskin was bought for the birth of my children,” she told us. See more in La Vie en Rose: Inside a Costumier’s Dreamlike, DIY Maison in France.
I&#8
Above: I’m into the whimsical hotel rooms at the aptly named Quirk Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. Opened in the 1916 J.B. Mosby and Co. department store building, each playful room is done with various swaths of pink.
Another pinkish hotel guest room, at data-src=
Above: Another pinkish hotel guest room, at 11 Howard: A Scandi Paradise in SoHo, New York.
I&#8
Above: I’ve been enamored of Twig Hutchinson’s bedroom since we featured it almost exactly two years ago. How did she manage to make a bedroom with lots of pink feel sophisticated and balanced? With, she told us, a neutral backdrop and dashes of black. For more of Twig’s tips, see Tips for a Softly Moody Bedroom from a London Stylist.
Julie&#8
Above: Julie’s daughter’s room on Cape Cod, awash in almost lilac-pink (it’s Farrow & Ball’s Peignoir) with a patterned quilt.
If you&#8
Above: If you’re like me, this bedroom at Baixa House in Portugal didn’t even register as pink at first glance. But that’s what works: white linens and earthy tiles make up a neutral, spare backdrop, and a vintage pink textile-as-blanket adds softness. (Want to recreate it? See Steal This Look: A Portuguese Bedroom with Vintage Charm.)
At this inventively colorful English inn, walls painted a deep Rhubarb by Paint & Paper Library pairs with black floors and velvet fabric in a floral pattern by Liberty London. “I really pushed for this color,” the stylist told us. “Everyone was against it, but I got quite obsessed.&#8
Above: At this inventively colorful English inn, walls painted a deep Rhubarb by Paint & Paper Library pairs with black floors and velvet fabric in a floral pattern by Liberty London. “I really pushed for this color,” the stylist told us. “Everyone was against it, but I got quite obsessed.” Take a look at the full color treatment in The Rose: A Singular Seaside Inn on the English Coast, Color Edition.
And, last but not least, this monochrome pink bedroom in Brooklyn is a longtime favorite of the Remodelista team—the first time we realized all-over pink could look sophisticated and serene. See more in The Sentimental Minimalist: A Young Architect’s Bed-Stuy Townhouse Makeover.
Above: And, last but not least, this monochrome pink bedroom in Brooklyn is a longtime favorite of the Remodelista team—the first time we realized all-over pink could look sophisticated and serene. See more in The Sentimental Minimalist: A Young Architect’s Bed-Stuy Townhouse Makeover.

Psst: We’ve rounded up our favorite pink rooms elsewhere in the house—and paints, too—here:



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Steal This Look: A Swedish Bathroom with Retro Pink Tiles


It’s been a few years since we first wrote about Wanås (pronounced va-noos) Hotel, an 18th-century Swedish farmhouse-turned-boutique hotel by architect Kristina Wachtmeister, but we’re still obsessing over this perfect pink bathroom she designed. It features vintage dusty-rose tiles, bespoke furniture by Christian Halleröd, and fixtures from Swedish brand Ifö.

Below, we show you how to replicate the look (without having to commission custom furniture).

Photograph by Magnus Mårdinger, courtesy of Wanås Hotel.

Hotel Wanas in Skåne, Sweden Above: The bathroom is finished with vintage pink square tiles, Ifö bath fixtures, and slate flooring.

Steal This Look

Massproductions A01 Wall Hook from Arket Above: Stockholm-based Massproductions makes the porcelain A01 Wall Hooks, which come in white, off-white, and gray; $51 at A+R. (See 10 Easy Pieces: Modern Robe Hooks.)
Above: Waterworks’ Collette Freestanding Oval Bathtub is a near perfect match; $12,558.
American Universal Corp. Brittany Pink Tiles Above: American Universal Corp. says it’s the largest importer and distributor of fine Japanese porcelain tile in the United States. These Brittany 4×4 tiles, in the BR-94 shade, on their site have a similar retro look.
Folding Towel Holder by Matela Above: For a similar look, try a wooden clothes drying rack (we’re partial to deVol’s Clothes Horse) if you have the space. For a more compact bathroom, we like this Folding Towel Holder by Czech furniture company Matela; kč 2,200.
Skagerak Georg Side Table Above: Skagerak’s Georg Side Table is $249 at Danish Design Store.
Mia Modern Ceramic Planter by One Many Above: The Mia Modern Ceramic Planter by One and Many is $85.
Serena & Lily Spa Robe Above: Serena & Lily’s Turkish cotton Spa Robe has waffle weave on the outside and terry on the inside; currently on sale for $80.

For more bathroom inspiration, see:

  • Steal This Look: A Luxurious Master Bath in Shades of Pale
  • Steal This Look: A Hudson Valley Artist’s Above-the-Shop Bath
  • Steal This Look: A Spa-Like Sanctuary in LA



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Editors’ Picks: The Remodelista Valentine’s Day 2020 Gift Guide


Here’s how I usually respond when my husband asks about Valentine’s Day gift ideas: “I don’t want anything.” “Really, any gift you give me will be great.” “Whatever.”

Here’s what I’m going to do this year instead: send him the link to this gift guide.

Below, Remodelista’s wish list of beautiful things:

Above: Margot’s smitten with the plant-dyed textiles of Dublin-based Kathryn Davy, in particular with her pink-hued wool socks, but as those are currently sold out, she’s eyeing this Linen Cutlery Pocket, hand-dyed with madder root; $24.71.

Above: From Julie: Centuries-old French fragrance company L’Officine Universelle Buly will carve whatever monogram you wish into its Savon Superfin soap for added luxury. You can also choose from different packaging (pictured are 2 of 14 options); €24.17 each (€5 for monogramming).

One Kiln Ceramics' Ash Glazed Cup at Alder and Co. Shop Above: “I love the foil of iron exterior and soft blush interior of this cup,” says Justine. One Kiln Ceramics’ Ash Glazed Cup, made in Japan, is $30 each at Alder & Co.

Above: “I would be happy to receive a clutch of dead flowers for Valentine’s Day,” says Fan. “These dried botanicals from Bloomist are so pretty and poetic.” The Dried Pink Heather is $22 and the Cream Globe Amaranthus is just $12. Extra points for presenting them in a Pink Terracotta Vase by Sheldon Ceramics.

Cafe Bowl Sorbet Heath Ceramics Above: Another Julie suggestion: Cafe Bowls, in sorbet, from Heath Ceramics’ Chez Panisse Line; $37 each.

Above: “I am dying for somebody to please get me a pair of pajamas from Zara Home’s really great-looking collection,” says Annie. “In particular, their Pleated Pajamas“; $69.90.

Hay Flare Candle Holder Above: Another one from Annie, who is committing to a candle-lit life this winter: Hay’s Flare Candle Holder, shown in pink, is just $25 each.

Above: Fan finds paper products—books, newspapers, magazines—romantic. These prettily packaged Antoinette Poisson Notebooks are each hand-printed and bound in Paris; from $48.

Above: Julie has Baies Rose Dishwashing Liquid by Astier de Villatte on her wish list. She found it at The Primary Essentials, where it’s currently sold out. Liberty London also sells it for £20.
Above: Another one from Fan: “I used to work with Marcie McGoldrick at Martha Stewart Living, where she was the editorial director for crafts and holiday. She’s now making artful ceramics, among which are these captivating cameo pendants, cast from tinted porcelain.” Her Cameo Jewelry, which also includes rings set in silver or gold, starts at $140 each.

Above: Margot fell for R+D Lab’s Italian colored borosilicate glassware at Shoppe Object last week. She was happy to discover that the Bon Nuit Bedside Carafe and Glass and Cameo Pink Ribbed Wine Glass are both sold at Sunday Shop; $178 and $82.

For past Valentine’s Day roundups, see:

  • Editor’ Picks: Our 2019 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide
  • Editors’Picks: 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts
  • 8 Favorites: Drinking Glasses With a Hint of Pink
  • Rethink Pink: 14 Favorite Graphic, Un-Frilly Rugs in Rose Hues



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