Search Modern Luxury

Kehoe Designs’ Collin Hardy Duwe Stone Terrace NS Magazine Holiday Tables Table

Kehoe Designs’ Collin Hardy Duwe adds glamour to the warm wood room at Stone Terrace ( with chic black access


Welcome, Friends

By Laura Hine and Marjie Killeen

Photography by Daniel Kelleghan


It’s time for good cheer and pulling out all the stops to entertain in style. We enlisted top caterers and party planners to provide inspiration for your upcoming holiday gatherings.

Black-Tie Cocktail Party
When guests show up in formal attire, it’s a shame to hide all that glamour behind a dinner table. A posh cocktail party is the perfect setting for revelers to mingle while showing off their swanky duds. Collin Hardy Duwe of Kehoe Designs ( updates the traditional black-tie palette by adding an enlivening dash of canary yellow and mod accessories. “Yellow is a pop of color that’s really current, and we added some greenery since it’s the dead of winter,” he says. “Using color infuses a party with something different that makes it your own.” Duwe layers textures like the fuzzy green moss and smooth gold stones in the shadow boxes to create interest and drama. The whole vibe is sophisticated, colorful and fresh—a visual treat that’s a welcome contrast to the cold, gray weather outside.

Inspired by Kehoe’s theme, chef Mike Cisternino of Catering by Michaels ( created a scrumptious menu that’s also a feast for the eyes. His team chose items that add elegance and color to the buffet as well as being tasty and easy to eat. The Japanese soy marinated salmon—charmingly served in a votive holder—delivers entreeworthy complexity in a single bite. When planning a menu for a fancy party, “there are two ways to add impact,” says Cisternino. “You can either use high-end ingredients, or cut against the grain and pick lower-cost ingredients and present them in a high-end way.” This menu reflects both approaches, ranging from a lavish caviar bar to an artistic array of crostini topped with shaved Brussels sprouts, marinated carrots and honeycomb. Of course, no cocktail party is complete without something special to sip on. Bubbly is a must, but Cisternino recommends serving a signature drink, like his Sour Cherry Bourbon Mash. Greeting guests at the door with a passed cocktail makes everyone immediately feel festive and welcome (and eases the initial crush at the bar). What a great way to spread the spirit of the season. –MK

Caterer: Catering by Michaels Executive Chef
Mike Cisternino
Event Planner: Kehoe Designs Event Producer
Collin Hardy Duwe

Kehoe Designs Affairs With Linda Feast & Imbibe Holiday Tables Table Chicago

BEST BURGER Clever macaron sandwiches are really sweet treats in disguise.

Decadent Desserts
Overindulgence is the way of the holidays, so make it official and invite your besties for a night of inventive and whimsical sweets. Linda Alpert, owner of Affairs With Linda, loved this idea from the beginning. “I immediately thought about my daughter and her friends,” she says. “They love to get together for small bites and exotic drinks.” Alpert brought in Kehoe Designs, whose Event Producer Collin Hardy Duwe designed the colors, florals and props for the evening. “I wanted to pop in a different color, so we chose the teal,” Duwe says. “It’s fun and different, plus it’s a holiday color that you’ll see at a lot of luxury retailers this season.” Duwe also brought in the very tall serving stand and matched it with vertical florals. “Whenever you raise something to eye level, it makes guests want to pick it up,” says Alpert. “And using interesting serving pieces, like the little fry basket, gives guests something to talk about.”

Adding to the whimsy and fun of this evening are the faux diner-food desserts. Lead Event Producer Heather Bublick and Executive Chef D’Andre Carter of Feast & Imbibe ( dreamed up sweets that taste delicious but are also very fun. “I love creating things that are eye-catching,” says Carter. “You take tastes people are familiar with, but then you give it a twist.” For instance, the s’more bomb has a liquid graham cracker center and thin chocolate shell. You light the rice noodle wick to add a smoky flavor reminiscent of campfires, and then the whole dessert literally explodes in your mouth. The “tacos” are a cinnamon-sugar taco shell filled with tiramisu layers, and the adorable “hamburgers and fries” are really caramel macarons with a chocolate “patty,” banana “cheese” and raspberry “ketchup.” Cinnamon and vanilla churros fill out the basket as stand-ins for fries. The combination of clever and tasteful guarantees guests will indulge their cravings on this sweet night (and be raving about it for weeks to come!). –LH

Caterer: Feast & Imbibe Lead Event Producer Heather Bublick and Executive Chef D’Andre Carter
Event Planner: Affairs With Linda owner Linda Alpert
Floral and Design: Kehoe Designs Event Producer Collin Hardy Duwe
Additional linens, tables, dishes and stemware: BBJ Linen (, Nimble Well ( and Tablescapes (  

Bliss Weddings & Events Wrap It Up Catered by Design Holiday Tables Chicago

GREEN SCENE The green magnolia branches and showstopper buffet make a luxurious setting for a warming brunch.

Snowy-Day Brunch
For weekend entertaining, especially if you’re thinking about including families, brunch is the best of all worlds. Friends can come and go, children are at their best in the earlier hours and, with the help of some design and catering pros, you can have both elegant and cozy. For this winter day, Renny Pedersen—owner of Bliss Weddings & Events ( and Wrap It Up (, her event-planning company that handles everything but weddings—embraced the concept of warm but chic. “Home parties are so much fun to do,” she says. “You can make every element more personal.” A great example is the sideboard she chose for serving instead of a more-expected dining table. To that colorful base, she added in copper and brass serving pieces, white marble and rustic wood. “You can mix antique and newer pieces for a very fresh look,” she says. And this artful mix also uses height and texture, plus the fresh waxy green of in-season magnolia branches to elevate home style into high style.

To match the ambience, Sam Gray, president of Catered by Design (, wanted sophisticated brunch food that everyone would love. “We thought first about foods that are available in the winter, like apples, which inspired the apple rose tart,” he says. Swirling apple roses decorate maple custard and a gluten-free crust made from toasted walnuts. Throughout, the menu accomodates dietary concerns—with crustless individual garden quiches and eye-catching separate components for the salad, so guests can mix and match. For dessert, Gray made a pumpkin crepe cake with crushed pistachios for a showstopping ending. Add in hot toddies and a roaring fire, and you’ve got yourself a memorable party. –LH

Caterer: Catered by Design President Sam Gray
Event Planner: Bliss Weddings & Events owner Renny Pedersen 


Styling by Katrina Hoernig // Shot on location at stone Terrace bed and breakfast and Stone Porch by the lake bed and breakfast