Steve Cordony and his partner Michael have spent four years transforming their 1877 Georgian-style homestead, Rosedale, into the spectacular showpiece it is today. From sprawling gardens to expertly styled rooms, the immaculately renovated residence pays homage to Steve’s brilliance in interior styling and Michael’s passion for gardening.
It’s in the dining space of Rosedale that Steve shares a masterclass on relaxed and elegant indoor dining. Pairing the Issho Dining Table in Congo with the Quay Indoor Dining Chair in Whiteley Osprey, Steve shows why he is the master of the tablescape.
What is a masterful tablescape if it’s not set on the right furniture?
According to Steve, understanding the flow and layout of your space as well as how you plan to use the furniture is the key to choosing the right furniture pieces.
“I’ve got French paneling on the walls and quite distinct, big picture windows,” he explains. “For me, I wanted to bring in that contrast and create an organic shape. That’s why the round setting of the Issho Dining Table works so beautifully. A circular dining table works really well for conversation. If you’re a couple or you’ve got a family, that will obviously dictate how you function within your space.”
It’s not just the furniture itself that needs to work within the space. Steve also explains that the finishes and fabrics you choose can create intimacy and make a statement.
“It was important for me to choose pieces that have lots of texture,” says Steve. “I chose the Congo for the Issho Dining Table because of the visual texture but also for the monochromatic look. The Whiteley Osprey fabric of the Quay Indoor Dining Chair almost looks like a beautiful Chanel jacket. It works as a really nice base and is complementary to the dark stain of the timber.”
With white linen and a variety of contrasting textures, Steve has created a relaxed entertaining tablescape.
Tactility and texture is really important to Steve in styling the table. He suggests starting with soft furnishings as the base and building from there.
“Beautiful linen tablecloths or linen napkins are a great place to start,” he says. “That tactility is really nice within both a formal or informal setting. Then you can add florals or greenery to introduce life into the tablescape. Natural materials can add so much warmth and organic texture into any space.”
Also a fan of personal touches, Steve likes to add a personal item to the table. Whether it’s a beautiful handwritten menu or place card, Steve says that is a really simple way to introduce a bit of your personality to the setting.
“Candles are another relaxed entertaining essential,” he adds. “There is the visual aspect of a candle but they also really help to bring an overall sense of mood and calmness to the table.”
The contrasting elements of the tablescape help to bring Steve’s European still life concept to life.
Styling is all about the story. No matter what he is doing, whether it’s a tablescape or a whole room, Steve starts with a concept.
“Whether you’re doing a beautiful black tie dinner or a casual brunch, there should always be a concept that comes through quite strongly", he explains. “It doesn’t have to be fantastical. It can just be one little element that threads through what you’re doing.”
On his Issho Dining Table, Steve has drawn on the idea of a European still life for the concept. He has used a beautiful bust, loose wild florals, eggplants and interesting vessels and ceramics for some interesting contrasts and complements.
“The idea of playing with contrasts is important because it creates a talking point and adds dimension to the table,” he explains. “You’ve got the rustic basket against the brass candlesticks and then two different styles of glassware - one cut and one clean.”
A neutral palette makes splashes of colour or accent pieces appear more vivid.
Steve recommends working within a neutral palette so you can be more playful with your accents.
“I started with white linen, white napkins, white floral,” he says. “But then you can introduce one bit of pop. Whether it's an accent of a metallic or some colour from the eggplants. Of course, you can be more outlandish but with a neutral base you can be a bit more playful with the different materials and texture that you’ve got going on with the table.”
Also fond of the handmade aesthetic, Steve is well known for using natural materials to build layers in his styling.
“The handmade aesthetic works with any style. I’ve always gravitated towards using natural materials and having an interior that feels like it should be living and breathing. I think it’s really important to include those elements that feel like they have a life beyond.”
Who would he invite around to enjoy a relaxed dinner with around his tablescape?
“Without hesitation, it would be Beyonce. Just Beyonce.”