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AnnaMaria Stephens | Photo: Robert Benson | February 27, 2014
Over le brunch, an au courant designer dishes on her Rococo style.
Au revoir, formal French. Ardent Francophile Sarah Kate Morally keeps the classics fabulously fresh with accents of laid-back California style. “You can still have timeless furniture like beautiful, ornate wood while making it comfortable and modern,” says the designer behind His & Hers Home.
For Morally, who just opened a private 4,000-square-foot showroom at Palomar Airport, contrast is key when it comes to designing a sumptuous space or an elegant soiree. “I love pops of color and black-and-white stripes,” says the up-and-comer, known in design circles simply as Sarah Kate. “I like to add whimsy and playful touches so it’s not too traditional.”
At home in Carlsbad, Morally’s the kind of hostess who can pull off a ball gown at brunch. Her preferred welcome for guests? A coupe Champagne tower filled with blush pink Veuve Rosé. “It’s a conversation piece everyone oohs and aahs over,” says the designer, who also sets out a plate of pastel macarons, the world’s prettiest cookies. “It’s like cocktail hour when everyone arrives.”
When she entertains, Morally hires professionals to handle the heavy lifting. Katie Grebow, who recently left her longtime post helming Cafe Chloe’s kitchen to work as a private chef, created an exquisite spread of asparagus tarts, salmon canapes and pommes gaufrettes with caviar and creme fraiche for a recent fete. “It’s quintessentially French with a focus on California produce,” explains Grebow.
“Decor is what I get into,” says Morally, who just refreshed her home with selections from her Paris-inflected spring collection, including cherry blossom wallpaper and the crystal chandelier hanging from the 20-foot ceiling above the dining table. “I’ll pair clean, white Juliska china with a mix-and-match charger,” she adds. (Her most enviable source for unusual antiques? A close friend who owns a gold exchange and gives her first dibs on objects like a tarnished 1800s tea set that she restored to splendor.)
Flower arrangements are the icing on the petit four for Morally, whether she makes her own or hires a floral designer such as Tenfold Style & Designed Events, who filled the kitchen with blue thistle and purple-tone anemone, and enlivened the dining table with bunches of piers japonica branch, ranunculus and gray brezillia. “Florals are a great way to modernize a traditional home or soften a cotemporary design,” says owner Tricia Reina, who adds punchy orange mokara orchids for color contrast. “They also reference the texture and tropical feel of coastal Southern California.”
Despite her flair for the feminine, Morally’s interiors strike a balance with both halves (hence her firm’s name). “I always make sure the His in your life is involved,” says the designer, who gutted the 3,700-square-foot townhouse next door to create a “his side” for her husband, replete with whitewashed oak floors and a copper-bedecked farmhouse kitchen. The nibbles served there? “Bread, charcuterie and cheese.” Bon appétit, mon cheri!
Inspired? An affair à la française is as easy as un, deux, trois!
Ze Top Toque
Now a solo act, chef Katie Grebow—the maître behind the celebrated Cafe Chloe kitchen for nearly a decade—brings her knack for all things bistro straight to your home as a private chef for hire.
The expert take on harnessing flower power? “Think of your favorite style, and then take a risk and accent with something totally different,” says Tenfold Style & Designed Events owner Tricia Reina. Traditional home? Go mod. Contemporary? Layer on the sweetness.
The Grand Surface
Mission Hills hideaway Maison en Provence is our source for stylish French tableware, all certified très authentique by the charming Gallic shop owners. Hostess gift? Pick up lavender sachets, Provençal linens and imported bonbons. Ooh la la!