text by SHANI SILVER
photography by BRITTANY WAGES
Everything’s better with a few friends, especially when it comes to hosting! An Atlanta dinner series by Kit and Ace blossomed into a fun evening of new friends and fun convos that translated all too well in pictures. At Dixon Rye, a home design shop in the old Ironworks Complex on Atlanta’s Westside, hosts Jess Graves, Founder + Editor of The Love List, Helen Ballard, Founder of Ballard Designs, and Bradley Odom, Owner + Designer of Dixon Rye welcomed guests for dinner and “real talk,” which we hope they don’t mind if we copy, immediately.
HOW DID THIS EVENT COME ABOUT? WHAT INSPIRED IT?
Apparel retailer Kit and Ace has this great series of supper clubs around Atlanta where they tap local influencers and creatives to gather a group of their friends over dinner and get to know one another. They even have these cute “Real Talk” cards with questions on them that are intended to spur great conversations (which totally work, by the way). My friend Haven Shea works there and asked me to host a supper, which was so nice of her.
Helen and I had been chatting for months about how we wanted to merge some of the great creative friends we have in Atlanta, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so and became a co-hosted party quickly.
I knew I wanted Chef Zach Meloy to cook for us because I think his food is inventive and amazing, and Helen had the idea to have it at Bradley’s gorgeous shop, which is just around the corner from Chef Zach’s restaurant, Better Half. Everything came together really organically.
WHAT WERE YOUR PRIMARY GOALS FOR THE EVENING?
We wanted to respect Kit and Ace’s supper club format, and Haven did a great job of facilitating conversation – some of the “Real Talk” cards had questions that really got everybody buzzing, like “If you could join one band onstage for one song during any era, who would it be and why?” We got answers that ranged from The Last Waltz to Janet Jackson to Prince.
But past that, we really wanted to show off Bradley’s amazing store. It’s still relatively new and many people don’t know about it yet, even though they should. I told him I want to move in! His aesthetic is amazing as is Helen’s, and together they worked really hard to put together a beautiful table!!
We wanted to bring people together! There were friends I wanted to meet of Jess’ (and likewise) and others I wanted to reconnect with – everyone creative, a big mix of ages. It was a fabulous group.
Timeless, handcrafted Glass Candle holders clustered in groups to illuminate the space. Available at Dixon Rye.
Yes, we wanted to share stories, build relationships and encourage real dialogue!
Antique Ironstone cake plate and serving platters collected from various markets in Europe all available as part of the Dixon Rye collection.
WHAT OVERALL MOOD AND AESTHETIC WERE YOU AIMING FOR?
: I loved sitting under the iron frame at the front of Bradley’s store where he housed the dinner, it was almost being like a tent indoors. So intimate.
PLACE CARDS Signora e Mare signoramare.com
That’s our Dixon Rye ‘shop in a shop’! It was built from the original window frame of the building, which was an old iron works complex. The perfect mix of raw and refined!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM THIS EVENT?
Just watching great people who Helen and I love connect with each other. I don’t think there is any better way to get to know people than over a long, wine-soaked dinner with no curfew.
Handmade marbleized dinnerware, salad and dinner plates inspired by the Turkish art of paper marbling. The marble pattern is a blend of richly colored earthenware resulting in a one of a kind, vibrant piece. Available at Dixon Rye.
…and the food was unbelievable! Chef Zach really blew us all away. It was so gorgeous in its presentation too – down to the little violet wildflower garnishes. We took a big group picture at the end of the night that is one of my favorites, just because everyone didn’t know each other at the beginning of the night and left with wonderful new friends.
Antique hotel silver from the personal collection of designer Carolyn Malone
Sharing laughs over those real talk cards was great.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER?
There were a lot of “cooks in the kitchen” per se, so I think the hardest part was making sure Bradley and Helen got to do what they wanted aesthetically while still keeping Haven happy that we were sticking to Kit + Ace’s wishes.
It was also challenging hosting a dinner party in a retail store with no kitchen, but Zach showed up totally equipped and nailed it.
WHAT WAS THE BEST GUEST COMMENT YOU HEARD THROUGHOUT THE EVENING?
Ginny Branch said she’d bring Pinterest to a desert island, we were dying.
When Bradley said the Madiera (which was insanely good, by the way) was going to be the inspiration for his private label candle!
SEE MORE FROM THE CREATIVE TEAM BEHIND THIS ENCHANTING EVENING!