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22 Design-World Folks Sound Off on Turkey Day Traditions

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Happy Thanksgiving Eve, faithful Curbed National readers. To celebrate the family gathering and calorie consumption that will surely define tomorrow, we asked legions of designers and design-industry top dogs how they spend their holiday. Herein, their tell-all. Oh, and P.S.: We're going to roll out a giveaway package of deluxe Canvas tabletop products on Monday. Stay tuned for details, but be prepared to dish your own Thanksgiving or entertaining tales. Oh, and P.P.S.: This is our last post of the day. Until Monday...

The most obvious Thanksgiving planning question—even before “what do we eat”—is where. Many designers will forgo the horror of holiday travel to hang in their hometowns, including Garrow Kedigian (Garrow Kedigian Interior Design), who’s sticking around Manhattan. Kedigian sure won’t be roughing it by spending the day at the home of a “close client” with “a great apartment on Central Park West” and he's already (justifiably) boasting about the “fantastic view of the parade.”

Loose-lipped Philip Erdoes (The New Traditionalists) should be in the neighborhood, too, as he ever-so-enthusiastically hopes to “HIT THE PARADE. AND TRY NOT TO HIT ANY OF MY IN-LAWS.” Let's pray said in-laws don't Google "Philip Erdoes, Curbed National" at any point tomorrow!

Nicki Clendening (Scout Designs NYC) might not stray far geographically, but she'll be headed on an annual—and unlikely—culinary adventure: Indian food with her New York-based siblings. In doing so: saving herself from the pressure of assembling the perfect Thanksgiving table, and certainly laying the dishes off on someone else.

Tomorrow, the always-lovable and, apparently, adventurous Eldon Wong (Eldon Wong Design) can be found camping in Sonoma County, Calif., where “friends?have 100-plus acres of rolling hills.” Ah, it’s good to know people who own land isn’t it, Eldon? Even better to know the way to Healdsburg, as he says, for the “world-class restaurants and flushing toilets!”

Carlota Espinosa (HauteLook) dolls up her Hollywood Hills, Calif., home for family, who might be excited to learn it was once the haunt of Charlie Chaplin. The dwelling's past resident may certainly lend some street-cred to that old parental adage—kids should be seen and not heard—and help keep dinner chatter to a minimum.

The folks we spoke to talked up many a delicious edible, but stuffing was the surprise runaway winner for favorite dish. In fact, a stuffing showdown might be necessary among Alexa Hampton (Mark Hampton, LLC), who called her mother’s version “sinfully good,” Amanda Nisbet (Amanda Nisbet Design), who warned that failure to produce her annual “Chestnut stuffing” would lead her family to “ostracize me,” and Madeline Stuart, (Madeline Stuart & Associates), whose mother sparked “discontent, outrage, and pandemonium” when she briefly changed the secret recipe.

More food stuff: S. Russell Groves (S. Russell Groves) and Maria Brito (Lifestyling by Maria Gabriela Brito) both seek advice from the Food Network's inimitable Ina Garten. For Groves, it’s a simple, breast-only turkey recipe, and Brito whips up a “gruyere, Parmesan, and truffle oil” mac ‘n’ cheese.

On to what you, dear reader, come here for: the décor! Ghislaine Vinas (Ghislaine Vinas Interior Design) eschews traditionalism, declaring, “I hate tan, beige, rusty orange and brown.” Instead, she utilizes a fresh combo of white with a “bright stripe of orange running down the center of the table.” Some DIY advice from crafts and ceramics whiz Lotta Anderson (Lotta Jansdotter): Take some napkins and a runner and “iron on some quotes stating what you are thankful for. It makes for a very thoughtful and personable table.”

Kevin Isbell (Kevin Isbell Interiors) echoed Vinas’s distaste for the typical, but admitted to spending “the better part of Wednesday polishing antique silver flatware, servers, and gravy boats.” “Avoid the Pilgrim/Indian motif at all cost,” he warns, “It's predictable and overdone.” Point taken, Kev! Sabrina Soto (Sabrina Soto) won’t even spare room on her tabletop for flowers, as she “needs all the space for the platters.” Instead, she “sprinkles small arrangements around the house.” Knowing Soto's aesthetic, we're confident these aren't, in fact, dreadful Edible Arrangements.

New-school Alex Purcell (Aprro) and old-school Charles Pavarini III (Charles Pavarini III Design Associates) can both agree on ultra-luxe Anichini textiles for the tabletop, though Purcell admits he’d rather have a “table which is beautiful enough to leave bare.” Pavarini (whose mock-up autumn table appears in the photo above) called for anything but, detailing his plans to decorate the table with “Murano glass fall pumpkins and gourds?votive candles?[and] a pair of MASSIVE electrified candelabra fitted with custom diaphanous lampshades." Jeepers! Forget what we said about agreement between these two.

Purcell gets some minimalist backup from Campion Platt (CampionPlatt), who's "not a fan of too much 'stuff' on a holiday table. You never want your guests to feel that they may knock over something precious or there is no surface left to set down a glass or reach a serving dish." Fair point, Camp. That sounds like no fun at all.

When we asked this crew who they'd ask to join them for Thanksgiving dinner—living or dead, famous or family—Amy Sedaris held her own against Andy Warhol and Winston Churchill, a fact no doubt aided by the release of her new book, Simple Times – Crafting for Poor People. We applaud Laurie Burns (Forty One Madison) for the invitation she'd like to extend to King Bhumibol of Thailand, while native Texan Callie Jenschke (Scout Designs NYC) thinks her "family full of outdoorsmen and women" would be well suited to a supernatural visit from Teddy Roosevelt.

When questioned about crimes against good taste they had witnessed on Thanksgivings past, no surprise that our panelists had plenty to say. Sarah Richardson (Sarah Richardson Design) lashed out against “anything fake”: “Thanksgiving should be about celebrating the natural bounty of the land, not getting carried away on a train of excess and plastic. No roasted bird needs frilly white socks to make it look better!” she justly declares.

Meanwhile, Jayne Michaels (2Michaels) relayed a horror story that included a table “set with bright pink candles and napkins.” Alexa Hampton warned against “alarmingly phallic gourds,” while the always-polite Brad Ford (Brad Ford ID) cited “paper plates” as his Turkey Day pet peeve and urged fall revelers to “bring out the good stuff!” File under: 'nuff said.