The Nuance of Nan

Tastemaker: Nan Philip
India Amory Linens used:
Shale Alpine Floral Tablecloth and Big Sky Tablecloth

For the past three years, you have worked at Blitzer & Company, a PR firm that specializes in the interior design industry. What did you love most about the job? I love the PR world because you get to meet so many different people – from designers to editors and creatives. One of the best parts of the interior design world in New York is the people; it is truly such a supportive industry. It is a fast-paced job, but it was such a wonderful experience because I got exposed to so many things!

What are you up to now? Right now, I am working on a range of freelance projects, with a focus on social media, marketing and public relations. Outside of that, I am blogging again on Simply Elegant, a blog I started in college as a creative outlet. Over the past few years, I had to put my blog on a back burner a bit, so I am excited to have more time to dedicate to writing about interior design, travel and style. 

Who are you currently coveting for guidance and tablescape artistry? In my mind everything Amanda Brooks touches is perfection; I love following her on Instagram! Otherwise, I look to my friends who are editors and stylists; they are true masters at setting tables as they know about everything on the market and floral arranging. Sabine Rothman, Mieke ten Have and Dayle Wood come to mind right away!   

Favorite floral accent? Peonies! They are simply the best. I look forward to June all year for fresh peonies. 

Favorite project you worked on when you were in PR? There are really too many great projects to count. But one that stands out to me was an entertaining story with John Derian for Veranda. John set a stunning table full of all things roses, from the actual flowers down to the dinnerware. Additionally, the editors on the story were great friends of mine, so it was really fun! It was wonderful to see the story come to life in the March 2019 issue.  

Dream setting for your next dinner party? Anything with the ocean in the background! 

Place that has most inspired your style? New York! Since I was a child, I always wanted to live in New York. I moved here right after college and have loved it ever since. I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon! From fashion to interiors, there is always so much to see and be inspired by in the city. I love interiors filled with colors and patterns, but for my outfits, I tend to gravitate to more muted and solid colors, which of course feels very New York. 

You recently blogged about updating your apartment with Lilse McKenna. Can you elaborate on what you are going to be updating and how you plan to decorate? I recently moved into a new apartment and am truly decorating my own space for the first time. I never painted my last rental apartment, and the white walls always made it feel as though the space was not my own. I am still renting my new place, but I hope to be here for a good while, so I felt that it was worth the investment to bite the bullet and decorate the space so that it really feels like mine! 

Outside of work, our homes are one of the places where we spend the most time (especially for someone like me, I’m a total homebody!) With that, I think your home should be a safe haven where you feel comfortable, relaxed and surrounded by things you love. So many of my peers spend their money on travel or fashion, but I have chosen to prioritize my home. Especially in a city like New York, I think it is so wonderful to have a cozy apartment to call your own.  

While I have strong opinions about what I love and don’t love for interiors, I do not have the technical training to entrust myself with decorating my apartment all on my own. So I turned to my wonderful friend Lilse McKenna for help. Lilse has worked for a range of amazing designers, including one of my all-time favorites, Markham Roberts. I trust her taste completely. I was also inspired by how she transformed her previous West Village rental into a happy and joyful space. If my apartment is ever an ounce as wonderful as hers, I would be thrilled. 

I am very much operating on a budget for my apartment (there are a lot of Ikea hacks in the works) but Lilse has been so helpful in determining where and how to spend my budget. With her direction, I am much less likely to make a decorating mistake. Right now, we are still very much in the middle of the decorating process – ordering fabrics, making choices, and waiting on production timelines. The apartment has some fun wallpaper moments (as you can see in my kitchen!) and is full of my favorite colors: green, pink and blues. Once the space is complete there will be a lot of layers and various patterns. We hope to have the apartment done this Fall, but then again, I am not sure I could ever be fully done decorating!

You recently blogged about spending the day at Bunny Williams' home in Connecticut.  Do you plan to pull any inspiration from her home into your own home? Working with and getting to know Bunny has been such an honor. I continually look to Bunny for inspiration and advice. One of the best things I have learned from Bunny is to buy items that you love and to not have things be too matchy-matchy. I have moments when I want everything to match but that can quickly inhibit the personality of the space. I look to Bunny (and her many books) for inspiration on how to layer and mix various items and styles, with both new items and antiques. 

Tell us a bit about how you styled your tables using the Big Sky and Shale Alpine Tablecloths? The bright colorway of the blue Big Sky pattern is perfect for an inviting breakfast table. I picked up fresh flowers at the flower market, because I wanted to mix the blue from the tablecloth with Bachelor Buttons with the pop of color from the pink sweet peas. I also used some beautiful fresh lemons in a vintage silver bowl from my grandmother. To complete the table, I used a range of vintage dinnerware and some new pieces from Tory Burch and Year & Day. 

I love the elegant and petite floral pattern of the Shale Alpine tablecloth and napkins; they make a perfect base for a dinner table. I added in some rattan elements with the charges and napkin rings as well as a touch of blue in the dinner plates and thistle in the flower arrangement. And of course, I could not leave out peonies, my favorite spring flower! 

Favorite Summer vacation spot? Maine!  

If you had to arrange a dinner table in a snap, what would you start with assembling? Tablecloths! Always. I consider the tablecloth to really be your canvas for setting a table. That is where everything starts. From there, my next step would be flowers or dinnerware. Both of those items need to work well with the tablecloth in order to direct the color and direction for the whole table setting. And then from there, I just layer everything else! 

Dream dinner guest? My great grandmother, Nan. She passed away right before I was born, and I am named after her. Throughout my life, I have always been told that we are similar, and I’ve always wondered what she would have been like if I had known her. (She also loved to entertain!)