Eddie Ross is a man after our own hearts: he’s adorable and has a fantastic wit and an instantly recognizable sense of style. We’ve long been fans of his vintage-meets-modern approach even before he appeared on Bravo’s “Top Design,” back when he was making waves as an editor at Martha Stewart Living. He’s since been everywhere and seemingly done everything, from appearing in every major design magazine to authoring his ode to mixing-and-matching: Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style With Chic & Accessible Finds. Most recently, Eddie was named Style Director for The Mine by ATGStores.com, where he gets to discover and share all kinds of unique treasures. Mix yourself a Diamond in the Rough and listen in as the Culinary Institute-trained, effortlessly creative party host (and member of The Salonniere 100) shares everything from his entertaining and flea-market-shopping tricks to the edgy thing that drives him nuts at parties.
Your tables are always so beautiful. What’s your favorite centerpiece idea?
Floating peonies in a big, beautiful bowl—it’s super simple, and anyone can do it.
What are your favorite flowers for spring bouquets/centerpieces?
I love a loose mix of hyacinths, lilies of the valley, sweet peas, clematis, and white bleeding hearts.
Last year, you moved to that gorgeous home just outside of Philadelphia. Has your “new” home changed the way you entertain?
Not yet—it’s still a work in progress and very much under construction, but don’t worry, we’ve already thrown a party, and it was featured in House Beautiful last month. The idea was that friends could come over for dinner to see our new house and get a look at the renovation progress. The vision was a broom-swept raw space with beautiful furniture, flowers, and a roaring fire (since we don’t have heat quite yet). I combined some of my favorite vintage pieces with these modern acrylic chairs.
We’ve long been a fan of your fresh sense of style—and the effortless way you mix and match elements old and new. What’s your advice for incorporating vintage and modern, especially at one’s table?
Mixing vintage and new tableware into what you already own doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. For instance, you can freshen up a set of wedding china with forks from a flea market, jewel-toned goblets from the Goodwill, or colorful salad plates like these. Tastes change—and so should we.
Your table settings often mix china patterns to gorgeous effect. What’s your advice for mixing and matching china/dishware?
Repetition is power: it can give even the most peculiar combination a sense of purpose. So as you start to experiment with place settings, picture them en masse—down a rectangle, around a circle—producing a sum far greater than its parts.
What trends are you seeing when it comes to table settings?
A modern mix, of course.
Springtime also means flea markets, which we know you love! Which ones do you most look forward to?
Elephant’s Trunk in Connecticut, Scott’s in Atlanta, and Long Beach out in California
What advice do you have for getting the best deal—or finding the best items?
Arrive when you want. If flashlights and wake-up calls aren’t your thing, the recognizable stuff everybody wants might be gone when you get there. But if you want smalls, go when you want. Dealers are also more likely to give better deals later in the day.
What are the “hidden gems”—the items people tend to overlook—at fleas? And what items do you just not bother with?
You never know what gems you’ll find in all of those boxes other people pass up. It may take a little work, but you’ll score. Shabby is never chic to me, so I look for everything from sofas to salt cellars with a chic, more decorator look.
What’s the best party you’ve ever hosted?
To celebrate my partner Jaithan’s birthday, I hosted an al-fresco dinner for thirty inspired by all the gorgeous colors, patterns, and flavors of India. It was a feast fit for a prince!
What are your biggest party “pet peeves”?
Knives that face out and buffets without any rhyme or reason.
What’s your advice for being a great party guest?
Bring a gift!
Playing Favorites with Eddie Ross
Speaking of gifts, what’s your favorite host or hostess gift to give?
A bottle of Veuve and a vintage service piece tied with pretty satin ribbon.
VSF in NYC
Watson’s in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Revel with DinnerThyme in Bedford, New York
Favorite brands of dinnerware?
Royal Crown Derby and Mottahedeh
Favorite brand of glassware or stemware?
Favorite flatware brand?
Mepra Linea in Gold
Favorite candle for the powder room?
Favorite hand soap for the powder room?
Rance Vero Mughetto Lily of The Valley Soap
Click here to read more interviews with inspiring party hosts, here to read about the greatest salonnières in history, and here to read the definition of a salonnière.
Photo sources: Eddie Ross, Bryan E. McCay