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Land of Lucy Cuneo: The Tastemaker on her Secrets to Capturing Tablescapes on Camera and Ensuring You and Your Dinner Guests Always Look Gorgeous

Lucy Cuneo leads a picture-perfect life, literally. The professional photographer runs a lifestyle website dedicated to “elevating the everyday” and covers entertaining, style, and travel with a focus on creating cozy, inviting spaces and experiences. The New York native now calls Charleston home with her husband and baby, and makes it look effortless in a wash of pastel hues using her well-trained eye and keen photo editing skills. Here, the tastemaker shares her home inspiration, tricks of the trade, and entertaining go-tos.

Describe your aesthetic in five words or less.

Relaxed, inviting, cozy, ambient, European

Colors or neutrals.

Colors — I also love layering textures.

If you could tap anyone, living or dead, to design your home, who would it be?

My late grandmother, she is still celebrated for her cozy, sophisticated homes and legendary parties that she threw in them with lots of singing around the piano late into the night.

 

Cuneo at home in Charleston

Favorite room of the house to decorate and why?

I love indoor/outdoor living so our screened in porch is where we spend most of our time BUT the bedroom is a sanctuary and creating ours has been a labor of love.

What’s a place you’ve visited that has most inspired the design in your home?

My grandmother’s home in the South of France.   My appreciation for her decisions grows every time I get the chance to visit…

Name your favorite museum.

I love visiting MOMA when we’re in the City but honestly I am more of a garden girl — I will go for visiting a botanical garden or the grounds of an estate everytime.

Cuneo on Harbour Island

Name your three favorite hotels.

Ocean View Club on Harbor Island, Cheval Blanc on St. Barths, and Belmond Splendido—we visited last year which was just an over-the-top treat!

What destination is on the top of your travel wishlist?

India!  

What are the key ingredients to a successful dinner party?

Tons of wine, candles, and music, great company with fun games for backup, and lots of little nibbles on the table well after dessert —chocolates, etc.— we stay up pretty late at our house!

Any go-to hors d’oeuvres you like to serve when entertaining?

We do a lot of fresh guacamole and chips—easy, always in our fridge and universally loved.

Any favorite wines or cocktails to serve at home or bring to a dinner?

My family is very enthusiastic about margaritas but we mostly stick to lots and lots of wine!

Any special tips for creating a beautiful tablescape?

The more candles the better — always candlesticks (the most flattering) and lots of tealights too.   

 

Setting the table in France

It’s really important to get the table set evenly because messiness shows more through the camera and can be distract from the beauty of the table.

Any secrets to share on how to best capture a beautiful tablescape or entertaining set up?

It’s all about the light.  In the summer, this can mean shooting a table around 9PM when it’s dusky and beginning to glow. I often shoot on a tripod with a long shutter speed even when it seems like it would be too dark to shoot. Those are always my favorite shots! Also, it’s really important to get the table set evenly (distance between plates, etc.); the chairs should be lined up well because messiness shows more through the camera and can be distract from the beauty of the table.

What songs, artists, or genres are on your go-to playlist for a get-together at home?

We listen to tropical house when setting up to get revved up for a fun night. For dinner parties, we read the crowd but we wind down with lots of Van Morrison and easy music which we also play in the background during dinner.  

Any favorite candles to burn when entertaining?

I always have scented candles on 20 minutes before guests arrive, in the front hall, living room and all the bathrooms that guests will use.  Nest Moroccan Amber is easy to find but Feu De Beaumont candles are truly beautiful and so special—love the Jasmine!

Any go-to soap for the powder room?

I bring back a lot of soap from France but you can buy it on Amazon too… I love almost every scent by Roger & Gallett.

Any dinner guest pet peeves?

Hmm… I don’t think so, we are pretty rules-free. I guess checking phones often unless there’s a good reason to or it is part of the conversation.

What’s your go-to hostess gift?

Candles or champagne.

Tell us about one of your most treasured wedding gifts.

We were given crystal candle lamps by William Yeoward….they make me feel like such a grown up!

A tablescape at Cuneo’s grandmother’s home in France

Do you collect anything?

Linens, plates, glassware, candlesticks, and I’m growing into furniture…

What Instagram accounts do you follow for design inspiration?  YOURS!  I also love  @belles_decos.

What’s your favorite aspect of playing host?

Taking care of people, making them feel special, drawing them out and creating a happy group.

To you, home is…

Wherever my husband and baby are happiest…. and where there is lots of natural beauty and sunshine.  

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