This fall, entertain your family with Victorian-inspired elegance.
Vivian Heredia and her mother, Audrey, are award-winning preservationists thanks to their long-time efforts to restore and beautifully maintain one of Old Town Tustin, California’s Victorian jewels, The McCharles House. Together, the two women have created a beloved destination for enthusiasts who come to “happenings” amidst the serene setting of this charming Victorian cottage and its lush grounds. Here, guests are treated to the tastefully decorated interior design, artwork and collectibles; executive chef Vivian’s delicious, organic-inspired fare—many ingredients from the home’s gardens; and the beauty of the garden landscape. Known for their attention to detail, the team’s food presentations delight the eye as well as the palate; their interior-decorating style has an Old World sensibility—a bit of gypsy mixed with the rich, Victoriana aesthetic.
Vivian and Audrey approach the holiday-entertaining season with excitement toward sharing more of “life’s simple pleasures” with their devoted following and newcomers alike. For years, The McCharles House team hosted birthdays and special occasions for local families when the home was a beloved restaurant and tearoom. Now, in workshops and gatherings co-hosted by Vivian’s artist-mom and business partner, Audrey, the two teach the importance of embracing “life’s simple pleasures,” like using what you have
to create beauty, relishing the planning/prep phases of cooking, and much more.
During the holidays, the Heredias’ large family gets treated to the same grandeur and elegant touches visitors to The McCharles House enjoy. Some of Audrey’s decorating tips are likely to find a worthy spot at your own table.
1. Use branches, leaves, natural stones and other gathered items to decorate the table and sideboard or make a simple swag for the front door. Consider draping some elements on the chandelier or mantel as well as an entry table, front porch and powder room to create a festive atmosphere throughout.
2. Gather and place items like flat rocks and layer vintage books to create a range of levels for a more interesting centerpiece and backdrop to the dinner.
3. Use your antiques and vintage serving pieces, dishes and glassware. Use a variety of candleholders, and feel free to mix and match patterns, too.
4. Gather cherished items in fall colors from around the house and place thoughtfully on the table centerpiece and on the buffet. Small framed vintage photographs, favorite curio items and ceramic figurals as well as candles in various sizes and shapes complement the lush, woodland look.
5. Don’t worry about a formal tablecloth if you don’t have one; fabrics can be layered, and raw edges easily folded under to give a finished look.
6. If you have to mix and match time periods, that’s fine. The layered, lush look offers a Victorian feel; colonial-style chairs, for example, support the timeless, vintage mood.
Written by Hillary Black
Photography by Mark Tanner
Styled by Audrey and Vivian Heredia