May 26, 2016

Michael Devine Ltd. strives to create beautiful products that are unique and always handmade. Using the best artisans in both the USA and France, every yard of fabric or piece of china is carefully crafted and made to order.

Alfresco Breakfast with Julia B.

Peonies, tulips and freesia a combined to make an pretty bouquet for the table. 
My husband and I just hosted a post prom party out here for our daughter, you can't imagine what it was like having that many kids here. As my husband said afterwards, "we can check that off the list never again" said designer and entrepreneur Julia Berger. as we walked into her beautiful Connecticut garden recently. The woman behind the the luxury custom linen brand Julia B. really loves to cook and entertain friends and family frequently in her home. Her elegant casual style is reflected in everything she does including the way she entertains. 

A profusion of purple and white Iris bloom in the background around the gardens seating area. 
Tell me about the occasion and the meal.
Breakfast is a colorful mix of fruit, organic yogurt and fresh squeezed orange juice. "I was inspired by the light and fresh colors of my Michael Devine china that works really well with the colors in my linens," she explained over coffee.
Tip: Always have the bar set up and well stocked for your guests before they arrive. In fact, I like to be 99% ready when my first guest walks through the door. It makes for a stress free evening.

A colorful breakfast to start the day served on Marie Daage for Michael Devine hand painted Limoges china
and coordinating Julia B. napkin
What influences your menu choices when you entertain?
"I really love food and to cook, I find it relaxing" she said as we sat down for the interview on the first summery day the area has had. She inherited her Japanese mother's love of cooking and entertaining. She spent much of her childhood between her mothers native Japan and her fathers home town of San Francisco, which Julia explained has given her a freedom to mix cultural references in her entertaining and cooking.
Tip: Make ahead of time easy to serve hors d'oeuvres for guests to serve themselves. I always have both hot and cold ready and waiting.
Julia B. is known for impeccable hand embroidered custom monograms on her linens. 
Who has inspired your entraining style?
"My mother has been a huge influence for me. She always entertained and I was always encouraged to be a part of the event no matter the age of the guests or the level of formality. Alice Waters is also an inspiration for me. Everything she does is so simple and real," she explained.

Tip: When traveling be on the lookout for new or unexpected food or flavor combinations. I am often inspired to try things at home that I first had somewhere else. 
Julia's range of color covers the gamut from subtle to fresh and crisp. The Thomas charger doubles as a
tray for the healthy berries and organic yogurt and Julia B. napkin.
Do you have a favorite china or tabletop item you collect?
"Antique linens are a passion of mine, I have a huge collection. I also love to collect china, glass, silver, salt cellars and vases, really just about anything related to the table. Since we entertain at least two times a week I use it all, all the time," she gushed. When pressed about why she is always hosting she said that there was a rather thin selection of local restaurants that they like. Also Julia explained, "What greater luxury than to be invited for a lovely meal, have great conversation and throughly enjoy yourself in someones home?"

An assortment of Julia's accessory collection antique silver creamer and sugar with silver
sugar spoon and Michael Devine tumblers.