New York Spaces: Q&A with Jo An Alston of J. Stephens Interiors on her Table Design for Hope Lodge NYC

J. Stephens Interiors designs a table for The American Cancer Society's annual Hope Lodge Bash that recalls the lush vibrancy of spring.

NYS: Hope Lodge NYC has serviced over 15,000 cancer patients and their caregivers from around the globe since 2007. What does Hope Lodge mean to you?

Jo An Alston of J. Stephens Interiors: Actually, I just found out about Hope Lodge this year and the fact it exists touched my heart . What a wonderful idea! Having cancer is scary enough without having to worry about how you can afford to get through it

NYS: Why did you decide to participate in the Hope Lodge Bash? Do you have a personal connection to the cause?

J. Stephens Interiors: Ok sad story: The American Cancer Society is a charity I am happy to donate time and resources to. When I was four years old, my mother, who had had just given birth to my brother, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She had a radical mastectomy and hysterectomy. She was only 34 years old and raising three little children. They told my father that she would not make it, I remember him crying in the hall. My sister and I wrote letters to my mother in the hospital. Those were my childhood memories, and while they unfortunately cannot be erased, the best news was that my mother survived.

Hope Lodge NYC

Hope Lodge Bash.

So as a child, I grew up seeing the ravages of cancer firsthand. Then, as an adult, my husband had thyroid cancer and the treatment he took (RAI 131) led to another cancer, multiple myeloma. I helped him through the recovery process while he was grappling with a lot of emotions that cancer afflicts on its patients.

NYS: When designing your table you chose to get several things custom and hand painted, what were some of these pieces and why did you chose to go this route for your design?

J. Stephens Interiors: The season I chose was spring as it is full of life, beauty, and hope. One of the china patterns chosen, Chelsea Bird, became the inspiration for the hand-painted elements used in my design.

Hope Lodge Bash

Hope Lodge Bash.

My vision was for the birds from the china to be hand-painted on the blue chair seat cushions to give the illusion of an extended table design—it also adds an overall naturalistic theme. I wanted guests to have an opportunity to discover wonderful, surprising elements.

The custom pleated napkin was scattered with hand-painted butterfly to coordinate with the china, crystal and table linens. I used the services of an artisan who hand-painted the bird and the butterfly—a perfect way to customize a project and make it a one-of-a-kind. The overall table design incorporates all of the elements to make them work together in an interesting way, one that captures your attention and instills a sense of delight in the viewer.

NYS: What are some of the companies you chose for your design? Will you use them again?

J. Stephens Interiors: Absolutely everyone was delightful!

Fabrics: Robert Allen, Beacon Hill, Cowtan and Tout

China: Mottahedeh

Crystal: William Yeoward

Silverware: Christofle

Candlesticks: Crystallite Bohemia

Flowers: Laura Clare

Fabrication: Martin Albert

Hand painting: Valerie Lynn Designs

Hope Lodge Bash

Hope Lodge Bash.

NYS: What are some things that our readers can expect to see from you in the near future?

J. Stephens Interiors: I have a wonderful whole-house design that is coming up in 2017. Four rooms were recently photographed. It features a character-grade walnut library with custom lighting and window seats upholstered in a luscious green silk velvet; A cozy living room that contrasts a fabulous oak herringbone floor and gilded mirrors, a large family room with a pine mantel and green strie paneling accented by modern elements such as a coral lacquer sideboard; A large two-story sun room with reclaimed beams, a painted wood ceiling, and a 15-foot-long window seat. The room opens to the outside through a nano door.