Need the perfect hostess gift, want to pick up a sweet floral arrangement for your weekend dinner party, looking for unique entertaining ideas for the holidays? The San Francisco–based, California inspired home decor and entertaining brand Hudson Grace, founded in 2012 by Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton, has opened a store in Brentwood and have just what you are looking for.
The quaint space occupies a 500-square-foot structure in L.A.’s chic Brentwood Country Mart—a marketplace that originally opened in 1948 and currently features roughly 30 casual high-end purveyors of everything from fashion to stationery. This being their fifth location, Hudson Grace is the perfect fit for the west-side entertaining crowd. The space has dark and dramatic interiors with a pairing of European and California blended home décor selections. Vintage hotel silver from Europe accompanies the brand’s dinnerware, glassware, table linens, flatware, and serve ware that pair eloquently with the laid-back Southern California lifestyle. Scented candles named after California coastal towns, vintage wood bowls, seasonal decor, and sweet floral arrangements are available. I sat down with the entertaining couple, and was totally charmed…
As founders of the uber-stylish home décor brand Hudson Grace, how has the California lifestyle influenced company’s style?
We tossed out all entertaining rules. Living in California, the doors and windows are open and there is no difference between entertaining indoors and out … it is one in the same, it is natural. Our style is casual and simple with a splash of drama and wit.
How did you come up with the name Hudson Grace (any relation to Grace Hudson the American Painter, from Northern California)?
No, we wish—they are beloved family members of us both, in truth we wanted a name we could own and build our brand on, (you see we have big plans) and these names are special –Hudson for Gary and Grace for me.
What are some of the holiday entertaining trends, colors, themes etc., you are seeing?
This holiday, we continue to mix modern and traditional with the return of our classic gnome—he has become a celebrated icon. We love the sense of humor that the holidays allow and we love the tradition of food, family and friends, and of course the parties and cocktails. The season is about being at home, cooking, casual entertaining, and family gatherings.
Our point of view is elevated, we have iconic pieces we love and nostalgia—like the scent of “Winter” we are launching this month (bay laurel, Canadian fir and a hint of fireplace) was captured in Sausalito (our corporate office)—brings a whimsical feeling to the season which, as retailers, we live for.
If you had to single out one item, what would be your first choice for the perfect holiday hostess gift?
Monelle – Our new dirty martini mix – “the dirty” – is such a great gift for the martini lover. I would add a set of embroidered napkins. We do love a cocktail at Hudson Grace!
Gary – Our new HG exclusive Peugeot salt and pepper grinder, inspired by the color of our beloved Golden Gate Bridge—international orange.
You have a beautiful selection of unique fresh flower assortments in your Brentwood locale, if you had to choose one flower to represent the HG brand what flower would it be?
Funny you ask, we have been discussing this over the past few months. It’s the magnolia blossom. We are both from the south, and Gary as a fragrance designer is transfixed with the contrast of the beautiful delicate floral found in the blossom and the unbelievably balanced notes of a petal leaf floral juxtaposed against a soft green citrus. The two notes also HAPPEN to be the inspiration for our next fragrance launching in 2017, “Presidio.”
I love that your scented candles are named after California towns, (the “Brentwood” is my favorite). How did you come up with the scents and pair them to the towns they are named after?
They are from actual experiences – truly – (Gary is an award winning fragrance designer and captures and creates these scents beautifully).
When we opened the store in Montecito, we rented a house in March of 2014. It was torrential rain and the jasmine was in a tight green bud and the scent was piercing. The house was surrounded by eucalyptus and cedar. Gary went out on the terrace the next morning and from the actual scent he smelled, the green jasmine, eucalyptus oil in wet earth and cedar, “Montecito” was born.
“Brentwood” was inspired by the drive from the beach to 26th and San Vicente. The fragrance consists of 3 woods—sun-dried drift wood which represents the Pacific, California white oak and Mediterranean cypress—which were all collected along the drive from the beach to the store.
It sounds simple, but it often took over 9 months to create and develop the perfect fragrance. It is truly his gift.
What’s the secret to hosting a great dinner party?
It’s great music, dim lights, perfect fragrance, and having a bartender so you can enjoy your guests. It’s having fun!