Book Reviews

Design And Decor No 6: The Art Of Tablescaping – Deck Out Your Table With The Queen of Theme, By Bugsy Drake

From her first tablescape job as chief steward on a yacht in Saint Tropez, where she ordered two ice sculptures so big that they had to be lifted onto the party yacht with a crane, Bugsy Drake knew that she had found her niche within the art of tablescaping


Number six in an ongoing series of reviews on design and décor books

Written by Cece M. Scott


From her first tablescape job as chief steward on a yacht in Saint Tropez, an occasion where she ordered two ice sculptures so big that they had to be lifted onto the party yacht with a crane, an event that also included a blue orchard curtain so big that it stretched across the entire deck of said yacht, Bugsy Drake knew that she had found her niche within the art of tablescaping

As you ‘wow’ your way through the pages of Drake’s book, The Art of Tablescaping: Deck Out Your Table With The Queen of Theme, (May 4th 2021, Girl Friday Productions), you won’t be surprised to discover that Drake’s end goal is always to create the extra wow factor.  A master of improvisation and dream theming, Drake, who appeared in season five of Bravo’s Below Deck Med, says, you don’t need permission to have fun. She is a definitive disciple of the ‘more is more’ approach.

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Using natural and organic accessories such as pinecones, dried flowers, and dehydrated citrus for tablescapes, Drake shows the reader how to get started, tackling everything from glassware to linens, flowers and even Polaroids at guest settings. Arranging compositions to give depth to table settings, Drake artfully illustrates how to best arrange and position placemats, make whimsical newspaper boats, and creatively drape burlap and tulle to transform tables into story themes – ones that are defined by shapes, colours and textures.  The accessories and oh-so-fun (and affordable) accents that Drake suggests are stories in themselves and include easily accessible items such as vintage wine corks, splashes of glitter and confetti, strands of beads and pearls, and different kinds of glassware. In a blast from the past, Bugsy highlights the once-ubiquitous napkin rings, with the napkins themselves fanned out across colourful plates atop gold and silver chargers.

In the glassware department one of the things that I personally subscribe to is filling unusual or glitzy wine bottles with fresh-plucked wildflowers for hot summer evenings. I was intrigued and captivated by the idea of filling glass mason jars with water and colourful dyes and then placing whimsical ‘talking point’ objects at the bottom of the jars. These talking points don’t need to be expensive – you can look in thrift stores or find objects in your house, heirlooms or unusual pieces that are guaranteed to initiate conversation.

Drake, the Queen of Theme, makes sure that everything matches the dinner theme, from the food, to the music, and the kind of attire that guests wear.

Holiday tablescapes, which encompass the main events such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, will make you clap your hands in anticipation, especially armed with Drake’s tips around creating story, aligning tablescapes to the menu, and using what you have at home to decorate. The fact that none of these tips come with any kind of must-do set rules, opens the door to embracing Drake’s ideas and incorporating them into your own themes and talents.

The biggest takeaway throughout Drake’s book is to have fun actualizing your own creativity.  Dinner party anyone?


FREE Zoom Book Club Event on May 27th at 2.P.M.

Cece and Jen of  Art Your Service, will be hosting and chatting with Joseph (Joe) Kertes, who will be reading from his book, Last Impressions, which is one of only three books shortlisted for the 2021 Leacock Award for Humour. 

Register early for this May 27th Free Virtual Event at   The April 29th Event, with Moira Welsh, author of Happily Ever Older, was SOLD OUT!

Make sure to pop back here to read Cece’s reviews of Last Impressions, so that you are in-the-know for May 27thth  2 P.M. Book Club Event.

If you want to make your rooms sing, check out Cece’s review of Beata Heuman’s book, Every Room Should Sing, here Design and Decor No. 4: Every Room Should Sing (

Looking to create fresh-air spaces that make you think of warm summer breezes? Read Cece’s review of Sarah Richardson’s City + Country

Do you have designs on embracing the farmhouse look? Read Cece’s City Farmhouse Style: Designs for a modern country life

Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications and is an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at  Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her second book will be coming out in the spring of 2021.cece and trophy 300px

Cece is also working on a book of Daily Reflections for Auto Immune Condition Warriors.

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