Setting the Table with Candice Kaye

If you aren’t already familiar with Candice Kaye and her work, the time is now—she’s about to be everywhere. 

New York coffee addicts should recognize the Toronto-born textile designer’s floral imprints on Maman NYC’s to-go cups. Her designs will soon be plastered—literally—all over the world, as wallpapers in select hotels and bars. Best of all, you can always order your own slice of Candice Kaye wallpaper directly from her site

Today, in the first edition of Setting the Table, an ongoing series profiling women we admire on how they entertain at home. We sat down with Candice to learn ow this effortless hostess makes it look so easy.

1. How often do you entertain at home, and what personal touches do you add to “setting your table”?

If I’m having people over, it’s for hors d’oeuvres and drinks—I’m not much of a dinner person. I’m all about entertaining effortlessly, so I would probably set up on a simple wooden table. If I walk into like a dinner party and they have a nice tablecloth and everything…it’s like, “Okay…you tried so hard.” Right? To me, there’s nothing better than a nice glass or a nice cup. That would be my last minute design.

Kind of like what The Setting offers. Those are pieces that I would just love to have, and just that. I think those pieces speak for themselves. 

2. Do you get anxious or nervous about hosting or entertaining? How do you quell those nerves?

Do you know what it is? I get really excited when I have all these ideas. If I’m having a cheese party, I want a certain kind of knife. But I can’t afford that kind of knife, because it’s 7 million dollars. I get really excited about all these ideas and then it ends up not looking exactly the way I wanted.

I hosted a last minute party recently. It was just drinks, so I wanted to have really cool cups, but it was too last minute. I had all these mason jars, and I said, “Okay, cool. I’ll make all the drinks in these.” It was something so small, but it made it look awesome. 

I had mismatched plates and I put the mason jars on top of them. I kept the mason jars all full of ice. It was cute—as a designer or as a creative person, you kind of just do it. It’s just about being scrappy and seeing what you can find. Once, I even put sheets on my table. My bed sheets. I’ve flipped over picture frames and used them as trays. That’s what I mean about being scrappy. If I don’t have really nice trays, I ask, “What do I have in my bedroom?” 

3. What tips can you share about creating a setting for a fun and fresh home gathering without all the fuss?

If people are coming over and I don’t really want to do too much, I’d buy lots of patterns and throw them together. I think that makes it look eclectic and different. Obviously don’t put together crazy things that don’t match—if you’re going to match pattern on pattern, at least make the colors match. 

If you do use bedsheets, go to Bed Bath and Beyond, buy two bedsheets, and layer them. The more pattern there is, the cooler it’s going to look. You don’t need everything to match. You don’t need to match blue with green—you can do blue, pink, and neon orange, and it will look cool.

4. Do you have a go-to recipe when you entertain?

My mom actually makes this really good Moroccan chicken! You have to marinate and bake the chicken, but it only takes an hour. It’s so good. I’m not a great cook, and it comes out good every time. I don’t have the time to cook or go shopping. I hate shopping for food. It really bothers me.

5. Do you have a specific hosting memory or story you can share with us?

Oh, totally. It was for my last apartment. I wanted to do a housewarming and I was so excited. But my couch was old, and I had just got new chairs. It was starting to look right, but it really wasn’t. I didn’t have the party; I didn’t do it.

I panicked. I didn’t have nice cutlery, or cups, or anything yet. I’m sure no one would have cared, but for me, this was my home. This was my apartment, this was my furniture. It was really strange. I never thought that I’d ever be like that. 

I think your home is a true representation of yourself. When you get older, you realize that. You’re like, “Man, if I have people over, what does my house look like?” It’s totally telling of who you are. We’re not in college anymore. The couch is not run down—we invested in it. We’re in that weird phase where we’re starting to have a little bit of money, but we’re still worried about spending.

This is true of a friend of mine, too. She bought her apartment two or three years ago and she had just a mattress for months. She didn’t buy anything because she wanted to invest in nice things. So all of her plates, her bowls, and her chinaware are really pretty. Everything has its own place. It was so cool. You could tell that she takes care of everything. I like that kind of thinking—that it’s all mine. Like, this is my pan…Ibought this pan. I invested in this pan. There so much fun in that. 

6. What’s one item you can’t set a table without?

Like I said, there’s nothing better than looking at a table with like a nice plate. It’s that, or a really nice glass.

Moroccan Chicken (serves 4)

  • 4 chicken breast halves

  • 2 cups salsa

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • ½ cup water

  • ¼ cup currants

  • 2 tbsp liquid honey

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp cumin

  1. Preheat oven to 325℉.

  2. Brown chicken in vegetable oil, and place in baking dish.

  3. In a small bowl, combine salsa, water, currants, honey, cumin and cinnamon.

  4. Pour salsa mixture over chicken.

  5. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

As told to Gheanna Emelia <> Photos by Jose Martinez

‘Up in the Blue’ wrapping paper from Candice Kaye

26″ W X 72″ L per roll

Luxury full colour gift wrap filled with magic and wonder.

The Setting