Montana is known as Big Sky Country. For stylist Heather Chontos, who came to Bozeman by way of New York City, London, and Barcelona, it's Big Inspire Country.
Chontos and her two daughters relocated to Montana for the mountains, rivers, sprawling pastures, and big blue sky. It was time to explore a new place and let the landscape (golden willows, weathered red barns, blazing pink sunsets) inform her crafts -- all of which bring color and style to a Saturday-evening twilight dinner party.
“I love the contrast of rough and rustic against something brighter and newer,” says Chontos, a stylist and set designer, as she dips the handles of vintage wooden spoons into buckets of colorful paint. The spoons -- and many other crafts and embellishments -- will become part of a dinner-party table setting.
Since color-blocking brings a modern feel to a rustic setting, Chontos makes crafts or embellishes tableware with bright inks and paints: She simply dips the handles of wooden spoons and silverware into buckets of paint, then either squiggles an eyedropper or blots with a brush to decorate napkins with Pebeo ink.
Heather Chontos's dinner party menu makes the most of the summer bounty from local ranches and gardens.
A boxy barn-board table is rugged and rustic -- yet adaptable to a modern look. A woodworker can make a table to the exact desired size from salvaged boards, Chontos says: “I found mine in a pile, and they were deep red, but the woman who made the table sanded them down until it was just a light red with lots of wood grain.” While you could set a table like this on a deck, Chontos admits the overall tone owes a lot to the Montana environs. “It helps to have a barn,” she jokes.
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