28 September 2010

Hidden Villa: Humanitarian Awards Dinner

could anything be more appealing than
this beautiful chioggia beet?

The Duveneck family were on the side of the angels a long, long time ago. In 1924 they established a self-sustaining organic farm as an educational center and invited multi-racial children to the summer camps they started in 1945. This is the incredible legacy and mandate for Hidden Villa today.

It was an honor to head the Decorating Committee for the annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner for 350 tented outside under the stars this last weekend in the hills west of Palo Alto, California.

With an almost non-existent budget for decorations, we naturally turned to the Farm itself as a source to interpret this year's theme, Deep Roots, New Shoots, and used our own farm-grown products: olive tree branches, chioggia beets, organic carrots, sunflowers, zinnias, amaranth for the centerpieces. We asked the board members, staff and decorations committee to collect old bottles. We were able to use those as single-stem-vases, jumping on that hot trend. A cornstalk turned roots-up became a holder for the table numbers.

We were thrilled to witness the incredible honorees Chris Bischof & Helen Kim, Eboo Patel, and Susan, Franklin, Katherine, David & Katy Orr receive the distinguished Humanitarian Awards that evening over our farm-cultivated gourmet feast and fine wines.

Plan to join us next year! and in the meantime, be sure to visit Hidden Villa, in person or online. You will be impressed and grateful to know there is an organization that cares so deeply about our culture, our children, and our mother earth.

And, you can get fresh, organic vegetables every week next summer if you sign up early enough!

the theme: Deep Roots, New Shoots inspired us
to use farm produce in the centerpieces

the big tent the afternoon before the dinner

tables are just about ready for the evening festivities

our artistic "melange" of farm-grown
flowers and vegetables;
we wanted a simple presentation

we notched the upturned cornstalk and
let the roots anchor the centerpiece while
holding the table number

the second tent looks so cool and inviting before
we set up the silent auction items


A Little Tour Around

a pathway leading to the old stagecoach stop

the old stagecoach house now houses summer interns
from all over the world

a peaceful, pastoral scene

the Duveneck residence built in 1924, now center
for Hidden Villa staff and events, including weddings!

the roadway meanders through the farm pastures,
gardens, buildings with gorgeous views all around

gorgeous zinnias grown on the farm!

{from Kit}


  1. oh wow oh wow... this looks amazing!

  2. Hi Erin! thanks so much, you have to come visit Hidden Villa! it's an amazingly wonderful place..hope you're well!



  3. What a lovely post and beautiful tribute to Hidden Villa. Being that I live in the Pacific North West, it isn't too far to travel and visit. In Oregon we have some really lovely places as well. I am so grateful for living out here in the Pacific. there is always a place ot two that is a gem and worth the effort to visit, and I believe Hidden Villa, is one of them.


  4. Hi Joanny thanks so much for stopping by...I was in Oregon late last fall, gorgeous! the seacoast is breathtaking..



  5. Kit, this is fantastic...please let me in advance of next year's event and I will gladly donate little baskets for centerpieces or giveaway; also have many things of woven raffia from Madagascar that you could use for goodie bags. I love love love to give to good causes.....all best, A

  6. oops, let me KNOW in advance; let's talk :)

  7. Hi Andrea, OK! that would be very cool indeed! Maybe you will be on the "best coast" at that time and can join us, it's a great event. Can you believe the caliber of honorees?? It's an outstanding organization.

    Thank you so much!!

    Looking forward to chatting soon!



  8. Wow, looks like you had a great time! The setting is amazing, all those tree's and hills!

    Love your blog, I am following you!


  9. I didn't know about Hidden Valley, what a beautiful place and such a wonderful organization. Your table settings are stunning using the fresh veggies. Great post. I so appreciate you linking to TTT. Hugs, Marty

  10. loved your blog! beautiful photos. I am Brazilian, come visit my blog! kiss, Julian

  11. Great theme for any time! You can never go wrong with fresh. Thanks for sharing with us!

  12. What a gorgeous residence. I love what you did with the centerpieces, especially the cut beet. How pretty they all are.

  13. WOw that beet looks interesting! Nice photos.

  14. Hidden Villa looks amazing, would love to visit this part of the country one day!

  15. What a lucky Lady you are, having that gorgeous place around.

    Very sophisticated!

    Happy TS Day!

    Greetings from a chilly Stockholmer,

  16. Such an idyllic spot...I know that it must have been a glorious evening. Thank you for sharing your charming design. You did a good job. Cherry Kay

  17. Kit, you're a genius. The tables were soooo beautiful! Loved the corn stalk and the beets and bottles and carrots. Sally took home a carrot because she didn't want it to go to waste! She's so cute! Anyway, thank you so much for working so hard each year to make the Hidden Villa event so beautiful!

  18. Thanks for the introduction to this villa...it looks like an absolute gem of a place! Also, thanks for your comment on my guest post at the Zhush this past week!

  19. This is beautiful. Have you seen the new variety of chiogga beets - they are super bright - almost neon. I ordered a small seed packet.

    I love your organic decorations.

    This is a very cool blog. I would follow but blogger is being obnoxious this morning and won't let me!


I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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