Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating people you love. Speaking of people I love, talented event designer David Stark is one of my oldest friends and collaborators for many years and parties.I asked him to work with me to deck out the mantel in the Studio for my favorite holiday!

Darcy Miller, Darcy Miller Designs, Valentine's Day

One of my favorite things David and I dreamed up together was this larger-than-life Valentine’s card from last Valentine’s Day, when Darcy Miller Designs had a pop-up “Love Shop” at Bloomingdales in New York City.

For this year’s Valentine’s Day mantel, David brought in lots of red roses, customized red heart boxes, and red balloon poodles—all without knowing that we had a French-themed “From Paris with Love” Valentine’s party in the works! We put our heads together and it all worked beautifully in the studio because it followed our mantel-decorating mantras:

-Pick a palette: Red and white, bien sur!

-Select some symbols: French poodles, roses, love letters, and hearts!

-Add some art: I always like to personalize the mantel with my illustrations—and David always looks for a way to add a playful wink, as seen in the French poodle and the life-sized “croquembouches.” He also an used my ornate compote drawing, cut out of foamcore to hide the plain vessel behind it holding the roses

-Dress up what you’ve got for the occasion! My illustrations of French-inspired vases which were wrapped around clear cylinders including juice glasses and votives to turn the everyday glassware into something fun and francais.

Decorative “Vase” Centerpieces

Flowers of different varieties—peonies, and carnations —all in the same vivid red color, filled “vases” made by wrapping clear vessels in my drawings. (Click here for the downloadable templates.)

Heart “Chocolate” Box

Nothing says “Valentine’s Day” more than one of those massive heart-shaped boxes of chocolate samplers—but not everyone needs 36 truffles this February. (For how-to, click here.)

French Poodle Balloon Dog

Balloon poodles in red and white made for fun “statues” all over our shelves and mantel. A heart-shaped “dog tag” dresses the dogs for Valentine’s Day—because French poodles know how to accessorize! (For dog tag how-to, click here.)

1. Darcy Miller X Lenox Plate Set, 2. Darcy Miller X Chasing Paper Paris Decal, 3. Rocks Glasses, 4. Twine, 5. Toy Balloon Dog, 6. Heart Box, 7. Gold Dog Dish, 8. David Stark: The Art of the Party