Cloche Designs | Up Cloche and Personal with Bobby McAlpine
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Up Cloche and Personal with Bobby McAlpine

By: Laura Nell Burton
Event Photography by: Christin Gish

Each year the San Antonio Kappa Alumnae Association hosts “Kappa Tablescapes,” its primary luncheon fundraiser, this year benefiting Mission Road Ministries. The event was held last Tuesday, November 16th at the San Antonio Country Club. Designers and retailers from across the city put so much creativity into each unique table. Cloche had the privilege for the second time (read about our Mark D. Sikes table last year here) to design keynote speaker Bobby McAlpine’s table! When this year’s Kappa Tablescapes chairs, Nicola McLaughlin (accomplished interiors and jewelry designer) and Jennifer Anderson invited us to design Bobby’s table it was a major fan girl moment because Bobby is literally my architect icon! I was first introduced to his work by my interior designer and bestie Michele Stevens. We’re pictured together below at the luncheon with my (now signed) copy of his first book, The Home Within Us. When I handed the book to Bobby for his signature, he commented warmly that he was glad to see my cover edges worn down from use ♥My husband and I went through a significant remodel five years ago with the help of San Antonio architect Hilary Scruggs and The Home Within Us was our constant source of inspiration.

Most important became Bobby’s opinion on front doors. He once told Southern Living Magazine in an interview: “If I express the entrance as a house’s primary feature, I am not proclaiming the value of the gathering of people in a singular space. I’d rather express the living room than the foyer. So I’ll put the entry around to the side or in the back but never in the front, which leads to what I call the ‘gift of disorientation.'” We took this to heart! If you visit my house (pictured below) you’ll find our living room faces the street. Only after you enter a lovely blue gate, and pass by two other disorienting doors, will you discover our front door to the side.With the house lights lowered, Bobby began his speech at Kappa Tablescapes with a reading on magic from Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon (read the tears-inducing excerpt here ). He shared with us how he transforms dreams into reality: “My job becomes to listen and assess the clients’ DNA. I am searching myself to hit the parts of me that are relative to them. What happens to me is a form of therapy. There are back roads—pieces and parts of me that have never been able to speak which raise their hands and say ‘I’ve got this.’ It’s like going to the gem of the heart to meet a new character.” He was richly poetic and soulful with every word and he truly mesmerized the crowd. Afterwards, Christin and I had the immense pleasure of breaking bread with him at the table we designed (thank you Nicola and Jennifer for so graciously including us) over a delicious menu featuring chicken crêpes.We want to thank Sasha Nicholas for sponsoring our Herend Fishcale dinner plates and Hibiscus Linens for the cobalt Halo Home Fringe Luncheon Napkins layered under Alessandra Tile Dinner Napkins (the hand embroidery just happened to match the Kappa crest in the paper suite perfectly!). The rest of the items on the table were family treasures from my china closet.This year’s Kappa Tablescape chairs commissioned Gina Langford to create the Kappa crest for the event’s invitation. From Gina’s art, Dixie Design Collective created a beautiful paper suite. They then went the extra mile specially for Bobby’s table by creating menus, place cards, and gift tags which Cloche finished off with Holly Hollon’s extraordinary calligraphy.We gifted each person at our table a pretty cloche with a tiny live boxwood nestled underneath.Here are just a few of the many other tables we loved (ordered as they appear below): Baker Tatum; Frosted HomeMade by McNamaraThe Scout Guide; Amapola; and Citrine Home.Born in an Alabama sawmill town, Bobby designed his first house at the age of five—and hasn’t stopped since. Architect, romantic, poet and entrepreneur, he envisions home as a timeless, graceful and emotionally evocative place. From the time he founded his firm (P.S. his website is extraordinary) in 1983, he has realized this ideal in a diverse array of traditional styles and regional vernaculars for clients all over the country. Today, known as McALPINE, the firm now embraces a brilliant and eclectic family of professional architects and interior designers with offices in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and New York. Along with his furniture line, Bobby is the author of The Home Within Us, co-author of Art of the House, and most recently Poetry of Place which he signed at Kappa Tablescapes. He has been featured over and over again in every major shelter publication. And, there’s no question that his work is leaving a permanent mark on our world (and on my heart!).

We love you, Bobby, thank you!


The Cloche Girls