In this era of seemingly back-to-back disasters, both natural and otherwise, first responders are a lifeline for thousands. Observing their deeds, others can’t help but feel inspired by those courageous enough to face catastrophic events. Their actions cause a reaction, an urgency to find ways to assist those whose lives have been suddenly and cruelly impacted. For the Red Cross of Greenwich Red and White Ball, interior designer Darrin Varden created a table titled “The Ripple Effect” to represent how the good works of the Red Cross, who are on hand at every scene, spread throughout a community following a tragic event. The Ball features table designs from top national and regional designers. Darrin’s table design was featured in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens:

IMG_4348The table was layered shades of red, featuring a dimensional gloss-lacquered Red Cross centered on a 30-inch round, custom-made tray filled with red sand. The sand was ‘raked’ in concentric circles with a Zen sand garden rake. Red trim sewn in circles on a red tablecloth radiated out from the tray, over the edge of the table and down the sides, to emphasize the ripple effect. Guests each received a miniature Zen sand garden complete with rake and red lacquered heart as a thank-you gift from the designer. At the ball, Darrin had a chance to catch up with Mary MacDonald, a design chair of the event.

IMG_4355Darrin called on the top names in interior design handcraft in New York to execute his vision. The custom woodwork was crafted and lacquered by Ivy Square Woodworking, while Marks & Tavano Workroom crafted the tablecloth and 12 napkins. Bart Halpern, Inc., donated the red fabric, called “Bebel,” from the firm’s hospitality line of washable fine textiles.

Says the designer, “This past winter, three blocks from my apartment, a gas leak caused an explosion claiming the lives of many and displacing others, destroying two brownstones and several surrounding businesses. The Red Cross was there right away to assist, to provide comfort, support and all-important logistical aid. Seeing this disaster unfurl before me, I was already signed up for the Red & White Ball, but I suddenly felt even more inspired to create something special, something that echoes the quiet courage and heart of the people who make up the Red Cross.” Darrins table sketch can be seen below. To make your own donation, visit