Saturday, July 18, 2009

May I Show You to Your Table?

I’ll have to admit, I have a weakness for beautiful place settings - china, crystal, linens, centerpieces . . . you name it!  Because Americans are trending towards being home and sharing our leisure time with family and friends, I thought it would be nice to feature some beautiful settings to inspire you.

arab Casafina’s Arabesque Pattern – A nice transitional design.

I admire the artisan’s touch in finely crafted dinnerware, whether it’s a pottery design or the hand-painted and enameled lines of delicate bone china.  It’s such a treat when I help a client prepare for a gathering and to set the mood with their selections of choice.  If they are a collector of various patterns, we can often mix and match them for a more eclectic look.  If they prefer a contemporary setting, we keep the lines clean but interesting with the use of color and table accents. If I am asked for guidance, in making a purchase of new dinnerware, I ask many questions regarding: What type of entertaining is anticipated? . . . formal, casual, some of both? Will the place settings be put in a dishwasher or microwave? Can the client perceive having more than one pattern or color palette?  Neutral is always a great way to begin.  Color and pattern can be brought in with the linens, accents and floral creations.

table2 A wonderful example of color use by Carolyne Roehm.  The simplest of plates become so much more exciting!




These are my “go-to” books!  Carolyne Roehm is the arbiter of good taste!

trade-secrets-tabletop-3-0409-lg-46517847I can just feel my heart flutter with happiness!  (Veranda)

The foundation of texture and color often begins with the table linens.  I have seen some very interesting combinations of fabrics tone down fine china for a more casually elegant occasion. Imagine a silk tablecloth topped with a burlap square and then glass chargers, silk plaid napkins and a Flemish still life of flowers and fruit as the centerpiece!  Using deep eggplant, coral and green, it brings the table to life!  No stuffed shirts at this party!  Conversely, Italian pottery plates, with a fine damask patterned cloth and cut crystal, can bring a forth a richly appointed dining experience.  Don’t let your mind be limited by what you might believe are the only “go-to’s”.

teaA simple silver tray becomes it’s own table top for a special      breakfast presentation.  (Courtesy of Carolyne Roehm)

Floral centerpieces can definitely produce the wow effect for your guests.  There is always something so nice about having fresh flowers to make both the host and the guest feel the gathering is just a little extra “special”.  If you have made impromptu plans, don’t allow a time crunch to stress you or be concerned about your favorite floral shop being closed.  There are always many things to be found in your garden or yard.  Even if it’s a mound of moss, strategically placed in a bowl with other found objects, or a collection of shells, as shown in a photo above, a centerpiece or tablescape can be created, in a pinch, and no one has to be the wiser.  

weddingbig A bridal event is made even more romantic with a mix of peonies, sweetpeas, and lily of the valley.  Who needs food?  (Courtesy of Carolyne Roehm) Love the robin’s egg blue as the backdrop!

boquets-ratliff-0508-5_lg-77216502If you prefer a “warmer” color palette, these peach and coral tones are so sophisticated and pop the design from the oriental vase.  A whimsical touch . . .  the “petit pois”, tossed to the side.  (Courtesy of Veranda)

Luxury-&-Lifestyle--Wedding-4-lg-68112620The idea of casual elegance is to stay refined, while adding an element which tones down the formality.  The birch bark containers, the leaves and the mushrooms tucked into the centerpiece, offset the etched crystal ware.(Courtesy of Veranda)

Yes, I do really love beautiful tableware!  I have to confess, I have seven different patterns of china and everyday dishes.  Ssssh!  Don’t tell anyone.  They may think I have an obsession!

Cheers!  Wanda


Holly Lane Antiques said...

Love it! Thanks Wanda!

But - is it becoming a lost art in today's world?

I specialize in antique china (and also all that goes with it - beautiful vintage linens, silver and glass) and for too many - more and more - it no longer fits into their fast food lifestyle. Sad!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I love beautiful tableware as well, Wanda, but I don't have the storage room for different sets. I have my "everyday" and my "good" china, although I did get a special Christmas set that I use every year.

Instead of fresh flowers, one Christmas I bought little individual poinsettia plants (from Jackson & Perkins, I believe) and had one at each person's place setting. They were so cute and everyone got to take one home.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Almost forgot - I wanted to recommend Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch blog. She does a Tablescape Thursdays:

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

You sound exactly like my mother. She always set the most beautiful tables. My father likes to as well. With those lovely china patterns, the peonies, sweet peas & roses you have given me great inspiration. Cheers indeed!

Interior Concepts by Wanda said...

I hope the art of setting a table isn't lost. In fact, I think it's more important than ever to make one's dining experience a better one. I know, even if my husband or I pick up something on the way home from work, if I pull out my everyday English Staffordshire Jenny Lind or my Portmeirion Botanica patterns, even chicken salad tastes better! I have a vast collection of red transferware but admire the clean lines of English Stoneware and Creamware. This has given me the inspiration to offer my clients a seminar on making everyday dining special.

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I love a beautifully set that is a little eclectic with linens and china. To me, there is nothing more special than sitting at a well set table..the food always seems to be that much more enjoyable! The flowers are the icing on the cake.

soulflower said...

I love to set the table! That shell centerpiece is very lovely!

Marie said...

Oh my, you have definitely inspired me, I have everything to make my table settings look gorgeous but do I? No, not lately, I have become waayyyy to casual....This needs to change. :)