One of the most asked questions I get from customers is how to set a creative table. I approach setting a table a bit like getting dressed. Chose your first piece, then start adding. With this table, it started with these plates I adore, which were a gift to Mister Sive when he attended Hamilton College. Each plate has a different scene of the college, and I just love the Old World, preppy, handsome look of the overall design. From there, I ran an assortment of John Derian plates down the middle of the table. To that I start adding vintage things that have similar color tones. Sort of ‘jewelry’ for the outfit. This is where you really get to be creative. Horn cups, miniature English trophy cups, wood boxes–all to add visual interest. Small apothecary bottles with a single tulip stem strewn here and there, with a big bunch of glorious creamy tulips in a Juliska vase to center the table.
I love carrying Boat Street Pickles. Seattle chef Renee Erickson, who is up for a James Beard award (go Renee!) has been pickling things at her restaurants for ages. You can now take that goodness home with you. Any or all of these are stellar on a cheese platter or good enough right out of the jar.
Now off to the airport! Lots of fun stuff awaits in LA…
In the crazy busyness of Valentine week I got the bug to take apart the dining table display in the middle of the Home store. I am sure Amy and Sarah thought I was nuts the other day. But when the creative juices get going, I think you should run with it. The zinc dining table had not had a re-do since early November, so it was time.
For me most times, re-doing a display means taking everything away from the previous table. I like a clean canvas. The vintage English brass candlesticks TPS found on our trip to our niece’s wedding would be the main focus of the table. It was the day after the wedding where I did the flowers for the event, and I was beat. There was a freakish warm spell in May outside of Chicago and it was in the high 90′s during our stay. I opted to sleep in. He was ready to go vintage shopping–and boy oh boy, he found some gems.
He found the most gorgeous assortment of vintage English brass candlesticks. Many are over 100+ years old, with most being cleaned up to shiny perfection. Filled with beeswax candles, they would work swimmingly running down the middle of the table.
I snapped this photo on my way out that night after I had set the alarm. The lights from the lamps left on in the shop added an extra glow. The table was set. Not necessarily for a real meal, but the meal or dinner party made up in the minds of those that wander past it each day.
It is always such a huge treat when a new order of John Derian’s work arrives. When I see all of it at the show in New York, I generally try and choose pieces that work together to tell a bit of a visual story. Other times I am just drawn to certain color ways. Many to most of the trays & paperweights in this order were in the black, creamy and sepia tones–and I could not be happier. They work beautifully as a group or individually. Here is a peek at some of my favorites.
There you have it. A little visual inspiration to kick-off this Monday. I hope you enjoyed. John’s new East Village home was featured in The New York Times T magazine yesterday. More inspiration as we head into the week.
Our last table of the Summer season, and oh what a stunning end of season it has been. We had guests to the island for a Sunday supper, and with a nod to the season ahead, many of the farm stands had apples galore for sale. The small apples got my mind churning about how to set the table. The glorious dahlias had made the trip in from town, and the color & combo of the 2 worked swimmingly together.
The apple John Derian plates along with the flour sack apple motif dish towels that would be the napkins continued the theme. The red handled Laguiole cutlery just always makes me happy when we get to use it.
Last Friday, we hosted a dinner for the owners of Grove 45 Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nena & Bonnie. The 2 had conducted a tasting of their EVOO at one of the shops earlier that day. We always love to have a meal to thank folks who make such an effort to do a book signing, demo their product or conduct a tasting. It is always so special to be invited to a home for dinner when we are traveling, so we do our darnedest to do the same. It was a gloriously sunny day, and beautiful night.
I tried to set the table around the look of the cool Grove 45 bottle. The white bulbous dahlias looked too good to pass up, and worked nicely bunched tightly in matching Juliska vases. A variety of our John Derian platters would work well and create visual interest. A few smoky brown glassybaby along with a new candle we are testing out to see if we want to carry it at Watson Kennedy, would give us a flicker of light. My favorite white plates, clear stemware and a new Le Jacquard Francais tablecloth would fill the rest of the table.
Very few things make me happier than receiving a handwritten note. In our world of e-mails and text messages, it has become rarer and rarer that folks send a note. I fall victim myself. I will send a quick e-mail in thanks for a swell dinner and evening we had with friends, then get too busy, and let that take the place of a note. Not good. Not good at all. For I know the joy of getting a note, so to, I know how much it means and the happiness it brings for a friend to open up the mailbox and see something other than junk mail. I send plenty of handwritten notes, but I want to send more. This post is a challenge to myself and to all of us–spread the joy, sit and write a quick note and make someone happy.
Here are a few quick tips that make it so much easier. Find a box that pleases you and turn it into a stationery box. Have it accessible so it is easy to reach for when you want to jot a quick note. Fill it with notecards you find on trips or cards that you see when you are out shopping. I find this the quickest, surest way to make note writing easier. Add your favorite pen to the box as well as stamps. When you are next at the post office, buy a few extra sheets of ‘forever’ stamps with different images on them, so you have them at the ready. If you still use an address book, have that in the box too. That is it! By having everything in one place, it makes writing a quick note so much easier and much more doable.
Now the note. I think what stops many folks is they think it needs to be lengthy. It does not. A few well-crafted sentences is all you need. Just make it personal and heartfelt. The mere fact that it is handwritten will make it so very special. Cheers to sending AND receiving many handwritten notes!!!
I received several e-mails asking about the gift tags that were in my post yesterday. They have become a staple at Watson Kennedy, and are the perfect little tag to hang off of a gift or a bottle of wine or bubbly. The tags were beautifully written originally by our in-house calligrapher Kelli. At 75 cents, they are nifty to have around when you are in a pinch and need a gift tag in a hurry. It is blank on the backside, giving you room to add a little note.
The other tag in the photo is by John Derian. We recently brought in a good number of his gift tags too, and they are fashioned in his creatively put together collaged style. The photo was taken at my shop in the Pike Place Market. You can also get a glimpse of the stylish decoupaged wall that artist Amy Duncan created for me many years back. I still adore it as much today as when she first worked on the project.
We have been offering the beautiful decoupaged works of John Derian at the shops and on the website for 11+ years, and I still get excited to open the boxes when a new shipment arrives. His use and choice of images is extraordinary. I thought I would take you on a little tour of some of his new designs, as well as things that are perennial favorites. Enjoy the show…
On one of my trips to New York a few months back, I had a yummy dinner with my uber creative & stylish friend Rita Konig at Peels on the Lower East Side. For you former domino mag readers, Rita’s was the smiling face you would see each month who travelled to cities and reported on the cool places to shop and dine. We had just come from a show of Hugo Guinness work that John Derian was showing. We were settling in for a meal and lots of stories and catching up, when along came Deborah Needleman, who had also been at the Hugo show. She nestled into the booth alongside Rita, and said we should join her after our meal for drinks. An introduction, Deborah was the founding editor of domino, and is currently the editor of the WSJ magazine. She sat with us for a bit while we started our dinner. It was lovely to see the easy rapport and friendship the 2 share. After our meal, we headed downstairs and met up with Deborah at her table. She is a person who makes you feel comfortable, is easy to talk with, looks you in the eye when she speaks with you (and is not looking around the room to see who is there)–she is just one very cool gal in my book. Which leads me to her new book.
The Perfectly Imperfect Home, with a tag line of, How to Decorate & Live Well, just arrived at the shop yesterday. It is a must read if you were a domino fan or are a fan of design. I sat last night in my favorite worn leather chair perusing the pages. It is written with her warmth and smarts, with an experts eye. The drawings are fantastic, and are a welcome change. Deborah is signing bookplates for me, so our copies will be signed by the author. A perfect gift, for yourself or to give.