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Charleston Entertaining Home Style Tables

A Quick & Easy Table for Two

May 11, 2018

Ah we have had a crazy week of cramming in everything before I leave today for Massachusetts to shoot a quick wedding for Vogue.com !   We are trying to get all of our wedding work completed before we leave for France, a week from Monday.  Needless to say, we have been racing around and hardly making time for family this week.  We decided to have a quick impromptu dinner outside (out of the editing “cave” and into the light!) en famille before I head out.

Today it hit 90 degrees — quite a reminder that summer is nearly here/has arrived??  I’m definitely having that “what should I wear in this heat” moment and so have lined up all of my linen and cotton for this warmer weather.  Nothing beats a solid white tee shirt with a long skirt — timeless, classic, feminine.   This outfit reminds me of my mother in my childhood, which is a good thing!  Also fun to set out some of my favorite plates and new napkins for our dinner for two!   This tablecloth reminds me so much of France and made me feel even more excited, as if it were possible!

I hope that everyone has fun plans for the weekend — I will be reporting from the Berkshires, which are still chilly but breathtaking and I am excited!! Let me know if you have any recommendations!! xxx

Collecting Entertaining Home Tables

Collector’s Corner: Glassware Favorites

April 30, 2018

It’s no surprise that I love to set the table.   I often use the glasses from my grandmother’s house in England which are our everyday — she bought so many that we all have a set.   They are simple, thin-rimmed wine glasses with an elegant shape.   I haven’t been able to find a similar set, but I think that it’s easy to use the same principal of having your foundation glassware and then padding it with fun finds: colored glass, etched, and incomplete sets or specialty glasses found on your travels.

I seek out glasses which are non-fussy and not t00 precious but do have an eye for the delicate/feminine vs. the clunky goblet.   So many of my grandmother’s glasses in France look very special but are 90’s Anthropologie which are elevated by their setting and the plates/napkins/linens.  Indeed, glassware is important but should remain neutral enough that you can use it in a variety of circumstances and not feel that you need too many complete sets (unless you are a fanatic like me!).

I love champagne glasses and have a complete set (12) of #4 which is my favorite pattern from Williams-Sonoma and comes in every type of glass you might need, from martini to tumbler; I think that they are pretty and timeless and special without being so special (given that they are from a larger company) that you worry if one breaks — very replaceable!  I also love numbers 1 & 3 for special occasions and 2 is a classic — Simon Pearce is great!  Below I have some fun vintage (or similar style) colored and etched glass which I love to collect, even in small numbers. 

 

(1/2/3/4 (similar, better??)/5/6/7)

And last, some household classics.   Most of my collections are clear and blue — the terra cotta in the photograph below are from our trip to Cuba in 2012.  They are for a special after dinner drink which is made from honey, lemon, hot water and rum and knocked Will & I sideways in a memorable fashion so had to be collected even though I use them more often as little bud vases!

(etched glasses, blue glasses, blue tumbler, blue stems, moroccan tea glasses)

 

Charleston Style Tables

Dream Life: Tropical Dinner By The Pool!!

March 22, 2018

Ah, another Charleston paradise!!   I have always fantasized about having a large garden with a palm-tree lined pool here in town and this is just the ticket.    Sitting right on South Battery, this large pink lady is a dream come true (and it’s also for sale!).   We felt so lucky to continue our exploration of the beautiful gardens downtown here and were so delighted to meet another LOVELY owner :).   This pool would be such fun to lay next to by day but even more fun to host an evening, candle-lit get together next to.  We couldn’t resist a bougainvillea center piece to go along with our dragonfly ranunculus and favorite tropical melamine plates…

This simple set up is so easy to do at home.   We have used these placemats more than any other (they’re our casual go-to’s) and these tropical napkins are so much fun directly on the plate.   The starfish were there and enhance the tropical feel perfectly.   I will always opt for shells/sea creatures on the table when possible.

We shot this a few weeks ago but have been saving it for this week because we have been working flat out on an exciting project with House Beautiful which has taken all of our focus and I can’t wait to see the final result, stay tuned!!  Back to our regularly scheduled content for now! xx

 

Charleston Home Style Tables

The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Table

February 12, 2018

I loved pulling this setting together so much!  It’s a combination of my favorite colors, textures and a blend of beach-y St. Barth’s vibes meets English Countryside (see pillows/tulips/garden stool).    Setting this scene was an afternoon of bliss, I love nothing more than throwing on my music (hello tropical house) and pulling from what I already have in the house.  This might be the most extreme example of that because I used the tiles which just arrived for our kitchen backsplash as the tablecloth, not the most stable support but pretty and fun.

This table is romantic and intimate without having an overwhelming Valentine’s Day theme, a good reminder that you can do just about anything to celebrate.    Of course heading out to dinner is such a fun thing to do and I only offer this as an alternative to those who want it.   It’s easier for us to stay in on a weeknight with the baby; I still think it is important to set up a cozy, special atmosphere to make sure that the moment feels marked.

If it’s a dinner for two, it’s nice to break away from the formality of the dining room table.  Why not set up an inviting table somewhere very cozy where you can kick back with a bottle of champagne, soft pillows and blankets.    It will make the evening feel less stiff/formal which can be a nice way to relax together.

One trick I often use for thinner tables is to use vases of different heights and fill them with the same flower.  This creates the illusion of an elongated arrangement and makes the table feel full without being overwhelming or blocking the view of the other person.   It’s easy to scatter lots of votives of different heights in between and in this case, I added shells just for fun.    In practice, we pulled both plates onto the same side so that we could curl up on the love seat together.

I hope that you enjoyed looking at these colors as much as I do — and happy Valentine’s! xx

Home Style Tables

Two Different Ways to Brighten Your Table

January 22, 2018

We spent a very quiet, sleepy weekend at home with our lovely cuddly baby.  We had brunch with relatively new friends on Saturday (they are amazing and hopefully will become very close friends) and then spent the rest of the weekend soaking up the sunny weather on the beach and going for family walks.  I make a big effort to leave my phone at home, or on airplane mode, and to be present.  I know that sounds like such a cliché but it was really wonderful!    It also gave us a chance to reflect on what we’re up to here and I’m so excited for what this year has in store, I know that I have said this before but working on this blog is my dream project and I am grateful for your being here and reading!!!

We moved into an office last week, so thrilling!  Now we’re able to really divide our time between work and family/relaxation time.   This is increasingly important for us; I love sharing our lives and in fact plan to share quite a bit more in the coming months but, I also recognize how important it is to have undivided, uninterrupted time with our little guy, without a phone in hand or an e-mail to answer.   Nothing gives me more pleasure than kicking around just the three of us.   We had a family nap on saturday afternoon and it definitely felt like one of those “this is the whole point of life” moments.

I promise that we’re bringing a lot more than table settings to this brand, but I LOVE the blue spot cloth from my dear friend India Amory and have been meaning to show you for ages, so bear with me!  I have set it up in two very different ways, dinner & brunch, to demonstrate its versatility.  I also have it in our office as our desk cloth — an instant room brightener.    P.S. if you haven’t discovered Highcamp Gardenias yet, they are extraordinary and very elegant — such a luxurious present to send (in my view reasonable considering how much it costs to send simple cut flowers, too).

 

Charleston is just starting to warm up.  The balmy winter air is one of the reasons I so love living here.  We dine on the porch most of the year; I love being outside and surrounded by these white flowers which remind me of England in spring.  Also, I fell in love with this skirt this time last year and have worn it about ten thousand times (here it is in a slightly darker variation which I also love)  note that we’re using our Matouk placemats and napkins again 😉  And last, these votives are so chic I think and look like they could have been collected somewhere a touch more exotic.

People often ask us about these plates, they were my grandmother’s.  Honestly I think they might be old Williams-Sonoma but because she was such a collector, they appear more exotic.  Coincidentally, Williams-Sonoma just released this collection which I find similar and which will age well, I really like them!  I’m planning to do a post on some of my favorite things I have from her collection and where to find similar items now!! I hope that sounds interesting!

Next we have a very casual brunch/breakfast set up.   One thing we always try to do when we have guests to stay is to set the breakfast table the night before so that guests who wake up early feel looked after.   These are my go to placemats for breakfast and lunch and are great staples and it’s easy to throw some potted plants on the table if you’re out of cut flowers.

This is a quick rendition but for guests, I would put out granola and cereal, peanut butter, jam and butter and then add the fresh goods in the morning: eggs, bacon, pastries, juice, coffee…

Regardless, this tablecloth is such a pretty one to add to your collection and will work in so many different set ups! xxx

 

Charleston Entertaining Flowers Home Style Tables

3 Ways to Maximize Your Dinner Party with Matouk

January 18, 2018

Set a beautiful, inviting table to welcome your guests!  This table was an absolute pleasure to set.  Working with Matouk linens is so so luxurious, they are elegant and timeless without feeling intimidating or too good to pull out for a more laid-back gathering.   They are great staples for life (so if you’re getting married soon, hello registry!).    What is particularly fun is how versatile these colors are — I had a completely different vision when I arrived at the flower shop but was so drawn to the queen anne’s lace, white anemones, and light pink tulips and couldn’t resist; the table turned into an ode to spring and a celebration of the beauty of each very special flower and color.

I mostly use glass vases on the table but I loved the way the stone sat with the blue edges of the placemats, I thought it a fun way to relax the vibe of the setting.   I also had to use a hodgepodge of vessels because there are so many flowers.   These arrangements are higher than I would normally set; I typically make sure that flowers do not block the view across the table.  In this instance, it was fun for our guests to arrive to such an elaborate setting and then to have the arrangements moved to sit all round us on the surrounding tables and window ledge.

 Do as much prep as you can before guests arrive so that you can enjoy them!! In an ideal world, we’ve done the majority of the cooking before guests arrive (close friends will know that this is not always the case, and many of our friends have cooked for us in our own kitchen post baby…!) so that we can focus on conversation.  This means keeping the menu simple and seasonal; we often pick up a quiche from the local shop and throw some vegetables and meat on the grill, toss a huge salad and of course, crusty bread.   Dessert is fresh fruit and ice cream and I love to keep little pots of candies (chocolate covered almonds) on the table for guests to nibble on as we continue chatting — usually WAY past midnight.

Dressing up, music & dinner party games are a great party enhancers.  We often set the mood with upbeat but relaxed music when guests arrive (Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, etc.) and melt into 90’s rap or tropical house music if dancing picks up, which hopefully it does.   It’s so much fun to have great party games like  Cards Against Humanity on hand but I also love to set up a good murder mystery (we do this at our large family gatherings) which can even be explained and assigned before guests arrive.  Either is definitely sure to end in laughter and that’s always the goal.  I would love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments below!!! We entertain a lot and it’s always great to have new recommendations and ideas!

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