Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Eclectic Couture - Table Design on a Dime

Pt. I

Today, I bring you a masterpiece from design genius, Eddie Ross.  I too, share his affinity for mixing items you wouldn't normally put together - old and new, subtle and bold, kitsch and couture, polished and rustic, traditional and modern.  Ever wonder what goes into some of the more elaborate tablescapes, that go beyond standard rental items?  I'll let Eddie walk you through the process of creating a unique table that wows, and is sure to stand out from among the rest.  The finished product is simply amazing!

March is mud month here in upstate New York, so here was just the sort of vibrant inspiration I needed while planning our table for A Date with a Plate in May, a two-day affair in Pennsylvania, benefiting the Noreen O'Neill Foundation for Melanoma Research. A quick stop into one of my favorite fabric houses, Quadrille, for a pink-and-orange combo that spoke to me and voilà!!  Pattern on pattern can be tricky; it's like a high wire act that could go wrong at any second. Hence, the safety net: intermediary plates and chargers that give the eye a break. Other than flea markets, Goodwills are my other go-to sources for undiscovered treasure.  Our first find? A set of old Wedgwood bowls, probably from the 20s, with a cool, Chinoiserie feel and a color combination that was spot on. These we scored at the New York City flea market in Chelsea. If you've never been, go! 3000 miles away, at a thrift shop north of San Diego, I found a set of eight brass chargers for seven bucks. These beauties are good and heavy with the same shape as the ironstone plates.  

Mixing flatware of various time periods and materials is always so much more interesting to me than matching, and this table would be no exception. The mid-century spoons we found back in December, antiquing with La Dolfina, while the mother-of-pearl knives are from the 1800s, a pawn shop score with my friend Andrea from Top Design. At the one in Westport, we picked up these Johnson Brothers ironstone plates from the 50s in a modern octagon shape. 

"Buy me. I'll come in handy some day." That's what a little brass bird—well, actually two—told me at a junk shop in New Jersey. We certainly didn't need them at the time—we rarely do—but pretty things at prices so low they're practically free? I can't resist. Come in handy they did, as the table finally began to take shape. For the napkins, I took a cue from the pretty pale blue in the bowls with a great set from Gracious Home in Chelsea. As for the rings, I couldn't find any I liked, so I bought a basic set from Target, then found these fantastic brass and turquoise earrings, also at Target, that I glued right on. Together with the ikat, I thought they'd give the design a cool, Bohemian vibe, like jewelry for table.
Carrying the blue up, I borrowed a stunning set of French opaline glasses from our friend, artist and antiques dealer Deborah Buck. Her store on Madison is a jewel box in itself! For water, I used a set of eight vintage pressed glass goblets with a pretty swirl pattern. You'd never know they're from a Goodwill in Chesapeake Bay! Colorful candles are the perfect way to bring the eye up from any table you set. Whether new or vintage linens, chances are Creative Candles has just the right hue. For our table, we chose sky blue tapers for a punchy contrast to the pink and orange ikat. 

Candlesticks were brass—three pairs at varying heights, all from the Goodwill.  For the flowers, I knew I wanted to keep the arrangements low, like a beautiful hedge of peonies growing among the candlesticks. The vessels are a mix of brass bowls and vases collected over time. 

One final detail before the big reveal—candy! These are from the dollar store, but only the pink, orange, blue and white would do. OCD, anyone?  

***Stay tuned for Pt. II - there were so many delish images of the finished product to share, it deserves it's own post!

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