It’s Not Just Your Grandmother’s China

At last, the long-awaited post about the ‘Choose Your Destination’ event, where I presented ‘It’s Not Just Your Grandmother’s China’.  Lauren Nason of Axa Advisors, Alison Held of Health Direction and I were speakers at the Gallery of Kitchens in Westport, CT.

For the talk, I brought my inherited pieces of china and some new items bought in the stores.   I love to take something old, your great aunt’s favorite china perhaps, that has been languishing in your basement and update it with some fun current tabletop items.  And we don’t even have to break your budget.

Formal Dining Setting

The first setting is a more formal setting for Dinner. The “old” items are Benardaud’s Grenadiers – a  traditional pattern with just a touch of whimsy.  I added a gold sequin place mat from Pier One and a Red Ruffle charger and dessert plate from Crate and Barrel.  The stemware is our wedding Waterford and an old family Cranberry glass mixed in with a new gold crackle glass cup from Pier One.  The floral arrangement is silk (really I would never have believed silk flowers could be this gorgeous!) from Bea Schriver Florals.

Holiday Breakfast Setting

In the next vignette, I took the same china and changed some of the accessories for a more informal breakfast party. I used a Crate and Barrel ornament as a napkin holder for the blanket-stitched napkin (love these from Pier One!).  Now, your breakfast guest has a little gift to take home.   I changed the placemat and the candles as well.  The snowflake candles from Crate and Barrel are so pretty that I bought some for my fireplace mantel.  Finally, I used the Bernardaud coffee mug instead of tea cups.  Does any one really use tea cups any more?  If you are buying china, buy the pieces you are going to use!  And do use them, don’t let them gather dust in the cabinet.

Hanukkah Place Setting

Finally, I created a Hanukkah place setting.  I mixed silver and gold, mostly out of necessity as my grandma’s blue plates have gold.  If you mix metals, just make it obvious that you are doing it – I say why not!  I love these blue and silver martini glasses I picked up a few years ago in a little shop on Greenwich Avenue.  All of the accessories except the hostess gifts – dreidel and the menorah ornament  from Crate and Barrel – are from Pier One.  The blue and white ball “ornaments” are candies.  The best surprise of the evening was that one of the gentlemen guessed that the candle arrangement is placed on a mirrored perfume tray from a ladies bath.  Look around your home for accessories, you never know what you will find.  I added some glass beads, like you use in the bottom of a vase and nestled the eight candles in between – a modern day twist on a menorah.

So, now I just know you’re motivated to get into those boxes in the basement (or china cabinet), dust off the old china and do just a little shopping to create a wonderful holiday table.  Bon appetit!


4 Responses to “It’s Not Just Your Grandmother’s China”

  1. Holiday Decoration Inspiration & Entertaining {Best of the Web} | The Decorating Diva LLC Says:

    […] Holiday table setting article from interior designer Catherine J. Avery. […]

  2. Maybelline Says:

    Love the juxtaposition of old and new, high and low, silver and gold! Using the mirrored tray for the modern twist on a menorah is clever too! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Patrick Kennedy Says:

    Well done Catherine – inspiration for everyone.
    Happy Holidays.

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