Thursday, December 1, 2016

Polished to Plaid: One Table, Two Looks

Welcome to Panoply's holiday table settings! This year for the holidays, I'm doing something just a little different in my tablescaping. I'm demonstrating how you can readily and somewhat easily make two looks with one table. My theme is Polished to Plaid: One Table, Two Looks. 
Holiday Polished Look
Holiday Plaid Look

If you're new to my blog, let me tell you right off the bat that I love playing with dishes. As an antique dealer, I consider it a bonus to be able to purchase and foster vintage tableware and linens to give variety to and enhance my tablescapes. When I want to rotate my stock, I can simply offer my collections for sale in my rented space at our local antique mall. Due to the fact that I typically host Christmas Eve for all my family who are in town (generally 25-30 guests), I tend to squirrel away a pretty good stock of tableware and linens, I admit it. ;) 

Both of today's looks started with the same basic underpinnings on the table for each: an ivory damask tablecloth, with a runner layered down the center. The runner actually inspired my idea for the two looks, one polished (more formal), and the second plaid (more casual), as its construction of tartan plaid center with velvety textured ends seemed to suggest that yin-yang look I so often gravitate toward in my style preferences.
Next, I turned my concentration on the centerpiece. Working with vintage and newer things I had, I pulled out my pedestal mirror and crystal candlesticks to start. I already had a couple of tree-shaped, preserved boxwood topiaries, so I plunked them into a couple of cast iron urns, but not before I added some battery-operated, warm led lights I recently found with 6 hour on, 18 hr off timer (complete source list for these tables is at the end of the post).
I placed the candlesticks on the pedestal mirror, added one more string of lights across the runner (tucking the battery pack under it), and added some heavy-weighted silver balls to the tray. Nandina branches with berries were cut from the landscape garden and tucked around. To complete the centerpiece, I anchored each end with white birch branches saved from my garden's fallen trees.

My plate stacks consist of silverplate platters as a charger base, topped with white china dinner and tartan plaid salad plates. I used my sterling silver flatware for this table, as well as part of my collection of sterling and antique silverplate napkin rings for the cotton damask napkins. Crystal wine glasses stand beside monogrammed tumblers, while the cup/saucer match the dinner plates. Salt and pepper shakers are crystal pineapples, the Southern symbol of welcome.
To transition my look from polished to plaid, I only changed out a few key things: the centerpiece, the chargers, napkins, flatware and the stemware.

For the plaid look centerpiece, I used three graduated hurricanes in lieu of the candlesticks and silver balls. You can see how I used them in a prior tablescape for summer here. I found an inexpensive package of three plaid owl ornaments to drop in the base of each hurricane, and added some faux snow in each. The pillar candles are battery operated, a safer option than the real deal in the polished look above. I tied a plaid ribbon on just one of the urns, showing how you could opt for plain naked or beribbonned. For the polished look, you could perhaps use an ivory satin ribbon.
The change in the place setting, using a different charger, napkin, flatware, glassware, and salt and peppers results in the more casual look below.
The chargers, flatware and glassware are now red and the napkins are plaid. The little lanterns on the plate stack have battery-operated votives inside, and are decorated on top with a faux berry napkin ring. They could simply be moved elsewhere on the table while dining, or offered as a takeaway for guests.

Another thing I did to mix this tablescaping up even more was place different chargers at the end seating for each of the polished and plaid looks. This is an easy trick to use when you don't have enough of one item (in this case, chargers). Mixing the elements at the end seats is a nice way to keep the look coordinated and consistent, where the differences appear more as bookends rather than interruptions to the view overall. In this case, the Courtly Check pattern of the chargers match the trim on the runner, another plus in keeping the look consistent.
For the plaid tablescape, I even used a different color flatware (black), because I only had service for four in red. It still coordinates well with the look, as you can see.
When accommodating all my guests for Christmas Eve, it is not uncommon for me to mix and match my tableware, flatware, and textiles. All spaces are used for seating - dining room, breakfast area, as well as the sunroom space - and while the tables are set with some basics, the reality is no two place settings are exactly alike at any one table.
The points I've tried to demonstrate in these varied table settings are several: 1) you can gain a lot of versatility with some basic underpinnings (white china, glassware, table linens) ; 2) using vintage items, especially in unexpected ways (silverplate platters as charges) makes the hunt for these [often inexpensive] items fun; 3) using vintage items, mixed with newer things, adds your personal flair and style to the table, something your guests will undoubtedly notice and appreciate.

So, which table was your favorite? 
The polished, more formal tablescape....
...or the plaid, more casual tablescape?
Polished or plaid, go bold and mix things up!
Polished to Plaid Tablescape Source List:  
Vintage ivory damask tablecloth, white damask napkins, pedestal mirror, silverplate platters used as chargers, crystal candlesticks, silverplate and sterling napkin rings, monogrammed 'C' (clear) and ruby red glassware, black flatware, 'Castleton' white china, cast iron urns, heavy silver ball ornaments - collected over time (estate sales, auctions, antique stores)
'Longchamp' crystal stemware - Mr. P.'s vintage 
Tartan Plaid Runner, Courtly Check Chargers - MacKenzie-Childs
Plaid Napkins - Sur la Table (thank you, Stephen!)
Red Chargers - Michael's, last year
Graduated hurricanes with battery-operated, pillar candles - Wisteria catalog, years ago
Tartan plaid salad plates - eBay
'Prelude' sterling silver flatware - auction, years ago
Red flatware - Bed, Bath & Beyond 
Small, black lanterns with battery-operated votive candles, crystal pineapple salt & pepper  - Williamsburg Marketplace, years ago
Preserved boxwood topiaries - Antique Farmhouse, several years ago
Ceramic owl salt & pepper - Decor Steals, several years ago
Birch tree logs, nandina clippings - landscape cuts
Trio of owl ornaments in hurricanes, artificial snow, and battery-operated, led string lights - Big Lots 
A special thanks to Chloe from Celebrate and Decorate for organizing this special holiday blog hop of tablescapes. Sure to inspire you, any one (or all!) of the bloggers participating can be found in the complete schedule below. Be sure to visit your friends - or make new ones - by clicking on the links conveniently listed.  Thank you so much for visiting mine today!

HOLIDAY TABLESCAPE BLOG HOP SCHEDULE

MONDAY

Twelve on Main | Everyday Living | Home is Where the Boat Is | Rustic - Refined

TUESDAY

Life and Linda Rattlebridge Farm | Rosemary & Thyme | Living With Thanksgiving | Cozinest

FRIDAY


Come back next week for another roundup, this time of holiday home tours, also hosted by Chloe. I'll be the caboose on that blog tour train, scheduled to publish on Friday, December 9th, 2016. I'll have things ready and waiting for you. Hope to see you then!

Rita C. at Panoply