If the dish fits…part 2

 

 

Tip 22, part 2:  If the dish fits…USE it

 

 

This late 19th-century Aesthetic Movement tea service is one of my favorite possessions, partly because it belonged to my beloved grandmother, who had eccentric taste, and partly because I share her taste. I try to keep it in sight all the time, even if that means polishing it often…or letting it turn pewter-gray. When a bed of hydrangeas running the breadth of my house began to overflow with blue blossoms, I filled every vase I could find. Then I spied the tea service, freshly polished and sitting atop an Indian embroidered shawl of a style also favored in Victorian England. Out came the clippers, in came more hydrangeas, landing in the tea pot, sugar bowl, and cream pitcher, and the result was just as over the top and marvelous as anything my grandmother might have devised. Thank you Roberta Morris Ryan—gone but definitely not forgotten.

This tip was inspired my recent book, Past Present: Living with Heirlooms and Antiques. For more ideas about living with the things you love, take a look at the book.

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound

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If the dish fits…

 

 

Tip 22 part 1:  If the dish fits….

 

 

If the candy dish fits…or any other infrequently trotted out piece of silver, cut glass, porcelain, or whatever….USE it.

 

 

I moved into my Charleston house in December, so discovering what flowers bloom in the garden each season is an unfolding delight. The parade of flowers has also given me the pleasure of using many of the things I recently inherited in unexpected ways. Among these is a plethora of footed hollowware candy dishes, which I worried might languish in my silver cabinet. These were popular with the Southern bridge-playing set for serving fudge, pralines, fondant, or candied pecans, but I don’t play bridge and I don’t eat candy. Generally I use them for nuts, but when a miniature magnolia tree began producing lovely flowers about six inches across, I discovered that the footed bowls are just the right size to display these fragrant, ivory blooms. I love the way they hold the flowers slightly up in the air, the better to release their delicious lemony scent throughout the room.

This tip was inspired my recent book, Past Present: Living with Heirlooms and Antiques. For more ideas about living with the things you love, take a look at the book.

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

 

 

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Bring your imagination to the table

 

Well, I thought 20 tips about living with heirlooms and antiques would suffice, but I’ve got so many more ideas! My readers are telling me they want more, too, so here we go with another 20 ideas about beautiful and unusual ways to use the things you love.

 

Tip 21: Bring your imagination to the table

 

 

 

Now is the time for graduation parties and wedding celebrations. Why choose predictable rental selections of gold-rimmed china and mass-produced stemware when there is so much more to use? A visit to the headquarters of Loot Vintage Rentals in Austin, Texas’s largest vintage rental company, taught me so much about how to create interesting and charming tables and party set-ups. Loot’s co-owners Rhoda Brimberry and Anna Crelia are experts at collecting vintage tableware, furniture, and just about anything else old and odd that can be put to use for unusual and engaging settings for entertaining.

 

 

 

 

On this rustic pine table, they combined vintage china in a variety of floral patterns, accompanying it with mix-and-match pressed glass stemware, unbleached linen napkins, and a runner made of hand-gathered muslin. An old box and simple brass urn hold romantic arrangements of unexpected flowers, designed by Rosehip Flora also in Austin.

 

 

 

 

Lighter than air cream puffs and lemon chiffon pie float atop a late-nineteenth century industrial trolley.  A gilded Italian occasional table and a pressed-glass cake pedestal perched on top of a salvaged column capital add elegance and textural variety to the delightfully unexpected desserts table.

 

 

 

 

At Loot Vintage Rentals, no vintage object is safe from repurposing, even an enameled baby bath, which is just the right size to serve as a champagne, beer, or water cooler.

 

Clearly Rhoda and Anna are experts in the art of reclaiming, recycling, and repurposing old things. One man’s (or woman’s) trash is another’s treasure. Keep that in mind when designing decorations for events you want others to treasure in their memories forever.

 

 

 

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Keep it local

 

Just in case you missed my Monacelli Press Instagram takeover (@monacellipress), I will be posting twenty tips about ways to live creatively with heirlooms and antiques.

 

Tip 8: Keep it local

 

 

 

 

Fashion executives Charles Keller and Glenn Purcell furnished their 1898 cedar-shake cottage in East Hampton with heirlooms of place—objects fabricated in the area or once owned by local families. Here, surrounding a well-provisioned cheeseboard, blue Venetian glass inherited by Keller complements silver spoons by East Hampton silversmith David Hedges, arranged in a crystal salt dish. #setthetable #pastpresent

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

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Dress up the garden for dinner

 

Just in case you missed my Monacelli Press Instagram takeover (@monacellipress), I will be posting twenty tips about ways to live creatively with heirlooms and antiques.

 

Tip 7: Dress up the garden for dinner

 

 

 

 

For al fresco parties, decorator Mary Finch often combines fine antique silver with casual contemporary pottery on a toile quilt unfurled across a long stone table. When the table decoration is completed by a flower arrangement composed within a hollow log designed by friend and floral artist Jan Miller, Finch’s vision is fulfilled in a magical way. “This is the way I show people I love them,” she says. #setthetable #pastpresent

 

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

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Mix the formal with the relaxed

 

Just in case you missed my Monacelli Press Instagram takeover (@monacellipress), I will be posting twenty tips about ways to live creatively with heirlooms and antiques.

 

Tip 6: Mix the formal with the relaxed

 

 

 

 

Decorator Mary Finch likes to mix the formal with the relaxed when she sets tables for gatherings in her Birmingham home and garden, creating a sophisticated country mood whether dining indoors or out. A favorite setting for the indoor dining table combines woodland tones of antique brown and white English transferware, Mexican etched green glass stemware, and green linen napkins. Dressed up with Tiffany silver, the place settings are arranged around a centerpiece of hydrangeas arranged softly in a majolica cachepot. #setthetable #pastpresent

 

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

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Make it modern

 

Just in case you missed my Monacelli Press Instagram takeover (@monacellipress), I will be posting twenty tips about ways to live creatively with heirlooms and antiques.

 

 

Tip 5: Make it modern

 

 

For a contemporary effect, David Feld and partner Kurt Purdy place table settings directly on the dark granite surface of a 1985 Racetrack table designed by Joseph D’Urso for Knoll. A striking silver-and-white composition combines platinum-resist Wedgwood lusterware with flatware in two patterns, one designed in the late 20th-century design by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany and the other, the classic 18th-century Scottish shell pattern. Feld’s great-grandmother’s crocheted lace napkins add another element of style. #setthetable #pastpresent

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

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Never set the table the same way twice

 

Just in case you missed my Monacelli Press Instagram takeover (@monacellipress), I will be posting twenty tips about ways to live creatively with heirlooms and antiques.

 

Tip 4: Never set the table the same way twice

 

 

If you never set the same table twice, you will find that you use everything you own, from the exalted silver punch bowl to the humble crystal saltcellar. Treat yourself and your guests by using sterling silver, antique china, embroidered linens, flatware with hand-carved horn handles, and brilliant cut glass on a regular basis. Entirely antique place settings are exquisite, but combinations of traditional and contemporary design are equally engaging. For this luncheon party, Charleston artist Marty Whaley Adams combines heirloom tableware and linens with Mexican stemware and crystal candlesticks. #setthetable #pastpresent

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

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Heirlooms on the Road: When and Where

Here’s a list of all the whistle stops for my traveling antiques and heirlooms road show. Please come if you’re in the area and celebrate with me the joy of living with heirlooms and antiques.

 

Thursday, May 5th, 6 PM

Charleston Library Society

Lecture & Book Signing

164 King Street, Charleston

843.723.9912

Charlestonlibrarysociety.org

 

Friday and Saturday, May 6& 7, 2:30 PM

Lecture & Book Signing

Hay House Spring Stroll of Macon Houses and Gardens

Macon, Georgia

478.743.8155

Hayhousemacon.org

 

Sunday, May 8, 1 to 5 PM

Book Signing

Black Sheep Antiques

39509 Highway 25, Harpersville, AL

205.283.6796

 

Tuesday, May 10, 4 to 6 PM

In the Garden—A Garden Book Debut

Hosted by Mary Finch, Circa Interiors & Antiques and Flower magazine

2405 Henrietta Road

Birmingham

RSVP 205-868-9199

 

Wednesday, May 11, 5 to 7 PM

Book Talk and Signing

Edgar Reeves Lighting and Antiques

425 Peachtree Hills Avenue, Atlanta

404.237.1137

edgar-reeves.com

 

Images from the Charleston and Macon events have already been posted. Here are a few from the Harpersville, Birmingham, and Atlanta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Sheep Antiques is the latest venture of Barbara and Sonny Adkins, who also own a plantation house in nearby Chancellorsville that has been in Barbara’s family for four generations.  With a mix of family heirlooms and country antiques collected by Barbara and Sonny, the plantation’s interior provides a hint of the quality and style of pieces featured at their shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to being a gifted interior decorator, Mary Finch also has a great eye for garden design and a passion for entertaining. The table she sets for garden parties demonstrates her talent for layering textures, colors, and patterns at home and for her clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Atlanta condominium of Stephanie and Bill Reeves reveals the same eye for beauty and creative style that can be found at Edgar Reeves Lighting and Antiques, over which Stephanie presides.

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

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Use the Things You Love

Just in case you missed my Monacelli Press Instagram takeover (@monacellipress), I will be posting twenty tips about ways to live creatively with heirlooms and antiques.

 

Tip 3: Use the things you love


 

If you use the things you love, however disparate in style, period, or formality, you might just find that they get along. You love them, so why shouldn’t they find a way to love each other? When you use the things you love, you enhance the emotional depth of your home. Whether you purchased them from a store or inherited them and decided to keep them, these things are a reflection of you. Each room in my house expresses a different aspect of my personality. An eccentric combination of chairs—19th-century French slipper chairs in creamsicle tangerine and French art deco chairs with turquoise blue upholstery—reflect the gregarious side of my personality. I like all kinds of people—and chairs.  My bedroom is a serene retreat, and my office, an introverted library.

One of things I inherited is a milking stool that hails from my great-grandfather’s South Carolina cotton plantation. At first, I had absolutely no idea how to use it, and the piece was about ready to be relegated to an out of the way corner. One day I noticed that the French art deco chairs needed occasional tables next to them. I had a Moroccan style one I’d bought at a resale shop that worked well next to one of the chairs, but I didn’t know what to do about the other one. Then, when I was rearranging things in the house, I stumbled across the milking stool. It was the right size and height…so I tried it out and it looks fantastic. It has the lines of a primitive African table, and in fact, was probably made by an African slave.

 

I love the way it’s primitive lines look next to the sleek silhouette of the art deco chair. Every time I look at it I think about the family plantation, and what life must have been like on it. I remember stories told my grandmother, who grew up there. This is a perfect example of finding an unexpected way to use something you love which doesn’t seem to fit your home or your life. Give things time and let them tell you where they want to go.

 

Buy the book now at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Indiebound.

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