Tag Archives: tabletop

An Elegant Winter Tablescape Perfect For the Holidays and Beyond

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Today we’re featuring a lovely holiday tablescape from Dawn at Inspired Living. We think this tablescape would also look gorgeous for any elegant winter dinner party.

What’s your decorating philosophy for holiday dinners and dinner parties?

“I don’t believe you have to go overboard decorating every last space to have a dramatic and eye catching home for the holidays.   A few simple, well thought out choices will go a long way to create a festive environment and to make your guests feel welcome and warm.  For example, the hurricanes and Pottery Barn candlesticks I used on our table were all of different heights and sizes, which keeps the display visually interesting.  All of the items were made from the same material, which unites the display.

Also, you can never go wrong with candlelight and greenery to add a little holiday warmth to the home. From there, you can layer in an additional element or two to add interest; on my tablescape, I stuck with mercury glass and silver. After all, keeping your decor simple will allow more time to focus on preparing for your guests and welcoming them to your home.”

 We know that you love to mix in vintage pieces — what’s your advice for making these pieces look beautiful and part of an overall decorating scheme?

“I like mixing new and old.  For this tablescape, I paired thrifted vintage low ball glasses with china we received as a wedding gift to create an elegant place setting.  For serving dishes, I might use my Pottery Barn Claro Cake Stand along with my grandmothers silver platter — another wedding gift — both of which spend most days displayed in our china cabinet.”

What’s your favorite aspect of decorating for the holidays?

“I love creating a warm and festive atmosphere that encourages our family and friends to gather around the fireplace to relax and enjoy company. I want people to come into my home and feel like they want to linger for awhile and stay.”

What do you appreciate about Pottery Barn’s pieces (like the Clarissa chandelier in your dining room)?

“Pottery Barn’s merchandise is eyecatching and beautiful; I’ve used my Pottery Barn purchases over and over again for years now. Furthermore, I feel that many of the items have a timeless quality. If you don’t have time to search out that perfect vintage find, chances are Pottery Barn will have something at the ready.  Numerous guests have asked me if my Pottery Barn Clarissa chandelier is an antique!”

 

Check out Dawn’s tips for creating a beautiful tablescape similar to hers!

  • Layer your linens. “For this tablescape, I used two tablecloths to create yet another layer of interest. One served as a traditional tablecloth while the other was folded to be used as a runner.”
  • Group like objects for an impactful display.  “In addition to the glass hurricane and candlestick display, I grouped several milk glass serving dishes and pedestals to create an interesting display to plan Paperwhite bulbs this year.”
  • Think outside of the box for the items you already have in your home.  “Next year, I might serve you a salad out of the very same milk glass dishes being used as planters this year.  Hope you don’t mind! Additionally, I plan to use the low ball glasses to serve a small appetizer on Christmas Eve. These same glasses currently serve as votives in other areas of our home while on other occasions they are used to serve a festive beverage.”
  • Go outside for more inspiration.  “My son loves bringing home acorns and pinecones.  I’ve used these to fill hurricanes and bowls around the house in the past.  This year we brought branches and greenery inside from around our yard.”

Source: Photos courtesy <Inspired Living

Family, Friends and Festivities: Tony’s Top Tips For Making the Most of the Holidays

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Last week, we were thrilled to host a Facebook chat with Pottery Barn’s entertaining expert, Tony. (Psst, he also designed this gorgeous cocktail shaker.) Tony provided such an incredible wealth of holiday entertaining tips that we had to pass them along to blog readers who might not have been able to join the chat. Keep reading for Tony’s Top Tips!

 

  • Remember what really matters. “I always try to keep the three Fs in mind: Family, Friends and Festivities.”
  • Create formality in a small and casual home. “You can make a small space feel really formal by using elevated candelabras and candles and your choice of favorite linens. Try our caterer’s tablecloth. It comes at a great price and you won’t worry about it if you have clumsy guests.”
  • Make your Christmas tree do double duty. “If you’ve already bought your Christmas tree, cut off the branches from the base and use them on a table runner intermixed with festive pillar candles.”
  • Update a classic red-and-green color scheme. “For a great option and to modernize it, choose either red or green and then mix that one color with neutrals. Burlaps and ivories will mix well with either.”
  • Decorate with larger centerpieces at a holiday dinner. “Larger centerpieces add a dramatic element to the table, but once dinner is served it can be a good idea to move them to a console or mantel to free up room for the main course.”
  • Throw a holiday party with a small budget: “Limit the drinks to just wine and champagne. There are plenty of well-priced wines and champagnes under $10 that you can find on the lower shelf of your supermarket. You might be surprised by what you find! If you go this route, you can spend more time mingling with your guests and less time mixing drinks. It will feel just as festive, and much more effortless.”
  • Successfully mix real florals and “fauxtanicals”: “Mix it up! The fauxtanicals will fill out your arrangements and you can have them at the ready for next year’s entertaining season. Check out some of our favorites here.”
  • Set a well-decorated kids’ holiday table: “There are so many crafty options that you can try for tables that have to accomodate kids. Start with your favored color palette for your table, then mix in rustic elements such as stars made from cinnamon sticks and colored yarn or twigs and ribbon. For more ideas, check out this Pinterest board.”
  • Creatively set the table without napkin rings: “Try this: Wrap your flatware in a cloth napkin. Then take a five-inch sprig of branch from your Christmas tree and use twine to wrap it multiple times around the napkin and flatware. Simple, seasonal elegance that will add rustic charm to your table. No napkin rings required!”
  • Avoid a major party foul: “Do not, I repeat do not run out of ice at your party! Fill a second cooler with ice beforehand and store it outside. It’s always a downer when you have to send someone on an ice run in the middle of a party.”
  • Whip up fun holiday finger foods: “For finger foods, we love decorated Christmas cookies for a sweet finger food option. (Check out more cookie recipes in Pottery Barn’s Party Planner:.) For something savory, bruschetta with basil and tomato features classic Christmas colors.”
  • Pop in one essential DVD: “If, like me, you don’t have a fireplace, bust out that yule log DVD. I know I’m going to! Even in warm climates the yule log gives you a cozy holiday feeling and adds a little levity to every celebration.”
  • One Pottery Barn product Tony can’t live without: “I’m here to sing the praises of flameless candles. No longer will you have a singed centerpiece or false alarm from your smoke detector. I’m obsessed with them. I have them on a timer and my living room has amazing ambience every day when the sun goes down. For holiday decor, you can mix them with botanicals and vase filler inside lanterns and never worry that they’ll cause an accident.”
  • An easy way to create a great party vibe. “I go on Pandora and choose Frank Sinatra all night long. If that’s not your style, we have some great playlists, too.”
  • How to be a great party guest: “My family’s mantra is, Always bring something to the table. We have so many great hostess gifts this year — it’s easy to bring something fabulous for any style of home. Here are some great ideas to start.
  • What to bring your hostess: “A no-fail hostess gift is a great candle. Try giving a gift that gives back, like our selection of St. Jude’s gifts.”

A Latke Tutorial With Old World Food Truck

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This week, in anticipation of the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, we stopped by San Francisco’s Old World Food Truck to cook up some latkes with chef and truck owner and operator Kenny Hockert. With a culinary background including training at New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute and stints in the kitchens at Heartbeat in the W New York and Savoy as well as executive chef at eco-retreats in Denali National Park, Alaska, Kenny’s varied history has all led him to Old World Food Truck, which he opened in April of 2012.

The eyecatching truck, which can be seen around the streets of San Francisco and at events such as Off the Grid, was designed by artist Hannah Morris. Kenny told us that his desire to launch Old World Food Truck was inspired in part by his family.  “I was really intrigued by food trucks and street food and  I wanted to do something that was authentic to me and my personal and family experience. I feel like that’s intrinsic to street food. That’s what brought me to wanting to do Jewish and Eastern European food. My mother and her parents were Holocaust survivors and immigrants from Eastern Europe and they brought all these traditions with them  . . . Being first generation, I grew up involved in households that were part old world and part new world. Drawing on that experience of family and food was very important to me, and combining that experience with a modern approach to cooking — local ingredients, natural foods, everything from scratch — seemed to be a natural fit for this type of food.”


Kenny served the latkes he cooked for us on the Pottery Barn Tree of Life Stoneware Plate along with the Pottery Barn Hanukkah Napkin.  (You can find more of Pottery Barn’s Hanukkah selections here.)

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to stop by the food truck this season, check The Old World Food Truck’s site for locations each day. Or for a more formal experience, make a reservation at Old World Food Truck’s Hanukkah Pop-Up this Sunday in San Francisco.

“Our Hanukkah pop up is an opportunity to get a little deeper into the Jewish cookbook by doing a more upscale thing than we do on the foodtruck,” Kenny told us. “It’s also an opportunity to bring people together in a non-denominational way to celebrate both Jewish culture and Jewish food. I feel like there’s always been a lot of enthusiasm for it, so for every major holiday, whether it’s Hanukkah or Passover, we like to sit and hold a gathering and let people come together over wine and food and provide that structure for people — Jews and non-Jews alike — to be able to thrive and enjoy that environment if they don’t have the opportunity to go home to their families, which we don’t always do for this time of year. Or maybe you want to bring you family all here because you don’t feel like cooking for the holidays. A lot of different types of people will come and it’s always a really vibrant celebration. We try to take some of the traditional foods from that holiday [and do a twist on it]. We make a fun, five-course meal out of it.”

 

The Hanukkah Pop-Up will include a latke tasting, and Kenny shared two tried-and-true latke recipes with us, which you can try at home for your friends and family.

 

Potato Latkes for 4

 

1 lb potatoes, grated

1  tsp salt

1 small onion, grated

pinch of pepper

2 eggs

 

Salt the potatoes and let them sit for an hour to concentrate the starch. Drain potatoes and then add the onion, grated. Add the rest of the ingredients ingredients in and mix. Add a rounded spoonful of batter to 1/2 inch of heated oil in a nonstick or regular pan. (The oil should be shimmering, so the latkes will not soak up too much oil.) Brown on each side, then let sit on a cooling rack or on paper towels. Serve immediately with applesauce and chive sour cream.

Sweet Potato Latkes for 4

1 lb sweet potato, grated

1 tsp salt

1 small onion, grated

pinch of pepper

fresh herbs

2 cloves roasted garlic

2 eggs

 

Salt the potatoes and let them sit for an hour to concentrate the starch. Drain potatoes and then add the onion, grated. Add the rest of the ingredients ingredients in and mix. Add a rounded spoonful of batter to 1/2 inch of heated oil in a nonstick or regular pan. (The oil should be shimmering, so the latkes will not soak up too much oil.) Brown on each side, then let sit on a cooling rack or on paper towels. Serve immediately with applesauce and chive sour cream.

 

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane . . . It’s a Cocktail Shaker!

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Add a shot of Art Deco-era style, a dash of Mad Men suave and a generous twist of imagine — courtesy of our in-house Pottery Barn designers — and mix carefully. The resulting concotion? The Plane Cocktail Shaker.

The Plane Cocktail shaker founds its original inspiration in European cocktail shakers from the early 20th century, which featured similar shapes and expert craftsmanship. When it came to designing our Plane Cocktail Shaker, we sought to embody the same spirit of the original, as well as the level of craftsmanship. What resulted was a shaker that serves as the perfect masculine object for a home bar or office desk — it’s easy to imagine it on Don Draper’s desk at the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce on the set of Mad Men.

We love the graceful curve of the cocktail shaker stand, as well as the movable spinning propellers. When you’re not using the shaker and strainer to mix a martini, it blends in beautifully amongst books, artwork and framed photos. Don’t just call this a cocktail shaker: it’s a decidedly cool sculptural piece and conversation starter as well.

Inspired Thanksgiving Decorating Vignettes

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Inspired to add some last-minute Thanksgiving decor to your home? Today we’re happy to share some beautiful decorating vignettes from Angela of Red Shoes Creative. We love the way that she’s mixed vintage finds, Pottery Barn pieces and natural elements to create a strong Thanksgiving theme.

What was your decorating scheme for Thanksgiving this year?

“I’d describe the scheme as an elegant abundance… made up of layers and layers of all sorts of things I love. The foundation to any of my decor plans always begins with my favorite Pottery Barn staples: candles, hurricanes, antique silver candlesticks and vases, acorn and fall leaves vase fillers, and of course my new favorite pieces from their mercury glass line. I’ve built on that PB foundation by adding vintage frames and books mingled with natural elements like raffia, twigs, pinecones and feathers to complete the look.”


Why is this Thanksgiving so special (I believe you mentioned it was the first one you’re celebrating as a married couple)?

“Yes… I was just recently married in June, so this is our very first Thanksgiving. We are hosting 14 people, including some family members who have never been to our home, and I wanted to make it a truly memorable occasion for everyone. We have so much to be thankful for this year, I wanted to set the scene in a fantastic way to really let people know how thankful we are for each and every one of them.”


What do you think is most important when decorating for Thanksgiving?

“I’m all about details & mixing and matching. For the table, I love the juxtaposition of mixing the brand new PB pieces we received as wedding gifts with pieces from my great grandmother’s china set that I inherited years ago. And I’ve used this same concept with the mantel decor… mixing wonderful new finds from PB with my other true love: vintage items — especially those that have a family history. In fact, the framed “Gather” print that hangs from a ribbon above our mantel is actually made of a vintage frame that was a gift to my own mother and father on their wedding day. I think it’s those sort of details that mean the most when family is gathered on a day like Thanksgiving.”


What are your tips for decorating effortlessly (or as near as that can get) for Thanksgiving?

“Decorate with things you love and have meaning to you and yours. If you put things together in a way that suits your own personal style, even it breaks all the typical decor rules. Don’t play it safe or try to mimic something that’s not ‘you’ … follow your own inspiration, that’s when it just ‘flows’.”


Why do you use Pottery Barn for Thanksgiving décor?

“What I love most about PB is the casual, cozy feeling their pieces bring to my home. It’s just welcoming… not stuffy, not too ornate or overblown, they just get it right,  every single time. And their items mix seamlessly with my favorite vintage pieces. This, to me, is what makes a house a home and welcomes everyone who joins us here.”

Source: Photos courtesy Angela Becker

Planning the Thanksgiving Menu: A Strong Finish

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While the turkey is of course the main event at the Thanksgiving meal, you can’t underestimate the importance of a delicious dessert. This year, we’re keen on the idea of serving something that’s individually sized, like these Southern Spiced Apple Pies with Crème Fraîche.(Find the recipe here — they’re actually quite easy to make.)


Individually sized desserts mean that you can eliminate squabbles over who gets the bigger piece of pie, and you can make just as many mini pies as you need for your celebration (or for the day after).

We think that this pie recipe perfectly complements our Rustic Thanksgiving party planner in both taste and aesthetic. Want to add extra style to your dessert table? Here are some suggestions to round out the look.

Mercury Pumpkins and Natural Touches Star in This Reader’s Thanksgiving Decor

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One of our readers, Pam, just sent in some lovely inspirational images from her home, featuring autumn and Thanksgiving-related decor. We hope it inspires your own table and decor this year, too!
What do you love about Thanksgiving?

“I love Thanksgiving because it brings our family together! At present, our family is spread out among three different states, and on this occasion, we are united after months of being apart! We spend the day preparing and enjoying dinner, playing board games, talking, laughing and catching up on our busy lives!”

What are your thoughts for the decor this year for your table?

“The decor this year for our dining table is bringing the outdoors in, rustic mixed with a bit of elegance! Lots of faux leaves, antlers and acorns in combination with Pottery Barn’s mercury pumpkins and natural decorative turkeys! Also, I incorporated Pottery Barn’s plaid table runner in blue, chocolate, cream and rust!”

What do you think are the most important elements for a Thanksgiving table?

“The most important elements for a Thanksgiving table or any table decorations are layering and varying heights, textures and fabrics to add interest. This gives you an opportunity to play with your table and create a ‘scene.’”

Are you hosting this year? What tips or tricks do you have for decorating and entertaining on Thanksgiving?

“I am hosting this year and have always hosted for Thanksgiving. I begin weeks ahead with decorating, which is the fun part for me! The tables are set (breakfast and dining), mantels are decorated, seasonal pillows are on the sofas and the even the front porch is decorated and ready to welcome guests. Entertaining is a family operation:  I will do all the shopping; however, the family as a whole prepares the meal, providing us another opportunity to visit and work together in the kitchen! It’s a bonding experience!”

Why do you shop at Pottery Barn for this holiday?

“I shop at Pottery Barn all the time! You can walk into our home and think you are in Pottery Barn, excluding a few pieces here and there! I always joke that we should have a sign above our front door that reads, ‘Welcome to Pottery Barn’!  I’m a huge fan due to quality and the ability to mix and match fabrics and furniture, and I am always excited to see what new products are coming out next!”