We have always been a strong advocate and practitioner that the most beautiful tablescapes can be created by mixing in modern day linens with antique/heirloom pieces (whether that be furniture, tableware or antique embroidered linen accents) and traditional historic elements and places. Even if we only combine modern day linens with antique/heirloom pieces, we can captivate our guests with a truly lovely and unique space to gather. Incorporating special heirlooms that we remember from our childhood days provides a sentimental value and a sense of connection with fond memories of the past that further enriches the beauty, and elegance of our surroundings.
When setting your table for entertaining, it is the perfect opportunity to incorporate your meaningful antique tableware or linen that has either been acquired or handed down. In addition, embroidered or monogrammed linens create an extra-special tablescape, whether it is antique embroidery, hand embroidery or modern-day machine embroidery.
In our June 2020 photoshoot at The Sayre Mansion (a beautiful and meticulously restored Inn established in the 1850’s), we wanted to illustrate how to create a stunning tablesettings by incorporating an approach of pairing old with new for a modern day tablescape design. While doing the photoshoot, we had the wonderful opportunity to also stay in this beautiful mansion for two days.
In our first featured tablescape, Desserts for Two Al Fresco, we wanted to create a magnificent outdoor seating area by the arbor. We used Busatti’s Venere pale pink/mauve pure linen tablecloth and napkins. For a layered look, we draped the exquisite, modern-day Modespitze Plauen Moritzburg white filigree embroidered lace. Something magical happens when linens are meticulously and perfectly layered with one another. This incomparably expressive and precious decoration is made of more than 3.6 million individual stitches in absolute precision using the finest twine and is also completed from more than 90 individual parts in elaborate handicraft (in hand embroidery). Specialists at Modespitze master the traditional technique, in which the individual parts are assembled by hand with embroidery-like joints. This beautiful table setting combines tableware from today with antique pieces. We hand chose a stunning sterling silver pierced bowl (1903), a hand chased sterling silver claret jug with hand-cut glass (1898), a post-1940 sterling silver petit four server, and a silver server with a glass insert. We also incorporated modern tableware, such as the etched cake plate from Williams Sonoma, the lovely silver tulip vase from NOMI K, and the silver filigree napkin wraps from Tin Parade. The newer Lenox Opal Innocence Silver serving dishes and the older Rose Point Clear Champagne Glasses by Cambridge (1934-1958) are from Replacements.com. Replacements.com has a large selection of antique/current porcelain, glassware, flatware to incorporate into one’s tablescape. Our friends at The Novel Baker designed these gorgeous and delicious desserts for us. All these special elements created a ‘take your breath away’ tablescape experience.
Keeping with the theme of dining al fresco, we wanted to create a comfortable and casual tablesetting where guests could gather around to eat, drink and laugh while enjoying each other’s company. We served wine and appetizers on the porch. The porch roof covering blanketed this space with the necessary shade from the sun. We used a quaint and simple, antique table and added the beautiful Tessitura Pardi Damasco Rustica Linen Wide Italian Table Runner in the color mustard. The Damasco Italian runner is elegantly woven with a lovely damask tapestry design and features a wider fabric for the table runner, as well as, long and elegant taupe fringe on each end. The fine Italian table runner has warm undertones with a taupe contrasted weave.
Lace is so versatile and can be incorporated into table settings in different ways. For this tablescape, we used the Modespitze Plauen Hamburg lace runner for the basket. We fell in love with how the lace worked with the Tessitura Pardi runner and bread basket.
For this next wonderful brunch table setting, we feature Tessitura Pardi’s beautiful white Italian Giro Inglese table linens are soft-to-the-touch and have a lovely pure white fabric that features a weaving technique, called Giro Inglese. The tablecloth is a medium weight, however, has a light open weave fabric in that the open weave does not shrink when washed. The sheer area of the fabric creates the contrast for the unique sheer/dense design. The tableware focal point is the hand painted 1860’s Coalport Dessert Set by John Randall. Randall was one of the best-known Coalport artists. This set is some of the most spectacular English porcelain we have seen. The duck egg blue or mint blue green border on the plates and compotes are not only unique, but absolutely stunning in person. The mint blue green color is so unique and completely draws you in upon looking at collection. Another beautiful element on this tablescape are the matching mint blue green three flower napkin rings with a pearl centerpiece by NOMI K. The color was specially made for Beautiful Linens and is so unique and amazing. We incorporated additional porcelain from Replacements.com – Nikko Corinthian bread plates, cups and saucers and larger plates. Our friends at Catering by Karen Hunter created all the wonderful and decadent food for this photoshoot.
This is the beautiful parlor of the Sayre Mansion. Here we show how modern-day lace can work in a historic room and/or with older furniture pieces. We just love afternoon tea/coffee and desserts. For this table setting, we used a very classic Modespitze Plauen lace, called design Plauen. The classic and traditional Plauener Lace is composed of numerous single-cut parts by hand embroidery. The textile classic of Design Plauen is made entirely of embroidered lace and is pure cotton. Made in Germany since 1897. We included coordinating, Busatti’s Venere pure linen hors d’oeuvre-size napkins that were embroidered by Beautiful Linens with a beautiful corner border. We added a classic tiered porcelain server with desserts. We used these absolutely striking pair of Coalport serving plates with a green background and raised gilding, c. 1900. We were excited to find these Coalport Lady Anne Gold footed cup and saucers and matching plates (1970-1986) from Replacements.com that feature gold encrusted bands & scrolls on white porcelain. It does not have to be costly, keeping it simple with some beautiful lace on a wood table and a few porcelain pieces and delicious desserts/coffee and tea is all that is needed. Guests will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
For this lovely sideboard, we used a fine lace from Germany on the sideboard and end tables. The beautifully designed and extraordinarily handcrafted embroidered lace runner is 100% cotton. The runner is made by Modespitze Plauen and is called design Strasbourg. We included a small lace oval centerpiece by Modespitze (called design Bozen) for the traditional gold serving tray. Bozen is part of a three piece set that includes a petite, oval lace centerpiece and two round coasters – perfect for drinks or a bottle of wine or champagne. For appetizers and drinks, we served peach sangria with mint and raspberries, champagne, small quiche, blini with caviar, asparagus wrapped in phyllo, olive twists, shrimp bundles and tomato jam crostini. If you are entertaining and have a buffet or sideboard table, adding lace/fabric runner and setting it up for appetizers and/or cocktails is a great way to enable guests to serve themselves.
In the same room, we added a lace centerpiece called Rosenheim by Modespitze. The lace centerpiece features a unique four corner, scalloped floral design and is made from a cotton linen blend fabric in cream white. The ivory lace is 100% cotton. It looks perfect on the octagon table, like it was made for it. We embroidered an ‘S’ (for Sayre Mansion) on the white Irish linen cocktail napkin.
The Conservatory room at Sayre Mansion offers a 180-degree bird’s-eye view of the city. It is truly a fabulous and unique room in the mansion. There is a quaint nook area, where we decided to have champagne and decadent finger foods. We used Modespitze’s Rosenheim lace runner for this setup for two and the Bozen small round lace for underneath the champagne bottle – perfect. It was such a pretty nook in the room as the bright sun cast down from the glass ceiling. We used a fine antique, English porcelain serving tray with beautiful navy blue and impeccable gilding (part of a tea set) by Cauldon (predecessor was Ridgway) from c. 1904-1920 for the Brie & strawberries, and smoked salmon on toast. Separately we served the blush pink macarons on a small plate by Nikko, style Corinthian.
We hope you enjoyed the wonderful tablescapes and can see how bringing different modern day and antique elements together can truly create an amazing tablescape from more basic to more elaborate. For many, daily lives can be hectic, but with easy, thoughtful planning we can create a beautiful table setting that incorporates modern day linens and tableware with antique and heirloom beauty. Adding our own unique touches can create a truly special place where family and friends can spend time with one another and create memories that last.
A special thank you to all who contributed to this photoshoot: The Sayre Mansion (support and use of their beautiful mansion for our photoshoot), Allium Floral Design (absolutely beautiful floral designs and event styling), Alison Conklin Photography (for their incredibly beautiful photography that perfectly captures the spirit of our event), Catering by Karen Hunter (decadent food design that is outrageously delicious), The Novel Baker (the most beautifully designed and incredibly delightful desserts), and the team at Beautiful Linens.
A special call-out to the beautiful linens used in this photoshoot: Modespitze Plauen (the most beautiful and high quality embroidered lace that we’ve ever seen), Tessitura Pardi (always gorgeous fine Italian linen), NOMI K (stunning tableware pieces that are both creative and meticulously crafted), and Busatti (beautiful and expertly woven fine Italian linen).