Contributed by Melissa Ragonese
This November, in observation of the holiday, we decided to put together a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving for some friends, before the in-laws showed up. The architect of this dinner's tablescape, Melissa Ragonese, offers her comments below on assembling a simple and modern table setting that maintains touches of the traditional colors and textures of Thanksgiving. Read the recipes in Part 1 and view more photos on our Flickr.
I started with the Libeco Home Vence linen napkins, using them like color swatches to begin a color scheme for our table. picked gold, because I thought the color had a touch mustard-orange and was the start to a subtle, earthy twist on the conventional Thanksgiving color palette. From the napkins, I moved onto the tablecloth, selecting the Libeco Vence tablecloth in café noir, as a dark, simple, backdrop for our table. Linen offers so much more texture and character than your usual cotton tablecloth. I felt the Libeco Fjord celadon tablerunner's earthy green color contrasts well with the café noir tablecloth and make the table linen pop a bit. Libeco Home collections always mix together well and allow for more combinations of textures and colors than we can count. When choosing a placemat, I always default to Chilewich, for their robustness and the assortment of colors and textures they come in. The mica Chilewich lattice tablemat, along with the eggplant-colored candles I chose, brings out the tablecloth's dark brown coloring.
I wanted to let the food to speak for itself, so I picked out some white Simon Pearce Cavendish dinnerware for the plates, most of the serving bowls, and the platter for turkey. To give the place setting a touch of modern design, I paired the dinnerware with the David Mellor Classic flatware. I also picked out serving spoons from this collection that, perhaps more than any other of David Mellor's distinctively modern flatware collections, works well in a traditional setting.
To give the table some more character, I filled it with Simon Pearce glass bowls, like the Barre and the Woodbury, as well as the Match Pewter gravy boat, candlesticks, salt & pepper shakers, and butter dish. Match always jibes well with Simon Pearce in creating classic tablescapes where the luster of the pewter mingles with the fine, heavy, hand-blown glass of Simon Pearce. I scattered Simon Pearce Shelburne vases about the table filled with dried, trimmed wheat stalks with the goal of bringing some natural harvest colors and textures to the table. This simple arrangement meshes better with out clean, classic tablescape than a busier, more conventional flower arrangement, focussing all attention to our beautiful tableware and delicious food.
For the dessert setting, I decided to mix things up with some more color and fun, using Jars Vuelta sky gray dessert plates on top of Revol square slate plates. The Vuelta plates are some of my favorites off of Didriks' shelves for their beautiful glaze and idiosyncrasies. Each plate has its own character. I wanted to bring a lively change to the table while everyone enjoyed their coffee and pie.