Table Setting of the Week: Featuring Cocoon Home Design

The Creative Minds: Debra Szidon, co-owner of Cocoon Home Design in Boston, and Melissa Ragonese, Visual Merchandising Manager of Didriks. The Idea: Creating a woodland themed table setting.

The Inspiration: Libeco Home Flagstaff Blanket [in Plum]."

The browns, plums, cranberry, and olive hues in the blanket that inspired Debra’s choice of botanicals and Melissa's and Debra's choices for the dinnerware items are beautifully represented in the table setting for this week.

Debra wanted to incorporate the botanical with the tableware.

“We always did that at Cocoon.”

Cocoon Home Design opened in 2001, a creation of Debra's mother in law. Initially, it was primarily a home furnishing store that offered botanical and interior design services on the side.

Greater demand for CHD’s styling and aesthetic point of view resulted in the company changing their direction, taking them from a retail business with a store front to a service provider specializing in designing and styling spaces, both residential and commercial.

Although Debra's educational background is in horticulture, she has a natural eye for colors and shapes, which is talent she brings to her flower arrangements. This is apparent in her choice of botanticals for her collaborative table setting with Melissa. For more on the botanticals and how to use non-floral flora to create beauitiful center pieces in the upcoming and hectic days of entertaining (Thanksgiving and the Holidays) go to Succulent & Foliage: Center Piece Ideas by Cocoon Home Design.

A combination of table setting and merchandising display, the table this week begins with Libeco Home Vence Linen Tablecloth in café noir, a rich, dark brown linen. To bring some light to the setting, Melissa lays down Libeco Home Fjord Linen Tablerunner in flax down the middle of the large table.

Table runners can be used alone or layered with other table linens to color block large surfaces and give instant sense of focus. You can also add light and color by using table runners as well as place mats as accents.

The other linens and mats chosen are the Libeco Home Fjord Linen Napkin in fig, a pale violet/flax color to echo the plum in the Libeco Home Flagstaff Blanket in Plum, and Chilewich Bamboo Rectangular Placemat in cranberry, that clearly points to the red in the blanket.

The place setting was created first around which the rest of the display was developed.

Chilewich Bamboo Rectangular Placemat in cranberry is topped with Heath Ceramics Coupe Dinner Plate in redwood, Heath Ceramics Coupe Salad Plate in chocolate brown, and Jars Ceramics Tourron Fruit Cup in eggplant.

David Mellor Pride Silver Plate Six-piece Place Setting, Simon Pearce Cavendish Goblet, and Jars Ceramics Tourron Tea cup & saucer in eggplant finish the place setting.

Melissa and Debra added a Simon Pearce Barre Bud Vase with a Plumosa cone, which as hints of the cranberry red in the artichoke like bud.

Behind the place setting is a magnificent display of the servingware of various textures and shapes for a complete table setting.

Up front is the Heath Ceramics Coupe Salad Plate in chocolate brown used in the place setting. Behind that is Jars Ceramics Orage Dinner Plate that ties the green in the Austrailian foliage and the succulents to the entire display. Then for a change of lines, Debra suggested the square Heath Ceramics Plaza Dinner Plate 9x9 by in redwood and behind that, tying all the purple accent colors from the Jar Tourron together is Jars Ceramics Tourron Presentation Plate / Charger in eggplant.

Behind the serving platter display is the glorious and dramatic fanning display of Tinted Grevillea, which is painted on one side in red, and Agonis Foliage, which as hints of the eggplant color. These Australian foliage has hints of all the colors in the platters and the setting and bring instant drama and visual interest to the table. All this without a single flower bloom.

To the left of the central place setting and platter display is Simon Pearce Chelsea Low Bowl with succulents that makes an unusual and beautiful center piece. An enormous succulent of purples and greens in a Heath Ceramics Shallow Salad Bowl in chocolate brown makes an easy and stunning decorative table topper. Debra showed it here with Sabre Paris Old Fashioned Salad Set in aubergine. Melissa also suggests Sabre Paris Old Fashioned Salad Set in brown, which has a pearlescent, rich milk chocolate color.

On the right is Simon Pearce Anemone Vase playfully filled with Chilewich Bamboo Rectangular Placemat in cranberry suggesting how the vase might look filled with Australian foliage or, say, a huge bouquet of burgundy mums in your Thanksgiving table setting.

Other table setting item suggestions by Melissa and Debra include Jars Ceramics Tourron Pitcher in eggplant, Jars Ceramics Tourron Mug in eggplant, and Heath Ceramics Vegetable Bowl in redwood.

When creating your table setting, one key thing to keep in mind is to reiterate colors used in the place setting in other parts of the table. It doesn't have to be identical shades; just complementary. Also add clear glassware and contrasting linens to bring lightness to the table. And when creating a center piece, think outside of flowers. There's a whole world of shrubbery and foliage and even vegetables that when displayed tastefully adds greater interest as well as beauty to a table setting.

Special thanks to Debra Szidon of Cocoon Home Design for her botantical display and time. It was such a pleasure and a learning experience collaborating with her to create this table setting.

For more on Debra's botanical choices and how to create her center pieces, go to Succulent & Foliage: Center Piece Ideas by Cocoon Home Design

Photographs by Nate Brescia