Table Setting of the Week #17: Featuring Melissa, Visual Merchandising Manager at Didriks

Over the course of the last 4 months since starting the Table Setting of the Week Series, Melissa, Didriks' Visual Merchandising Manager, and the creative mind responsible for nearly all of the table settings for the Table Setting of the Week Series, has put together nearly 17 table settings for the store and 10 table settings (Dinner 5 to 15) for Dinner Series, a dinnerware and supper club blog created by Didriks.

Before reading further, please see Melissa at work in the photo video on our Flickr album.

I've always wondered how Melissa creates her fabulous table settings, some combinations so unexpected in terms of bringing together seemingly disparate elements, which she can see working together, that we decided to show Melissa at work and have her tell me about the process in this week's Table Setting of the Week #17.

It features Jars Ceramics dinnerware, David Mellor flatware, Libeco Home table linens, Chilewich table runner and placemats, and Simon Pearce stemware.

Melissa starts with the dinnerware. For this week, she chooses to work with Jars Ceramics dinnerware.

DIDRIKS: Jars Ceramics dinnerware makes several collections, all very different. Why did you choose to mix three different lines and those particular colors?

MELISSA: I wanted to show how the different line from Jars [Ceramics dinnerware] work together. I started with the white [Jars Ceramics] Maguelone dinner plate and wanted to come up with something using the [Jars Ceramics] Orage, which fades into white at the edge of the dinnerware. The white of the Orage is picked up by the white [Maguelone] dinner plate. And I wanted one accent color to complement the neutral colors. For that I chose indigo [blue of the Jars Ceramics Tourron line].

The Jars Ceramics Maugelone is very different from the other Jars lines. At the Paris Trade Show, Maison & Objet, I noticed that Jars Ceramics paired it with other lines in the Jars Ceramics collection so I wanted to try to do a bit of that myself.

The final combination of dinnerware is Jars Ceramics Maguelone Round Dinner Plate in white, Jars Ceramics Orage Dessert Plate, and Jars Ceramics Tourron Fruit Cup in indigo.

Then she chooses the napkins and the table mat. The selection process is constant and never fixed. As she introduced the placemat with the napkins, she looks to see how the combination of the mat, dinnerware, and napkins work together.

MELISSA: I knew I either wanted to match the color of the napkin with some element of the dinnerware or choose a complementary color. I chose the brown as a complement to the brown edging glaze on the [Jars Ceramics Tourron Fruit Cup in] indigo bowl.

Once she adds the Libeco Home Frascati Linen Tablerunner in olive and lays out the 4 place settings, her choice of table mat changes again. The widened canvas allows her to see better which mat she feels works best when a complete table setting comes into view.

MELISSA: I thought that the color tones of the [Libeco Home Frascati Linen] Tablerunner [in olive] and the original [Chilewich Basketweave Rectangular] Tablemats were too close and I wanted more contrast. So I chose the [Chilewich] Mini Basketweave [Rectangular Tablemats] in espresso, which is darker. The mini basketweave also has a smoother look that has more contemporary look because it's not as textured or coarser looking as the regular basketweave.

DIDRIKS: Why did you decide to add that third table runner? From looking at the photo video journal, I can see that you immediately went to a much lighter color than the other table linens and mats, which surprised me at first. Why did you choose that color?

MELISSA: I wasn't sure I wanted to use a runner down the middle at first, but I decided to add a bit of brightness to balance the other colors, which are darker. The only white was from the [Jars Ceramics Maguelone round] dinner plate. And at first I laid it over the [Libeco Home Frascati linen] tablerunner [in olive], but then it was too white. Placing [Chilewich Bamboo Runners in oat] under the linen was just enough to add lightness, but not too much.

Her final choices are Chilewich Bamboo Runners in oat down the center of the table with two Libeco Home Frascati Linen Tablerunners in olive laid perpendicular to the the center table runner and finished off with Chilewich Mini Basketweave Rectangular Tablemats in espresso.

Then Melissa places the center pieces: Jars Ceramics Karo Vase in small and medium in indigo and Jars Ceramics Mato Vase in indigo.

MELISSA: I wanted the center piece to tie in with the dinnerware accent color so I chose the Jars [Ceramics Karo vases in small and medium in indigo and Jars Ceramics Mato Vase] in indigo.

To either side of that she places Jars Ceramics Tourron Pasta Serving Bowl in quartz and Jars Ceramics Tourron/Basics Serving Bowl, medium, in quartz.

The clean white, crackled glaze serving bowls with their detail brings lightness to the rich, darkly colored center area with the Jars Ceramics Karo Vase in small and medium in indigo and Jars Ceramics Mato Vase in indigo.

MELISSA: I wanted and equal balance of light and dark so that's why I chose the white serving bowls.

And finally, Melissa completes the table setting with David Mellor London Flatware and Simon Pearce Essex Wine glasses.

DIDRIKS: Why David Mellor London Flatware and Simon Pearce Essex Wine glasses?

MELISSA: The [David Mellor] London [flatware] is a very simple and modern place setting which is the general theme of the table setting. It doesn't have much delineation, very smooth lines from the utensil part to handle. And the Simon Pearce [Essex wine glasses] were added because of it's rustic look. Even though there is a contemporary feel to the setting, I think the indigo of the Tourron still has a bit of rustic feel that I wanted echoed somewhere else in the setting. So I chose the Simon Pearce [Essex wine glasses] for the hand-blown, rustic look.

The result is a gorgeous table setting that is masculine and rich in colors, sophisticated and familiar at once, seasonally perceptive, and subtly ingenious in it's combination of different Jars Ceramics collections.

Photographs by Nate Brescia