Star Light, Star Bright

~Nantucket Island~
The first star I see tonight… is the starfish that will sit at each guest’s plate and set the theme for this tablescape in white!

The white Matelasse' table cloth provides a floating oasis for these works of art. 

Celebrating the sea and all the joy it brings in the form of sea life, is a bit of a ritual for me when entertaining on Nantucket.  Let’s face it; it’s hard not to be influenced by the wonderment and romance of Moby Dick's home, when you’re on an island 14 miles long and 3.5 miles wide, 30 miles out to sea. 

My collection of starfish, corals and shells of all kinds, continues to grow with my love for the island and my respect for the sea. I scour the magnificent beaches and covet my finds.  I’m also wooed by the selection of fabulous starfish, shells and coral sold at places like the HUB, where you can find some pretty exotic species, while picking up the New York Times and a cup of java!

I often opt for greenery versus florals, to allow the place setting to be the main attraction.  It may also be because I usually have a very tall vase of flowers on my sideboard reflected in front of the tall mirror, and usually think that is enough for the room. I created variations on the same theme, using three different types of greenery, to show you options and how you can play around with a setting, tweaking it to your liking!  

I thought the boxwood was a bit heavy for the delicacy of this place setting and ultimately went with the light, airiness of the long blades of ornamental grass I cut from my garden.  I also loved the light fern with it, but since I already used the fern in my last blog, ornamental grass it was for this place setting!  And this is why I like to "gather my nuts" first and mull it over for a day or two!  There is no one way to do something. The right way is the way that is right for you! Experiment! Be creative! And most importantly, have fun!  NOTE: Leave yourself plenty of time so there is no stress! You will find that your creative juices will flow much more feely!

Tess Anderson, of Anderson’s of Nantucket, one of my favorite home decor boutiques, and a regular stop for me for over 27 years, was so generous in allowing me borrow some of their beautiful dishes and accessories for this photo shoot.  The first thing that caught my eye was the placemat! I always start with one thing and then build around it.  For me, it was the glamour of this placemat in neutral tones (my favorite) studded with beads and tiny shells.  It’s hard not to start with Kim Seybert accessories when they are staring at you!  They just jump off the display, wherever they are, and into your lap! I then chose this beautiful white napkin with a coral embroidered in gold threads, which I was super excited to find, as it stood up beautifully to the drama and weight of the placemat. The lucite napkin ring with a gorgeous shiny shell attached to it, pulled it all together, keeping all the colors in the same tones.  And then I was on to the dishes…

I am especially attracted to the influence the sea has had on designers, whose coastal vibes & creations radiate through homes and over tabletops! One of my favorites is Kim Seybert, whose designs are inspired by elements from the sea. Her elegant execution makes it possible for us to enjoy the riches and opulence of her creations on our very own tabletops.... 

The blades of ornamental grass remind me of the miles of swaying grass over the dunes.

Oh my, the dishes! I wanted a clean and simple dish, since the accessories were so fancy!  I chose this gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous,  Jasper Conran by Wedgewood  dinnerware in a pattern called Baroque.  It is a stunningly modern rendition of the arches from the Baroque period, clean and crisp.  I used this creamy flatware from the Lion’s Paw to enhance the tones and let “neutral” continuing doing its wonderful thing. 

Check out the details in the placemat and napkin!  And how about these dishes?! 


On a naked table.  You can see how it  sets a completely different tone. 

Part of my collection of etched glass which Anderson's is so well known for.


A large bowl etched with the shape of Nantucket island, a gift from our children, from Anderson's of Nantucket

I wanted to show you an example using the delicate ferns I just love, from Flowers on Chestnut. My preference for this place setting is the ornamental grass.


Visit my blog about Anderson’s of Nantucket at to learn more about this popular home décor boutique on Main Street! Better yet, visit their website at (508.228.41.87) You won’t believe their Christmas selection of ornaments and gifts.

Anderson’s of Nantucket
29 Main Street
Nantucket, MA 02554


  • Dishes: Anderson’s of Nantucket
  • Placemat: Anderson’s of Nantucket
  • Napkin Ring: Anderson’s of Nantucket
  • Flatware: The Lion’s Paw
  • Glass Etched Bowl: Personal Collection
  • Glass Etched Glass: Personal Collection
  • Coral: The Hub
  • Starfish: The Hub
  • Crystal Stemware: Saint-Louis “Tommy” Personal Collection
  • Vase: Anthalusa infuser bottle
  • Fern: Flowers on Chestnut
  • Ornamental Grass: My garden
  • Boxwood: Private Collection