49 Shades of Grey

~Nantucket Island~

Tablescaping in elegant shades of grey on the Grey Lady

I happened upon this beautiful collection of Turkish dishes while shopping at THE LION’S PAW on Nantucket. I was immediately attracted to them for their, refreshingly new coastal tones, simplicity of style and versatility of use. My vivid imagination could see them used in a variety of ways; a Bahamian style setting with burlap table covers, giant palm fronds and bamboo chairs, or a circus themed birthday party of vibrant printed cloths in pinks, oranges and turquoises, Birds of Paradise and Phillip Stark Ghost chairs, or a Truman Capote(esque) Ball in black, white and silver with black table linens, hundreds of black, white and metallic silver balloons, red roses at each place setting and silver ballroom chairs. The possibilities are endless…

There is never one way to do anything. These delicate ferns are gorgeous and add such beauty.

I tend to be a more formal, and thus decided to surround these beautiful dishes with silver and crystal for a formal dinner party. A step away from the predictable nautical colors, these beautiful shades of grey speak elegance to me, and conjure up a feeling of richness, like a grey Armani suit or graphite Mercedes Benz, perfect for entertaining on Nantucket Island, our “Grey Lady”. As I began to gather my nuts, which, as you know, is the way I begin a “scape”, I closed my eyes and created a vision board of textures and interest: white Irish linen, mercury glass, fine cut crystal, silver, antiques, luminaries, greenery, coral and a touch of whimsy! And of course, there had to be a “grey” culinary selection, which I knew would be none other than my favorite, a plate of oysters in shades of grey!  Grey became the theme of the design and the menu! I always try to remember our five senses when preparing for guests: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste....

Shades of grey in our friends from the sea, accented with an exotic green

Oyster shells at each place set the theme for both the design and the menu

I first chose the nautical clock, a gift from our children, inscribed with: “THERES NO TIME BETTER THAN NOW”. 

It inspires me to think BIG, to GO FOR IT, to DRESS UP instead of dressing down, to be aware that LIFE IS NO DRESS REHEARSAL and to remember that EVERYDAY IS SPECIAL. I hoped it would inspire our dinner guests, too.

My signature style always includes a boxwood, which I perched on top of a silver ice bucket, and weaved with a gorgeous “Nantucket” embroidered ribbon from Nantucket Sewing and Design, where I’ve been buying ribbon for 27 years! Adding antique elements creates table conversation, and for this, I used my 17th century bun warmer and 18th century silver and crystal inkwell. The more you add to your setting, the more interest it has, and the more inspiring it will be! The ivory and silver flatware, also from THE LIONS’S PAW, worked beautifully with these neutrals, and are really perfect for any place setting. I think they are a must have!  I pulled from my collection of coral and used a piece at each place setting with a small kraft name tag tied to it as the place card. 

My signature piece,  a Boxwood, weaved with embroidered ribbon

I like to have place cards for guests. It eliminates the awkwardness of selecting a chair when they come to the table. It purposely allows for the opportunity to mix up your guests, and it says, “hey, I’ve thought about this and this is what I think is going to make for a fun and convivial evening!”

Lighting on dimmers and lots of candles is always a "must" as it sets the mood!  My new favorite is this large grey mercury glass votive candle with an octopus cut out. You can’t imagine how fabulous they looked all lit up at night. Another conversation piece! Clever!

Candlelight by octopus! Quite fabulous in the dark.

And last, but certainly not least, is the tiny vase I filled with mini-calla lilies at each place setting, another signature style for me. There is something special about each guest having their own little floral piece. 

I used a tiny vase from my collection of home infusers! Home infusers last anywhere from 4-6 months and usually come in lovely etched bottles which I save and use for small scale vases at place settings! 

***My husband once said to me, “sitting down to one of your tables is like sitting in your own little comfy, beautiful house for the evening”… And that, is always my goal when you come to dine with us! 

Visit my blog on THE LION’S PAW at www.lyonslifestyle.com/florida-nantucket/ to learn more about this iconic Nantucket home décor store I’ve been shopping at for 27 years. And better yet, visit THEM! They SHIP!   www.thelionspawnantucket.net  (508.228.3837)

The Lion's Paw
30 Main Street
Nantucket, MA 02554


  • Dishes: The Lion’s Paw Nantucket
  • Octopus Mercury Votive Candle: The Lions’ Paw 
  • Silver Charger:  Personal collection
  • Marine Clock:  Personal collection  (Gift from my children)  Freedman’s of Nantucket
  • Octopus Candle:  The Lion’s Paw Nantucket
  • Flatware:  The Lion’s Paw Nantucket
  • Rabbit Napkin holders:  Personal collection (Gift from my nieces)
  • Silver Ice Bucket:  Personal collection
  • Coral: The Hub
  • Name Tag: The Lions’s Pawn
  • Antique Bun Warmer:  Personal collection
  • Antique Ink Well:  Personal collection
  • Mercury Tall Candle Holder:  Pottery Barn
  • Crystal: Saint-Louis “Tommy” Personal collection
  • Monogrammed Irish linens:  Personal collection
  • Boxwood:  Personal collection
  • “Nantucket” Embroidered Ribbon:  Nantucket Sewing and Design
  • Calla Lily Vase: Anthalusa Home Infuser Bottle (save them when done!)
  • Mini Callas: Flowers on Chestnut Nantucket
  • Greens: Flowers on Chestnut
  • Oysters: Straight Wharf Market