A Celebration of Spring

Vietri *Artel * Bodrum * Sabre

I’ve stared into the window of the Lion’s Paw on the island of Nantucket for 28 years feasting my eyes on their beautiful home décor wares. So it was incredibly poignant for me to have the privilege and pleasure of designing their table for their spring opening with the finest from Italy, Paris and the Czech Republic.

My first priority was to display the exquisite merchandise in a way that would make the store and table proud. There were so many options to work with!  I was like a kid in a candy store whose belly was never, ever going to be full! The beautiful 144 inch pine table which seated 12, served as the perfect backdrop to receive the 2017 Pantone colors of yellow and green, shouting out that spring had arrived!  The theme was an elegant dinner for ten to celebrate the opening of the island and of course, the daffodils. I began with a stunning ivory colored 100%  linen tablecloth from Bodrum as the canvas on which to begin my tablescape. I used two 120 inch overlapping. Their napkin and napkin ring selection was enormous!  I brought in a green linen hemstitched napkin with a green ring and placed them on a diagonal.

I always begin by "gathering my nuts" when designing...

Handcrafted in Tuscany, these incredibly designed dishes from their Lastra collection were inspired by the wooden slab used to create the outer mold in cheese making.  There were many pieces in this collection to choose from and I used most of them in alternating place settings to merchandise the options. I also prefer a less “matchy” and more eclectic use of dishes in a table design.

The Sabre flatware from Paris gave depth and livened up the table!

  The taupe color was exquisite and rich and served as the perfect counterpoint to the neutral palette.

The luxury bohemian crystal glassware from Artel, rounded out the foundation of my tablescape. 

 This crystal glassware , handcrafted by artisans in the Czech Republic, would stand out to those who passed by, adding just the right touch of whimsy with patterns of stars and sea life.

                   The Vietri dishes were undeniably my first choice.

The base products were selected.  Now on to the design!  I needed height, so I added my own ivory colored urns and filled them with combination of faux and real daffodils, greenery and tulips.

I broke up the long ivory look with four of my faux grass placemats on which I placed four of the ten dinner plates.  Since I am a huge fan of greenery, I decided to perch the soup bowls in little nests of faux greenery in the middle of each dinner plate.  From there I added my collection of 32 year-old “bunny” soup tureens for color and another touch of whimsy.  I filled in the length of the table with moss-covered containers holding moss spheres.  For added interest, I planted tiny 3inch clay pots with mini-daffodils and tiny chalkboard name holders at each place setting to be given out as favors after the dinner. I love the idea of cellophane bags on hand to put them in a guests leave.  It’s always nice to welcome and then to bid adieu with a small token of some kind.  



  • Stoneware: Vietri
  • Flatware: Sabre
  • Crystal: Artel
  • Linens: Bodrum
  • Urns: Private collection
  • Clay pots: Michael’s
  • Faux grass placemats: Flowers on Chestnut
  • Faux greenery:  Michael’s
  • Moss covered containers: Michael’s
  • Moss spheres: Michael’s
  • Bunny tureens: Private collection

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 www.lyonslifestyle.com/florida-nantucket/ to learn more about this popular home décor boutique on Main Street! Better yet, visit their website at www.andersonsnantucket.com (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

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