What We're Seeing | Reply or Forward to a Friend

Holiday Sparkle

Take Cues from Four Top Designers
to Add Festive Touches to Your Table
Crisp, cool mornings remind us it’s time to start thinking about how to make our holiday dining tables sparkle. To give us a little guidance we’ve tapped the talents of four fave designers. Hailing from far-flung locations—Christopher Grubb of Beverly Hills, California; Lisa Kahn of Naples, Florida; and Sharon Kepley and Lisa Mende, both from North Carolina--each of these creatives brings a distinctly different design aesthetic to the table. 
An Elegant but Unexpected Table
Known for her exuberant use of color and pattern,  Lisa Mende  of  Lisa Mende Design  in   Charlotte   created this stunning formal tablescape for the 2018 Charity League Holiday House held at  The Homestead 1834  historic property (a “true southern beauty,” says Lisa) in downtown Lexington, North Carolina. A lover of vintage tableware, she worked with the team at  Replacements Ltd . to select china, crystal, flatware, and other decorative items. Her first step? Choosing china that wasn’t Christmas china. “I thought the Faberge plates were perfect—each one a different egg color,” Lisa explains. After culling through the myriad vintage china choices available, she layered the egg plates with a felicitous mix of festively colored and patterned dinner plates and chargers centered atop distinctive Dahlia placemats and monogrammed linens. The centerpiece was flanked by elaborate, elegant candelabras. “I just love using fresh greenery and flowers in holiday arrangements.” She stuck to her Faberge theme with egg-shaped ornaments tucked into the orchids and greenery. (May we say it was egg-actly perfect?)

Getting the Look:
1]  Imperial Egg Collection  plates by Faberge from Replacements Ltd.
2]  Dahlia placemats in gold from  Chilewich
3]  Linen napkins from  Embroidery by Linda on Etsy
4]  Decorative  egg-shaped ornaments
Rustic but Refined
Sharon Kepley  of  Master’s Design Inc . in High Point is a true believer that “the centerpiece of a holiday table sets the tone of a family gathering.” She suggests combining pinecones, candles, and glass ornaments with informal, rustic pottery. Or, tuck in some formal vintage crystal candlesticks if that’s more your taste. Add natural greenery from magnolias and pine trees, or add clusters of fresh herbs (i.e. eucalyptus, bay leaves, or rosemary sprigs). Her holiday hack: When buying a live Christmas tree, request extra branches that you can cut and add greenery to your centerpiece. Or use branches from your magnolia or holly tree in a vintage vase for color and texture.
“For the perfect holiday dinner table setting, it is all about layering,” says Sharon. A mix of vintage and new, formal and rustic, plus textures of linens and greenery will add various layers of pattern and color. How about combining your grandmother’s vintage table linens with a shimmering gold overlay to add sparkle and glamour to your table. Then juxtapose your fine china atop a rustic woven or wooden charger. Complete each place setting with your choice of flatware and vintage glassware. We guarantee it’s where your family will want to gather.

Getting the Look:
1]  Fiesta Luncheon  and  Bread & Butter  plates by Homer Laughlin through Replacements Ltd.
2]  Basswood Disks  by Woodlandia
3]  Diamant Pitcher  by Villeroy & Boch through Replacements Ltd.
4]  Mercury Glass Votive Candle Holder  in Speckled Gold by Just Artifacts
5]  Autumn Wine Glass  by Lenox through Replacements Ltd.
A Sentimental Mix
For  Christopher Grubb , president of  Arch-Interiors , mixing is the mandate when setting the table (no “matchy-matchy” for him). There are infinite ways to reinterpret your dinnerware for a convivial seasonal table. “I have a set of Lenox dishes that were given to me by my grandmother so using them during the holidays is sentimental,” Christopher explains. For those with a simple, classic set of gold-rimmed china he suggests layering in patterned salad or dessert plates to up the visual emphasis on holiday cheer. Adding accessories like a patterned service bowl can tie it all together. Using contrasting chargers is “an opportunity to add metal, color, and a compliment to the set of dishes you have.” And, as Christopher points out, if Replacements Ltd. has your dish pattern in their inventory, they can customize  tiered serving pieces  ideal for holiday treats. “It’s such a smart option.”

For a centerpiece, Christopher is partial to live plants. His suggestion? Use cachepots down the center of the table. “I particularly like to use rosemary that is shaped like trees and smells so good,” he says, “but there is a plethora of plants or simple cuttings like holly you can arrange.” To personalize each place setting, he also suggests framing a photo of you and your guest and using it as the place card. It’s the perfect little gift that will long be a sentimental remembrance of a holiday spent together.

Getting the Look:
1]  Eternal Dinner Plate  with gold trim by Lenox 
4]  Vintage Style Baroque Frame  by Fashioncraft
Blue & White is Always Right
A love affair with favorite colors can help create an absolutely welcoming table. “I love blue and white,” says Lisa Kahn of  Lisa Kahn Designs , “not just in my everyday design, but at the holidays especially.” And there’s something especially nostalgic about using an iconic pattern like Willow Blue, adapted from the Chinese story of star-crossed lovers and produced during the last century by England’s Johnson Brothers. 

To add a bit of spark to the table, Lisa recommends adding gold notes. “The blue and white is so crisp against a touch of gold that can be added by using a charger with a gold rim beneath the dinner plate,” she explains. She’s also enamored with a touch of chinoiserie as a holiday design motif. Pair this beautiful combination of blue, white, and gold with table décor that includes gold mercury glass candle holders and stunning red amaryllis in resplendent bloom. It’s a recipe for an unforgettable holiday gathering. Who needs red and green?!

Getting the Look
1]  Willow Blue  dinnerware by Johnson Brothers, through Replacements Ltd.
2]  Winter Amaryllis  in Pot by Red Barrel Studio from Wayfair
3]  Westchester Charger  by Lenox, through Replacements Ltd.
4]  Mercury Glass Candleholders  from Balsam Hill
Design Matters is the monthly trend viewpoint from the tradeshow-traveling, fresh-finding team at The Media Matters. Feel free to share any of these images and copy with your readers or followers.  Photos can be found in this  Dropbox .  Plus, we’re always here to help you with ideas, resources and more.  Our team attends nearly every significant tradeshow so we can be your eyes, ears and heels on the ground. Our passion is creating connections, so use us.  Our contact information is below.

Questions? Contact

Connect With Us