Meet My Colleague Andrew Skipper
My colleague Andrew Skipper & I have spent countless dinners discussing Diva Business and just simply drinking too much wine over long lingering meals. Our friendship has been formed around the table… and one of the things I love most is when he is visiting me at my house in Berlin. I make dinner and he whisks open my cupboards and takes it upon himself to set my table. He always pulls dishes I’ve forgotten I had out of the back corners and sets a stunning table. As we embark upon the holiday season I asked Andrew to share with you a few of his tips for setting a table for the holiday season.
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva™
Growing up, we always sat down for family dinners together. Even with conflicting schedules, dinner time was an important part of the day to reconnect with each other. As the oldest child, it was my responsibility to set the table each evening. Perhaps it is because of this that I still set a table every day, even if I’m dining alone. There is something dignified about laying out the place setting, folding the napkins, arranging the stemware just so. Partaking in this tradition grounds me. It also challenges me, in an enjoyable way, as I come up with fresh ways to mix china patterns and create beautiful, although often simple, centerpieces. With Thanksgiving, the most anticipated meal of the year for most Americans, just days away, allow me to share my table which incorporates European antiques (some sourced on Antiques Diva Tours), and a sense of holiday festivity. After all, it’s not just about the food, as presentation plays a very important factor in creating a warm atmosphere for loved ones.
I took inspiration from a vintage black and gold tole French cachepot I recently purchased. I decided that the entire scheme would be gold, black, silver, and red. This time of year especially, I love lots of red roses in the house, so a simple mound of them fills the cachepot. I chose vibrant red napkins to complement the flowers along with black faux bois patterned placemats to ground each place setting. For place card holders, I used little brass swans that I picked up at a flea market in Belgium with The Antiques Diva. i also used antique silver fox knife rests that I purchased in Berlin. Adding to the menagerie of animal figures, a pair of vintage silver peacocks, found at Portobello Market in London, survey the table from either side of the centerpiece. Since no dinner table is complete without candlelight, I opted for a pair of English antique brass candlesticks with paw feet.
Simple white dinner plates with a basket weave patterned rim rest on gold chargers and are topped by black and white toile patterned salad plates. The flatware is Ralph Lauren and the stemware is a mixture of antique and new. I always keep a bottle of bubbly on hand, so for this table, I decided to bring out my vintage champagne bucket I bought in Belgium. After all, the holidays are the perfect time to raise up a glass and toast the many blessings we have. Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!