Tablescape Thursday: A Brush With Gloss



Awhile ago, I told you about  a photoshoot I had done with our local paper, The Houston Chronicle.   While the photoshoot was a personal disaster (a very, very sick dog, candle wax drippings all over my silk tablecloth, etc. etc.) – the end results of all the hard work of the photographer and the reporter turned out very nicely, I think. 

Once a month the Chronicle produces a glossy magazine, called Gloss – of course - which concentrates on Houston design, style, fashion, and society.   Their writer had emailed me wondering what one special or sentimental  item did I use over and over again while entertaining.   After laughing hysterically at my being asked about entertaining  – I told the reporter I’d get right back to her with an answer.  Nothing like stalling for time!   The only favorite entertaining  item I could come up with  was my antique silver dome.  The reporter liked that idea and asked for a photograph of it.  Once approved – a date was set and she and the photographer came out to my house to take pictures of this oh-so-special (not!) dome.   I don’t even know what the domes are officially called -  but I’m sure the Victorians had some fancy name for them.    The reporter asked me about their history, but even the antique dealer I contacted drew a blank.   All I know is that I love the way they look.  I own two now – both are large, with finely etched designs – but their main duty is just to gleam on my dining room table, dinner guests or not.  



The two silver domes as they usually are – one stays on the table, while the other rests on the breakfront.  (open window wide to see the full picture.)


Looking at this picture of my dining room as it is today – it’s almost embarrassing how quickly things change around here.     At the photoshoot just a few weeks ago, the shelves were filled with blue and white transferware, but now my new collection of creamware has really changed the room’s appearance.  And this Friday, there will be more changes when those humongous iron sconces go bye-bye.  Thank God!  Those sconces were a mistake from day one.   They are pretty, to be sure, but they totally overpower my small dining room.    They were originally painted black when, in a moment of impaired judgment,  I bought them.  But that first night after being hung, while my stomach was in knots from knowing how wrong I had been in choosing them, I hastily painted the black sconces cream in a desperate attempt to make their size less noticeable.    I can’t wait for their replacements:   dainty gilt sconces, with three arms delicately scrolled.   Anyone want to buy a pair of cream painted sconces???




In truth, it really doesn’t matter that my dining room looks so different today than it did at the Gloss photoshoot because, despite having taken dozens of pictures of the carefully set table, the magazine ended up showing only one tight, closeup shot of the silver dome – similar to this picture above (although Gloss’ photograph is much more professional looking, of course!)     Also in the article, there is a small picture of me, looking a little like a deer caught in the headlights which is exactly how I felt while they were taking the pictures.    In the magazine, I share my “entertaining secret weapon” story with two other much better known designers in town – the talented Andrea Garrity and Cathy Chapman, whom I have long admired.    I truly feel so honored to be in such great company!




The table set for an imaginary dinner party – ready and waiting for the photographer to arrive.


Although I thoroughly enjoyed decorating my table for my pretend dinner party, after it was all over,  I really wished I had spent more time on it and given it more creative thought.  For the tablescape,  I just used what I had and didn’t buy anything special except for the flowers, a few white pumpkins and the green apples.    Where is Eddie Ross when you really need him???? 




Though the Gloss story was due to come out in the November issue – I didn’t want to set a traditional Thanksgiving table – with faux turkeys and pilgrims in reds and oranges.   Instead I used fall themed pumpkins, but in white to blend with my dining room better.   And I added  the bright green apples for the bright pops of color.




When setting the table, I first put down the large napkins to act as a sort of placemat.  When I have a rare, real dinner party, I always top the table with a white linen cloth over a plastic lined one to protect the silk skirt from spills.   For flowers, I typically use pink roses because I think that color goes good with my china.   The mercury glass vases came from Target, on sale, I think I paid $9 for each!  I used two different sets of candlesticks and staggered them – one set is mercury glass, the other is a pair of antique gilded wood altar sticks and I added votives for extra soft light.    Looking at this picture now,  I probably should not have used the mercury glass candlesticks – they hide the painted antique ones that I think are prettier.   Oh well, live and learn.  





For the dishes I used my wedding china that all the women in my family also have:  my mother, my sister, my two aunts and myself all have identical dishes – Haddon Hall by Minton.  This way, if any of us ever gave a dinner party for a huge crowd, we would have a matching set!  I think that is great idea, but the truth is that I just really loved this pattern when I was choosing my china and I still do.   There is a fine celadon colored rim that encircles the pink and yellow flowered dishes, a small detail that I think is so delicate and pretty.   The bubble glasses are copies of the famous Tiffany ones and I added the green wine glasses that I had bought at Pottery Barn years and years ago. 





The dining room window faces east, but since this is such a small town lot – the house next door is just a mere 10 ft away – that once it hits noon, this space quickly gets very dark.  You can see here how dim it looks since this was late in the afternoon.    No wonder why I keep my chandelier and sconces lit all day!   But, I do think that dim dining rooms are more romantic and atmospheric, so the low light has never really bothered me. 





And here is the actual magazine story!   I love the way the photograph of the table came out.   I wonder how they chose this particular shot – they took so many different ones from all different angles.   Being a part of my town’s newspaper was such a special thrill – something that would never have happened it not for the blog and you, the reader.  As always, thank you so much for all your support of Cote de Texas these past few years.  I don’t say that enough – but I feel it every single day!    I wish I could thank you each individually, and though I try to answer the comments, I fall short as the blog takes up more and more time.  But please understand that all your kind words, your affection and your loyalty mean more to me than you will ever know.


 Gloss is online digitally if you want to read it,  go HERE.





I am linking this to Between Naps on the Porch’s Thursday Tablescapes HERE.  Be sure to visit and see all the other tablescapes that are featured today!!!   

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