The inspiration for this setting came from two places. First, was our upcoming trip to Tuscany to visit our daughter who was studying there and, second, was the Italian recipe salad plates that we had received as a gift some time ago. The plates from Williams-Sonoma I initially had only four of and they were no longer available from the store, but when I decided to build the setting around them, I took to eBay in a successful search for the remaining place settings. As always, I started with one interesting element and built a color story and details around it.
The rustic feel of the countryside is imparted via the burlap tablecloth and the terra-cotta linen napkins from Pottery Barn. Offsetting this feel is a little gleam from the antique silver flatware and the jeweled napkin rings from Pier 1.
I never use place cards to seat my guests at an intimate dinner because I prefer they choose their seating, but I love the opportunity to use printed graphics on the table, so I designed these table cards as a fun detail to further communicate the theme.
The pair of floral arrangements are housed in distressed Tuscan inspired urns from Pottery Barn. Orange roses and red dahlias team up with greenery to tell the story of the Italian countryside through color.
The glow of candlelight enhances the warm tones of the tablescape and the surrounding rooms.
The glimmer of the glassware and crystal help lend the dinner a sense of elegance that plays off the more simplified country elements. Goblets from Ralph Lauren, green swirl glasses from Pier 1.
Decorating with food is always a favorite of mine. Here, glass hurricanes are filled with varied tomatoes and grapes, another nod to the Mediterranean fare widely available throughout Italy.
The long view from the table opens into the neighboring living room where drinks are served before the meal.
No Tuscan meal is complete without Limoncello and Italian pastries.
A final view of the entire setting.