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Dressing Your Table

Setting Up for a Thanksgiving Feast

When Zakk Hoyt designed Katie and Josh Weber’s Fairway home a few years ago, one of the primary requests was that the home was easy to entertain in, providing intimate areas to host formal occasions all while allowing for huge holiday blow-outs.

This year for Thanksgiving, Katie and Zakk decided to go over the top for the family’s annual Thanksgiving feast. Luckily, Katie has invested in great dinnerware over the years to complement family silver and china, so that each season they have a base to start with. 

"The dining room at the Webers’ home is a perfect foil for fall decorating," explains Hoyt. "The backdrop of navy grass cloth, antique furniture, and the killer Visual Comfort Georgian Chandelier provides a perfect foil for traditional shades of rust, orange, and gold on the table top."

For the primary table setting, they started with Bernardaud “Sauvage Or” porcelain chargers (Halls) under a gorgeous set of Royal Doulton transferware from the early 19th century. Family silver and wedding crystal are mainstays that they bring out each season. This year to dress things up, they added the fabulous Bernardaud Constance, bread and butter plates from Halls.

"To break up the formality of the table, we picked up cheeky Easy Tiger cards from hometown hero Hallmark to use as place cards," Hoyt says. "They add a great conversation starter for a dinner where people are gathered who don’t know each other well—or perhaps come from different political parties—and helps people focus on the funny quips and the personal messages provided by host and hostess in the cards."

They invested in gorgeous orchids and placed them in a wine cooler from Halls finishing it off with pumpkins, pears and apples from the produce section. Fruit is an inexpensive way to add color and interest to a table.

They put the same effort and planning into the “kids table” toning down the formality of the look by recreating a pumpkin patch on the table. For the place settings, they used classic Spode Woodland (Nell Hills), the same crystal from the dining room, and a gorgeous, mismatched collection of vintage silverware that Katie has collected from years of estate sales.

"Don’t be afraid of using formal tableware with kids," explains Hoyt. "It’s a great opportunity to practice their best manners, and frankly, adults generally break more than the kids do."

The Hallmark Paperwonder pop-up cards used as place cards provide a great take-home keepsake for smaller guests and offer a great whimsical touch to the table.

For the kitchen “pumpkin patch” they used leftovers from the dining room and foliage from the Webers’ yard. The season’s last hydrangeas pair beautifully with ornamental kale and grasses that otherwise soon will be wasted by snow. "We used a gorgeous Chinese bowl from Nell Hills that stays on the table all year to tie the whole look together and to provide height," Hoyt adds.

Hoyt suggests remembering to decorate your serving areas. In the dining room, they laid out a selection of wines for the celebration on a vintage silver tray covered in fall leaves. They filled the gorgeous antique silver water stand with pre-mixed cocktails and donned the Chippendale mirror with a magnolia and persimmon wreath.

Designer Tips

  • The Spode is timeless, but if you tire of turkeys, Royal Copenhagen’s Blue Fluted is a great pairing. Adding blue to an autumn palette really livens up the look.

  • Simple stoneware chargers frame timeless gold and cream dinnerware. 

  • Give wedding china a makeover with the addition of Gien Sologne salad plates (Halls).

  • If you’re not interested in more dishes, linens are a great way to change a look. The two-color linen napkins pictured in the dining room are a versatile tool as you set the table. Consider adding pattern and a lot of color for a minimal investment.

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