Browsing Tag



LookBook: Geometric Orange At Your Table

retro orange and blue

It is no secret that I love orange as much as I love modern style. I like so much the clean lines of the city tea towel that I present you to way to mix geometric patterns with it.

Option 1

retro orange and blue

Shown here: City Series Tea Towel $22 USD at Lekker Home | Blocks Fabric from Melinki Two collection by Scion (part of Harlequin Group) |  Circa Aqua Bowl $9.95 USD at Crate and Barrel

Option 2

retro orange inspired table linens

Shown here: City Series Tea Towel $22 USD at Lekker Home | Studio Oh! Heavyweight Paper Placemats $19.99 USD at | Atom Art Bowl $8 USD at Anthropologie

Which board do you prefer?


Creatively Unique Placemats

Bella Maniera placemats

Bella Maniera placemats

If you are looking for new ways to infuse a sense of unexpected to your tabletop, let me suggest that you use placemats with artistic patterns that slightly vary from one placemat to the next. You can draw the patterns or look for the French design placemats.

48 heures trompe l'oeil placemats

48 heures is a collection of trompe-l’oeil illustrations that suggest a finished meal where they was good food and lots of wine. These will certainly grab the attention of your guests. I suspect that it will probably be a conversation starter.

48 heures placemats

Tailored to Each Guest

Another example is the Bella Maniera series. The idea to steal here is to design a placemat that fits the personality of each guest. Mr. & Mr played with the theme of Leonardo da Vinci’s The last Supper for their Bella Maniera collection. They design 13 placemats; each one corresponds to Jesus Christ and his apostles.

Bella Maniera

48 heures placemats 16 €
Bella Maniera series 16.50 € each at Grain de couleur
+ via Moco Loco


The Spring/Summer 2011 Chilewich Tablemat Collection

oval mini basketweave placemats in gravel by chilewich

faux-bois pattern in driftwood :: chilewich placemats

Stylish placemats are ideal for a casual chic event. I look for placemats that are easy to clean like the ones made by Chilewich.  The Spring/Summer 2011 is filled with beautiful patterns.  I am partially fond of the driftwood pattern from the faux-bois series. It is superb against modern white tableware. There is also a faux birch and a faux walnut.

The Fade Print collection is available in 8 colors from stone tones (slate, brownstone, onyx) to bold hues like fuschia, aruba (turquoise), and cucumber. Just looking at the cucumber, make me dream of a summer picnic.

oval mini basketweave placemats in gravel by chilewich

The Oval Mini Basketweave tablemats will please the modernists. I love it! I like to know who made these cute pastel bowls.

chilewich's white weave napkin ring on top of kono placemat in desert

Finally, you can now get stainless steel napkin rings with an inlay made of a strip of the classic mini basketweave pattern. It’s a nice touch. The placemat is called Kono. Placemats come as a square or a rectangle and there is a matching table runner.

+ Driftwood / Faux-bois tablemat $12 USD
+ Fade Print tablemat $16.50 USD
+ Oval Mini Basketweave tablemat $16 USD
+ Stainless Steel Napkin Ring $18 USD
+ Kono tablemat – square $13, rectangle $15, runner $47 USD

FAMILY KIDS products

Kidz Box at Modern-Twist

kidz box day at the pond by modern-twist

kidz box day at the pond by modern-twist

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Modern-Twist. I eat almost every day on their soft and durable placemats. Since my last visit to the site, they added the Kidz Box and new patterns to their kids placemat collection.

modern-twist kids placemat i\'m banana for a major breakfast

You always had the option to color and draw on the Modern-Twist mats. What they did with Kidz Box was to assemble a gift box with marker colors that will please the design-savvy parents. A mat and 6 non toxic washable markers come in every Kidz Box. Day at the Pond and City Kids are the drawings currently available.

kids placemats by modern-twist :: food-grade silicone

Like I said, you can color with markers on all Modern-Twist mats. Carrying two mats take the same space as one. I recommend Hide & Seek (best for a little girl), Major Damage (I’m banana…) and Kat in the City for coloring.

Cute and Practical

You first notice the refined illustrations on the silky food-grade, hand silk-screened silicone mats. Later, you discover that they are the best mats you ever own. You can roll your Modern-Twist mats or fold them for months and they will never show a crack, a crease or any sign that they did not lay flat. I know, I did it. I believe that it is a worry-free carry-on option for when you eat at a restaurant, visit friends without children and when you travel.

kidz box by modern-twist

I bet that if you arrive with a Kidz Box at a kid birthday, both the kid and the parents will adore your gift. I think that they are so cute that I might get a kit just for myself.

+ Kidz Box $26 USD
+ Kids Placemats $18
+ Store locator with the Modern-Twist collection


Stackable Mu A Stools and Home Accessories

mu a stackable stools by 18Karat

mu a stackable stools by 18Karat

As I selected my top 3 things from March 2010 of the Canadian House and Home, I stopped to browse the catalogue of 18Karat. I first introduced that design, import and distribution company back in 2007. Their catalogue is filled with great home accessories.

The Mu A Stool is the latest addition to the MU stools collection. They select MU because it means wood in Chinese. They later discovered that, in Japanese, MU is the gap or the quiet, the small spaces in-between the constant being of our lives, or the space in-between structural parts. It is funny how coincidence works. Mu A can be used as a stool or a side table. The fact that is stackable makes it a great option to add extra seating when you are having a party.

18karat white vases :: woven, sweater knit and ramen vases

This picture of the woven, sweater knit and ramen vases would have fit well on my white on white home decor story. Event though it is not new, I am still fond of sweater knit vases.

18karat linea table linens :: napkins and placemats

Finally, 18Karat is a good source for pure linen placemats and napkins. Made from 100% Lithuanian linen, I appreciate the raw colors and textures of the  Linea line. This is the style  you need for casual chic entertaining that will enjoy for years.

18Karat operates a beautiful store at 3039 Granville Street in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

+ Mu Stool Collection Mu Counter Stool $480 CAD, Mu A stool$380
+ Kitchen textiles at 18Karat $50 CAD for 4 napkins, $75 for 4 placemats


The Isak Bread Boards

isak bread board breakfast tabletop

This everyday tabletop is refreshing. It shows that you can be playful and look refined at the same time. The look is ideal for serving lunch or breakfast to your family.

isak bread board tabletop

They are more reasons why I am showing you this product. I associate multiple purposes with sustainability and space saving. With smaller city homes, more people are looking for double-duty objects. The Isak Breadboard can  become a placemat, a trivet to protect your table for the heat, a cheese board or a cutting board. And did I mention that they look great. Plus, the laminated compressed wood of the Isak Breadboard are harvested in sustainable Scandinavian forests.

isak bread board tote bag

The two patterns, Landsby and Leaf, work well together. Each breadboard comes packed in a reusable 100% cotton tote bag. It is practical for picnic or if you are really fancy when you bring your lunch.

+ Isak Bread Board, Landsby or Leaf $40 USD
+ Isak Landsby Bread board £22
+ Iittala Kartio Small, Stained Glass £11 for a set of 2 glasses
+ Iittala Kartio Tumbler $17 USD for 2


New Placemats and Table Runners by Chilewich

brocade :: pressed vinyl :: tuxedo stripes :: new table mats and runners by chilewich

The latest table mats and table runners by Chilewich are getting more sophisticated. For a fall and winter table, opt for the elegance of the Brocade series. The Pressed Vinyl collection reproduces the look of lace without the maintenance requirements. Tuxedo Stripes is the most formal pattern. I imagined it well with the Linea Ice Oro Flatware Collection by Mepra.

I like the hues of the aqua and kiwi woven lattice placemats but I found that the woven is too open. If you are looking for bright hues, check the Pressed Vinyl Dots in citron (lemon), green, orange and hot pink.

+ Chilewich’s Tabletop


New Modern-Twist Placemats Designed by Matte Stephens and Rex Ray

matrix owl monster placemats by modern-twist

Kat Nouri of Modern-Twist sent me an email where she informed me of their exhibit with Rex Ray designs at SFMOMA.

I am thrilled. I think we should encourage companies that hired known artists to design their patterns. This way we get more exciting patterns on everyday items.

Matrix and Tangle by Rex Ray

Rex Ray is a fine art artist doing collages, paintings and design work,. Rex is also a celebrated graphic designer who worked extensively for the music industry. He designed book covers, more than 100 historic Bill Graham Presents rock and roll tour posters and music packaging.

Now, you can invite Rex Ray to your table with the two patterns he designed for Modern-Twist. Take your pick between Matrix and Tangle. Matrix is available in green or black. Tangle is in orange or copper.  I am showing you Matrix because I enjoy it more.

Owl and Monster by Matte Stephens

The art of Matte Stephens has a naive side in the execution that charms everyone. His Owl duo and the Monster character target children. This is a kid line that will enchant young at heart adults.

Kat kindly sent me a sample of the Owl and the Monster mats. I received them today and they look even better in person. My husband thought they were pretty cool. I got the feeling they will become our breakfast placemats.

Beauty and Function

I acquired six brown Birds ‘n Trees Placemats, 2 sets of writable coasters Notz and the Vinotagz stem markers, all from Modern-Twist last winter at Lekker. So I can vouch for their excellent quality.

The 14 by 16 inches dimension of the placemat is more practical than the standard placemat size. The glasses fit comfortably on the placemat. The silk-screened non-toxic silicone feels soft to the touch. It is very sensual. They are easy to store. You can fold them or roll them without leaving any marks.

With Mother’s Day in two weeks, your mom will be happy if you show up at the door with any of the Modern-Twist Placemats.

Buy online: Owl or Monster Placemat by Matte Stephens for Modern-Twist at Twig – price: $15 USD
Buy online: Matrix Placemat by Rex Ray at Modern Twist at Twig – price: $19 USD
Buy online: Tangle Placemat by Rex Ray at Modern Twist at Twig – price: $19 USD


Four Easter decoration ideas from Martha Stewart

easter decorations and desserts by martha stewart living

If you are still looking for ideas on how to style your Easter brunch, I will share several design ideas this week. So do not worry.

The Fashionable Blue and Yellow

I am starting with two decoration ideas and the best looking desserts from Martha Stewart Living. Get inspired by these crafty projects and recipes to create your own version this Easter.

If you read my posts last week, you spot the resemblances with the Spring 2008 color combinations. Since the pictures were taken a couple years ago, simply adjust the hues to fit into the 2008 color trend.

Blue and yellow mixed with white is so far my favorite palette for Easter 2008. I am assembling my own Easter tabletop the one I will use in real life. Mine may eclipse the blue and yellow scheme; we will see when I am done.

For now, let’s go back to what Martha Stewart has the best to offer in my opinion this Easter. Like I said before, these are old projects from Martha Stewart. They still look interesting today.

Easter Table Decorations

Everyone can easily make these fuzzy Candy Nests. They look so cute. You can reuse the design to dress up your sugar and milk serving set. Brown and white sugar cubes will look better with this scheme.

The early spring tulips and daffodils symbolize Easter. It is simple to decorate a console table or you buffet table by disposing several eggcup bouquets on a tiered cake stand. Step by steps instructions for the Easter Tiered Bouquets are published on Martha Stewart’s Web site.

Take advantage of the white and yellow rage to design a stylish yet simple table top. Lay a lemon yellow tablecloth as your basis so your white dinnerware will pop up. Or you can be hipper and display the orange Chilewich Woven Lattice placemats plus the table runner. You probably own all the required dinnerware, except for the white egg cups which are widely available.

Easter Dessert Recipes

The food presentation of the Rich Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting and Truffle-Egg Nest is critical to get the full impact. You can find sets of brown salad plates at Rosanna or for a more affordable option, shop at Target.

Chocolate Egg in blue colored shell is a stylish idea to serve homemade chocolate. I suggest making these Chocolate Eggs as your party favors. Wrap them with clear cellophane to showcase them. Do not forget to install a nice personalized gift tag on your package with a stylish blue or white ribbon.

Buy online: Orange Chilewich Woven Lattice Table Linens – starting at $20 per placemat
Buy online: Set of 2 White Porcelain Egg Cups at Kitchen Kapers – $4.99 for a pair
Buy online: Dinner Party Plates at Rosanna – price: $41.25 for a set of 4
Buy online: Coco Seal Salad Plate at Target – price: $24.99 USD for a set of 6

+ Egg candle holders by Michelle Mason
+ A more natural take on the Easter Eggs
+ Bunny shaped napkins at your Easter brunch


My recipe to successfully design a tabletop

tabletop design guide : dinnerware : flatware : placematWith the death of packaged theme for home decor, the art of coordinating can scare some of you. Not everyone knows all to mix products into a tailored yet cohesive design.

Beginners who wish to mix styles can rely on a proven, simple method. Start by finding one thing (furniture, accessories, painting or plate) that you like and derive the rest from that element.

Practice with small projects like designing every week end a new tabletop. Why not reinstate the old-fashioned family dinner every Sunday? Use this occasion to also practice new recipes and food plating. Ask your family for help so everything runs smoother the next time you have guests over for dinner.

My 5-step guide to better design your tabletops

To teach you the basics, I developed a 5-step guide. More design rules are involved but these 5 steps will help develop your sensibility.

  1. Consider all the dinnerware and the home accessories that you have on your house.
  2. Examine them carefully individually and collectively.
  3. Pay attention to the shapes, colors, textures, finishes and emotions.
  4. Look for both similarities and contrasts.
  5. Let flow your creativity and explore compositions and concepts.

If you are new to this, practice often and you will see that it becomes easier. Remember that not everyone has the inner style to be a designer, so do not discourage if you have trouble successfully mixing stuff. Some people are great at sports, others at design.

New video series

Since I know that nothing beats seeing someone doing it, I hope to start publishing instructional videos on how to create tabletop after I planned a little recording studio.

My first video may feature the nature Asian inspired Chirp dinnerware set by Lenox. I will demonstrate several table linen options including the Birds ‘n Trees placemats by Modern-Twist that I bought at Lekker while I was visiting Boston.

Flatware as jewelry for your table

Just changing the flatware can totally change the look of your table. Think of it as jewelry. To get the right look, do not be afraid to rent flatware for your events. In fact, Sarah Dennis of Table and Toasts said the same thing on an interesting post yesterday about Trends in flatware rentals.

I displayed Beaded Antique flatware by Towle available at, several models by MEPRA available at Lekker and the fun colored Fantasia Millennium Flatware by MEPRA available at Plastica.

+ Chirp Dinnerware by Lenox – price:$99.95 per 5-piece setting
+ Silicone placemats by Modern-Twist – price: $22 at Lekker
+ Beaded Antique by Towle – price: $49.95 per 5-piece setting
+ Natura ICE Five Piece Place Setting – price: $37 per 5-piece setting
+ Italia ICE Five Piece Place Setting – price: $44 per 5-piece setting
+ Levantina ICE Five Piece Place Setting – price: $47.50 per 5-piece setting
+ colored Fantasia Millennium Flatware by MEPRA – price: $50 per 5-piece setting


Having fun with the shadow placemats by Sandra Bautista

A light\'s drawing by sandra bautistaThis talented artist grabbed my attention because her work titled A light’s drawing. The usual suspects appear as silhouette shadow on the placemat.

Regarding at her portfolio, Sandra Bautista probably did it for an artistic purpose. But I find the concept to be chic and fun for entertaining. If you find a place where we can buy those, please inform me.

About A light’s drawing, her creator Sandra Bautista says:

Everyday light draws for us…but we never realized…
The graphics on the whole set come from the real shadow so that all objects are related to each other and when using it you will discover all of them.

A time saver for entertaining

If you are too busy, you would not have to bring the plates at the table. But make sure the glasses, the napkins and the utensils are on the table before your guests arrive. One inspiration that complements those placemats is the diner restaurant experience. You can insert the flatware in three ornate glasses, jars or flower vases.

Pursue further the fun aspect

You could make your own silhouette by tracing the dimension of your own dinnerware in the color of your choice.

If casual chic suits better your event, rest the flatware inside a pocket fold linen napkin.Then, draw the shape of your own utensils on a cotton placemat or a fine paper. Just the dimensions are big enough to cover the right utensil shadow. The idea is to surprise your guests as they sit down and gently lay their napkin on their knees.

Having an immediate ice-breaker at the table ensures that the dinner starts well. Your guests feel more welcome. You can continue with charades or write fun facts for each guess to read. What games do you play at the dinner table?

+ Sandra Bautista – photos are all rights reserved by sandra bautista