As stated in the January edition of the Gifts and Table wares Magazine, the casual luxury trend is growing even more. These days, people like to buy things / collections that could be dressed up or down. This is what casual luxury is all about.
People want more luxury in their everyday life. In the kitchen, people want better qualify tools, dishes and serving ware. When you spend more on everyday dinnerware and wine glasses, you can use them when you entertain. By changing how you accessorize or set your table, you can create a full range of looks with the same tableware. This is what makes casual luxury so appealing to the masses.
I, for one, is an adept of this philosophy. The casual luxury movement shifts the style toward more modern patterns and shapes. Your best bets are solid, pale neutral colors because the food looks better on them.
I was therefore happy to learn that Portmeirion is extending its line by Sophie Conran. If you do not know her, Sophie Conran is a British cook and the daughter of the style icon Sir Terence Conran. Being raised by a father that is famous as a furniture designer, retailer and restaurateur, Sophie was around good design on the kitchen all her life.
The Sophie Conran’s collection is modern with a touch of old country charm. Delicate to the touch, this porcelain collection is highly durable and can withstand pretty much anything modern life can throw at it. Fully tried and tested in a house with two small children, from the dishwasher to the microwave, the freezer to the oven, the Sophie Conran’s collection captures convenience on top of casual luxury.
With the new addition of baking and roasting dishes, all sizes of platters, teapot, sugar and creamer, a wooden chopping board, rolling pin, utensil set and silver salad servers, the Sophie Conran for Portmeirion is quite complete. The collection is available in three colors: white, biscuit and celadon.
I started my collection last fall with a large white porcelain salad bowl. I love it. Since all pieces are sold individually, I can buy the pieces I want over a period of time. You can find Sophie Conran for Portmeirion at Zone home accents stores in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City.
+ The Rise of Casual Luxury, an article from the Gifts and Table wares Magazine
+ to see the entire Sophie Conran for Portmeirion collection
+ Web site of Sophie Conran
+ for the addresses of Zone stores
Sarah CanetFebruary 26, 2007 at 10:00
I work with Sophie and have just spotted your blog. I’ll show it to her. I know she’ll be thrilled to hear that you are enjoying her work.
With kind regards,
KimFebruary 26, 2007 at 12:38
If you live in the Toronto area, you can find the Sophie Conran for Portmeirion collection at this Oakville boutique:
To set a Table
182 Lakeshore Road East
Oakville, Ontario L6J 1H6
T 905.338.0275 http://tosetatable.com/
At Home with kim valleeJuly 23, 2007 at 12:17
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Tracy ScottJanuary 12, 2008 at 14:16
I am deciding to get a set of these lovely dishes and you have put into words the why’s of my purchase. Casual luxury – exactly!
There is such a huge trend to plain white dishes at the moment that it seems like a good idea. But what do you think of that lovely blue? Can that colour clash or compete with the food?
Tracy ScottJanuary 12, 2008 at 14:21
And the biscuit colour is nice too. I guess I would just like some method for deciding on colour for dinnerware – can anyone give me some ideas?
hmsNovember 6, 2008 at 11:07
I have the white, the celadon and the biscuit as my set. I am planning on having, in a setting for 10, for example, 5 whites and the rest split up between the celadon (light robin blue) and the biscuit (the color of coffee ice cream). I prefer the white at night when the lighting is artificial, the white gleams, but in the morning I prefer the biscuit as it is cozy and warm and a comfort color and the blue during the day, when the light hits the kitchen differently. I got 1/2 of them in white, so that if I have company, then I could conceivably do the whole table in one color. AND, I would most likely be entertaining in the evening.
At Home with Kim ValleeNovember 6, 2008 at 12:05
hms: Your idea is clever and practical. I like the robin blue but I was unsure how some dish will look with this color as a backdrop. So I got a few salad plates that I used for desserts or under the bowls.
Martine la banlieusardeMarch 20, 2009 at 13:28
J’ai vu la vaisselle de Sophie Conran chez Linen Chest il y a quelques semaines, et depuis, j’en rêve… en faisant quelques recherches, je découvre que tu en as parlé il y a déjà bien longtemps! Je ne suis même pas surprise, tu as l’oeil pour dénicher les belles choses avant tout le monde 😉
At Home with Kim ValleeMarch 20, 2009 at 14:32
Martine: I love it. I bought many pieces at Linen Chest when they got a sale buy 5, get the 6th free. I do not know if Linen Chest added them to the collection but I found the footed cake plate The Bay and the cute, small bread plates at Zone.
JENNIFER FINDLAYMay 11, 2009 at 22:47
I’m a huge Sophie Conran tableware fan. I sell it on my website (nicolejane.com) and it’s one of the most popular items I carry. It’s very organic and unique. Every time I set a table with it, my guests want to pick it up and touch it. I use mine for day-to-day and it washes up beautifully in the dishwasher.
Sebastian Conran’s Festa Collection Cheers Up Outdoor Entertaining | At Home with Kim ValleeJune 6, 2009 at 22:09
[…] Conran is the son of Sir Terence Conran and the brother of Sophie Conran, the baker and designer of tableware for Portmeirion that I […]
SandraOctober 17, 2009 at 17:27
I love these dishes (Sophie Conran) as well and was thinking of getting them for everyday use. Was wondering however if there is any problem with utensil scratches due to the ridges on the plates?
At Home with Kim ValleeOctober 19, 2009 at 23:08
Sandra: I don’t use mine every day, maybe one a week. I never had a problem with them. In fact, I just bought a small cake stand last weekend to grow my collection. They have so many serving ware that I think it is the best set for entertaining.
MaryNovember 18, 2009 at 16:17
I had to return all 14 place settings of Sophie Conran Celadon (light blue) that I got for my wedding. I loved the way they looked but right after the first use I started noticing gray utensil marks. The retailer suggested I use an industrial type cleaner to remove the marks, but it just did not seem practical or healthy. The utensils I used on the dishes were regular stainless steel.
At Home with Kim ValleeNovember 18, 2009 at 18:20
Mary: You are not the first person who complained about that problem. Personally, it never happened to me on any of my plates and bowls. We used many pieces several times a week for over 2 years now. Our flatware are made of stainless steel (one set is 18/8, the other 18/10). I use regular, top brand dishwasher and do not rinse my dishes before putting them on my dishwasher. I am so happy with the set that I continue to buy new serving ware pieces on a regular basis, as the line expands. I am sad that it did not work out for you.
DebbieJanuary 1, 2010 at 10:52
Sandra, I have to say I love my Sophie Conran dishes and I use them every day. I have never had any problem whatsoever with markings from my stainless steel utensils. I never rinse, always put in dishwasher and they are just as shiny and perfect 2 years later. I live in a rural setting, on the water, and I’ve had comments from guests on how beautifully they suit the environment! My only wish is that more pieces came in Biscuit. I love the Biscuit though as it’s warm and cozy and blends well with other colours (I especially love dark red, russet)
Helen, LondonMarch 1, 2010 at 16:52
Unfortunately my set of Sophie Conran Portmeirion has got scratches after only a few uses. Judging by the range of comments above, it might be that some batches are more scratch resistant than others. It’s a disappointment as the set is beautiful in all other respects, but who wants scratched dinner ware – especially when it’s brand new? I’m looking to exchange the whole set.
Anne RyanMarch 21, 2010 at 15:21
I am sold! After dithering a year, I have finally sttled on Sophie Conran. I brought home the Celadon, Sage adn White to try, but I think the white wins. I have Sagy green kitchen with off white suway tiles and a granite counter. Perhaps some coloured plates? Are teh accessories only in white? Too bad…
At Home with Kim ValleeMarch 21, 2010 at 18:25
The accessories come in the same colors of the plates but the retailers seem more reluctant to carry them. So you have to search more to find a retailer near you or you can request a special order at the store where you bought yours.
Randi SteigerDecember 26, 2010 at 15:50
Can anyone recommend barware or stainless flatware which will coordinate with the celadon dinnerware?
EdithMarch 20, 2011 at 07:48
Je viens d’acheter 3 ensembles de 4 couverts. J ‘espère ne pas avoir de problème d ‘égratignure… Je suis tombée en amour avec cette vaisselle.
KimMarch 21, 2011 at 20:08
Édith, le problème que certaines personnes semblent avoir (je ne l’ai jamais eu) est des marques grises que peut parfois laisser du métal sur de la vaisselle. C’est pourquoi on peut lire dans les manuels de lave-vaisselle de faire attention afin que les articles de métal ne touche pas à la vaisselle. Je pense que ces marques partent avec la poudre pour nettoyer les chaudrons en acier inoxydable.
LynnMarch 29, 2011 at 19:43
I fell in love with the dishes too and have received many compliments. Unfortunately they do mark. The place where I bought them gave me a bottle of cleaner and I spent quite a while scrubbing each dish. The marks are coming back again. I contacted the company and received an answer almost immediately which leads me to believe that many people are complaining. I should have returned them.
Here is their response:
Black (Grey) marks developed on the ceramic ware is very common especially
for Sophie Conran Collection because point of contact is small for the
unique ripple surface. The glaze used on the ware is extremely hard – harder
than most of the metals that are used to make cutlery.
The hard glaze abrades the metal of the cutlery leaving a deposit of the
metal on the surface of the glaze, which appears as a characteristic
‘pencil-mark’. These marks can normally be ‘polished out’ by Bicarbonate of
Soda with a damp cloth or the use of a mild abrasive polish such as ‘Bar
Keeper Friend’ and a soft cloth. Bar Keepers Friend is a premium
all-purpose cleanser that Portmeirion Technical Department in UK recommend.
You can find it at local Reliable Parts stores, Bed Bath and Beyond or
hardware stores and it costs about $4.
Occasionally, the use of cutlery can produce small surface scratches in the
glaze. This is caused when excess pressure is exerted onto the glaze through
a small point of contact such as when a sharp knife blade is pressed down
onto a plate, (rather like stiletto heels on floors). The excess pressure
produces small cracks in the glaze and when the knife blade is drawn across
the plate metal from the knife is abraded and deposited in the crack beneath
the surface of the glaze. Unfortunately no amount of cleaning will remove
these marks as the metal is embedded in the cracks.
MeghanApril 4, 2012 at 21:36
Hello. I actually researched what type of dinnerware to buy myself after I had some bad luck with a Vera Want set I got from my bridal shower. At first, the reviews on Macy’s website were GREAT for this set, and now, sadly, the reviews are exactly what I’m experiencing. Scratches and chips galore! It’s so sad because I love these plates and serving dishes (my Mother bought me everything this past Christmas) but I will have to replace them. The worst part is, I got these on my own and I don’t think Macy’s will let me return them. I’m looking into other brands now that are bone china, not porcelain. Ikea actually has a new higher end line of bone china called Skyne that looks similar. I think the scratches are also caused from stacking dishes and bowls. I’ve been using paper towels to put in between them, but my husband doesn’t always follow through on this – who can blame him! Very disappointed in this set and would not recommend it to anyone. Bar Keeper’s Friend DOES NOT work!!
KimApril 4, 2012 at 23:47
I’m sorry that you have problems with them, Meghan. We do not use ours everyday (just once in a while) but it has been 5 years since I go mine and I never experienced what you are saying.
I agree that the Skyn series looks great. I hope that you have beter luck with them.