Wednesday, September 9, 2009

To Match ... or NOT to Match?

It's time for Tablescape Thursday, hosted by the inimitable Susan of Betwen Naps on the Porch!

Today I thought I'd set a table for eight in the dining room. I used some of the "good stuff," but kept it relatively simple. I gave the table a quick going over with a dust cloth and decided to leave it exposed ... no tablecloth or placemats.

So what's the first thing you notice when you view the picture below?

Yes, I can sense your horror. "What on earth is Bill thinking ... using mis-matched glassware for a dinner party???" But, if you look again, you'll see that there's a common denominator. All the crystal stemware is gold-rimmed.

Whenever I see a gold-rimmed glass I like ... at what I think is a reasonable price point .... I add it to the collection. There are a lot of famous names represented: Lenox, Oneida, Mikasa, Royal Doulton, Goodwill. Goodwill? Of course! I've happily mixed in thrifted items with crystal from department stores and gift shops.

A few are place settings in the same pattern. I kept these together because I like the the "optic" pattern (the effect that looks like panels in the glass, gently refracting the light passing through). It's created by the shape of the molds into which the molten glass is blown during manufacturing.

These two don't match, but I like the way they look together.

These both curve outward at the rim and are etched with floral patterns.

The china is Haviland "Ladore," made in France from 1962-1988. Replacements, LTD sells it for $119.99 per place setting. I purchased the entire set for $70 at an estate sale last year! I normally wouldn't include cups and saucers for a dinner place setting (and would bring them in when the dessert was served), but I wanted you to see the shape of the cups.

The flatware is Gorham's LaScala, still a current pattern, also purchased at an estate sale. The cocktail forks are a similar Gorham pattern in silverplate. I found these on eBay at a fraction of the cost of sterling. I didn't think I'd use them often enough to justify the expense of the "real thing." They're not where I would place them if a seafood appetizer were being served ... but again ... I wanted to show them to you.

I used my standby silverplated candleabra. The watercolor painting on the wall is one I did a few years ago. I cut the mats and framed it myself.

The flowers are from the supermarket. I showed you the marked-down bouquet in my last Today's Thrifty Treasures post. They were reduced from $25 to $3.99. When there's not much blooming in the garden, grocery store flowers are the next best thing. I supplemented these with roses, pink geraniums, and daisies from the garden.

The arrangement was actually much prettier the next day. The rosebuds had opened completely, creating a full, lush effect. They're casually (very quickly) arranged in floral oasis I soaked in water.

As sundown approached, I added some votive candles.

You've seen the creamer and open sugar before. The pair is sterling, purchased at an estate sale for under $20.

As evening approaches, the candles create a nice glow.

Flowers, candlelight ...

We just need relaxing dinner music ... and perhaps some chocolate ... and the mood would be perfect!

Do you see the play of light created by the crystal stemware on the corner of the table?

The glow is really intensifying. The red and green alternating panes of glass above the front door are based on a look that was popular in houses like the one that inspired the design of this one. The sidelights are old wavy glass recycled by the builder (along with much of the rest of the materials ... including the bricks, doors from England, the sitting room mantel, and the beams in the lower level).

The view from the head of the table (dishes!).

Looking upward ...

Who dusts the chandelier you ask? Well, no one ... but I did recently cover the table and spray on lots of an instant crystal and fixture cleaning product. The brand is Portfolio, and it's available at Lowes. It really does seem to eliminate dust and bring back the shine!

Hmmm, the table is set. Now what should I serve the guests?
It's not necessary to coordinate flowers with the rug ... but it seemed to work out this evening!

Almost time to pour the wine. The coaster is a crystal ashtray from Goodwill ... only 99 cents! For now, it's holding a serving fork and spoon.

I really like mixing the glassware. It's much more interesting than matching, isn't it? A bonus is that, if guests keep their wine glasses after dinner, it's easier to know which glass is theirs.

As the room becomes darker, the light from the candles seems ever more golden.

It turns the snow white plates a warm, creamy shade.

The silver really glows in these lighting conditions. I like stainless for everyday, but silver makes an evening seem special.
A close up view of the flowers. Why did I listen to a friend who said she snips the stamens off lilies when the pollen starts to shed??? I won't do that again!

Silk flowers certainly have their place, but I love using real flowers. They're so appealing in their "naturalness" ... interesting as they go from bud to mature blossom. Some even dry beautifully and can be used for long periods of time.

One more look at the variety of blooms in the centerpiece. I like mixed bouquets. Using one type of flowers in arrangements is probably more fashionable these days. I'm not particularly into following trends ... ;)

That's it. Now one last look. So what do you think? Is mixing patterns appropriate?

Appropriate or not ... I like it .... I've started a platinum-rimmed odds-and-ends collection!


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I adored mixing patterns, no matter what it is! My dining room chairs are mixed, bedroom furniture mixed, wine glasses mixed. Love it and hate buying anything in matched patterns, really!
    Great job!

  2. Bill- I am hyperventilating!

    Everything is amazing. The china is gorgeous and it looks wonderful with your glassware.

    Covet, covet!


  3. That china is AWESOME!!!!! I CANNOT believe that you got it for $70.00*!*!*!!!!

    The glassware looks terrific. The glow of the candlelight makes it.

    - The Tablescaper

  4. Oh Bill this is just beautiful my friend...I drooled over your whole post today...Beautiful china and silver and those flowers WOW!! you did an awesome job with this one my friend...Thanks for taking the time to put this together I do know how long it took you...May you have a great day...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  5. I love the glow the candlesticks make. You have that touch for creating beautiful tablescapes. Everything on your table is amazing. It looks great!

  6. Mixed or not, I love your tablescape, Bill. It is so elegant and very beautiful....Christine

  7. Bill,
    Your table is just beautiful. I loved the way you mixed everything, it made the table look so inviting and comfortable, yet it is also very elegant. And to be honest the first thing I noticed was that sparkling silver, you see I still have not cleaned mine, but its on my to do list. The flowers were also wonderful. You were able to get a fantastic deal on the china, lucky man. As usual total perfection.

  8. I love your mix and match stemware. Actually, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful chandelier. The dishes are lovely!


  9. Bill I have a feeling you could mix in Chinet paper plates and still manage to make it look sophisticated and elegant.
    I am sure anything you were to serve on this table would be perfect.

  10. Bill, your table is so inviting. I mix and match everything. Much Much more interesting and creative that way. I just want to sit, and dine, and sip a while! :)

  11. Bill, the table is stunning. I love all of it. I agree that mixing dishes and stems is very interesting. I really enjoy that look. Beautifully done and your pictures are fantastic. Hugs, Marty

  12. I adore your dining room and this table setting. But I think you already knew that :-)
    Take care ~Sue

  13. Dear Bill,
    I like the mismatched glasses.
    That's alright by alot of people.
    Dining in candlelite sure makes things SHINE just right.
    Very nice,
    d from HomeHaven

  14. Hi Bill,
    OOH La La! This is romantic and just gorgeous! Every pics is superb! I hate matchy matchy! I love mixing it up! I have to say you could be a floral designer too! That bouquet is wonderful~ and the sterling silver and glassware just sparkle! Cindy

  15. Hi Bill, I always love your tables. They sparkle and shine! This week an added bonus for me was a great shot of the chandelier (I'm chandelier crazy). I love mismatched glass ware and china. I think it adds so much character. I, unfortunately, do not own enough to mix-n-match! Beautiful table.

  16. Bill, I adore your "Ladore"!! What a stunning combination of old & new, mix & match & wonderful creativity! Beautifully done & I really know now how long this must have taken. Isn't it wonderful that many, many more people beyond just your guest list will be able to enjoy & appreciate it? BRAVO!!

  17. Hi looks like a state dinner at the White House...beautiful!! I love the idea of mixing and matching the glasses....just like any good long as one thing matches it all goes well together....Sue @ Rue Mouffetard.

  18. I love it ... that china looks like soft butter ... so beautiful. Hope you'll stop by and visit me!

  19. I love that the glassware does not match. Makes the table special!

  20. It's beautiful -- as always! I have to admit the first thing I noticed was your lovely floral arrangement (pink roses are my very favorite!) Love your glassware -- I've got a few nice pieces from family -- but I know I need to enhance my collection -- just beautiful! Everything.

  21. This is all absolutely gorgeous! I like mismatched china and crystal, makes it more interesting! I'm so glad the old stuffy rules are being broken!

    I have some new dishes, but didn't get my tablescape finished, so I substituted two small tablescapes until next week!)


  22. If course it's appropriate... It looks fabulous! Then add the factor that it's something you love ~ it's perfect!

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your treasures. It's always a treat!

  23. Stunning table, Bill. Love the china and the gold rimmed glasses. Great collection! Thanks for sharing this wonderful table setting! ~ Sarah

  24. Hello Bill...

    Stunning! Absolutely stunning!!! This is really one of the prettiest tables that I've seen! I love the mixing of the glassware...each pattern is truly beautiful!!! The Haviland china is gorgeous! I love the white of the china with all the beautiful crystal....ohh, and all that gold! So pretty! The fresh floral arrangement is so sweet...and I love the silver candelabras!!! You have certainly set a table fit for royalty...well done, my friend!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  25. Before I forget ...I have a question. Do you ever have trouble when bringing fresh flowers from the garden with the little critters that abound on the flowers. I have all sorts of weird creatures that come in....any secret to this?? or do you just try to pick them off???

    Beautiful photos again---your house sounds so interesting--...fascinating really.

    I love the warmth of the stemware--and the mixing of it just adds to the friendliness of it.

    You should have shown a closeup of that door and your painting....perhaps for a separate post. I love hearing about the history of the home. Thanks...great post as usual.

  26. Oh Bill you have done it again and again!! Your table is stunning!! I think it all just goes together as if it were all made to be together!!! Thank you for such a treat!!!

  27. Hello Bill,
    As always, you have set an elegantly beautiful table.I can just imagine your guests' smiles as they sit down to a delicious meal. The coffee cups are so interesting. Mixing patterns works!

    Just today, I shared, with another blogger, my favorite "special" restaurant in Lake Wales, FL. The Chalet Suzanne has been in existence for 70+ years. (My parents ate their wedding dinner here 69 years ago!) Originally, the china, crystal and silver was collected from all over Europe. Each table is set with mismatched patterns...and it works! It is so charming...and sets the meal off perfectly. This charming restaurant was a favorite of Duncan Hines. If you are ever in Central FL, you should take the time to visit this lovely restaurant.

    Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week,
    Jane (Artfully Graced)

  28. The floral centerpiece is so pretty. I like the glasses w/the etched floral patter. I say mixing and matching works, but that's just my humble opinion. Your chandelier is georgous! Thanks again for inviting the blog world into your dining room. See ya next time.

  29. Bill,

    You've raised the bar with this one. This is truly spectacular. I love the mixing of crystals. That's what makes the setting even more beautiful. The flowers are gorgeous. Of course the china is the center of attention and rightfully so. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent with us.

  30. Bill! OHHH! I think this mixing and matching is call eclectic and shows a confident sense of style! I love ANYTHING Haviland. The saucers look curved? The friend who suggested you snip the stamens on the lilies likely got too close when she was smelling one and ended up with a yellow nose--I did today :) Great photos!!!

  31. Hi Bill,
    I love the look of mixing the much more interesting! Your tablescape is gorgeous! The lighting is stunning! I'd never heard that about the stamens...sounds like too much trouble. I think I'm a lazy gardener. :-) Love the shot of your is just beautiful! And I love your have such a wonderful collection! It is so much fun hearing about your fabulous finds each week! Thanks for another wonderful TT!

  32. I have to confess, the first thing I noticed was not the mismatched glasses ... but the flowers. I always notice them first! Fab table -- gorgeous dinnerware, and I love the shape of the "can" coffee cups. I also love that you used an ashtray on the table! It works great!

  33. BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT and SO INVITING! Certainly, not everyone would be able to mix/match the stemware with the fabulous results that you have achieved. I love all of the tableware your dining room and your photography but I especially liked the succinct description above/below each pic which really told the "story" well. Great job! I thoroughly enjoyed your post...the only thing better would be to sit down to dinner at your table!

  34. Your table setting is beautiful!! Love the mix & match stemware.


  35. One word... Gorgeous. Every single detail.

    Bill, I love when you show us the various shots; the big picture and and all of the interesting close-up details of your beautiful tables.

    I much prefer the look of mix and match ~ it adds such interest to the table.

    Fine job (again) !

  36. I love the mix of your patterns. I want to go with you to your wonderful estate sales. You have certainly eyed some bargains! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos with us today.

  37. A wonderful tablescape again Bill. The flowers were beautifully arranged. I agree about the stamen especially on a table arrangement. It is a good idea to remove it if they are in a tall vase with a lot of people passing as it does stain clothes.

    The table in candle light is so warm and inviting.

    I too love mix-match. When I lived in London I used to meet friends in an antique tearoom and they had all different cups, saucers and plates and we use to have so much conversation about the patterns etc..

    Great photography too, Jackie.

  38. HI. I just saw your name on an other blog and curious me was looking what you had showed on Outdoor Wednesday. I fell right in todays tablescape. You Americans set the most beautiful tables.All the glasses with gold and the china with gold. Just beautiful. Never seen anything like it.We don't know this in our country and in Europe at all I think. You made all beautiful pictures too. My compliments.
    Have a nice day.
    Riet, The Netherlands

  39. Nothing more could be said! Such beauty and elegance could only come from someone with your apparent excellent taste! Thanks for sharing.

  40. Mixed or matched it really doesn't seem to matter because your tablescapes are always amazing.
    A delight for all the senses, I'm sure I could even taste the chocolate!
    Maggie @ Normandy Life

  41. Bill, I saw where you wanted to be Marty's next door neighbor for the brownies, but I would like to be yours, so you could come and set my tables. Yours is awesome and I like the mismatched crystal together.

    I also let you a message on Outdoor Wednesday about Jackson..

    Have a great day.

  42. Everything is just beautiful! Loved the glasses. I like to mix things up as well. I didn't use to - I had to have everything matched (probably my mother)! Your table, again, exquisite!

  43. So many great ideas! I am the biggest fan of wedding ring china, and have amassed a collection, but it never occurred to me to find the glassware to go with it. The flowers were another brilliant idea, bringing in a few geranium sprigs to add color? Who would have thought of that? The dishes are gorgeous, and so is the entire table setting. This table has some serious swoonability!
    ♥, Susan

  44. Bill,

    I always come to your posts first to see what wonderful things you have done! They are one of the highlights of my week! The mix of glasses is perfect...I agree with you and all the other comments that it is much more interesting. I'd love to have a "how to" post of flower arranging if you ever have the time! Thanks for sharing your home! Debra

  45. Bill, Your post is again stunning!
    I also love the gold-rimmed glasses, especialy with floral patterns.


  46. HI Dear Bill! Everything is beautiful! Haven't heard from you in a while and hope all is well.
    Be a sweetie,

  47. Appropriate? It's absolutely gorgeous. I just wish I lived in Tennessee and could invite myslef over for a photo shoot or better yet, dinner! This really is lovely, Bill, and you take amazing pictures (photo-shopped or not). :-)

    Your flower arrangement is stunning. I adore beautiful flowers. I've been playing with a blog post using some silk ones I had from wreaths, but now I want to throw it all out and start over... well, maybe. LOL!

    I think it is perfectly acceptable to mix the crystal (and the sterling, too, for that matter). It sets a more interesting table. I love to use sterling goblets with crystal ones. And I like to mix my crystal, too.

    Great job!


    Sheila :-)

  48. Bill, that is gorgeous!
    I love the china, what a deal..and the glasses look wonderful..
    I agree about the fresh flowers, and I use them whenever I can..just adds something special..
    Beautiful table..thanks for sharing!

  49. Bill, what a gorgeous table setting! Even though the glasses are different it all goes together so beautifully. I love how you added pictures in different light . . . it's amazing how dfferent things stand out in different light and something you may not have noticed before suddenly pops out at you.

    Thank you for sharing . . . now where's dinner? LOL!


  50. The first thing I actually noticed was that very beautiful chandalier :-) I would never have thought anything about the miss-match glasses, I think they all look gorgeous together. You've done an amazing job, as always Bill. I love the scalloped edges on those beautiful plates. Wow, I wish I could come to dinner ;-)
    And beautiful flowers too.
    Have a wonderful day.

  51. Oh, Bill, so very imaginative to mix the glassware. Otherwise, pretty.

  52. Hi Bill~ ~Stunning! The first thing I noticed is the chandy, it's lovely and I've got chandy on the brain for my diningtoom and foyer.

    I recently posted about beginning to collect pink flowered dinner plates to do mismatched settings. I just enjoy the uniqueness of it. I've never been one to follow the leader.

    Your Haviland is to die for~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  53. Hi Bill,

    Your table today is so beautiful and elegant.
    Love everything about it from the China, gold rimed glasses and the flowers.
    Just wonderful and I think mismatched glasses are perfect, I love antique and new too.


  54. Beautiful! Everything you do is so lovely and elegant.

  55. Bill, I am always up way too late on Thurs. nights viewing these gorgeous tables, but I ALWAYS have to see yours!!!!!!!!! This one is no exception: you do it all so BEAUTIFULLY! The china was a FABULOUS find! Lucky you! The mismatched crystal is stunning, makes it feel so comfy and inviting! The next time I post a table I hope you will come take a peak:):) Have a wonderful week! Pinky

  56. Gorgeous table. Your china is beautiful and I love it paired with the mismatched stemware. It makes an amazing statement. Thanks for sharing.

  57. Hi Bill,
    Thank you so much for stopping by my very first TT .
    I have to tell you that I spent quite some time admiring your table and absolutely could not see that your stemware didn't match until you pointed it out. Your table was stunning and I just sat and admired the whole effect. I don't know how you get grocery store flowers to look so great - I just plop mine in a vase, I am beginning to see that there just might be a little more to it!
    Thanks again - I enjoy my visits to your site.

  58. Yet ANOTHER gorgeous, formal table! I love the mix! I totally believe that mixing is the way to go!
    Love the arrangement! Love the dishes!


  59. Bill I love the mix! It added a lot of interest to the table. Your centerpiece is beeutiful :)

  60. Bill you are sooooooo talented!!! I thought I was looking at a magazine with your beautiful pictures. Your photography is wonderful and your dishes are so beautiful. I loved the softness of the lighting that the candles provided. I felt like I had been invited to the most elegant dinner!!! What time should I arrive?????

    Katherine S.

  61. I actually like things that don't match, but "go together". It's the thrill of the hunt, and finding things to put together that's fun.

  62. Happy Pink Saturday! I am in awe of your beautiful!!! I especially love the way the flowers just pop out of the picture and the way the light is reflecting onto the glass ware. You could be featured in any one of a number of home decorating magazines with that beautiful photo spread of your table!


  63. Although I have a nice set of Waterford for 8, we usually use mismatched for dinner parties -- I like that look!

    A very beautiful table -- so elegant.

  64. Hi Bill! You do know how to set a table! What a marvelous presentation. Oh, and these days, I think mismatched is perfectly acceptable and I think, rather stylish. Since I collect blue and white china, mismatched is the order of the day every day. I also have many different types of crystal, and I think the variety gives your table life and personality. Beautiful post and your photography is wonderful.

  65. That's such a gorgeous table, and now you'll have me collecting mismatched gold-rimmed glassware! I particularly adore your evening photography. It's beautiful!

  66. I only do Pink Saturday every other time but I still like to peek around to see what every one has posted each week. Your dining experience is just spectacular. (And I never use a tablecloth or place mats. Love the look of the bare wood table better). Love what you used for a wine coaster...what fun! Everything is fabulous! And thanks so much for the chandelier cleaning tip. Ahem...mine has never been cleaned. Now I don't have an excuse since seeing your great tip. ~ Lynn

  67. Hey Bill

    I've been doing a lot of lurking lately and not much commenting. But this time I wanted to let you know that I've stopped by.

    Your tablescapes are truly wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing them, I read your blog almost daily.

    If you have the time, please stop by The Old Parsonage...I love company!


  68. That is absolutely NOT the first thing I noticed! The first thing I noticed is the first thing I ALWAYS notice about your tablescapes ~ BEAUTIFUL!

    I'm not a 'everything has to match and be pristine' type of person. I prefer a bit of a mix.

    I believe you could set a table with those broken plates you had and make it look elegant!

    Great job!
    Great photography!

    Oh, and I loved your tour too in the previous post!

    All the best,

  69. Lovely. Simply Lovely. And, so who did come for dinner?

  70. it's gorgeous - i love the idea of mixing the crystal like that!

  71. I was just having a coversation with a friend who wanted to share some of her many stemwares she collected over time. But the concern was finding a complete set and having to mix and match. Thanks for letting us know it can be done and done beautifully. Gorgeous!!

  72. I love the un-matched stem ware.The first thing I noticed was the flowers.Your scapes are stunning and elegant.