Thursday, 24 May 2012

DANGER - Novice At Work!

No - not Ken Tate's fabulous dining room setting that appears above,! I have to admit to feeling rather lazy when it comes to showcasing projects at Hill House.

I am in constant awe of the industrious nature of my fellow bloggers, whose posts are littered with calorific culinary creations, fabulous furniture transformations and high drama house renovations on a daily basis.

I tend to be one of those people who sits back and gasps in wonder and delight at the efforts of others, egging on their hard work while casually making lists and planning my own schemes, all from the comfort of an overstuffed chair and a computer screen - a cup of tea and a biscuit always within arms reach. While this of course allows my brain to gratefully receive an abundance of glorious inspiration - the downside of living vicariously through others is that while I know what I want, and am a dab hand at putting a mood board together - the project itself is rarely attempted.

Perhaps my attachment to a permanently seated position has much to do with my previous life in an office - albeit a fairly glamorous one. Throughout most of my career, the majority of my day would be spent on my derriere - all the better to accommodate the wearing of 5 inch stilettos I suppose...

However recently, - and as wellington boots are my current foot ware of choice, - I have decided to inject a bit more oomph into my daily routine. I have endeavoured to attempt (and more importantly complete) more creative projects, and in a (feeble) trial to get the creative juices flowing - my first project - to ease me in gently you understand - has been to play around with table settings - or tablescapes as they now seem to be called.
Indeed it seems that there is a growing industry building up around the setting of a dining table - much fueled by the likes of me - I have at least five hard back books on the topic of 'setting a table' alone!
Now, I adore hosting dinner parties, and have long relished the opportunity to play around with a trinket or two when it comes to decorating a table. I have also received a few compliments in my time for my ingenious use of a rice mould - but then guests are paid (in food) to say nice things about one's table aren't they? Woe betide the guest who turns up and criticises the hostesses' use of ornamental vegetables as table decoration, regardless of how questionably shaped these vegetables may be...even a bulbous marrow can add a certain zhush to a table layout - believe me - I've seen this done in real life...!
However, attempting to display ones extremely limited styling 'skills' in the public arena is a totally different thing altogether, and I have to admit to feeling rather like a pre-schooler showing off a 4 year old's interpretation of a horse - "What a lovely chicken darling...oh? It's a horse!"
Anyway dear readers, here it is - a bit basic with crumpled linen - but remember - I'm just playing around - if you were really coming for dinner, there'd (and I'd get you too tipsy with cocktails to notice the bare bits!). In reality this is an excuse to get out my new Susie Watson bowls, and please ignore the colours on the wall and chairs...these are all projects that are still a work in progress (you see!), although happily there are dates in the diary, so at some point in the not too distant future, there will be a proper dining room 'reveal'. Right. I'll shut up before I go too apologetic and 'Hugh Grant' on you.
...Okaaaaay - so admittedly still a work in progress! So here, for the sake of relieving your eyes of my cobbled together efforts, and adding something a tad more sophisticated in the eye candy department, here are some professional tablescapes that cause my legs to tremble and my heart to soar (including Ken Tate's first image). Forget the food - I think that I would be constantly swatting at my guests hands in an attempt to stop these marvelous vignettes from being tarnished with use. Can you imagine - "Darling, we're not actually going to EAT in here - this table is just to be ADMIRED - we're having a take-away in the kitchen!"

Let's start simple...pretty and simple - and yet SO effective...

I like this one below also because of it's simplicity...although perhaps I'd offer my own guests a spoon!
Okay, we're upping the ante slightly with this one - but still quite casual dining - and I TOLD you there'd be vegetables!
A bit more going on here...I'd love to be brave enough to use trees on my table!
How beautiful is this...sigh!
Okay, so going in a slightly more formal direction now...
One day my dining chairs will be re-covered and look similar to this...(project number 1,952!)
...And the 'piece de resistance'...who would want to eat when you could gaze at a (hopefully fake) peacock all night!
Right then - I'm off to stretch my legs and place a gourd on the table - Bon Appetite!

p.s. For those of you who haven't already, don't forget to enter my giveaway from my last post. The winner will be revealed on Monday - best of Luck and have a Glorious weekend!

Paula x


  1. Your home looks absolutely beautiful, you obviously have a great knack at putting things together! Don't beat yourself up about a crumpled tablecloth ... who wants perfection? Have a lovely day, Claire xx

  2. Beautiful design ideas! First time here and loving your space.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  3. I love your 'tablescape' it looks very inviting. The others are fascinating too, though I hate trees and large flower arrangements and always get them removed in hotels and restaurants, I want to see the person opposite, not green branches. The gourds I like!

  4. Lovely tablescapes but your one is so natural and inviting as is the first of your samples - simple and as you say, so effective. As a newcomer I'm really enjoying reading your blog. Enjoy your day, Patricia

  5. You had me when you mentioned cocktails! Actually I think your setting is lovely and does have the advantage of cutlery.

  6. I'd dine at your table any day! An honest blog is the best blog!!! Oh and by the way....I love wrinkled linen.

  7. I'm smiling Paula because you were brave enough to admit you would rather be sitting. Your table looks lovely and your bowls beautiful. No need to get fancy when it's being with friends and family that count the most!


  8. What a lovely table - pale pink and green look wonderful together. Your chandelier is really beautiful too! I bought a similar hydrangea about 6 weeks back and the white blooms have faded to green - it still looks fabulous!

    Those pictures are wonderful too, although I'm not sure about the peacock - do you think it would stare at you over the soup? xxx

  9. Hi Paula,

    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. You always make me smile, even with your comments :-)!

    You are far too modest! I like your dining room and your table very much. They look so English! Your green glasses and pink bowls are very pretty.

    If I were you, I wouldn't change the colour of the walls. It looks very chique.

    Have a lovely weekend & good luck with your projects :-)!

    Madelief x

  10. Hi Paula,
    A girl after my own heart! I'm much more interested in styling the table than slaving over a hot stove!
    Yours looks wonderful, any of your guests would be very lucky to get an invite!
    Have a lovely week.

  11. What a fine start Paula - you are talking yourself down because that setting is perfectly lovely, especially with the beautiful, abundant hydrangeas & the lovely pink Susie Watson plates. I love coloured glassware & those green ones are just so elegant!

    I would be happy to style tables than cook the food & my idea of fun is to browse through my growing hoard of tablesetting books, thanks for the lovely inspirational photos ♥

    Dee at the Carlton
    PS - Chatsworth House had the same problem with their massive table cloth last week as it could not be ironed flat; it was blamed on too much starch so you can use that one too ...

  12. I love your table scape, the white Hydrangeas and the green glasses. I used to have some glasses like those but I don't know what happened to them. The color of your walls made me go ahhh. I think that is a wow factor.(I like them).

  13. Your table setting is beautiful Paula - love the hydrangeas and the chandelier and you're armoire is gorgeous. The room itself is divine too with those beautiful high ceilings AND a fireplace. I wish I had a fireplace in my dining room sigh!! It's gorgeous now so it will be stunning when you're finished with it!!


  14. dear paula,

    thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a kind comment. this is my first time here and i love your writing style. i love that you admit to liking to sit! so refreshing. and i'm always in awe of blogers who do so much too. my favorite table setting is always the simplest. in my mind, simple is luxurious. xo janet

  15. Oh Paula, elegance personified! Your dining area is to be envied. You have marvelous taste and I love your writing style. We are rather rustic around here, my table adornments usually consist of a crock of fresh picked flowers, so am rather drawn to the shabby chic table with Hydrangeas... I could handle that.
    Thank you for visiting my garden. I always say, that if I can create a garden, anyone can. It's simply a matter of planting things you love. A lot of "hit and miss", but you learn a lot along the way.

  16. Paula anyone can forgive a wrinkle or two on the tablecloth in exchange for such an elegant china cabinet and chandelier. Pale hydrangeas are my favourites, sadly I have already killed two!

    Just think if you didn't do all that sitting down you wouldn't have the glorious inspiration that you do to write this brilliant blog.

  17. Paula, you have such a beautiful blog! Thank you so much for coming to visit today and following! Looking forward to browse through your blog! I am also your new follower!

  18. Paula dear you have captured it all, from the elegance of elegant to the rustic of all things with history. I find it so funny that the worst room always looks its best with things of rustic charm, you notice nothing but the beauty of its settings. I drool over the beauty of those wonderful formal English homes, but when it comes to an old 100 year old dinning table that looks like it was drug in from the yard it just speaks to me, and I love its language.

    Thank you dearly for all the supprort you give me and my created pieces from old out-dated and lifting it to a soulful place of honor :)
    You are the best.
    Have a week of beauty and inspiration.

  19. Hi Paula
    What a great setting, I just don't seem to have the time to set out the table for my blog.
    Thank you for your very sweet comments :o) I'm behind and trying to catch up with everyone - May has decided not to move in, but happily is still visiting each night for a free feed. Mork and Mindy are much the same - I saw their new 'Mom' in the week, she feels sad that they hadn't moved in. I shall put a 'To Let' sign up and see what develops!
    Have a wonderful week.
    Rose H

  20. I just loooove your sense of humour ... and your honesty. I'm exactly like you, a work in progress although the trouble is, I'm probably about twice your age ! The good thing about growing old, though, is accepting who you are and not feeling the pressure to be perfect anymore (well, not so much anyway). I hope I'm not repeating what's said in the comments above, I was too lazy to read them first before writing ! XXXX

  21. You did it, Paula! Your table setting looks divine!! I don't even bother spreading a table cloth....just some rattan / wicker place mats thrown on the table. I'm too tired from all that gardening. BTW, I love your white ironstone soup tureen (third & fourth photos)....looks French? And, your painted vitrine cabinet with all the white ware....beautiful!! Please show us more :-)
    Cheers & talk soon!

  22. i love your blog... so many lovely pictures!
    glad to meet you :)
    have a sweet day,

  23. Ah, table settings....endless possibilities, lovely aren't they??!!

    Thanks so much for your comment today :) We are staying in Sheringham....and my friend (who owns the cottage) has given me 5 sheets of A4 with places that I must visit!! Holt and Wells next to the sea are both on it....I cannot wait!! It's been a while since I saw the sea, I need to sit in a cafe, eat cake, drink tea and feel some sea air on my face :)

    Enjoy the long week-end....altho they're never so much fun as when we worked & it actually meant a proper day off are they??!! XXZ

  24. Still enjoy your blog. I love your storytelling and your table is lovely. Love Audrey!!


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