Monday, August 30, 2010

Flaxen Charms

A wooden table, a stack of plates and some rustic table linens are all it takes these days to send my brain whirling into a reverie of delight. They conjure up visions of al fresco dinner parties in the French countryside, and this autumn I am determined to recreate a little of that unostentatious glamour stateside.

I have long been a fan of Libeco Home and these "Amherst" table linens are a favorite. The sight of those classic red stripes against the undyed flax makes me want to whip up a loaf of crusty artisanal bread immediatement.

Iron them lovingly, or even better, line-dry them for a sexy no-fuss glamour that's more in line with the simple charms of a meal like roasted chicken and strawberry Pavlova.
(Amherst linen napkins by Libeco Home, $14.76 each)

Rocking the same theme at a slightly lower price point, I found these lovely little cotton napkins the other day, each embroidered with a French pastoral theme. At only $18.95 for a set of six, I may need a stack of them.
(Berger napkins, via American Country Wicker. Now sold out.)

Finally, there's this lovely Axel Vervoordt-inspired table runner from Mothology. Its classic lines and warm hues make any dwelling resonate with the spirit of a country house in Belgium.
(Red striped table runner, Mothology, $42)


Lily said...

All you need to complete the table setting is of course some Vanessa Bell painted plates- her brightly colored Bloomsbury swirls would be perfect!
If you could invite a picnic table full of fascinating characters (alive or dead) for a candlelit feast who would they be?

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Lily: Oooh, what a great question! Just off the top of my head...

Women: Ottoline Morrell, Isabella Blow, Sybille Bedford, Princess Galitzine (aka heiress Aimee Crocker), Lesley Blanch, Pamela Mason (witty ex-wife of James Mason).

Men: Beverley Nichols, Hamish Bowles, Robert Shaw, Peter Ackroyd, Charles Dickens, Cecil Beaton, Dominick Dunne.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

And DIrk Bogarde.

S said...

Especially love the table runner. have a lovely week!

pve design said...

I spied some of those kitchen linens the other day and they are so beguiling. They make me want to spill something just to clean and use those.
Such flaxen beauty!

Dianne said...

I am loving Lily's question and your answers. Would you dine inside or out and what would be the menu? I am sure your roast chicken is more involved than mine. :) do have Piero in the kitchen. Lucky girl!

I love the linens and for those on a tight budget I found 100% linen napkins at Target for $3.00 each. They were that natural linen color that is so charming.

Chedva @Rooms and Words said...

Lisa, thanks for the wonderful recommendations. Holiday season is approaching here, so- perfect timing!
Love your answer to Lily. You both got me thinking on mine...

DM said...

Oh Lisa, we ARE kindred spirits. If I were dead I'd hope to be invited too! I'll bring Nancy Mitford.

Blue said...

I once had an old linen bed sheet made into dinner napkins - I asked for 3' square but got 18" - because I could not bear to throw it away. Linen has a tremulous quality, almost an inner life of its own ... well, you can guess I love it.

Väva! Veve! said...

I agree! There is so much about linen to appreciate! I weave beautiful things from linen and know that it should be the default fiber for towels! Linen has a certain feel against the skin and a drape that is only linen! It is both romantic and practical, delicate yet strong. So I guess one could say that I am on a one-woman campaign to bring the cotton industry to it's knees, replacing it with the flax industry, which is much more green in it's processing, and much more appropriate in it's fiber for bath and kitchen! And it's beauty is just not to be matched! Aaah!
There I go again. So much linen to weave, so little time! Keep appreciating those things that are good!

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

I'd be your hand maiden at THAT dinner. What conversation! I spy a wonderful gift in these linens for a friend. Lovely!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Rustic table settings just ooze with the perfect ambiance. I adore the linens, & the napkins are a steal. Wishing you many lovely fall evenings spent dining on that marvelous table.

Have a great week Lisa x

Hels said...

You can whip up a loaf of crusty artisanal bread at my house any time :)

Except for the very rich who could always afford the most precious of materials, the rest of us should value the earthy, the hard wearing, the smart and the recycle-able. Sexy no-fuss glamour is spot on.

Aussie New Yorker said...

FINALLY someone who understands the beauty in linen! My brother is the distributor of Libeco in Australia. I am lucky enough to sleep in it, dry myself with it and eat with it. They have beautiful designs. Only problem is alot of them are seasonal now, like fashion. So if you see a design you like, buy it before it disappears!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Dianne: If I could get my back garden in order, I'd set an oak dining table underneath our massive tree and fill it with fairy lights and hanging lanterns. Otherwise, a candle-lit table in our dining room with a crackling fire in view would also suffice.

Menu I need to think about...but I am partial to fresh pea soup with mint, followed by a simple, well-seasoned roast with vegetables (parsnips, onions, carrots -- nothing too starchy to dull the conversation), and then an over-the-top killer dessert involving either chocolate, meringue or marzipan...!

Daniel-Halifax: How could I have left her out?! So glad she's your plus one... :)

Blue: Great story. They are certainly linens to be cherished!

Vava! Veve!: Love your post. Yes to everything.

Aussie New Yorker: Lovely to hear from you -- thank you so much for the inside scoop on one of my favorite companies! I may have to order both the "Amherst" and "Bastide" patterns before they are discontinued... Tell your brother he is one lucky man!

GUGAW said...

agreed, looks gorgeous! now i need these for my garden!

Unknown said...

S w oon! Linen is so much more tactile than cotton -up the flax revolution!

Karena said...

All the difference.... using fine linens makes any occasion specail!

Art by Karena

Véronique said...

Merci pour ces jolies photos. Oui, je suis d'accord, c'est la France en Californie!
Pour le menu, je suggère une salade au chèvre chaud en entrée, suivie d'une palette de porc à la diable avec gratin de courgettes, puis plateau de fromages et tarte aux abricots en dessert.
Je suis votre blog, il est très beau, merci.

mickie said...

beautiful! i am inspired!



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