From The Project File~ Rustic Meets Refined
Let's talk seriously about placemats vs. chargers. I don't know about you, but I always use one or the other on our dining table; even if I've laid a table cloth. Despite best intentions, eating is not a perfect art; that is to say, stains happen.
I only like the kind of placemat that can be damp-wiped clean, but I do not care for the shiny, plastic or somewhat spongy vinyl type. I prefer natural styles such as woven grasses. I have never, ever had success with placemats that need to be laundered. Even with the gentlest of care, fabric placemats (cotton, blends, whatever) seem to shrink or become misshapen even when allowed to air dry.
There's nothing more frustrating than a set of placemats of disparate sizes. Bad surprise.
All of this just to say that I prefer chargers. Generally they are a low stress option, storage issues notwithstanding, and they simply work better with our style.
Recently I shared a design idea for new chargers with Larry. Although table top decor problems are generally not something he concerns himself with, he very kindly brought my idea to life.
Wood slats. Love Them.
Here is our first set of four. You might be asking, are these chargers or are they mini-pallets? To which I answer, yes.
Actually, my chargers and our pallets might be cousins many times removed. They do share a certain family resemblance.
We only do things one way at Remnant, and that's the right way. Larry won't settle for shortcuts. So the chargers are both glued and nailed with tiny pins. I purposely chose slats with old and rusted nail holes because they lend character and speak to the wood's vintage. And I like the fact that the plates set up above the table top a bit. It's a bit like using little trays as placemats.
I have never figured out the difference between dressy-casual and casual-dressy. I'm sure my tablescape is one or the other, and true to my eclectic leanings, I meshed a variety of styles and textures. I think the new chargers are great and anchor the tablescape perfectly. One thing is certain, they fit well in a seaside setting.
The chargers are also a great compliment to this arts and crafts themed china, and I'd like to digress for a moment and tell you about it.
I found 6 place settings of this great Noritake dinnerware a few years back at a little shop in a tiny town about 20 miles away. The store is named The Lucky Dumpster, and aptly so. I really walked away with a bargain, having paid only $35 for the entire set. On the underneath side of the dinner plates, below the Noritake stamp, it reads, Made in Occupied Japan. Therefore it is easy to date the dishes as just-post World War II. There are a few pieces that are either older or newer, because they simply say Japan. Regardless of age, I think the set is amazing.
I will say that Larry truly loves these dishes. There is something about them that reminds us both of a Frank Lloyd Wright dining room. And they look at home in the rustic minimalist decor direction we seem to be traveling.
For a touch of elegance, I paired the chargers with my folk's sterling silver candlesticks; one of the cherished family heirlooms. And I filled my antique crockery pitcher with late-season hydrangeas. The sage green fade of summer is incredible.
One last note. The simple white cotton napkins shown above are from the shop, Boat House, that I mentioned in a recent post. Boat House is the great home interiors boutique in Ganges, British Columbia. For a few pictures, venture back here, and scroll to the end of the post.
What do you think of our latest project? What do you prefer to use on your table~ placemats, chargers, cloth, or nothing at all? Comments encouraged (and highly valued).
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