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Valentine

Valentine By Design


Valentine Tablescape

BY PAT BURNS

Because I enjoy tablescaping for every holiday, you’d think it would be easy to repeat the holiday table themes year after year. All I need to do is go to my garage and look for the shelf that’s properly labeled for the celebration pull out the clear storage container and bring it to the dining room to easily consider the materials at hand. Seems logical enough but as I set this year’s valentines I needed to reconsider a variety of designs

ValentineRecently there were two new purchases I made that were going to alter the usual setting. One sweet find from Hobby Lobby was pink plate chargers with heart-shaped cutouts around the rim. The other was two red flower candle rings I found online for the pillar candles.

“And then I saw it. Sitting on the buffet table is one of my very favorite treasures and I had never thought of using it as a dinner centerpiece. It is the Lalique Champs-Élysées Grand Bowl. This 1951 masterpiece of finely engraved crystal was designed by Marc Lalique and has rightly endured as the ultimate symbol of French luxury.”

After laying down the white tablecloth and red runner it’s time to begin setting the table. The pink chargers with heart-shaped cutouts were set first and then I used white Wedgewood china (slightly smaller) dinner plates that were the right size so that enough of the heart cutouts could be seen on the chargers. Next, I laid salad plates with pink and white ruffled ribbon bows and then topped those plates with Pottery Barn heart-shaped salad/dessert plates. Decades ago I purchased these plates that have conversation heart messages (also known as Sweethearts) on each plate like “Be Mine” and “You’re Hot.” Using four different plates, each from a different manufacturer, might sound a bit unconventional or more like the “family-dinner” scene from the 1996 film Birdcage but, the uniquely different towering plates were just the look I wanted.

valentineOnce I set the Grand Baroque silverware, the crystal glasses, and the rolled pink napkins held together with a heart-shaped napkin ring, I was just about finished. The last two stages are the candles and the centerpiece. At this point, I observe the table setting from various positions around the dining room for a couple of days.

Design-wise, I knew the table needed something different other than flowers or another candle for the centerpiece. There must be something from one room or another that symbolizes the message of love and elegance for this tablescape.

“The happiest moment for me was my daughter’s reaction to seeing the table.”

And then I saw it. Sitting on the buffet table is one of my very favorite treasures and I had never thought of using it as a dinner centerpiece. It is the Lalique Champs-Élysées Grand Bowl. This 1951 masterpiece of finely engraved crystal was designed by Marc Lalique and has rightly endured as the ultimate symbol of French luxury. Now, adorning my table with the grand bowl as the centerpiece completed this year’s Valentine-themed tablespace.

The happiest moment for me was my daughter’s reaction to seeing the table. She and my two granddaughters came over for a visit and my daughter said the Valentine’s table was her favorite. This always makes me smile because it’s what I lovingly hear them say for each holiday table. The true test of her praise was when I asked her what would she like from a table like hers and with a wave of her arms over the entire table she convincingly said, “All of it!”

Voilà! I’m convinced and delighted.

Enjoy more tablescapes from Pat here.

Pat Burns

About the author

Pat Burns is the co-founder of the Orange County Children's Book Festival, a celebrity journalist, film reviewer and a consultant for nonprofits

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