Last year’s Thanksgiving was one of my favorites. It was actually more of a Friendsgiving, which always seems to get more rowdy as the night goes on. Luckily, every plate, platter, salt cellar and smoked glass goblet stayed in tact. After putting up new vintage chintz curtains in the dining room at Pine Hill Farm, I borrowed their pink-and-teal combo for the table. assembling a mix of china in contrasting patterns with simple white plates in between, like an intermezzo for a meal. The monograms on the silverware and napkins aren’t mine (or a rich Aunt’s), but they’re the kinds of things that make even the booziest Suzy feel like Lady Mary from Downton Abbey.
The items I did inherit on the table are very special to me. My grandmother Dottie had a pair of these pressed glass candy dishes that American company Smith Glass has been making since the ‘20s. When Thanksgiving came, she’d fill them up with candy corn (saying, “Turkeys like corn”) and put them in the living room for little hands like hers to find. When Dottie gave them to me, two became four and four became six, thanks to eBay. The knives are fancy and French in a delicious shade of green. I found them at the Rosebowl Flea Market in Pasadena shopping with new friends the first time around.
Here’s how the table came together!
I was in the garment district propping for a story when I saw that gorgeous fabric on the table at Gray Line Linen in all the colors of the curtains. It’s almost like natural bark in a palette that feels fresh. The china picks up the pink-and-teal combo; the smoked glass goblets and graphite candles carry up the gray. Now, with my collection of pressed glass turkey dishes that Dottie inspired, guests always seem to gobble up their soup with a smile.
As for the centerpiece, well, here’s what happened: while I had every intention of getting gorgeous blooms for the table, Mother Nature wouldn’t have it. In less than an hour, a foot of snow fell on Pine Hill, forcing me to think fast. Flowers, after all, don’t have to be real to look chic—sometimes a good fake is all you need. Here I used vintage Italian glass flowers in a footed brass compote, then added silver dollar eucalyptus for a natural touch. To make the gilded leaves, I spray-painted oak leaves gold and scattered them around the table.
And so this year, while we’re between houses, Jaithan and I will happily sit at our parents’ tables for Thanksgiving—his in California and mine in Connecticut as visions of pressed glass turkeys dance in my head.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!