Rediscovered Flatware. A remix.

It's almost Thanksgiving, which is hands down my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving dinner is often one of the few times a year where people dust off their best dishware and flatware. Below is my argument for why you should be using your best everyday and specifically, why you should use silverplate flatware to spruce up your table. 

Yes, my newest obsession is vintage silverplate flatware. Confession, I still have Ikea dishware and flatware. Not a big deal, completely serviceable and practical. But I did imagine by my 30s I would have upgraded from my dorm days at Cal. I know, #firstworldproblems. I have been slowly replacing my Ikea dishware when I have some extra spending money. But Ikea flatware has been a constant companion of mine for too long. 

After using and admiring some vintage silverplate flatware at my most recent Airbnb stay, I decided I wanted a set of my own!  Silverplate flatware is really beautiful, the patina and detail can't be found in anything new.  I knew I could not afford a sterling silver flatware set which runs into the thousands. I was happy to locate and purchase an affordable vintage silverplate flatware set for our everyday and special occasion use. I was looking for a "Z" monogram for our family's surname. Do you have any idea how hard a "Z" monogram is to find for a vintage item?! Almost impossible. So when I found a set that seemed like a fair price, I bid quickly and won. Below is the before photo as posted by the seller. 

As you can see the set looks to be in fairly rough condition. I was keeping my fingers crossed, hoping that once I received it, some elbow grease and a lot of silver polish would help bring this set back to life. It turned out well, I think.

So pretty right? It took a lot of time and effort. I understand now why Downton Abbey had a staff to polish their silver. I think vintage flatware is such a great way to mix old and new into your everyday or special occasion table setting.  Vintage dishware is often very fragile and not dishwasher friendly. It's also difficult to find vintage dishware in mint condition. In contrast, you can still find vintage flatware in very good condition that still has many years left. 

With any room I do, I like to make sure there is a mix of old and new because the tension between the two creates something beautiful. The same holds true for the table. Vintage flatware looks beautiful in contrast to very modern West Elm dishware. See below. 

I know it's difficult to convey the patina of the vintage flatware through photos so I did a side by side comparison. Below is a photo of a vintage silverplated soup spoon adjacent to a stainless steel one. 

The luster of the vintage soup spoon is undeniable and I promise you it's even prettier in person! If you're not into the idea of purchasing an entire set, consider purchasing a couple of pieces and slowly building. You'll end up with the chicest collection of mismatched pieces. Or if you know someone who loves things with a bit of history, this would be the most perfect gift. 

For some very good girlfriends, I picked up a couple of vintage silverplated soup spoons with matching vintage French soup bowls. I can't wait to give it to them.

You use your flatware everyday all day. Upgrade if you also have Ikea flatware hidden in your cutlery drawer! It's the small things in your day that can add up to make it from an average to a great day. Trust me, these gorgeous silverplate flatware pieces will put a smile on your face as you eat your morning cereal. It's been said that using silverplate flatware daily prevents tarnish. Another excuse to`use your best pieces everyday! 

The Map House (Part 1)

If you've been following me on Instagram, you've seen some sneak peeks of a long term project I've been working on for the past year, the Map House Project! I'm really excited to share the final product with you. A little bit of background: the clients purchased a second home to be closer to their first grandchild. If you're lucky enough to have a second home - first, I'm jealous. Second, you can take some liberties with the decor since you're not using the home full time.  

The clients are serious DIYers and have a strong sense of style, which I really appreciated. My role here was more advisory, sourcing and editing, which I was happy to do. The inspiration for the entire house was these simply amazing vintage maps my clients picked up at the Alameda Flea Market. We placed them throughout the home to create a theme for the house.

There were a couple of challenges. The townhouse, though in good condition, was a little bit stuck in the 90's, and updating the home on a budget was going to be difficult. Also, since this was a second home, there would be no preexisting furniture - the townhome would start as a completely empty space. Furnishing a three bedroom condo from scratch is no small feat! Thankfully, decisive clients and the internet are great tools to speed the process along. Below are the maps that served as the creative inspiration!

First up, the foyer.  Here is the before with the prior occupant's furnishings. 

If you've read about any of my projects before, you know I love a well styled foyer. It's the first space to greet guests, the gatekeeper for everything you bring into your home, and in some instances the place where you remove your shoes before entering a home. Foyers are important!

Below is the after. 

Such a cheerful space right? The detail on the vintage armchair is everything. After some searching, we finally found the perfect table lamp to give height and additional lighting.  Since the foyer is adjacent to the dining room, the credenza can store additional serveware, dishware and miscellaneous items.

On to the living room, which I like to call the adult sitting room.  A room meant for relaxing and reading.  Here is the before. 

And the after!

An improvement? A resounding yes. The vintage map of China hangs over the mantle. We pulled shades of green, blue and neutrals from this map to style this room. Those weird cutouts above the fireplace are such a blast from the past. We think they were originally constructed for TVs when they were thicker than a few inches. Remember when? I decided that a collection of larger glass jars would be the perfect way to fill in such an awkward space, it retains visual separation of the two rooms but keeps it light.  


Yes, that's a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree AGAIN. Guilty. I love them, they add so much greenery to a room with those large lush leaves.  And I agree, sometimes things are too trendy, and we should all take a break. For example, it's going to be a very long time until I can embrace chevron again.  But sometimes things are trendy because they are so great, retaining their longevity, and I think Fiddle Leaf Fig trees fall into this latter category.

The arc floor lamp really works here because the ceilings are so high and the space is very airy. Another tip? When purchasing an arc lamp, buy one that has a shaded bottom so no one feels like they're on a spotlight when sitting down. And, as in many of the other houses I've done, no coffee table so the baby and adults can roam freely without worry. The side tables should be sufficient for the occasional beverage or book. 

Follow me to the other side of the fireplace wall where the TV room is located.  Here is the before. 

And here is the after. 

Comfort is the priority for any room made for some serious TV watching. I think we've achieved that goal here. My talented clients actually made most of the throw pillows, and covered that ottoman. Yes, you heard right. I'm not much of a DIYer, nine times out of ten I prefer to purchase versus making something myself. So they surprised me a thousand times throughout this collaboration when I would send a product suggestion and they would respond by saying we can totally make/sew/build that. 

Come follow me upstairs to the guest room/nursery. Here is the before. 

Just because it's a small room doesn't mean it can't have personality.  Take a look at the after. 

Again using the vintage map as inspiration, this time we used this map of Canada to serve as the centerpiece.  This room was designed for the clients' granddaughter when she comes to visit but can also be used as a guest room in a pinch.  The mostly pink map was apt for such a space. 

BW's Room.jpg

The bolder punches of color and the geometric accents bring modernity into the room and are a great contrast against the softer pink hues. My clients completed this room with some handmade accessories, including this hand painted globe.  

We're not quite done yet, one more guest room for this installment.  Here is the before. 

At the top of the list was painting over the yellow walls, which unquestionably dated the space, See below for the amazing after. 

Another vintage map serves as the ideal artwork for this wonderful guest room. The kelly green campaign dresser is fantastic and adds that nice pop of color to the predominately black and white decor. The vintage wooden bench at the foot of the bed brings in the warmth and texture. We created a little office area in the corner as well - see below. 

I will never get tired of vintage chairs. They just don't make them like they used to. The detail on that back is its own accessory. The collection of sister vases I picked up on one of my shopping excursions. I was hoarding them in my inventory closet for the longest time until the perfect space came along. This little corner was it! This guest room will have a waiting list, I'm sure of it. 

That's it for this post, please come back for the second installment where I'll you show you the magic we performed on the kitchen, dining room, master bedroom and bathrooms. Thanks for reading!