Sail Away Summer Tablescape

I can’t believe how summer has flown by!  It was a really busy one in the Whitman household!  We spent as much time as we could at our house on the beach in Canada.  It is the home that I lived in until I was eight years old and moved to Texas!  We love living in Texas (as my mother always quotes “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could!”) but I must say that our Canadian summers are a great way to beat the heat.
In my book, Tablescapes: Setting the Table With Style, I featured several tablescapes from our beach cottage.  I thought it would be fun to post the photos here and maybe they would provide some inspiration for you!  
Most of the time, we have wonderful weather in Canada and we eat on the deck but there are always a few evenings that require us to move inside.  The extended family and guests always gather around this antique Mennonite farm table.  It is so charming and has so much character because it is full of grooves and dents.  As we don’t use this table daily, the sailboat in the center of the table is always left there for decoration.  Antique pine chairs line one side of the table and the long antique Mennonite bench (maybe from a church or community centre?) provides flexible seating on the other side.  When the table is not in use, we turn the bench around to face the seating group on the other side of table.  When dinner starts, we remove the sailboat and set it on a side buffet so that we can see each other across the table.
Selecting the table arrangements is one of my favorite things to do. I find it so relaxing and it is a great way to exercise my creativity!  I chose raffia placemats (from the flea market in the South of France) because I wanted something neutral to frame to amazing vintage plates that my mother found several years ago.  They were created for some sort of sailing ship and the crest has an S on it….perfect for my “Schlegel” side of the family!  The blue glassware is extremely inexpensive (about three dollars a piece!) from Pier One but it adds a fantastic dramatic punch to our fairly neutral tablesetting.  The navy and white geometric print napkins from Madison add a bit of a modern touch to to the vintage table and the navy handled nautical flatware is from Pottery Barn.

Although our entertaining at the beach is very informal, we still like to put place cards out when we have guests.  We like to ensure that our friends will get to know our family and the best way to do that is to mix up the seating plan!  These place cards have a navy border and gold sailors knot.
For our salad course, we used another set of vintage plates that my mother found.  This set has a nautical crest in gold at the top.  I love the way the navy rimmed plate underneath it frames the white plate and the raffia placemat highlights the gold crest.

I would love to see photographs of your Tablescapes!  Email me at

1 Comment

  1. Cassie {Hi Sugarplum!} on June 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Hi! I listen to your radio spots every morning on the way to work, and am thrilled to find your blog too! I'm looking for your Father's Day tablescape, sounds amazing!

    And this ship table is so cool…I actually have a 5-foot ship like it (was my grandfathers). I'll have to give this a try (I've got a few tables on my blog)

    Your blog is super cute too…LOVE Kelly! happy weekend!

Leave a Comment