It’s a not-so-well-kept secret that I love chinoiserie. It’s probably because I adore Asian art and have a tiny obsession with birds showing up unexpectedly in decor. I mean I may not have inspired the classic Portlandia “Put a Bird on It” sketch, but I do love an accidental peacock popping up here and there in my designs.
So, when CB2 debuted the Chelsea Collection, I jumped on board immediately. Whimsical dinnerware with cranes and hummingbirds, let’s set the table ASAP!
A SOFT COLORFUL SCHEME FOR SPRING VIBES
The color scheme for this table setting was completely inspired by the Chelsea Salad Plates. They feature soft shades of aqua, pink and green with just a pop of burnt orange on a clean white background. As such, I thought the rest of the table could handle some color, so I threw it all in the mix.
A MIX OF PATTERNS AND METALS FOR A WHIMSICAL MOOD
Let me just say these plates are versatile, they can be chic and sophisticated, formal and classic or funky and fun. I chose the latter, which meant I wanted to make sure I brought in lots of different textures and patterns into my design.
These plates are rimmed with silver, but that didn’t stop me from mixing up my metals. That’s because all of my colors are warm in tone, so the addition of brass makes sense and keeps it less formal. I also made sure to add a few unexpected surprises to keep things interesting. See where I put a bird on it!?!
THE MORE LAYERS, THE MORE LOOK
This table is set for a fairly typical dinner. I’m using a charger, dinner and salad plate, along with a wine and aperitif glass. I used the Acacia Wood Charger from Target to bring in natural texture and keep things casual. I opted for the Visto Blush Dinner Plate from Crate and Barrel to make my Chelsea Plates pop. And since this is an informal table, and one that would be perfect for dining al fresco, I kept my silver to a minimum.
My glassware is fairly specific but could easily be swapped to accommodate water or a cocktail. Yes, those are vintage sherry glasses, but rest assured there are plenty of new and used options out there to mimic the look.
CENTERPIECES STRAIGHT FROM THE GARDEN
I wanted to keep things a little wild, so I chose flowers and greenery that were unstructured and fell over the edges of my pitchers. Then added a few sticks of bamboo for some straight lines and Asian flair.
These particular arrangements also feature jasmine and ranunculus, which as you might imagine smelled as good as they looked. Seriously, it’s too bad your screen isn’t scratch and sniff.
Even if you can’t pick up these particular varieties of flowers, the important part is the color and loose quality of the greenery. I made sure I mimicked the pink and peach tones of the flowers on my Chelsea plates. And trust me, using pale tea roses, peonies or even tulips would look just as stunning.
Droopy greens should be easy to come by. Great substitutes for the jasmine are eucalyptus and certain ferns. I’d even suggest heading out into the woods for some honeysuckle or raid your landscapes if you have any bushes like heavenly bamboo.
YOUR TABLE IS SET, NOW WHAT
Seeing as how you now have the perfect chinoiserie table scape, why not serve some Asian-inspired fare. Luckily we have a few perfect recipes ready for you to tackle. First start the evening off with some Korean Fried Dumplings, aka Mandu. The great part about these dumplings is that they can be pre-made and frozen. So if you like to do as little cooking as possible on party nights, this recipe is perfect!
I would also serve some Korean Barbecue Spareribs, aka Galbi or Kalbi. These are by far one of my most requested meals, so be prepared to make them for every occasion after you introduce friends and family to them.
The perfect side to any Asian barbecue dish is Kimchi Fried Rice. It’s hearty, a little bit spicy, and best of all, the Kimchi is GREAT for digestion, should you eat too many dumplings, which is naturally a given. Obviously you will also want to treat everyone to some dessert. I love these Korean Sweet Pancakes. They are a fun Korean street food, and can be made in advance.
Finally the perfect beverage to wash everything down is Soju. This Korean Liquor comes in a variety of flavors from Grapefruit to Apple. You can even make your own version with your favorite fruit. Just remember this drink packs a punch. It goes down like a spritzer, but at 19.5% ABV you’ll want to sip instead of swig. Oh who am I kidding, so long as you have reliable and sober transportation, drink as much as you like.