There are so many reasons to love summer and I would not complain if it were actually endless. Yet, by late August, when the humidity is unbearable and it’s 98 degrees outside, again, I start to dream about putting on a sweater and roasting dinner in the oven again. Soon, the juicy peaches will be done, and after-dinner ice cream runs will be replaced with baking chocolate chips cookies. At this point, fall takes the reign of “shiny new penny,” and I bask in all the sights, tastes, and smells that it brings.
As the harvest season sneaks up on the calendar, I can’t help but anticipate invitations that we will extend to friends to join us at home. After all, who can argue one of my favorite menus of pear, endive, and goat cheese salad sprinkled with walnuts, a roasted chicken with tender root vegetables, and a warm apple crisp (Okay, okay. There’s probably room for one more scoop of vanilla ice cream).
That’s just the menu that’s dancing around in my head. Before I ever peel beets and turnips, I’m thinking about how to dress my dining room so it becomes an autumnal paradise. With the greatest excitement, I go to my partners at Mark & Graham to achieve that.
I’m on a classics kick right now, and that includes gingham. This might have spilled over from summer, but it works beautifully at any time of year. Here, I draped a sophisticated brown-and-ivory Schumacher Elton cotton check over our round table. The joyful checks make the dining room show off its sunny personality, triggered perhaps by the wonderful light that pours through the windows on an Indian summer day.
Oftentimes an underrated color, this caramel brown is cozy, warm, and seasonally chic for the table. I continued its use for the tablewares, stacking a vintage floral salad plate and brown-and-white spongeware dinner plate over wicker chargers. My faux tortoise-handled flatware was the perfect coordinate to the new tortoise cups from Mark & Graham. The chic tumblers bear my initials in black. A simple monogram finds its way to napkins with sweet, embroidered pumpkins as well.
Charcuterie is on its way to satisfy my guests before those wonderful aromas waft through the air. A marble-and-wood board is a gorgeous way to serve the sampling of cheese and meats (Don’t forget a fig spread. They are in season now and pair so nicely with cheese). And instead of nuts on the charcuterie board, serve a handful individually at the table in these whimsical, turkey-shaped bowls.
Finally, the drinks. Mark & Graham has me covered for everything. I love their oversized champagne bowl that keeps the bubbly cool or the single wine cooler that keeps a white wine crisp and chilled to perfection. Not only do I add them to my own entertaining arsenal, but they also make great gifts.
It’s time to step inside. And it’s time to start thinking about the sweaters, jackets, blankets, and bounty of foods that will make the transition indoors wonderful. As you gather around your formal dining table instead of enjoying a meal al fresco on the patio, remember, there’s visual rebirth in each new season. And it’s beautiful.