Source: Pioneer Press
Set the Table for Summer
The outdoor dining and entertaining season is here. We may finally be able to set a dining table outside for our guests (but have the pontoon boat at the ready just in case the monsoon season begins again). Liven up your summer table with a piece or two of seasonal table fare. Not only will specially chosen pieces perk up your table, over the years of collecting just one or two at a time, there will be a story behind each one.
Assess your table linens for outdoors and in. Take stock of any changes or additions you could make that would be a refreshing change. Consider adding a second color over top of an existing solid color tablecloth or add print napkins to a solid tablecloth. This works in reverse as well, adding solid napkins, or even a variety of solid but coordinating colors to a print tablecloth.
Consider whether you might need additional serving pieces like platters, bowls or pitchers. If you have mostly solid colors in dishware or table linens, a whimsical painted pitcher would be a great addition. The same would be true for a colorfully painted platter. After the food is long gone, the platter will anchor the table with color until the last guest departs. All you need is a large colorful piece or two to create a festive table.
Serving utensils can be like small pieces of art, sculptural, whimsical and fun, or handsomely traditional. Whatever the style of your tableware, dinner guests always appreciate weighty utensils that work well and are handsome to boot.
Family Outdoor Dining and Picnics
Families with smaller children may especially want to consider fun and festive dishware in safe, durable plastic. This year the colorful designs are particularly hip and easy to find. Target offers some great looking sets as does Crate & Barrel.
World Market may also be a good bet. This just might be the year to stock or restock your picnic basket for walks in the forest preserves, trips to the beach or special evenings at Ravinia.
To assist you in setting your table for summer, any of these sources are worth a stop when you are downtown: I.D. at 3341 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773.755.4343; Material Possessions at 704 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312.467.1490, and in Winnetka at 954 Green Bay Rd., 847.446.8840; No Place Like at 300 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, 312.822.0550; Pass the Salt & Pepper, 3310 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773.975.9789; Porte Rouge at 1911 W. Division St., Chicago, 312.269.2800; Stitch, 1723 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, 773.782.1570; Table Manners, 2112 Central St., Evanston, 847.492.9664, and Williams Daniels at 1918 W.Montrose Ave., Chicago, 773.293.3851.
For very special linen pieces go to Frette on Oak Street and Pratesi just down the street for a look at sumptuous silks, linens and cottons. Bedside Manor Ltd. on Halsted or on Green Bay in Winnetka is a wonderful place to look for table and bed linens, guest towels and hand towels.
For sources that may be closer to home, try Multiple Choices, 843 Elm St., Winnetka, 847.441.5240; Dinner At Eight, 1167 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette, 847.251.8380; Adesso in Highland Park at 600 Central Ave., 847.433.8525. Also The Artisan Shop in Plaza DeLago, Wilmette, always has something stunning you can’t quite decide if you have to give it as a hostess gift or it would be alright to keep it for yourself.