Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Dacha Table Setting From Matthew Mead

Modern Dacha Christmas

I fancy myself a storyteller...or maybe a filmmaker. My mind works like a motion picture and the ideas and designs I dream up play like a movie in my head. I'm often inspired by colors or objects, things I've seen or memories that vividly play in Technicolor. My design and still life work grows from these images and I am able to neatly file away inspirations and ideas for concepts in the future. 

For my Christmas table setting this year I was first inspired by winter. The cool shades of gray and white against the black winter skies. I love nature and wood, and the bare branches of woodland trees illuminated by the moonlight and casting shadows over the endless fields of winter snow. 
I love layers of texture and the warmth of tactile fabrics like faux fur and silk velvet. I am drawn to tone-on-tone design and shapely things that stack and create layers. From the winter influences I dreamed a rustic, remote, woodland dacha. Hand-hewn wooden siding washed in black set out in a winter wood surrounded by a stand of birch trees. I accessed early memories of a children's book illustrated with a fairytale place. Simple spare interiors with wooden surfaces, pewter dishes and natural touches like pine cones and logs. These thoughts all melded together to aide me in selecting pieces to bring my work to life. 
Old washed wooden boards, pieces of simple black pottery. Stones, earthenware and a sprinkling of snow to complete the look. Some might say its not "Christmas" enough!!! Others might glean an authenticity to the mix of pieces I've collected. Each holiday, each gathering of friends and family conjures more then just a place to eat. I long to share experience, perspective, add something "magical" that might not come to be by just placing food on a plate and a plate on the table. 
My goal is to transport and share the running film in my head. And maybe surprise or make readers see things in a way it might have never been seen before. Mix and match with new and vintage elements, consider textures and layers and use elements including items from nature that might not be traditional. Gather, stack, study and create and then make a table- scape that is personally your own. 

A photo from Pinterest brings the exterior of the country dacha to life

Stacking up the style can be the first step in mixing and matching all the elements you might want to include in your holiday centerpiece.

The theme of "winter" broadens the reach of this table setting and opens up the possibilities to using all mix and match elements from faux fur surfaces to vintage flatware and stemware.

Vintage silverware in shades of gray and black team with natural stone stenciled with the season. Use stickers and paint makers to create your own theme or place card holder.

Black stoneware plates are layered with vintage gray soup bowls. Adding a vertical element makes the table- scape more interesting and adds to the menu by providing a service option for stew or chowder.

Vintage wooden cutting boards can serve as chargers to set off each place setting. An old board highlights the center of the table and provides a great place to show off a collection of black pottery. Consider it for creating a runner of candlesticks, a stemware collection or a runway for side serving dishes.
A pulled back view of the table shows a quiet and simple arrangement that beckons guests to come sit and enjoy delicious food and friendship.

A wide weave napkin gets a simple tie with twine and twigs. Gather other elements like pine cones and pods from your own yard.
Vintage glasses in a smoky cast of gray become instant terrariums fitted with faux snow and miniature bottle brush trees.

Use vintage pottery in shades of black and gray as a simple and stark centerpiece with twigs. Paint pottery pieces with Matthew Mead Studio Metallics Fusion Mineral Paint in Brushed Steele to get a similar look for wooden or basket material containers.

Mismatched by similarly hued dining pieces like serving platters, cups and creamers have a casual but curated look and keep the thread of the entire story.


Check out all the fabulous blogs participating in this fun blog hop~~


  1. Matthew, I love how your table is rustic yet elegant. Loving the tiny twigs on the napkins.

  2. Matthew, Your table and vignettes certainly do tell the story of winter's stark cold world outside. And the cozy, simple, elegant and warm world inside your home. The juxtaposition of those two worlds create a table that feels lush and most welcoming. Your attention to detail makes your table so interesting!

  3. I will be coming for dinner in my horse drawn sleigh wearing my hooded fur coat....seriously!! You have a way of transporting us with your images, and this setting did just that. I loved the twigs in the napkins (how simple) and the bottle brush trees in the smoky glasses....always the best over here!

  4. I can just imagine being at this table, candlelit with the moonlight shining through the windows. It takes a true talent to meld the elegant and rustic together to create a truly amazing tablescape.

  5. So stunning Matthew!! I am loving the dark elements you chose for this table and how you made them feel absolutely festive and elegant in such a serene way. Really beautiful!

  6. You are a master at not only styling and photography....but setting the mood with story. I love the drama of the dark shots here. Thanks for joining us!


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