Seasonal table settings

Add zing to holiday gatherings with help from local Hudson Valley shops

Hudson Valley design stores, holiday decorating

Sitting around a table with family and friends for the holidays is a wonderful thing, and having a beautifully decorated table can turn your meal into a festive event. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task—the inspiration of the Hudson Valley is at your fingertips.

One such place for inspiration is Global Home, in Beacon,  the perfect name for a store whose owners travel the world to hand-pick their merchandise. Six years ago, Vivian Hung and Joe Giamarese left the corporate world of Manhattan to open their first store in the sleepy town of Jeffersonville. After looking for an up and coming community on the Metro North line, they chose Beacon for their second location.

Vivian, formerly an art director who worked with companies like Martha Stewart Omnimedia, has a wealth of ideas if you need them.  Whether you need help in this area or not, the shop carries pieces that will delight the eyes. For instance, the Palm Leaf bowl would be great as a centerpiece filled with farm-fresh root vegetables like turnips and radishes and purple kale or cabbage. This makes for inexpensive—and edible —décor. The best kind!

To add warmth with wood, their shesham bowls are fantastic and come in a few different sizes. Use them for salad, along with the Branch Salad Servers, or as part of a dessert course, filled with fruit. For sparkle, pick from their collection of hammered silver bowls or the antler candlestick holders.

Visions of pewter

If you love the old world feel of pewter, Bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy in Rhinebeck has a beautiful collection of lead-free pewter dishware and serving pieces. Pewter “screams holidays,” according to owner Sean Nutley.  Dress up your table with the understated sophistication of a gorgeous pewter platter or cake stand. For a less expensive touch, or as a nice gift, the coasters are the way to go. The rectangular serving trays can be used to gather tea or coffee cordials and accoutrements or they serve as a great base for pillar candles surrounded by magnolia branches accented with flowers or fruit. Depending on the holiday, pomegranate and persimmon add an unexpected touch.

While we’re on the topic of pewter, there are a zillion antique stores in the Hudson Valley, don’t be afraid to shop them for small vases and vessels. Tag sales are great too. You never know what you’re going to find. You don’t have to stick with pewter. Brass is also a nice choice, for those not opposed to a gold hue. Use short wide vessels to float dahlia or poinsettia heads along with floating candles. Use tall or small vessels for an assemblage of faux berries (found at any hobby store) and branches.

In addition to the pewter tableware collection, there are other unique items at Blue Cashew.  A stainless steel creamer and sugar set—highly coveted by this writer—is a wonderful addition to any modernist’s coffee service. Also check out the Iittala collection of dishware for the holidays. The pieces adorned with owls are reminiscent of Gustav Klimt.

On the other side of the river, Materia Locus owners Matt Ensner and Megan Sommerville have perfectly curated their collection of home wares and artisan-made goods for the table. At the top of the list are the exquisite clam and oyster shell servers made of an alloy called alpaca silver. The great thing about this metal is that it does not tarnish.

Both the stoneware creations by Accord artist Brinton Baker and the simple, stylish ceramic pots by Ben Wolf would be lovely lined with burlap and overflowing with a cornucopia of gourds.

High Falls Mercantile is another go-to source on the west side of the Hudson. Co-owner Larry Ruhl is a designer and entertaining fanatic. According to his partner, Jeff Serouya, he has an addiction to vintage linens, but thankfully he is kind enough to share. His finds are available for purchase.

You can’t miss the giant mound of vintage silverware at Mercantile. Sold for five dollars a piece, this is a great starting point for an eclectic table. Pick your color—you have fifteen to choose from—for napkins in Belgian linen and you’ve immediately softened the look for a dash of casual elegance.

Whether you’re looking for a statement piece or a new take on the staples, these four local resources can dress up a table for you and your guests to enjoy this holiday season.

Bonus!- Quick and affordable table decorating ideas:

  • Look to nature as a resource, including your garden
  • Don't be afraid to mix different styles
  • Layering different textures is key
  • Shop the Hudson Valley for inspiration

bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy
6423 Montgomery St., Suite 3, Rhinebeck

Global Home
155 Main St., Beacon

Nicole Ashey is the principal of Burlock Decorating & Home Staging. She lives in Beacon and is one of the organizers of the art event Electric Windows. Her two favorite things, outside of her family, are yoga and food.