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Entertaining: Not Far From Fall

A friendly fall luncheon puts a twist on the traditional autumnal palette. 

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Aimee Herring

    Say New England and autumn in the same sentence and almost instantly images of those legendary leaves in a kaleidoscope of toasty tones come to mind. For a luncheon in her oceanfront house, artist Susan Harris discards the usual palette suspects and artfully works around cool colors warmed with natural textures. The founder of Seacloth, a fabric and accessory company based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Susan prefers the unpredictable.

    "I think you get a friendlier, more welcoming experience from a table that isn’t so expected," Susan says. "And for some reason, I appreciate entertaining more when winter is approaching. When the weather is cold, you want to nest and share good wine, food, a roaring fire, and conversation with the people you care about the most."

    Photography: Aimee Herring

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  • Aimee Herring

    Susan Harris, artist and founder of fabric and accessory company Seacloth.

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  • Aimee Herring

    The periwinkle-and-brown color scheme is a chic substitute for the usual fall colors of pumpkin, rust, and gold. The ensemble of dinnerware graduates from rough wicker chargers to glazed creamware dinner plates to smooth and glossy polished horn bowls, perfect for a piping-hot winter squash soup. And the olive wood-handled flatware is an ideal fit for this tablescape.

    "Raised Dot" dinner plate, $60, and cereal bowl, $40; both by Frances Palmer. Rattan charger, $15. All items available through Seacloth (203/422-6150).

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  • Aimee Herring

    Simple cotton napkins are pulled together with raffia rings that resemble bundles of straw. Blue-tinted drinking glasses, both vintage and new, complete each setting.

    Susan’s flea-market-find goblets are paired with rimmed goblets by Lindean Mills, $42. The horn bowl by Francis Stoia, $55; olive wood flatware by Alain St. Joanis Cathare, $325 for five pieces; "Bahama Pom Pom" raffia napkin ring, $14; reversible "China Blue Autumn Bean" placemat, $30; and "China Blue" linen napkin, $20; all available through Seacloth (203/422-6150).

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  • Aimee Herring

    Footed rosebud ceramic vase, $350, by Frances Palmer, and chocolate brown square vases, $70–$150; Alex Marshall Design through Seacloth (203/422-6150).

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  • Get the Look

    • When creating an autumn table, remember that all colors seem to mix beautifully with the flaws and variations of raw, natural materials.
    • Keep an inventory of rattan, wood, and other rustic pieces, and pair them with accent colors you love for endless casual settings.
    • Deliberately mismatch vases for an easy, just-pulled-together centerpiece. Fill with a variety of flowers—both fresh and dried—such as thistles, hydrangeas, and dried roses.
    • Add accents like this napkin ring trimmed with wooden-bead flowers, $24; Chateau X through Seacloth.
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