Dinner With A Mermaid – Beach Tablescape


Beach Tablescape for Coastal Decorating Style

How to have dinner with a Mermaid

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Here’s my suggestion for a Mermaid themed dinner – acquire the beautiful painting, “The Mermaid” by Rob Hartshorn, hang it in a prominent location your dining room, create a lovely ocean inspired tablescape, and then invite 5 or so of your best friends over for an evening of food, fun, and dreams of the sea.

Every year I decide to participate in one fun, creative, local design event to support our Cleveland design scene. Two years ago I created a serene Zen tablescape (won an award – yeah,) last year I dressed a mannequin featuring my Belgian linen, porcelain flowers, and white feathers for “Project Runway” at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and this year I was invited to participate in The American Society of Interior Designers, Ohio North Chapter – Art, Wine, and Design show. Anything with the word “wine” in the name must be fun, right? I’m in!
The concept for the show was collaboration – combine a local artist’s work from the 78th Street Studios in Cleveland with an interior designer to create an art inspired design vignette. The participating designers were to select an artist’s work and create a space based on that art piece. Being the beach addicted girl that I am – I found inspiration in a painting by Rob Hartshorn named “Erie Storm.”

Painting Erie Storm by Hartshorn

Erie Storm by Hartshorn

Living on Lake Erie I thought the dark moodiness of “Erie Storm” fit the local lake vibe and I could immediately “see” the whole room by just looking at the painting.
That’s how design often works for me – I can see an item, then I have a little spark in my mind and voila – I can visualize a whole room– from just one inspiration piece.
While researching Rob’s art I toured his main Tremont art studio where I discovered what I think is a visually stunning piece, “The Mermaid.” I instantly knew she would be just right for my beach inspired vision. It is a large format painting so the placement would have to be just right to properly display her in my narrow 8×16 space – but I just had to use her, and kindly, Rob agreed!

I wanted my space to be dark and stormy…atmospheric… yet inviting. In a dark space we are drawn to a point of light so lighting the vignette and the painting would be critical.
With the sea and beach as my design theme, I set off with my wonderful design girlfriend, Lisa, to collect driftwood from Lake Erie for the chandelier above the table. We found some great pieces at a local beach, loaded up my little car, and I headed back to the studio. Driftwood was laid out and screwed together, I added lots of crystals for contrast against the driftwood, three chunky rope lights and viola – I had a show stopping chandelier.

Driftwood Chandelier by Feathered Cottage

Driftwood Chandelier by Feathered Cottage

Feathered Cottage - Kohree String Lights

Feathered Cottage – Kohree String Lights

Really, the chandelier and “The Mermaid” painting stopped people as they walked by and then magically drew them into the space. Lighting is key. To complete the lighting component of the design I ordered a set of multiple strand lights that are suspend down off a main wire for around $30. Great effect for not a lot of money. Shimmering sheers were layered over the lights to create an element of sparkle and mystery.

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

I knew that combining my beautiful white Feathered Cottage ceramic tableware by Montes Doggett with the earthiness of my Libeco Belgian linens would create the perfect table setting for a casual beach inspired tablescape.

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape – Montes Doggett

Coastal Tablescape by Feathered Cottage

Feathered Cottage Tablescape

I did need a great table to anchor the space. Something earthy and rustic. Dan Quinn with Kiowa to the rescue.

Feathered Cottage - Dan Quinn Table

Reclaimed Barn Beam Table by Dan Quinn

Dan made a custom trestle table just for the Art, Wine & Design show – what a super, nice and talented person! Dan’s business is reclaiming old barn beams locally and then in his downtown workshop he re-purposes his rustic wood into wonderful new furniture. I LOVE THIS! In Ohio we lose a barn a day, Dan helps our historic barns live on in a new and beautiful way.

Feathered Cottage - Kiowa Reclaimed Barnwood

Feathered Cottage – Kiowa reclaimed barn wood

To give the space a modern vibe I purchased clear poly-carbonate chairs from Zuo Modern. I love these chairs. The Anime chairs are clear so they visually open up a space. I think they look simply fantastic with everything. While they are not the classic “Ghost Chairs,” they are very similar and work perfectly. I love the Ghost Chair style so much I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to Ghost Chairs.

Anime Chair by Zuo Modern

Anime Chair by Zuo Modern

Feathered Cottage - Coastal Theme - Urban Floors

Feathered Cottage – Coastal Theme – Urban Floors

The concrete floor in the open gallery just wouldn’t work for my theme – I needed a wood floor with a casual beach vibe to warm up the vignette. The Cleveland Series from Urban Floors provided a great base layer for the casual theme with its slightly distress feel and light sand colored tone. The pieces went together easily and the feel was just right. It took two people about 1-1/2 hours to lay the floor – a big thanks to my sister for all her help!
My next challenge was finding fabric to cover the sidewalls and a sheer for back wall. I wanted a blue fabric to pull in the water feel. I needed 40+ yards of a blue drape fabric and 30+ yards of a sheer fabric. After much fretting and searching I found the fabric in a vendor’s clearance site. Score! It was quite an investment to purchase 70 yards of fabric for a 4 hour display – call me crazy – my husband does all the time!
We employed a suspended cable system to mount the drapes. I made tie backs with 1” rope – super fun detail I think. The ceiling was draped with black tulle for effect. Love, love, love!

Feathered Cottage Table by Arhaus

Feathered Cottage Table by Arhaus

Of all the weird last minute hang ups – and there is always something in a project that doesn’t come together easily – I struggled with finding a console table that I liked. It needed to be slightly rustic, natural, long and narrow, and just the right height for the paining “Erie Storm” to hover above. In a last minute panic I purchased two urns and a marble slab for the top; I just couldn’t settle in with the look though. You know the feeling – you buy something because it is crunch time and you need it but you just don’t love it – I hate that! Yes, it happens to professionals too.
Two days before the show I found a clearance teak table at Arhaus Furniture. I called and pleaded with them to let me have the piece with a rush delivery and Arhaus agreed. Thank you Arhaus!!! The 7:00 am delivery was perfect. They walked the boxed table down the drive way to my car and I drove off to set up.
Assembling the vignette took two days with help from my Sister, my friend Lisa, and my patient and kind husband, Steve. We had about 1,500 people visit the 10 art themed spaces. Food, drink, art, and design – what fun!

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape

“The Mermaid” was glowing from a spray of light cast by an adjacent floor lamp from RW Shea. She looked stunning. While I was taking a long exposure photo of “The Mermaid” the painter Rob walked into the frame. Cool effect – Rob shows as a shadow with his art.
“The Mermaid” has another admirer in town. One visitor came to see her at the show concered because “The Mermaid” was missing from her usual spot at Rob’s Tremont gallery space. Photos cannot do the work justice – Rob’s art is truly beautiful and

-I would love to have “The Mermaid” hanging in my dining room, joining me every day for dinner – now that would be magical!

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape

Feathered Cottage Coastal Tablescape – Sandy & Lisa


Top Picks for a Soap Dish


Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap

Can a soap capture the freshness of the ocean (in a good smelling kind of way)?  Can a soap transport you back to your best day at the beach?  Yes!  In a make you smile every time you use it kind of way.  If you love the ocean, the beach, sunny summer days and just feeling fresh, you’ll love Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap!

Its invigorating fresh scent, amazing lather, and exfoliating sea salt crystals are addicting.  My college guy returns home on long weekends, bats his big brown eyes at me, and says “Mooooommmm, have any of that amazing soap that I can take back to school with me, pleeeaaassseee?” Mom’s intuition – he’s passing out sea salt soap to all the roommates.  No surprise – it’s really good.

I’ve recently spent a little time looking for a great soap dish to add to the Feathered Cottage offerings.  I haven’t arrived at the winning soap dish yet, but I know I’ll eventually find one that perfectly suits my favorite bar of Sea Salt Soap.

I currently use a metal basket style to keep our bar soap dry in the shower. No mushy bars of soap for me – yuck!  I’m drawn to ones that have either raised ridges, holes to drain, or some type of bar system.

Below are a few soap dish styles for your review. Love to hear if any of these speak to you.

I love the West Elm Market Icon Pig for the kitchen (I below) and the West Elm Loft Soap Dish  (O) for the shower.

And what have I been thinking for the last few days while looking at soap dishes…

“Rub a dub, dub…three men in a tub…”


A. Izoa Gentleman Soap Dish  B.  Amara Natural Wood Soap Dish  C. Fiat La Force Horn Soap Dish D. Gedy Martina Soap Dish  E. Gedy Mughetto Soap Dish  F.  Alessi Birillo


Soap Dish1

H. Gedy Twist Soap Dish   I.  West Elm Market Icon, Pig Soap Dish  J.  Gedy Myosotis Soap Dish  K. West Elm Wire Soap Dish  L.  Gedy G-Idra Soap Dish  M. Gedy G-Mizar Soap Dish

Soap Dish2

N.  Fendrihan D.R. Harris Soap Dish  O.  West Elm Loft Soap Dish  P.  Izoa Maritime Soap Dish  Q. West Elm Enamel Soap Dish  R.  Gedy Quadrotto Soap Dish  S.  World Market Bird Soap Dish


Romantic Valentine’s Day Cake


This Heart-shaped Genoise with Champagne-Raspberry Mousse cake is simply to SAMSUNG CSCdie for!  Trust me!  Gorgeous to look at, uber elegant, and oh so delicious.  I have whipped it up for a few Valentine’s Day and Birthday celebrations – this work of art never fails to take center stage.
Published in the February 1997 issue of Bon Appetit this heart shaped raspberry cake recipe by Dan Budd has traveled with me around the country and remains my favorite Valentine’s Day cake.
I have searched on line for a current copy and am unable to find the recipe so I will share the original as published in 1997. Quite a few steps involved in the process – can’t lie about that, but oh so worth the time.

When you click on the pages below they should be legible and easy to use.



Post it covers my notes – 🙂 oh la la


Heart Shaped Genoise Cake Instructions – Page 2

Wouldn’t this cake look stunning on our Rustic Cake Stand with a Balon Cloche?


Feathered Cottage Rustic Cake Stand


Feathered Cottage Balon Cloche


Feathered-Cottage-Wood-Cake-Stand-short3This is going to be the 2015 Valentine’s Day dessert in our house.  See photo below for final result.


SAMSUNG CSCI would love to share photos of your Valentine’s Day desserts – please send pics.
Happy Baking!

PS – The Champagne-Raspberry Mousse – OMG!!




January White Sale = Thoughts of Linen

Linen Fabric - Brown Dress with White Dots

Linen Fabric – Source – Brown Dress with White Dots

Its January white sale time – time for the annual sale after the hectic, holiday rush. Because my mind constantly wanders, white sale thoughts lead me to reflect on the state of my “linen closet” … which in turn takes me directly to my favorite subject – LINEN!
White Sale = Linen Closet = Linen
Friends and family know that I am obsessed with two things – linen and chickens. Guaranteed there will be posts on chicks at some point but for today – I’m all about linen.
Linen, with its natural fibers derived from the flax plant, is a wonder fabric and I think it’s perfect for just about anything and everything; you can use it for furniture, bedding, towels, drapes, luggage, bags, clothing and so much more. (I have all of these things by the way!) Linen is rapidly renewable, durable, moisture absorbing, breathable, and most of all – simply BEAUTIFUL!

Antique French Linen - Trouvais

Antique French Linen – Trouvais

Linen Fabric - Zsazsabellagio

Linen Fabric – Zsazsabellagio

I think people often associate linen with wrinkles. Yes, it can wrinkle. It’s true. Thing is – that doesn’t bother me and serious wrinkles are the extreme not the norm. I sleep with linen sheets, linen pillow cases, and a linen duvet every day. There is a “billowy” look that I love to my bedding and that feels amazing, but it’s not a mass of wrinkles at all.

Feathered Cottage - Organic Linen - Heritage Bedding

Feathered Cottage – Organic Linen – Heritage Bedding

What’s the trick – it’s in the laundry procedures. Wash with mild detergent, line or tumble dry on low heat and… IMMEDIATELY (and this is key) remove from the dryer and spread or fold – voila no wrinkles. Just soft billowy fabric. Fabric that looks so good you are dying to touch it.

Linen Towel

Linen Towel

Feathered Cottage - Tanzania Linen Rugs

Feathered Cottage – Tanzania Linen Rugs

Seriously – I giggle when I get into bed. I love linen sheets that much!!
I thought I would share some of my favorite photos of linen.

In our day to day lives linen is used in so many ways and it always looks inviting, sumptuous, and casually elegant – barefoot elegant.

Sofa - Alex Vervoordt Wabi Inspirations

Sofa – Alex Vervoordt Wabi Inspirations

Linen Drape - SecretMaison

Linen Drape – SecretMaison

Linen Drape - Restoration Hardware

Linen Drape – Restoration Hardware

Linen Top - JulesB

Linen Top – JulesB

Linen Halter Dress - LarimeLoom

Linen Halter Dress – LarimeLoom

Linen Jacket - Shoplet

Linen Jacket – Shoplet

Men's Linen Shirt - Resonances-Tumbler

Men’s Linen Shirt – Resonances-Tumbler

What’s your favorite use for linen?  Hard for me to decide – I like anyway you serve it.