Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Small Masterpieces

Have you ever longed for beautiful heirloom china, glassware, and flatware. Or to have perhaps wonderful vintage napkins with deep monograms. Maybe some family pieces have been passed along to you, or maybe you've lovingly collected over the years, culling shops and flea markets and estate sales. Do you have enough for a party for 75? Or at least for dinner party in your dining room? Perhaps you are too young to have such time earned treasures, or maybe encumbered by the budget of setting up house and home for the first time

Well here's the thing: There's a guy named Jason Murakawa who has a party rental company specializing in antique and vintage tableware.

His company Small Masterpiece is all about the etiquette of setting a table. The Small Masterpiece Collection uniquely stands alone by integrating modern day decor with original, rentable 18th and 19th century antique tableware.

Murakawa is a graphic designer, and has the heart of a collector and the eye of a stylist. Each piece he rents and shares has meaning and provenance.

The wares available are Haviland Limoges China, Early American Pressed Flint and Glass Goblets, Ironstone China, and Flip Glass.

There is also a stock of Early American pressed glass cake stands, antique monogrammed sterling silver or silver plated flatware and napkin rings, heirloom monogrammed vintage damask table linens, slat folding lodge chairs, primitive folding sewing tables, Early American pressed glass celery vases, reclaimed old bottles from Battle Creek, Michigan, and Early American pressed glass water pitchers.

Small Masterpiece owner Jason Murakawa bills himself as the irreverent Martha Stewart. Jason breaks the mold of traditional table settings. He strives for tabletop designs that don’t look sterile and perfect.

Whether you are using twenty tomato sauce cans for vases because red is part of the color scheme, or going to a lumber company having mill squares cut to different heights as platforms for small vases or, collecting long beautiful Eucalyptus leaves from a park for place cards, if the tabletop reflects confidence and deliberate style, all will be enchanted.

Jason suggests focusing color on either the centerpiece or place setting, not both. Remember to have a sense of balance of decor and open space which will give a sense of order and neatness. Less is more and neatness gives order.

For round tables, centerpieces should be soft and organic. An alternative centerpiece for round tables is provide each person with an individual centerpiece above the place setting. Guests could take them home as a parting gift.

Tables should look friendly and inviting but have formality when called for. When thinking about tabletop decor it’s about party environment and making creative atmosphere that guests will enjoy and remember.

I love the idea of this company. I have cupboards filled with this kind of stuff. I can't give enough dinner parties to use it all! When Alberto and I had a larger space, we put on a couple of sit down dinner parties for 50 people, and my collection is large enough to artfully mix and match table settings for all.

Now, because of time and financial constraints, we entertain less. But once in awhile we throw caution to the wind and manage sit down dinner parties for 6 to up to 14. Of course I use my things for just the two of us, or perhaps smaller informal suppers for one or two friends. I can rotate old things to always create different and new and pretty table settings.

A humble meal can be elevated when you set the table, and use antique ironstone serving pieces.

Small Masterpieces is located in Los Angeles. I don't think it would be practical to ship these precious things outside of the Los Angeles area. Don't wait for Jason Murakawa to franchise his good idea. Start a masterpiece collection of your own, and rent it out.
I think Eddie Ross should do this, or maybe blogger Bill from Affordable Accoutrements (who both inspired me to do this post).

Bill from Affordable Accoutrements has a great collection of lovely old things

photos from Small Masterpiece


NYCLQ said...

ok... I feel like an ASS. I thought you said we were suppose to blog about EDDIE and make it Eddie Ross Day?

What happened?


Design Junkie said...

what a great idea


What a brilliant idea! My mom just handed down her china, crystal and a whole mess of other things to me. Even a few years ago I would not have wanted any of it but now I'm thrilled to have them. I think it's definitely a sign I'm getting older - or just old!

Chic Provence, A Way of Life said...

simply gorgeous!


annie said...

What a wonderful idea for a business!
I'm ready to gather it all and hang a shingle!
p.s. I truly enjoy visiting your blog. Thanks!

Claire Watkins, ASID allied said...

What a dynamite idea!! I haven't yet reached the point of throwing formal parties (I will blame it on age and not personality, though it might be the later), but all my mom's friends' pool their wares when one has a party. This guy is on to something no doubt-what a way to justify the expense of collecting!!

La Maison Fou said...

Just lovely,
I always knew that there was an alyer ego Martha out there, somewhere!

Beautiful things, Thanks!

Bill said...

Hi Valorie,
Fascinating post! It was kind of you to mention me in it (and in the same sentence with the brilliant Eddie Ross ... I'm doubly honored!).

I'm headed over now to visit Jason Murakawa's site. What a fantastic concept! Thanks for bringing him to our attention.

Again, thank you. You always inspire me!

Warmest regards,

Debra said...

Genius! You are so lucky to have these services nearby-I'm pretty sure we don't have anything quite like this in my neck of the woods.
Eddie probably has all he'd need right in his basement- I hear it's overflowing with goodness!

Living It At Home said...

I love all these old pieces. I have started collecting anything silver and ironstone. So much fun hunting them down.

Hill Country House Girl said...

I LOVE this post!! I love it! What a wonderful way for a collector and stylist to put his talent to use. I love it!

P.S. I just posted about Eddie and linked to you, Valorie! Fun!

vignette design said...

What a great idea! I've often thought about doing just what Jason Murakawa did, since I must have over 15 different patterns and still collecting. Unfortunately, I only have service for 24 at the most! Great post! --Delores

Ms Smart said...

Yes, I have a passion for glassware as well. Must have started via my Scottish grandmother, Bella Jane, and her love for Royal Doultons and fine bone china.

pve design said...

A dear friend amassed quite a collection of ironstone and always served some of the most wonderful meals at a round quilt topped table and I have such fond memories. I think white looks pretty even on brown paper. We share so many passions, fine china, glassware, simple joys for everyday masterpieces.

(off to do my Eddie post!)

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

I have recently found your blog, first through Joni's recent post and then today through Tablescape Thursday. What a great post, and what a great idea. I am off to look at more of your blog.

A Perfect Gray said...

Loved this! Thanks.

Debbie said...

Genius idea!!~ Love it!

Kathysue said...

Love this idea!! What lovely table settings. I enjoyed each and everyone. I agree, Eddie could so do this. I would be afraid of breakage,he must have a way of getting around the breakage issue???? Great Post,Kathysue

Lana said...

This is absolutely the best idea. And you even incorporated our lovely Bill from TT fame!!
Hugs, Lana
PS If you get a chance, please stop by and check out my antique library table/bibliophile post! Thanks!!!

Gayle from Southern Thresholds said...

What an ingenious idea..wish I had time to start such a venture...maybe when I retire??? now there's a thought!

Barbara said...

Love it!

KayEllen said...

Wonderful post~~~

A little late but Happy Thursday Tablescape!

My first time to visit~~
So nice to meet you:)

Oh~~~ looks like we both have a passion for design too!!

Kay Ellen