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