My friends often make fun of my television. It is an old box T.V. with a 19 inch screen (that's right, it's deeper than it is wide). When I invite people over and they see that, I can tell that they are usually wondering what we are going to do for entertainment. But I've always been a firm believer that conversation is the most interesting type of entertainment. After all, people are fascinating! When entertaining, my goal is to create an interesting, comfortable back drop, and let the rest happen on it's own. One way I do this is by filling my home with unique items that almost always spark conversation.
I was recently at one of my favorite shops/cafes in Elkhart, b on the River, and after I ordered my latte, began the hunt for an attention-grabbing piece that would certainly be a conversation starter. B on the river is an inspiring place in itself with its views of the river and downtown, and tables by a big stone fireplace waiting for you to sit down and sip your favorite beverage. Any place I can shop and have a bite to eat is a winner in my book! I also like that they carry unique product lines; things you can't find at just any big box store.
Among many fun items, I spotted a huge silver antler! I love the English hunt theme, and have many pieces that speak to that lifestyle in my own home. But this piece could work in a cabin setting or even a super modern home. I could instantly envision it as the centerpiece to a long dining table, surrounded by interesting bits from nature- think pine cones, acorns, moss, gnarly sticks, and plenty of candles. It's the sort of thing you would expect international tastemaker Pauline de Rothschild would have used in her table-scapes (Google her, you won't be sorry! She used to use things such as weeds and full sized carousel horses on her table for parties). Over-sized pieces like this antler can complete the look of focal areas such as the fireplace mantel as well. I love to see something unexpected in a traditional spot like the mantel, where you would usually find a clock or a mirror.
Regardless of what your taste is, be a bit daring when decorating your house and setting your table for a party. Life should be fun and a bit eccentric. I've never forgotten what famed decorator Geoffrey Bennison once said, "Always put something mad on top of something very good, or something very good on top of something mad." I couldn't agree more, and that's why I'm always looking for something quirky to add to my rooms. These fun, "Alice in Wonderland" type objects tend to make people smile and want to know where on earth you found it. Before you know it, the conversation is started and memories are being made. All this without turning on the television! Maybe someday I'll upgrade to a flat screen the size of a billboard, but for now I'll keep adding fun, funky finds to my home instead. I hope you will too. Happy hunting!