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Home Style: Let blue-and-white pottery add luster to your decor

Scripps Howard News Service

STYLE AT HOME

With photo/graphic: SH12G038HOMESTYLE

By MARY CAROL GARRITY

Scripps Howard News Service

One of my favorite decorating trends involves blue-and-white pottery. Whether it's transferware platters hung as art on the wall or Asian ginger jars clustered in a tabletop display, blue-and-white pottery is a cornerstone of the Nell Hill's look. Regular readers know that I've long sung the praises of all sorts of blue-and-white accessories. Allow me to dive into the subject once again!

Since blue-and-white pottery comes in such a wide array of shapes and patterns, from Asian ginger jars to Delft blue cachepots, it's easy to pull together a small collection of dissimilar but complementary pieces and create a powerful display. Simple and straightforward, three jars standing on a table in my foyer steal the show because a group of similar objects massed together in a tight cluster packs a lot of punch.

I recently pulled together a lovely display to fill the empty space above the secretary in my living room. Larger-scale blue-and-white pottery is an ideal choice for decorating high-up spaces, like on top of an armoire, because it is tall, beefy and bold enough to not get lost, yet sleek and simple enough to not appear cluttered.

If you want to add a touch of subtle color and texture to a display, blue-and-white pottery is a perfect pick. With its sophisticated lines, it's a great addition to casual or formal tableaux in any style of home. I love this one display on the coffee-table ottoman in my living room because it's simple yet full of visual interest. A blue-and-white cachepot, holding a live maidenhair fern, stands at the center of a lovely black tray. It could easily be featured by itself, but since I like to layer the accents in my designs, I framed the cachepot with a few of my favorite treasures: a stack of antique books topped with a white plate, a small pencil box and a crystal candy dish.

To give an existing display a new look, tuck in a piece of blue-and-white pottery. For example, I placed a blue-and-white transferware plate on top of a stack of Dan's books. The plate isn't just attractive, it's also functional. It can hold a TV remote, reading glasses or a cup of coffee.

I use my blue-and-white transferware constantly in my tablescapes because it looks sensational paired with just about any color, including red, green, orange and brown. You can easily reinvent this versatile pattern simply by switching out your table linens, table accents and supplemental dishes.

When you're dressing up your table for a dinner party, include a few blue-and-white Asian vases to add a sophisticated air to the setting. Create a bold display of temple jars at the table center. Or place a small phalanx of bud vases down the center of the table, each holding a few blooms.

We all have to store stuff in our homes, so why not make that storage as gorgeous as it is functional? Big blue-and-white Asian fishbowls are a perfect pick if you need to contain a lot of bulky items. Firewood never looks as beautiful as it does collected in a blue-and-white bowl. You can also use the bowls in the bathroom to hold toilet paper or rolled-up bath towels. When you entertain, fill one of the big bowls with ice to chill your wine. Use smaller cachepots to corral kitchen utensils, to hold outgoing mail or your keys.

(The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at www.nellhills.com. She can be reached at marycarol(at)nellhills.com.)

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