A Vintage and Vibrant Summertime Table

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A Vintage and Vibrant Summertime Table

By Brandon Branch

Everything is brighter in the summertime! All summer long, I’m inspired by the vibrant colors found in the objects that surround me…flowers in my cutting garden, fresh fruits at Davis’ produce stand and even my chic Paul Smith beach towel. When Paula asked me to design a table for a soup and sandwich luncheon she was hosting, I wanted to make it colorful, whimsical and scream summertime!

Here are the ingredients I used:

China, Glassware and Flatware: What I love best about this table was using everything Paula loves. Especially, her vintage glasses. If you have watched Paula’s Best Dishes recently, you might have noticed all the colorful mid century glasses Paula and her guests on the show are drinking from. One of her favorites are the multi-color striped iced tea glasses that are identical to a set her mother once had. It brings Paula great joy to drink from them so, of course, I had to use them. I paired them with her vintage ruby water glases. The china was a clean pallet of white, so I added marbles to the bowls for fun and color! A name card would be easy to tuck in the marbles if you were hosting a large group. For the flatware, I used the casual red handled pieces Paula likes to take on picnics.

Take Away Tip: My take away tip from this table is also my centerpiece! What’s more Paula than three colorful refrigerator dishes from her vintage pyrex collection filled with yellow cymbidium orchids and fresh strawberries. The tip is to use something you love to hold your centerpiece items. Maybe it’s a favorite glass or mixing bowl. The extra tip is to not always think about flowers for a centerpiece. Using the strawberries in the middle refrigerator dish instead of flowers is colorful and cost effective as well. As I always say, your centerpiece today could be your lunch tomorrow!

Linens: A strawberry patterned tablecloth from the 1950’s was a crisp and colorful base for my table setting. For napkins, the yellow and white polka dot pattern I used worked perfectly in juxtaposition with the soup bowls filled with marbles! Overall, the table setting set the mood for the fun summertime luncheon Paula was hosting. When Paula walked in and saw it, she started to giggle. At that point, I knew it was perfect!

Brandon Branch is a playful Southern gentleman. His style is equal parts Yankee chic and Southern elegance all muddled together in a monogrammed mint julep cup. An invitation to one of his Savannah dinner parties is the equivalent to getting the golden ticket from Willy Wonka. Brandon holds the position of Design Director for Paula Deen Enterprises and serves as Paula Deen's Personal Assistant. Look for his newest book, co-authored by Paula Deen, Paula Deen's Savannah Style on shelves now.

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:


Paula I love everything you do, I, too,have some of the Pyrex and the old striped glasses.

By Ruth on July 07, 2013


I would love to know where you got you glasses with the ribbon design, I remember my GreatGrand parent having glasses like yours.

By Josie thompson-Groves on June 06, 2012


I have one of the little red pyrex dish from my morher's stuff, use it every day, keep my sugar twin in it...love the table scape!

By Linda Purchase on September 02, 2011


I have the same strawberry tablecloth from my grandma. Since I am 67 years old, this tablecloth is obviously very old and I sincerely cherish it. I have red dishes and it looks great!! Makes me happy when I use it for my girlfriends' luncheons. Sandy

By Sandra Beguelin on June 27, 2011


I just baked (again) "Grandmother Paul's Sour Cream Pound Cake" and "The Bag Lady's Favorite Chocolate Pound Cake" from your recipe books and they are beautiful as usual cooling on my kitchen island. We are driving to our kids and grandkids on Wednesday and will arrive on Thursday afternoon. I will freeze these cakes, wrap them in foil and transport in car in cooler. I would not "dare" going without these cakes. If I fly there, I make them when I get there. Love, Love, Love these pound cakes. Thanks, Sandy (Nana)

By Sandra Beguelin on June 27, 2011


Brandon, I love your work!! Although the bright marbles look fun and have a clever use, I just want to suggest to shy away from them because toddlers sitting at that table would be trying to put them in their mouths and the rest of the guests would be busy keeping them out of the bowls. Just a thought since I used to work with children's products and became aware of safety issues and the CPSC.

By erin on June 22, 2011


paula you have the cutest husband....he is adorable....jus had to say that...thanks

By betty woodall on June 21, 2011


I don't quite get the marbles in the bowls. What do you do with them when time to serve the soup? An odd idea for an adult luncheon... perhaps best suited for a kids party, presented in bags tied with ribbon for them to take home. Otherwise it's a cute and colorful "retro" table! Love the glasses and tablecloth. I have some 50s era tablecloths inherited from my husband's great aunt. I use them for outdoor suppers and ice cream parties.

By Mary on June 21, 2011


Hi Sharon, Paula actually found those glasses one day while she was antique shopping!

By Jonathan Able on June 09, 2011


Dear Paula, I too love those striped ice tea glasses. Where can I get a set? My mom had them too but she is long gone and I would like some to remember those good ole` days. Thanks, Sharon

By Sharon Cason-Card on June 01, 2011


Paula, I love the way you have tought me to utilize the items I already have in my house. This has allowed me to become more creative and appreciate everything I own. God bless and best dishes to you!!!

By Octavia Porter on May 30, 2011

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