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Eddie Ross: Flea Markets & Tablescapes

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012

Eddie Ross

If you don’t think you can find uses for flea market finds, today’s post will change your mind.

Eddie Ross is famous for his design abilities, and of particular interest are his famous trips into flea markets with the vision to give new life to old items. His ability to create designs for rooms on any budget has earned him a large fan following and columns in two of the country’s most widely circulated magazines: Woman’s Day and Southern Living. We are so exited that he is a featured lecturer at Nashville’s upcoming Antiques and Garden Show (A&GS) — click here. Eddie’s energy is contagious and his ability to create a beautiful, unique table setting is unmatched.

I was pinch-me thrilled to have the chance to pick his design brain about entertaining and tablescapes today. A special thank you to both Eddie and his partner, Jaithan Kochar, as well as Sarah Bartholomew, co-chair of the A&GS, for making this happen.

For anyone not familiar with Eddie Ross, read his bio, click here, and be blown away!


A column from House Beautiful in 2010

Could this table be any prettier? A gorgeous table makes you want to linger longer.

Were your parents entertainers?  If so, is this where your sense for tablescapes came from?  If not, where do you think your passion for tablescapes started?

My parents rarely entertained formally, so it wasn’t until my first job at a catering company in Greenwich, Connecticut, that I discovered a world I loved. Every weekend, I’d go into lavish, old money homes to set extravagant tables with family heirlooms. I wanted to entertain like that, so I began to educate myself at antique stores on fine china, silver, and linens, then scoured flea markets and thrift stores to find similar items at prices I could afford.

From a 2009 blog post on

This is one of my all-time favorite Eddie tablescapes. He suggests renting bright chairs for a quick update and fresh feel for your next dinner party. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this - and I'm such a neutral girl. I need to branch out...

One more look at this amazing colorburst of a table. Since all my candles are white, I'm thinking about having a dinner party just to buy some turquoise ones!

Do you feel the South, in general, takes their tablescaping more seriously than other regions?

Yes, absolutely! Southerners take pride in tradition, family heirlooms, fine silver and monogramming–all the things I’m passionate about. I truly am a Southerner at heart!

Amber-hued Thanksgiving from 2009

Thanksgiving table 2010. Eddie and his partner, Jaithan Kochar, created this tablescape for online magazine LONNY.

If someone were to stock their pantry with supplies to have on hand for any dinner party table, what would be the top 5-7 items they should have?

1. Good silver polish, like Maas.
2. Beautiful tapers in colors that coordinate with your china. My favorite are the 12″ and 18″ tapers from Creative Candles (
3. Linen napkins in colors that coordinate with your china. There’s more to napkins than white!
4. Chargers in a mix of materials: brass, silver and porcelain with bands that coordinate with the colors of your china.
5. Place cards, definitely.
6. And don’t forget plenty of good wine!

Halloween 2010 Tablescape -

Who says Halloween can't include some traditional monogramming?! It helps that at first look this monogram looks like RIP!

What items do you splurge on for a tablescape and where can/should you go cheap?

Scouring flea markets and consignment stores, I’m always finding sets of salad/dessert plates or great soup bowls at discount prices that I can mix in with what I already have. Then I splurge on fabric for tablecloths. It’s the surefire way to update antique china with a wow! Spend, too, on beautiful, unusual varieties of flowers that work with the colors of your china. It’s not as though you’re entertaining everyday, so make it special.

"...beautiful, unusual varieties of flowers that work with the colors of your china." From Auguest 2011,

Eddie setting the table at a SACD Style event in Savannah.

A close up from the same SACD event listed above. The flowers are bold and beautiful; the candles are bright and perfect; and, it is still easy to talk to the person across from you!

When having a dinner party, what is your ideal number of guests and why?

10 to 12 guests always feel like a party to me, so if you have the room, do it! Plus, if I’m going to cook, I like to bring together as many people as I comfortably can.

Another green tablescape, this time paired with yellows. It just screams SPRING doesn't it?

Do you have a favorite theme to throw a party around?

Instead of themes, I like to interpret vintage inspiration in fresh, new ways. For my partner Jaithan’s birthday last summer, I threw a princely feast on the lawn, inspired by a maharaja’s banquet in Mumbai!

Jaithan's princely feast when he turned 35! Lonny captured the party, and all the tips necessary to throw an amazing feast yourself! Click for details.

See?  I told you that you’d be inspired to shake it up, hit a flea market and add some color to your table!  Be sure to check out Eddie Ross at the Antiques and Garden Show next week down in Nashville.  The entire show promises to be simply amazing with all the antique dealers, lecturers, parties and more.  Click here to see why this is a must-attend event each year.

Eddie and Jaithan. A dynamic duo, indeed.