Date: April 29, 2019 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Hope Johnstone |
Inspired by Mother’s Day gatherings, Lilias & Olive’s JoBeth McElhanon pairs timeless china patterns with contemporary finds for a fresh spin on setting the table
As the owner of Little Rock’s event styling company Lilias & Olive, JoBeth McElhanon uses her background in both nonprofit management and clinical nutrition to create events tailored to her clients’ preferences. “Our mission is to live beautifully and love extravagantly,” she says.
This mission is carried out in a variety of creative forms, but JoBeth admits to having a particular penchant for tabletop entertaining. “A history of hospitality was handed down to me from my mother and grandmothers, and I just think there’s something so wonderful about coming to the table,” JoBeth says. “I really want to encourage that everyday connection.”
JoBeth received her mother’s wedding china when her parents decided to downsize, and was inspired to find ways to use the beloved dishes while making them reflect her own style. “I’ve noticed a trend of people not keeping some of the things they have inherited,” she says. “I think it’s because they feel like the pieces don’t look like their taste.”
She hopes to change this by encouraging those lucky enough to have received a vintage pattern not to be afraid to mix those dinner plates, chargers, or bowls with more contemporary counterparts. “For me, it’s a great way to honor the legacy of our family. There are ways to make them look more modern and fit with our lifestyle,” she says. Here, she created four settings to pay tribute to classic patterns while also celebrating a new generation of style.
Dusty rose and teal pair in this grouping, which features a Noritake “Tiffany” dinner plate as its vintage piece. An Anna Weatherley scalloped salad plate and charger along with gold flatware, iridescent glasses, and The Lilias Collective’s “Sarah” napkin complete the look. “I typically haven’t used gold flatware, but I think it’s a way to make this pattern look very modern and coordinate with the charger and salad plate,” JoBeth says.
In this grouping, an English Coalport salad plate sits atop a new pink Herend “Princess Victoria” dinner plate nestled inside a Mottahedeh “Blue Lace” charger. Monogrammed flatware is an unexpected way to incorporate your family initial.
“These were my grandmother’s everyday plates,” JoBeth says of the Franciscan “Desert Rose” dinner plate that is paired with a new Anna Weatherley charger and an Asian-motif salad plate. The napkin is The Lilias Collective’s “Elizabeth” and features a coordinating bamboo monogram. JoBeth says the stems of the roses on the dinner plate reminded her of bamboo, and thus both of the contemporary pieces are meant to lend an Asian flair to the design. “This pattern also looks beautiful with classic majolica or lettuce ware pieces,” she adds.
Starting with dinner plates from her mother’s wedding china (Noritake “Whitehall”), JoBeth layered in Herend “Platinum Edge” bowls and Paul Revere silver bowls (which also hold individual blooms) alongside a raffia placemat and the “Louise” napkin from The Lilias Collective.
Together with her friend and business partner, Hillary Reeder, JoBeth has started The Lilias Collective, which is the boutique side of Lilias & Olive and offers table linens. The collection is fabricated by Syrian refugee women through a nonprofit organization in Dallas, thus furthering JoBeth’s desire to empower women and bring the world to the table.
Design JoBeth McElhanon, Lilias & Olive Fine Events Linens The Lilias Collective
Tableware Anthropologie, The Everyday Chef, Tipton & Hurst, and Williams Sonoma