In October, Martha visits a “rustic, yet refined” barn in upstate New York, which is a multi-million dollar house chock full of leather, wood and animal skulls. Martha uses the word ‘rustic’ only slightly less than my mother when she travels to the mountains.
Of particular interest was this guy’s 12-foot Victorian dining table, which was festooned with pumpkins, gourds and antlers.
I could never see this centerpiece concept working in our house, with its custom molding, columns, french pocket doors and formal dining room with crystal chandelier.
But I’ve been wanting to be more rustic! I tried not vacuuming for two weeks, but that just made everything more covered in cat hair. We got a cast iron bike sculpture from my in-laws and placed it on the hearth, but it drove me crazy. I bought a rug for the sun-room with a southwestern design, but people saw right through that.
One day I discovered a bunch of deer antlers in my boss’s car. I learned long ago not to question whatever I find there, but I couldn’t resist. It seems that the education department at our museum no longer needed these antlers and were going to throw them away. They sat in a box in my office for 6 weeks while I debated whether or not this whole thing was ethical. I mean, I have funeral services for house plants, for pete’s sakes.
(I also hoped that the antlers menacing location next to my door would deter my coworkers from entering. No dice.)
So I finally brought the damn antlers home and created a centerpiece thing that I think bridges the gap between rustic and elegant. Inside a simple, $20 bowl from Ben Franklin, I put the antlers, 4 or 5 squash, some mini pumpkins and some fake pine cones.
It’s more contained than the spread in Martha’s article, but my table is not 12-feet long and I have to keep a table cloth on it to deter kitten scratches.
Also, this is easily whisked away to the sideboard or out of sight lest I’m paid a visit by PETA or if I need to make squash soup.