by Marisa Marcantonio

Often called cocktail ottomans,  the ottoman with a large tray for easy serving delivers the ideal dual-function piece. If you have a large scale square ottoman, there are great trays you can place on top, to create a surface area to hold a portable makeshift bar and all that goes along with cocktail hour. If you don't and have been searching for a go-the-distance piece that suits a family room well, here are a few varied suggestions to help you on your hunt.

From the just-launched partnership, decoupage artist John Derian has created a scallop-edge lacquer tray with The Lacquer Company, the highly specialized British brand that has worked with Rita Konig, Stephen Gambrel and Martin Brudnski on trays and small tables.  Available in pea green, vivid red and black, the substantial shiny piece is a statement maker, just the piece that can play bar and tray table, as seen above.

Photos courtesy of Oomph

With crenelated cut out details resembling a fortified castle, high sides and ample handles, the Edgartown tray from Oomph makes an impromptu bar an easy reality. Oversized with a generous surface area, the lacquer tray will look at home on a large ottoman or etagere shelf.

A tray this size can be slightly unwieldy to move around frequently, so the Chatham ottoman below makes a nice perch for it.

Covered in raffia with discreet nailhead trim, this new square ottoman, the Chatham,  from Oomph is an easy substitute when you need a space-friendly square upholstered piece to put your feet up rather than a rectangular one.  The carved bobbin leg adds an additional decorative detail with traditional flair.

Photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Howard for Sherrill

A mid-century modern silhouette with an additional shelf for books, Mr. and Mrs. Howard's Un Deux Tray Ottoman has a streamlined walnut base, cut corners and upholstered top that holds a faux shagreen covered tray in a recessed section in the middle. 

Photo courtesy of Bunny Williams Home

With a built in tray, the Tray Chic Ottoman from Bunny Williams Home has the best of both worlds with a tufted edge and inset removable tray, it has versatility to be a workhorse.

Tailored and traditional, Hickory Chair's Bexley Otoman in leather with a sliding tray inside, has an x stretcher and tapered wooden leg on casters, ideal for a subdued chic look in a study.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Call it Melamania. I have it. A love of melamine that comes on strong every summer. John Derian's newly launched collection of plastic plate designs set it in motion.  Elevating the act of eating outside, classic French Faience pottery designs have migrated onto plastic. Derian, known for creating decoupage plates and accessories out of old book drawings and artwork gets it right with these four French designs, and they even have the high and low relief that make them feel like the real thing.  Originally, the earthenware was produced in Luneville, France in the mid 1700's.  Just don't stick these in the microwave, they won't like it.  Tres chic. Bon appetite.

Photos courtesy of John Derian

Raised at the rim, the Fleurs Isolees Dinner Plate has a sweet bloom and leaf design. If you love flowers this pattern is for you with the traditional tulips and roses.

Faience Italo-Nivernais Melamine Plate with a naive scenic band and center, all in blue and white.

Birds, butterflies and blooms dance around the border of the salad plate in Faience a la Corne

With the Faience Slice Charger in a generous size, blue and white always looks right. It mixes with other colors well and the symmetrical petal sections filled with scroll work have a charm that look old world yet fresh. I recall loving this plate in decoupage, now I can spring for more than just one.


by Marisa Marcantonio

The hare is everywhere! For some reason, adorable rabbits have emerged as a micro trend. I saw them at the Gift Show, their darling faces begging me to take them home. Is the rabbit poised to overtake the monkey, frog, or bird as the animal du jour?

Photo courtesy of Hugo Guiness
Providing character galore, the block printed Rabbit from the Hedgerow Series by Hugo Guiness at John Derian would be great in a nursery.

Photo courtesy of Dandelion
Highly detailed cast iron rabbits from Dandelion are so sweet perched on a side table or bookshelf. They have a wonderful aged quality to them but are actually reproductions.

A cache of vases in a variety of sizes and shapes from Oly capture a large hare rendered in blue against blanc de chine.

Caskata tabletop also featured rabbits. This duo is highly detailed in the spirit of Albrecht Durer drawings.

Photo courtesy of John Derian
A freely frolicking rabbit jumps across tall grasses on John Derian's decoupage plate.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Products from Japan's Fog Linen Work have an almost monastic tranquility. Longing for the linen quality and design she remembered from her youth, Yumiko Sekine created a collection of Lithuanian linen in 1993. She distributes her products throughout the US, Japan and Europe. Her artisanal, tightly edited collection combines zen simplicity, sophistication and functionality. From linen napkins to iron storage baskets and market bags, her pieces are right at home in Martha Stewart Living, ABC Home and John Derian's East Village shop, Dry Goods. Exquisitely serene photos on FLW's website make me want it all-- and want to move into a rustic farmhouse in Vermont, where I will start making strawberry rhubarb jam in the summer, goat cheese in winter, take up canning, bread, and pie making in an effort to connect with the locavore movement. For now I will stay put, put it is ever so tempting!

Gathering Basket made of iron

Natural Linen Table Cloth

Linen Apron in Navy Plaid

Checked Linen Coated Tray

Thick Linen Kitchen Cloth in natural plaid

Thick Chambray Linen Towel in Purple

Wire Desk Basket

Purple Loge Linen Hat

Feed Sack Basket in Natural

Daphnis Natural Linen Work Tote

Anne Round Bag in Plaid Natural

Triple Rack