summer florals: modern city and vintage country

Ever since I was a child, I have loved all things “themed” – costume parties, International dinners, festivals and the like.  During one year’s ill-fated attempt at hosting regular “theme” events, I created a monthly calendar of movie nights at my apartment.  I invited friends for a movie and potluck dinner based around a theme (“Russian Intellectuals,” “French Riviera,” etc.) and asked (more like begged) people to arrive with a signature dish and in appropriate costume.  Let’s just say that my enthusiasm was not exactly shared by all and these events slowly petered out.  Although I remain determined to renew this tradition (possibly to the chagrin of my husband and loved ones), I decided to express myself this week with “themed” late summer tablescapes .  Working on two ends of the spectrum, I created one tablescape of mid-century MODERN “city” elements and then refashioned the same table with VINTAGE country pieces.  Jen Huang of Jen Huang Photography trained her sophisticated eye on my designs and made this whole post come alive. –Sarah

CLICK HERE for the rest of Sarah’s post and the details for both her modern city and vintage country arrangements!


I collected both actual mid-century and replicated mid-century containers and paired them with bright, funky florals.  Here, the ceramic blue container and clear plastic container are both flea market finds, while the “modern” tins, tray and tongs are from IKEA!  Flowers include dahlia, celosia and poppy pods.

I adore these plastic apothecary jars.  They seem like someone’s 1960’s idea of “the future.”  I plunked some simple  red ranunculus into the jars for decorative effect.

The farm table was such a neutral venue – perfect for establishing the scene of any era.  As you scroll down to view the “vintage” florals, you will notice that this timeless table seems to work for both modes.

Yellow callas with that deep blue pitcher!  Playing with contrast is a great way to pack a punch.


Using a vintage cream cheese crate, tobacco tin, crystal vases and mason jar I worked with muted colors and wild textures to create this country scene.  The flowers here include: garden roses, hydrangea, celosia, lisianthus, two kinds of millet, ranunculus and daisies.  Although I wanted the flowers to look “gathered” from a country field, I also kept the designs compact (a nod to my more “modern” sensibility).

How darling is that little mason jar seated on a milk glass saucer?

Fuzzy millet brings a casual air to this crystal pedestal container.

Naturally, I have just the dress for both of these dinner parties…and have refreshed inspiration for my theme events!  Friends, family, prepare yourselves…:)

  1. These are my favorite flower arrangements yet. I love both of these color combinations- especially the ‘modern city’… perfect mix of colors.

  2. Heather says:

    Stunning! The vintage country are my faves!!

  3. Kimberly says:

    I love the use of color. Soo pretty! I love the vintage tins and crates that double as vases!

  4. betsy says:

    Don’t give up on your themes—this is GORGEOUS! I’m so glad you found a way to channel it ;)

  5. Peaches says:

    Omgoodness, these are just delicious looking. Those colors! I love all flowers, but flower arrangements customized to fabulous containers are the best. I mean, what are those, bandaid boxes? Spice bottles? So beautiful and just dripping with style.
    PS: Why aren’t there more excuses for theme parties?! Back in college we used to have color theme parties (orange food, orange drinks, orange clothes, music from the movie Orange County (the OC wasn’t even on TV yet) etc)…. It was too fun, but besides the Rocky Horror Picture Show, no one ever thought of a movie theme party. I’m totally stealing your idea. Party down Dr. Zhivago!

  6. kathleen says:

    the flowers, the vessels, the styling…perfect translation of both themes! great collaboration. well done!

  7. Susie says:

    Ooooohhhhh. You need to invite me to your theme parties. I’d happily oblige and have just the outfits! Love the photos. I’m partial to the city scene. Favorite piece: deep blue pitcher.
    PS your blog is unusually wide on my screen. Is it my setting or is something out of wack on your layout?

  8. hilary says:

    i agree with Susie … I’m always up for a theme party.

    if the world is divided into people who get excited about costume parties and those who are too blase to get all dolled up, count me among those who go all out!

    russian intellectual sounds fantastic!

    and the country flowers seem so perfect for a watching of a Jane Austen movie! in matching clothes! with English tea!

  9. Jennifer C says:

    j’adore the modern city theme, esp those apothecary jars!

  10. I am all about the vintage country with this one. I love it.

  11. Misa says:

    these are both so gorgeous! i wish i could rewind time and have you create a tablescape for my recent summer party.

  12. Sarah says:

    See! I KNEW I could find theme party kindred out there. Thanks for all the great feedback! xo – Sarah

  13. Courtney says:

    Oh wow, I can’t decide which I like better! Both are gorgeous.

  14. Crystal says:

    I stumbled upon your site this evening while trying to figure out the type of chair I bought this evening and now I can’t leave! The country floral theme is heavenly. If you’re a floral designer, I’m hiring you when I get hitched.

  15. joey says:

    stunningly beautiful

  16. Hilary says:

    I love the vibrant colors of the really bold top ones! serious talent.

  17. Genevieve says:

    These flower arrangements are my favorite part f this blog (and that’s saying something!). The Modern City theme is exactly what I wish my table looked like right now.

  18. Really gorgeous flowers and photographs!

  19. Ann says:

    You are a gal after my own heart. Vintage and themes and fun and what you have done with this web site is nothing short of amazing. I continue to be in awe. I am a TV News Anchor on the air in Connecticut and wished you lived a tad closer, if you get into our state give me a shout out I would love to do a blog post on you.

  20. Fabulous colors! Great inspiration here for my paper flowers. :)

  21. Jody says:

    These are stunning! I especially love the vintage country. I would hang with this chick even if the theme is to come as your favorite vegetable.

  22. If you do a murder mystery party set in another time, I’ve had luck with the dressing up. The men didn’t mind too much because it was suits (easy for them) and the women had fun with their hair (it was a 20’s party).

    Lovely flowers. I’ve never seen ranunculus in August; perhaps because I live in a warm climate. I grow ranunculus in my garden and they bloom in the spring for me. I love the red ones that you have!


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