BY: KIM HASTY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CINDY BURNHAM
START WITH THE TABLE, and everything else seems to fall into place. That’s the advice of local interior designer Melissa McIntosh, who says creating a beautiful holiday table does not need to be expensive, fussy or even traditional.
“If you’re worried about your furniture being old, get that table accessorized and that’s going to be the focal point,” she said. “And it makes the food taste better.”
Her collection of iridescent glass pumpkins makes for a beautiful focal point. The pumpkins, in jewel tones as well as more traditional autumn hues, sparkle on her table and in various perches throughout her home. They are the works of the talented glass artists at STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise located in her husband’s tiny North Carolina hometown of Star, about an hour’s drive from Fayetteville.
Star was once a thriving hosiery mill town until the loss of the textile manufacturers to foreign competitors.
“Star became a ghost town,” McIntosh said.
In recent years, the town has begun to market itself to the arts community. STARworks, an artscentered work community, opened in 2005 in a building that once housed a historic school and later a hosiery mill. It hosts a series of events that includes a glass ornament sale in December and a glass pumpkin patch in October.
Over the years, she’s collected the magenta pumpkin in her kitchen window and the bright blue pumpkin in the living room. The centerpiece of her autumn table includes pumpkins in shades of orange, purple, chartreuse and black in a nest of acorns, moss, eucalyptus and berries.
“A lot of stuff for the tablescape, people can find in their yards,” she said.
McIntosh decided to complement the brightly hued pumpkins with unexpected purple dinner plates, traditional salad plates and gold chargers. Even a set of beachy-themed oyster napkin rings works.
So did a selection of holiday cocktails, including a delectable Salted Caramel Butter Pecan Bourbon highball.
“If everybody has a cocktail, things seem to go better,” she said. “It’s fun to have a signature cocktail you could even name after your kooky aunt or uncle.”
Interested in a trip to STARworks to see the artists in action? Go to starworksnc.org for more information.
SPARKLING CRANBERRY GIN
Mix to taste, but a general suggestion is equal parts gin, prosecco, and cranberry juice mixed with a half part of simple syrup and a generous splash of lime juice.
PUMPKIN PIE MARTINI
1 cup Pumpkin pie cream
2 shots vanilla vodka
Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon and a cinnamon stick, as desired. Coat rim of martini glass with cinnamon sugar or brown sugar.