my grandparent’s fish dish tablescape

Fish dish tablescape

Tablescapes are favorite projects of mine, whether it’s for my family, entertaining or simply for a tablescape post on my blog {like this one}. This particular table was inspired by these fish dishes I inherited from my paternal grandparents.  This is my first time using these dishes and I don’t know why because they are super sweet and I love the color palette.  That little fish face and tail silhouette on the sides are everything!  Come see how I created this fish dish tablescape.

Fish dish tablescape1

I set the table in our kitchen nook.  We just redid the kitchen set about a year ago and I love using this table any chance I get.  If you are curious or interested you can read all the details on how we converted this set from a traditional Swedish design to a farmhouse feel here {kitchen table and chairs set refresh}.

Fish dish tablescape2

So… about the dishes.  I have 6 accent plates plus the server platter bowl.  There are no markings on the back but I do know they are either from Spain or Uruguay.  My grandparents were originally from Spain but migrated to Uruguay, much the same way many Europeans immigrated to the United States, around 1927 when my father was about two years old.

Fish dish tablescape3

I wish I could ask my grandparents the story behind these dishes.  If they were a special gift to them like a wedding gift or anniversary present.  Or did my grandmother simply love dishes as much as I do and she just bought them for herself.  Or even better, were they a family heirloom handed down from a previous generation.  Which begs the question, are these vintage dishes or antiques?

Fish dish tablescape4

If my grandparents acquired this set in Uruguay they would be old vintage but if they were from Spain they could very well be considered antiques.  As I understand it anything over 20 years old is considered “vintage” but once it hits the 100 year old mark it becomes “antique”.  If anyone is knowledgeable about this topic I would love to hear your thoughts.  Either way I love them for the sentiment, which is why I brought them up from Uruguay when I closed out my parent’s estate.

Fish dish tablescape5

I have quite a few pieces from my childhood on this table.  The dinner plates were our everyday plates when I was growing up.  They are Bellegay Ironstone and scream 70s to me.  In a good way, that is.  The flatware was also part of our everyday set when I was growing up with the exception of the appetizer fork, which are from the Magnolia collection at Target.

Fish dish tablescape6

The napkins are from Pier 1 and I am so very sad they are closing down.  It was such a great resource for unique tabletop and seasonal inspiration for me.  The placemats I believe I got at Bed, Bath & Beyond a gazillion years ago.  They are reversible with the ticking stripe on one side and a toile design on the other.  I also have the coordinating napkins and I use both all.the.time.  The double design is such a bonus, providing me so many options.  I liked the stripes for this table since it’s a fun mix between the plaid on the napkins and the dots on the dinner plate.
Fish dish tablescape7  The etched water glasses with the matching ice bucket also came from my grandparents.  The gold rims tie in nicely with the gold trim on the accent fish plates.  I also added the gold leaf votive holders for ambiance.

Fish dish tablescape8

I scattered the votive holders around the table amongst the cast iron urns I used as a centerpiece.  I have a slight obsession with cast iron which you can read in detail here{metals V – cast iron} or see more stylings of my cast iron urns here{through the seasons – cast iron trio}.

Fish dish tablescape9

The heaviness and colors of the urns just worked perfectly with this table.  I did not want to use flowers for this tablescape but I still wanted something organic.  The preserved boxwood sphere and the moss balls were the perfect elements in these urns.

Fish dish tablescape10

Once I got the idea in my head to use the urns, all the details clicked together.  The color pallet came together and the visions in my head actually were close to the end result.  Truth be told, that seldom ever happens.  What I envision ends up being a bit different in real life so I have to change plans or tweak something, but that’s all part of the process and the FUN!

Fish dish tablescape11

I chose to do this tablescape in the summertime since fish remind me of the ocean and beaches etc. but this has more of a mountain cabin feel to it.  Wouldn’t you agree?  This seems more like a lake fish rather than a sea creature.  Either way works for me.  Bon appetite!

Fish dish tablescape13

“Everyone should be able to sit in a room with pieces that spark memories.”
~Nate Berkus~


  1. Definitely a unique set of dishes and I can see why you love them so much. The memories alone are worth bring them out and using them. Thanks for sharing this week at #HomeMattersParty

  2. This table is beautifully set! I love that you are using the vintage dishes. Thank you for linking up and have a great weekend.

  3. Thanks Donna. Yes, nothing I would have ever bought on my own but I love them Because they were my grandparent’s dishes. Thanks for stopping by.
    XO- MJ

  4. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Michelle. Love these dishes simply because of the sentiment and my grandparent’s memory.
    XO- MJ

  5. Barbara at Mantel and Table says:

    Oh those plates are just darling and I love how you’ve grabbed the colors and all those textures for the table! Beautiful!

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