Thomas J. Story

Create a chic and sustainable tabletop with inspiration from the pros

Jess Chamberlain,  – September 28, 2007

Back-to-the-roots simplicity defines Lucas and Margi Heldfond’s environmentally sensitive holiday style. “It comes from an appreciation of things inherited, things collected, and things grown in the garden,” explains Lucas.

To create your own eco-table, they say, start with what you have. Chairs and utensils don’t have to match ― in fact, an eclectic mix adds a personal touch. Stock up on sturdy ceramic dishware and quality table linens in muted colors that can be dressed up for any occasion. “Durability is the ultimate green choice,” Lucas says.

Finally, sprinkle in nature’s bounty. “There’s something about sitting down at the table and smelling a plant’s freshness or the scent of herbs,” says Margi. “It’s a foreshadowing of the meal to come.”


The Heldfonds, owners of healthy home store Spring in San Francisco, share some resourceful ways to dress your Thanksgiving table.

Timeless place settings
Rather than purchase season-specific tableware and decorations, simply accent what you already have. Pair natural-toned ceramics with assorted silverware and everyday glassware. Adorn napkins with name cards, herbs, and a ribbon for a dash of holiday color.

Repurposed wrappings
Small guest gifts can be wrapped in brown shopping bags or Kraft paper (sold at craft stores), then embellished with colorful patterned paper remnants.

Children’s crafts
At the kids’ table, recycled paper makes great restaurant-style placemats. Personalized sets of crayons invite the kids to have fun.

Harvest candle
“Illuminating natural elements gives such nice texture and warmth,” Margi says. Here, she placed a small glass hurricane inside a larger one with about a ¼-inch space between and slipped in wheat. Place a candle in the center (be sure your candle is shorter than the height of the inner glass).

Design: Lucas and Margi Heldfond, Spring, San Francisco (415/673-2065).

Resources:  Dining table Cotton-and-linen tablecloth ($132) and napkins ($18 each) by Transylvanian Images and Coupe plates ($26-$32 each) by Heath Ceramics from Spring (415/673-2065). Ella tumblers ($42 each) and Vivian goblets ($52) by Juliska from Sue Fisher King (888/811-7276). Plants and terra-cotta pots from Flora Grubb Gardens (415/626-7256). Vintage silverware and chairs are stylist’s own. Timeless place setting Napkin by Transylvanian Images from Spring (415/673-2065). Placecards by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls (415/786-3515). Repurposed wrappings Napkin by Transylvanian Images ($18) and Heath Ceramics bud vase ($20) from Spring (415/673-2065). Gift card by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls (415/786-3515). Plate and silverware are stylist’s own. Children’s crafts Heath Ceramics Coupe plate ($26) from Spring (415/673-2065). Wooden crayons from Urbanweeds ($27 per set of 12 or $2.50 each; 206/632-7680). Silverware is stylist’s own. Harvest candle Large ceramic bowl ($105) and plates ($26 each) by Heath Ceramics from Spring (415/673-2065).