Before the pandemic, my family used to run around like chickens with our heads cut off. Between our daughter’s competitive soccer five days a week and routinely eating on the go most of those same nights, there wasn’t a lot of home cooking going on.
Then COVID-19 hit, and life as we knew it came to a grinding halt. Our fast-paced world wound down to a glacial pace, and suddenly we had an abundance of time: time to reflect, time to cook, time for those once-elusive family dinners. All this free time crystallized our thinking—did we need to race all over hell and creation for a kid to play soccer for fun? Does anyone need that many shoes in their closet? Do I need an extra glass of wine each night?
Turns out I did need that extra glass of wine, but our daughter didn’t need the stress fractures that came with her unyielding soccer schedule. (And those extra shoes? I worry my COVID slippers might now actually be fused to my feet.)
As we settled into a new routine of dinnertime en famille, I couldn’t help notice the state of our long-neglected plates. Our Royal Doulton Albion by Terence Conran dinnerware, once sleek and modern, was now largely chipped, cracked, and cross-hatched with such severe knife markings that even Hannibal Lecter would likely blush. It was time for a refresh, preferably featuring equally simple yet elevated dishes to enjoy our now sacred family and food time.
But where to start? When so many stores are still closed or facing limited hours, it’s hard to get out to take a look (I’m a tactile person!). And our Conran set proves that despite investing in good quality, you can’t necessarily prevent scratches, so be mindful of doing your research. Here are three new dinnerware options that caught my eye:
When Vancouverite Joe Parenteau was helping his mom with her kitchen reno, he couldn’t find suitable dishes that didn’t break the bank. And so Fable was born in March 2019 after he teamed up with colleagues Tina Luu and Max Tims, both foodies and facing the same frustration. The trio designs their organically shaped line of timeless, modern ceramic dinnerware here in Vancouver and then has them produced in Portugal for a thoroughly artisan-crafted line at an accessible price point.
With everyone home since March, sales of Fable’s direct-to-consumer plates and bowls have spiked. Whether because of its ethical business practices (transparent pricing, sustainable practices, small-batch production) or because each piece is timeless without unnecessary markups, it all works when showcasing food and sharing moments across the dinner table.
Fable’s dinnerware is available online only at Fablehome.co.
If you thought Indigo’s new exclusive dinnerware line evoked a Kinfolk-magazine-like vibe, you wouldn’t be wrong. That iconic mag, the definitive guide to slow living for millennials, sent its founder to Canada’s bookstore behemoth to now serve as its chief creative officer. In Nathan Williams’ new post, he’s helped launch a line of homeware, Oui, inspired by the natural world and contemporary art, all thoughtfully designed with affordability in mind.
Launched in August, Oui aims to instill optimism and purposeful living with dinnerware pieces meant to be mixed and matched with ease and flair. Their natural earth tones in burnt orange, light blue, and creamy white channel a distinctly bohemian ’70s vibe—without any macramé in sight.
It’s a live-and-let-live, “I could have thrown this on my pottery wheel in the basement” groove that I’m digging.
Oui is available in store and online at Indigo.
At the intersection of high fashion and homeware sits Dé tableware by Ann Demeulemeester for Serax. For those not familiar with one of the most important names in fashion, Demeulemeester’s sartorial work from Belgium offers edgy, minimalistic deconstructed designs that don’t hew to tradition or trend.
With the iconic designer’s turn at a dinnerware line, she offers up the play of chiaroscuro, or light and shadow, that’s so characteristic of her clothing style. On each unique piece, there’s an almost shadow painting effect where the edges feature dégradé, or are hand-painted in several layers to create a meticulous interplay of lines. The arrangement of all the different plates can be tailored according to the guest, the atmosphere, and the dish.
Dé tableware is available in store and online at Vancouver’s Bacci Home.
Read about more beautiful things for the Home.