Autumn, Design & Décor, Living with Style, Seasonal

Dressing the House for Thanksgiving

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Just like “that,” the holidays are here! I let Halloween slip by, but now I’m in full-on mode for Thanksgiving (while penning this post, I’m also texting my favorite chef to order morels, porcini, and chanterelle mushrooms for next Thursday’s wild rice/ mushroom side dish). Fortunately I have hundreds (no, thousands) of images that will inspire my planning and decorating decisions for 2022; hopefully they will inspire you also.

Some of this may not all be done in the same year, but still…a girl can dream. In a perfect world, I start at the front courtyard entrance to establish a sense of welcome early on. The cement urns and plinths, massive and solid cement, enjoy seasonal iterations throughout the year…but I must say I particulalry enjoy these shots of color that gourds and pumpkins supply in the fall, interspersed with sharp green ivy.

Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom
Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom

Pops of color continue at the front door, accenting that rich wood. It’s difficult to believe that within just three weeks, red ornaments will be hanging from the lantern.

While at the side door, in the back courtyard, an exuberant collection of all things Thanksgiving are clustered around the old teak bench, with it’s patina of lichen.

When time permits, I love creating floral vignettes in pumpkins, taking advantage of a funky or unusual colored one to inspire the choice of leaves, flowers, herbs, seeds, and whatever the landscape provides. Honestly, don’t you marvel at all the shades of pumpkins today? In the front entry hall, my favorite metal topiary just begged for a wonderful vine to be draping around and through it (here, bittersweet).

While in the sunroom, a melange of fall colors in a buff-colored pumpkin plays off the soft caramel painted walls.

And, in the library, the arrangements that will take advantage of my assortment of velvet pumpkins are first to be seen…what delicious colors, my find a few years ago that has informed Thanksgiving decorating at Parterre ever since!

The array of colors, the range of shades and hues that showoff so brilliantly in velvet, enhance any tablecloth, as seen in the breakfast room.


But in 2021, our Thanksgiving supper table experienced a meant-to-be moment. A thoughtful houseguest sent ahead her thank you gift…a very upscale partridge, cloaked in a patchwork of textiles, ribbon, velvet, and feathers…which immediately became the basis for the centerpiece. Who could have resisted?

Not coincidentally, just a month earlier I had been gifted an elegant set of napkins from the ladies of the Texas Rose Festival…with an embroidered bird motif. Dare I say,”Birds of a feather!”

Lest I not forget the Parterre Bench, that participates in any and all seasonal festivities…decked out in fall-ish cabbages that certainly complement her Parterre Green color.

As does this additional pumpkin arrangement that takes advantage of the scrumptious shade of celadon and sage green.

Enjoy your prep and planning, and I trust this post piqued your imagination about centerpieces and velvet pumpkins. I’ll be thinking of you in “countdown mode.”

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

20 thoughts on “Dressing the House for Thanksgiving

  1. Bettie, your talent and eye for graceful beauty holds no bounds. A visual feast. Brava! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. EE

  2. Did it ever…I have much “creating” to do!!! Your photographs are jewels…I MUST FIND MORE pumpkins…hmmm…franki

    1. Pumpkins have become a favoriite “container” for creating floral creations; I’ll be doing 2022’s tomorrow in prep for next Thursday.
      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xB

  3. Your lovely home, not to mention your wonderful artistic eye in everything you create, is so magical and magnificent! Thank you so much for opening your home and sharing your gorgeous outdoor spaces. You are so inspiring!
    I can’t wait for Christmas in your home!

    1. Oh Colleen, thank you…Take a moment and enjoy the You Tube tour of our home that was on the July 28th blog.
      And stay tuned for Christmas, both here at Parterre and around Newport. Have a glorious Thanksgiving, xB

  4. Your home is always lovely, and you dress it up perfectly for the seasons. What a wonderful eye you have for color and composition. These vignettes are superb!

    1. Merci! It was fun to collect these vignettes and see them all together on a blog. And there are more where those came from…
      Happy, Happy Thanksgiving, xB

  5. What an inspiring and lovely post. Being the bird fancier that I am, I do believe in my opinion that beautiful gift from your friend that you believe to be a partridge I believe it’s a glammed up version of a Lady Amherst’s pheasant. The bird is extraordinarily beautiful and I don’t believe there is such a beautiful Partridge in the wild. We had a taxidermed bird in the flower shop in West Palm Beach and I was always intrigued by this magnificently beautiful bird and that’s what it was. Lady Amherst’s pheasant.

    1. Oh Keith, thank you for giving that glammed up bird its proper designation…Lady Amherst’s pheasant certainlly sounds very Montecito, CA which is where he came from.
      Enjoy your turkey on Thanksgiving!! xB

  6. What imaginative and intriguing vignettes you have placed everywhere! Your gorgeous photography of each tableau certainly inspires us all. I can’t decide which pumpkin holds the prettiest arrangement and the bittersweet wrapped so coyly around the topiary is just the best.

    1. Oh Tall R, no surprise that you love the pumpkins, too. Merci for the comps! (and, no surprise, my fave is the bittersweet pumkin also). Tomorrow I’ll be working on the 2022 version; I’ll send you a pic. xxB

    1. That happy partridge (though another follower believes it is a “Lady Amherst’s pheasant”) came from a shop in Montecito, CA.
      A lovely gift and perfect centerpiece. Happy Thanksgiving! xB

    1. Oh Diana, what a lovley compliment, thank you! You might also enjoy the 20 minute You Tube house tour that is available on the July 28th blog. Very special…xB

  7. Simply stunning! I so look forward to all the seasons at you stunning estate in Newport. The pictures are so tasteful and creative! I can hardly wait for Christmas!

    Best regards,
    Kimberly LaFontaine

  8. Bettie, the stunning purples of the last photo are just too much! The partridge, oh my, such a beautiful vision you have!!! Have a wonderful holiday!

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