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Today we welcome Patricia Murray, owner of Table Matters in Mountain Brook Village. Patricia’s shop is a testament to her love of entertaining. Offering everything from fine formal, to chic casual, to funky modern and specializing in pottery from all over the world, as well as truly unique table linens, Table Matters is delightful, just like the owner herself!
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Where did you grow up? And what brought you to Birmingham?

I grew up in Arkansas and moved to Birmingham with college friends I had made while a student at Hollins.

Tell us about Table Matters.

Table Matters is always evolving and changing. In a way, it reflects the different stages in my life. I go through the “baby phases” the “dog phases,” while continuing to focus on tabletop. (It’s hard for me to resist cute baby plates that can be personalized or a plush dog bed in stylish fabrics). Although our specialty is in ceramics, china, stemware, and linens, I try to offer customers items that I have a hard time finding for myself. That’s why we’ve added affordable furniture items like bar stools, coffee tables, end tables, great looking lamps, mirrors and chandeliers. We offer brides the whole package for their new entertaining “wardrobe,” too! Their registry should reflect their style and their way of life. Casual elegance or formal can both be found intertwined throughout our shop.
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What trends are you seeing in table decor?

I personally love to entertain, so I’m always on the lookout for interesting dessert plates or serving pieces to update what I already have. Color is making a big come back, but a white dinner plate is always beautiful. Craven (porcelain dinnerware that looks like torn paper pressed with antique lace) has interesting shapes and sizes, with colors ranging from ivory to ocean blue. I love mixing their pieces in with fine china and rustic pottery.

What about trends in entertaining?

For me, it’s definitely gone more casual, but I love a theme, like mini burger night (where I can use all of my fun little condiment bowls) or any summer soiree. When I entertain, I like to have all the food prepped before the guests arrive and a fun cocktail already made. This little touch lets guests know “I’m so glad you came.” Sipping on a Moscow Mule is a great way to start the evening. It’s easier for me to host summer get togethers so guests can spill out onto the deck.
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For someone who may not have been in recently, what can one expect to see in the shop?

Well, in March 2012, I turned the keys over to Cotton Construction with a complete renovation planned for the inside and asked nicely “to please have it completed by the time spring break ended.” We should have filmed a reality show.  I was out of town for 80% of the work, but got pictures daily, which kept me up all night worrying. When I got back and saw all the space we had gained I got really excited. It’s something I had wanted to do for a while, just didn’t want to take the time (or spend the money) to do it. The change has been very rewarding. Our inventory can breathe, we can have more table displays and displays for furniture. It’s really opened up in here with the extra space, old wood, and lighter paint color.

What is your must-have purchase for spring/summer 2013?

Fresh linens. There are so many wonderful prints, stripes, solids that will freshen any entertaining ensemble. Think of what effect updating your pillows or lamps in your house has. New napkins do the same.
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What did your bedroom look like as a teenage girl?

It was always changing. I rearranged it all the time, with the help of my little sister of course!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My mom used to always say, “Don’t say or put anything in writing you don’t want repeated,” which I think is good advice for all ages then and now.

What advice would you give to others?

Smell the flowers along the way and enjoy what you have while you have it.
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What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

Listen to Ray LaMontagne with a good glass of red wine.

Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?

Movie night with the family!
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Favorite local restaurant?

The wine bar at Gian Marco’s.

What are you listening to these days?

Maroon 5, The Lumineers, Lady Antebellum, One Republic, Mumford & Sons
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What books are you currently reading?

Winter of the World by Ken Follett (2nd in a trilogy)

Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?

I don’t want to go out on a boat in the middle of the ocean. I actually don’t even want my feet hanging down in the water at the lake. Sharks or snakes are waiting.
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If your house was on fire, what’s the one thing (non-living) you would grab?

My grandmother’s ring and the external hard drive with all of our pictures on it.

Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God!)…

A good handbag, a good historical novel, and travel

Thanks for sharing, Patricia! And thank you, Beth Hontzas, for these fabulous photos!!

For more information about Table Matters, visit the website: www.table-matters.com. And to see more of Beth’s work, visit her website: http://www.bethhontzas.com.
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