Home & Decorating

Blue &White

I have been collecting blue and white for at least 8 years now from dinnerware to decorative objects, even Asian jewelry.  My favorite pieces are my large ginger jars with pink tassels hanging from them in my living room, 
my cobalt blue drinking glasses and a pair of oversized cobalt blue glass hurricane candle holders I use on my patio table.  
Really I could go on and on.  I even carried the blue upstairs into the hallway and I just love the vintage floral prints that are in royal blue wooden frames on my celadon green walls.
I have recently decorated a guest room and used a cobalt blue wall covering with flowers and added several blue and white touches in there as well.  Growing up I lived with it.
My mother collected cobalt blue glassware and antique medicine bottles, it never seems to get old.  I can remember how she cherished her blue Shirley Temple sugar bowl.  She loved it so much so that when I came across another, I bought it for her. 
 My intuition must have been strong, because it was not much later that she was cleaning her China cabinet selves and low and behold broke one of the bowls.  Mom told me that when she was a child, there was a certain day each week that the movie theater gave away China or so called "depression glass" and that's how mom started her blue collection. 
 I can remember sitting at the kitchen table and gazing out into the yard, as the sun illuminated her vintage bottle collection which was prominently displayed on a window shelf.  The cool blue, beautiful then, remains beautiful today.

If you have opened any magazines lately, you will find blue and white is dominating.  From the cover of House Beautiful, 
blue and white ginger jars and other fanciful touches adorn eloquent homes,
 to fashion magazines such as InStyle where royal blue and blue and white China patterned clothing are all the rage. Even patio decor catalogs such as Frontgate and Potter Barn all carry blue and white cushions and entertaining accessories.
I am so passionate about blue, it seems to be the best pop of color when it comes to decorating or donning.  Blue and white is crisp, cool and charismatic.

I am certain a looming question is whether or not blue and white is expensive?  It can be given the craftsmanship, age and quality.  Blue and white goes way back to a major trading post in Canton China. 
With that said, the name "Canton-ware" became an elegant and fashionable household and table top name in the early 1900's in the United States.  Centuries later, blue and white has made a major come back and like I said can be found flooding the press right now. 

One of my fortes is demonstrating how to achieve the look of the moment for less, with my mantra "affordable luxury." You don't have to own priceless pieces to establish the same elegant look I assure you.  All it requires is a good eye and a little imagination.  Yard sales and thrift shops are a great place to start, as I find cobalt glassware everywhere I turn. 
 As for blue and white, antique shops, decor catalogs and stores such as The Christmas Tree Shop, Marshalls/Homegoods and even your local department stores carry a variety of items in this style.  I even will venture to say that I went into the dollar store for safety pins and came out with a stack of cobalt blue porcelain dinner plates. 
 The truth is, it's everywhere.  Just stop for a moment in the stores and take a good look around you, it's been looking back at you longer than you have realized.


Jamie Gottschall

Lehigh Valley Live-Cool Spaces Article

Jamie Gottschall's IndomitableStyle shows her interior design work, featured on lehighvalleylive.com on Monday March 6, 2015. Follow the link to find out more


It took me just 15 minutes to throw this tablescape together. An evening such as this is exactly why it is imperative to have certain staples when it comes to entertaining. I keep chargers in an array of colors, at least a dozen types of linen or cotton napkins in solids or patterns, a gold and silver set of flatware and usually a set with wooden or bamboo handles, plain white dishes to mix and match with anything and dishes with a gold rim, silver rim, and several sets with color or patterns. I keep a folding table in the basement and a custom fitted mirrored table topper for reflection and a touch of glamour. Glasses in colors that reflect every season or major holiday and a variety of table cloths. Everything can be arranged and rearranged, mixed and matched over and over again for a fresh take on any spur of the moment theme. And don't forget many sets of votives to add to the ambiance. I know it all sounds expensive, but it's not! Buy as you see sales throughout the year. If I love it and dream about it, I have to have it! I'm always thinking ahead of the season and holidays to come. I'm planning my color scheme in advance, finding something in my trails to inspire my tablescape. Now that I have all the staples, I'm set. It's a matter of creating a theme with brick-a-brack from there. I began collecting when I was single and continued throughout my 15 year marriage. I have no regrets, as I did it slowly and steadily.

The Perfect Elegant Family Style Italian Bistro Table Top:

This was 1 folding table from Target.  I had a custom piece of mirror made to fit.  Any mirror shop in your area can do it! (Alderfer Glass in Quakertown, PA)

First I placed a plaid tablecloth on top of my folding table, then carefully placed the mirror on top of the cloth.  From there I began to set the table with the following must have accessories with their resources.

~red votive candles to line the center of the table (Dollar store, Christmas Tree Shop, Marshalls/Homegoods)

~Vino Jugs (wine) (Christmas Tree Shop)  I filled one with wine and one with ice tea.  There is a chalk board on the from which you can label accordingly.

~White ceramic gravy boat with tiny ladle for fresh parmesan cheese (Marshalls/Homegood's)

~Green lettuce leaf bowls with salt & pepper shakers (Crate & Barrel or Marshalls/Homegoods) I have found full table settings at both

Layer Your Place Settings:

Layer 1: 

~Red plastic chargers (Michael's Craft Store or Christmas Tree Shop)

Layer 2:

~Plain white dinner plates (Christmas Tree Shop)

Layer 3:

~Green lettuce leaf bowls

~Wooden Handled forks (Marshall's/Homegood's)

~Red and white large gingham check napkins placed under bowls (Napkins from Stein Mart)

~Red wine goblets (glasses) (old stock of mine, but you can find red glasses just about anywhere)

Jamie Gottschall


Building and designing my own home was a true labor of love. Doing the same for my clients brings me even more joy.

My philosophy includes educating and enlightening.  Knowing just how to incorporate the key design elements.  From architectural details, to plumbing and lighting, together these staples create the palate for which the next step,decorating, can begin.

Decorating is more to me than slapping together a room full of Pottery Barn accessories; it's about one's soul, what makes them light up when they enter a room, what speaks to the owner and what looks and feels inviting to those who visit.

My design and decorating topic is long overdue and simply because I have so many photographs, so much to say and not enough time to say and do it all  in a days work.  Look out for my stories about architecture, plumbing, lighting, what gives a home it's character, collecting, organizing, displaying, coordinating, balance, scale and much much more!

Stay tuned!

Displaying Soaps 101

Click HERE for more photos

Dorm Decor: Draw on Vintage Finds for Unique Look
Click HERE to read my column on www.lehighvalleylive.com


I'm an avid collector of many things.  I shop antique store mostly, but once in a blue moon will "hit up" a local thrift store or two.  A thrift store is one of those places I usually like to avoid, but the truth is, they are not only unavoidable, but a gold mine.  The old adage, "one mans trash is another mans treasure," is an understatement!...read more

Blustery Day Project: Organize the Sock Drawers!
Looking for something to do on this blustery day?  GET ORGANIZED!  No time like the present to go through your drawers, refrigerator and more.  Don't waste time in front of the television. This is the best time, to do those projects you hate taking valuable time out to do!...read more

Live Wreath Making

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas holiday is shopping the outdoor nursery in search of my live greenery for the holidays. Wreath making is my favorite.  I guess you can say I have a very dimensional mind as everything I do is in layers.  I think most people see the world pretty flat.  Don't just picture the earth as a flat space but see its sphere.  The earth has dimension through natural landscape, right?  From mountains to trees, the earth has dimension.  When I begin my venture for my wreath, I am imagining how to make it as lush as possible.  I search for different varieties of greenery to layer. I layer and mix my wreaths using pine, spruce, and boxwood...read more 

Gingerbread Houses 101

Each year my mother, my boys and I participate in a gingerbread decorating party.  The supplies are pretty basic so I hit the stores in advance and bring my own.  Before I set out, I try to come up with a plan first so shopping for my house is quick and effortless.  I always seem to imagine the type of house that you would find in the Swiss Alps, the Arctic, or someplace like Vermont.  I am pretty imaginative, so it's easy to come up with a plan in my head.  For others, seeking inspiration somewhere else is their only option, or so they have convinced themselves.  My suggestion for those who need some inspiring is to visit a website such as Pinterest or simply google, "photos of gingerbread houses."  There are also books out there on just about everything, including gingerbread houses or holiday baking books.  Another idea is to sketch out your house on paper first.  Many people get creative once there is a pen in hand and paper in front of them.  It's nice to have because you can take it with you to the store to find just the right elements and have it right at the table when you begin construction of your winter home..read more.

Children's Christmas Table Setting

Christmas is such an exciting time for all in the Gottschall household but most fun, of course, for the children.  I really enjoy creating a private table for the young cousins, making it personal, whimsical and fantastical all at the same time.  Getting children to "stay put" at the supper table is not always an easy task, especially when there is such energy in the air.  Cousins are excited to see one another, gifts are rolling in from grandparents and the sights, smells and sounds of the holidays have the children all a buzz.  A table set to stimulate the minds of the children is imperative...read more

All That Glitters: Part II: Layering It On

In my quest for the perfect holiday setting, I discovered many layers  of goodness, from the bottom up!  I am not a tablecloth girl, as I love the way a shiny table looks beneath those layers.  It's an elegant touch and worrying about "ruining" the table is just silly.  It's not a museum piece, it's the table you use, therefore, it should look used.  Wear and tear gives something age and with age comes character.  Dining without a tablecloth really does not mean damaging your table though, hence the layers.  I also never place a hot dish on my table without something under it for protection, something pretty, such as a coordinating placemat.  If you look closely enough, my layers can range from 4-6 pieces.  I usually start with a large round placemat at the bottom of each table setting...read more

All That Glitters: Part I: Food for Thought

Is it true, all that glitters is gold? This Christmas tablescape will prove to you that the imagination, and work put into it, is worth its weight in gold. I know what you're thinking, "I could never, ever make my table look this good."  Not true.  I will walk you through step by step, until you, too, become a gold digger.

I used to think a hot glue gun was my best kept secret.  I use it for things you would likely never imagine but we will save that for another day.  So what is my new best kept secret, you ask?  A can of spray paint or what I call "liquid gold."  Once I get a can in hand, everyone who knows me well knows to hit the deck, my neighbors especially.  I'm so particular, yet can make such a mess with spray paint.  Like a mad scientist, I begin my experimentation.  This past Halloween, I sprayed my pumpkins and inadvertently turned my new Porsche into one.  Yup, you heard me...read more

From Trash to Treasure

Relocating to the Lehigh Valley for me was exciting and new, a place I could raise my children, breathe fresh air and call our happy house a home. But, when it came time to furnish and accessorize our new home I struggled to find not only the latest home trends but to find the antique stores and markets were loaded with old junk no one wanted. From glass apothecary jars to modern Chinese porcelain which appeared deliberately rolled in muck creating a faux patina, in effort to “fool” the eye of uneducated antique buyers everywhere. As one of my authenticity experiments I would simply moisten my finger and smudge the dirt away revealing it’s true luster, my DNA has become a permanent forensic fixture on “fakes” throughout the valley. We all know the old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” but in this case it was just plain old trash. It was a hit or miss situation. When an authentic English or French piece of fine furniture would turn up, the dealers thought they were actually doing the buyers a favor by “refinishing” it. But the fact of the matter is, they were actually creating more harm than good. There are three “’R’s” when it comes to antiques, never RESTORE, REPLACE or REFINISH and that’s exactly what I had found. Yes antique experts desire that pristine antique but there is much to be said for those not so perfect pieces, the dings and things tell a story, shows it’s history and best of all gives it character. What I found myself experiencing was a case of “shoppers withdrawal”. It was frustrating not having the access I once had while working in New York City where around every corner was an antique store and an auction house in every district on the island...read more


As an avid collector of many things, I enjoy the challenge of the hunt the most. I am a collector primarily of antiques. If you are stumped, know you would like a collection, but don’t know where to start, I can offer some valuable advice on how to get motivated.

My best advice is to open a decorating book or magazine. Some of your best ideas and inspirations will come from within the pages of these tombs. Look closely, in many cases, homes that appear in these magazines belong to lovers of collectibles... read more

What’s the Score When Choosing a Tile Floor?

Anyone who has purchased a home, whether old or new, has been faced with the challenge of selecting the appropriate flooring. I can admit I know it well, for two reasons. The first is through trial and error; we built our own home and I designed it from the ground up, which meant dealing with a myriad of flooring experts. The second reason would be that for 5 years I was employed by our family owned and operated business of none other than…flooring. What kind?...read more

“It’s Passementerie, My Dear Watson!”

Are you as amazed as I am by the fine details which seem to continually grace the pages of high-end home design magazines and decorating books?

For example, the piping or welting around the structure of a chair or cushion, the silk tassels which tie back the loop fringed window dressings or, my personal favorite, rope trim at the foot of a living room sofa. This type of ornamentation or embellishment is called passementerie. I call it “the icing on the cake.” It’s the art of layering

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