West Elm has done an outstanding job with these Dapper Animal salad plates by designer Rachel Kozlowski, featuring drawings of real animals dressed in colourful outfits. There are several series of these plates, and I’ve managed to snag quite a few, including Sea Creatures

The latest set comprises a Macaque monkey, an Oryx Gazelle, a Hooper Bird, and a Jaguar, each set against a densely coloured background of different foliage.

In styling the plates, the exotic nature of the animals was the unifying element, as the bold background colour of each plate was quite different.

These wooden balls from Pier 1 seemed a natural fit when arranged on a rectangular wooden tray. Their website elaborates: “Bring life to your displays, bowls and tabletops with the fruit of the Baobab, known as the tree of life in Kenya. Gathered along with black monkey orange tree pods by villagers, then husked, sanded, painted and carved—all by hand—these one-of-a-kind ornamentals bring an earthy accent to any style of decor.”  Seems quite appropriate, don’t you think?

Aren’t the plates stunning? They make me smile whenever I look at them. And very reasonably priced at $10 each. I got them on sale, to add to the fun 🙂

The amber water glasses are from Williams Sonoma several years ago (discontinued now, unfortunately).

The Twig flatware and Fiddlehead napkins rings are from World Market. The wooden chargers are from Amazon.

The black checked napkins are from Williams Sonoma, several years ago.


It would be hard to pick a favourite, but I think the Jaguar has a slight edge. 

The Macaque Monkey reminds me a little too vividly of the monkeys on Gibraltar.

We visited Gibraltar at the tail end of our trip to Spain earlier this year, where we had a run in with Gregory, the large male monkey you can see here sitting on the rocks outside the cafe right at the top of The Rock of Gibraltar. He very boldly came up a flight of stairs inside the cafe, weaved his way through the diners and snatched a sandwich right off the table beside me. My back was to him, but out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed a pair of skinny little hairy arms reaching out across the table toward me and jumped back, startled. He made off with the sandwich, still in its wrapper, but not before giving me a narrow look assessing whether or not he could also liberate the yoghurt I was eating. I’m an animal lover, but he scared the bejeezus out of me.  

He had generously shared my egg salad sandwich with his friends, we discovered upon leaving the cafe to begin the two and a half hour walk down the mountain. But that’s the subject of another post – I digress…

Back at the table. I used horn open salts from Ballard design to round out the natural materials theme of the table.

I love how all the natural elements come together as we begin the transition from summer to fall tables. While I adore summer with long walks on the beach and the freedom go outside without bothering with coats and boots, fall is a marvellous season. I’m excited about braised dishes, sweaters, and real wood fires in the fireplace!

I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.