The Rojo Collection from Azulina Ceramics. All photos: Melissa Moriarty

The Rojo Collection from Azulina Ceramics. All photos: Melissa Moriarty

Creating beautiful tablescapes is an art that combines functionality, flow, and style. Dinnerware is often relegated to a neutral backdrop and other elements take center stage.

Not so with Azulina Ceramics, dinnerware and servingware hand-painted by artisan women in Colombia and bursting with bright, happy colors and designs. Their craft  dates back over 100 years, and about three-and-a-half years ago, Houston-native Melissa Moriarty became enchanted with the style.

Moriarty moved to Medellín, Colombia, in the fall of 2011 and while living there, a friend told her about a small town known for its hand-painted ceramics, about 90 minutes outside the city.

“One day, when I was on the hunt for the perfect wedding gift, I drove out to the town, El Carmen de Viboral, and found a treasure trove of gorgeous blue and white ceramics,” Moriarty said. “The light bulb went off and I almost immediately came up with the idea to setup a business to sell the pottery in the U.S. I just knew that I couldn’t be the only one who would fall in love with the ceramics.”

Melissa Moriarty

Azulina Ceramics owner and founder Melissa Moriarty

She was right on, and Azulina Ceramics is for sale online and in over 35 stores in the U.S., including 11 in Texas and two in North Texas, P.S. The Letter and the Kimbell Art Museum gift shop.

I asked Moriarty about creating the perfect tablescape and to tell us the story of these lovely ceramics. She’s got great tips and a fascinating story!


Former Kimbell Art Musuem staffer Emily Sano and architect Gilson Riecken built an homage to the Fort Worth art museum in Alamo Heights. (Photo: Wall Street Journal)

Maybe it’s just because I haven’t worked in any truly beautiful structures, but I would never model my home after a former workplace. Who wants to go home and be reminded of work?

Emily Sano did.

After working at Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum for about 10 years, Sano accepted a position at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Still, she remained heartsick for the place where she spent many a day admiring the light and flow of the Louis Khan-designed museum, says this piece from the Wall Street Journal.

So Sano and her partner, architect Gilson Riecken, bought the Alamo Heights lot from heiress Nancy Hamon, tore down five buildings and built an homage to the Kimbell.

The home, designed by Lake Flato Architects (Dallas Arboretum, Bluffview modern home, and a gazillion other stunning projects)  is freaking amazing. Besides being LEED Platinum certified, it is pretty much the perfect place to hang and admire art, which is a good thing considering Sano’s collection of Asian art and artifacts.

I am sure the couple has a window washer on speed dial, because holy cannoli this four-bedroom, 4,600 2,260-square-foot home is like half floor-to-ceiling windows.

I’ve gotta know: What museum would you model your fantasy home after?