During quarantine, while others were perfecting sourdough starter kits and TikTok dance routines, interior designer CeCe Barfield was finding solace in formality. When the world began to shut down in the spring of 2020, Barfield and her family fled to her husband’s ancestral home in Hot Springs, Virginia, a bucolic setting peppered with elements of yesteryear. One of them in particular, discovered while prying around the residence, is a collection of antique linens that had served four generations of stylish women. Thus, the idea for the Virginia Collection was born.
Made up of 57 pieces and available on Moda Operandi, the line strays from matchy-matchy pairings, opting instead for a medley of silver-plated brass serveware, hand-painted Limoges porcelain, and playfully embroidered linens. When pieced together, the table setting evokes a romanticism that feels simultaneously nostalgic and fresh—as though thoughtfully collected over time. After all, says Barfield, quality and beauty are core elements of a cherished heirloom.
“I love the idea of creating future heirloom pieces using the finest materials,” Barfield tells AD PRO. “Not only is it romantic to think of future generations entertaining with the Virginia Collection, but it is also sustainable, which is very important.”
That emphasis on longevity extends to the collection’s craftsmanship as well. Timeless floral embroideries, playful scalloping, and rich, happy hues decorate the collection’s linen placemats and napkins, while the standout hand-painted plate—which comes in dinner, salad, and dessert sizes—features a lush central decoration framed by a wild leaf trellis inspired by an illustrated garden plan.
While beautiful pieces alone can create a picture-perfect affair for Instagram, the best table settings leave a little room for revelry. Barfield’s rule? Be wary of tableware that feels purely decorative, or too precious to function. “It was important to me to design a plate that not only looks beautiful as an object but also looks just as nice in use—and filled with food!” says the designer.
And there’s perhaps never been a better time to put a tabletop line to good use. Contrary to its heritage inspirations, the Virginia Collection’s debut is a hopeful indication that entertaining and stylish evenings are no longer simply elements of bygone times.