Severna Park's Hen House Linens revives the art of table setting

For Chesapeake Home + Living
This Severna Park entrepreneur is on a quest to bring back the art of table setting.

Remember holiday dinners at grandmother’s house? Her white linen napkins were purposefully folded and placed on top of her heirloom lace tablecloth that would one day be yours. That is, if you survived the dinner without spilling a drop on these treasures.

It might seem like no one sets a table like that anymore, but a Severna Park entrepreneur is looking to revive that almost-lost art.

Jenny Davids, owner of Hen House Linens, is committed to changing that notion with her extensive line of colorful and affordable table linens that transform yesterday’s formality into 21st-century chic.

“Special doesn’t have to be difficult,” says Davids, a former Navy helicopter pilot. “Setting a gorgeous table is easy and encourages those who gather around it to linger. Something as simple as a cloth napkin at the table sends a clear message that this time together is not disposable.”

Davids works hand in hand with her co-founder and creative director, Katherine Poole, whose proprietary designs are manufactured to exacting specifications.

“The [fabric] is all cotton and is woven such that it doesn’t need ironing,” Davids says. “They’re made to be washed, pulled out of the dryer, folded and ready to go.”

Their fashion-forward products, which include napkins, placemats, tablecloths, aprons and pillows, give them the opportunity to introduce vibrant colors and designs to the public. 

“This is where we’re standing out in the marketplace,” Davids says. “Everything is beige and neutral right now. I love color being a counterpoint to that.”

Unlike brands such as Vera Bradley and Lily Pulitzer, Davids’ marketplace is not in a dedicated brick-and-mortar store. Hen House Linens (the company name comes from Davids’ childhood nickname, “Hen”) uses independent contractors to merchandise the products wholesale, resupply and place new designs in more than 450 specialty stores. But like Vera Bradley, she, too, has a comprehensive online mail order business. 

Davids says that she encourages people to explore color and that the mealtime table is the perfect place to do that. Her 40-plus vibrant designs are simple ones that can be mixed and matched with others in the line of prints and solids for endless combinations.

“Hen House Linens are for everyday gracious living,” she says. “Creating a beautiful table need not be a chore.”

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