Eye on Entertaining

Setting the Mood


Dinnerware by Fortessa makes an elegant statement for a holiday party.
Gold leaf-patterned plates from the Accentz Collection pair nicely with
Copetta dipping bowls in aquamarine and amber. Cobalt and amber
goblets from Fortessa’s Gala collection. Flatware: Scalini Metalware.

Designers offer an array of festive ideas to inspire your table décor for the season. From traditional motifs to daring innovations, these creations can brighten any occasion. Washington, DC, designer Victoria Neale of Victoria Neale Interiors translated her love of coral into a holiday masterpiece for last year’s Georgetown Jingle. She fashioned a “tree” from coral branches and strung it with red garland to mimic seaweed. Neale hand-stenciled a gold coral design onto a tablecloth and outlined the napkins with the same color. “I love coral, so it was a very personal design for me—and a labor of love with all that stenciling!” Neale said. Reynaud Cristobal dinner and salad plates and flatware: Neiman Marcus. Chargers: Macy’s. Napkin rings: Saks Fifth Avenue. Chairs: West Elm. May Bernhardt, owner and designer of Mayflowers in Reston, Virginia, wanted to create an avant-garde floral design for fall that drew its inspiration from the colors of the changing leaves.

Bernhardt, who also loves the Tuscan feel of the fall, incorporated mango calla lilies from Europe, persimmons and berries from California and aged terracotta pumpkins from Campo de’ Fiori into this creative autumnal display. Nestor Santa-Cruz of SKB Architecture and Design in DC wanted to avoid Christmas clichés in this holiday tabletop designed for last year’s Georgetown Jingle. “We imagined a hostess who would use the family china and crystal, and would mix it with some new accessories and accents from retail shops, and other pieces that could be found in the house,” says Santa-Cruz, who named his design “Christmas Chic.” “The result is a sophisticated, contemporary and fun table for two to toast the season’s greetings and exchange party cadeaux from Hermès!” For the centerpiece, Santa-Cruz accessorized a vintage Tommy Parzinger brass candelabra from David Bell Antiques with a Christmas medallion and 1940s vintage candlesticks by Lalique. The tablecloth, made of vintage textile from Uzbekistan, is from Timothy Paul Carpets + Textiles, as are the accent pillows on the chairs. Dinner plates: Lenox China. Silverware: Christofle Paris. Napkins: Neiman Marcus. Placemats and fruit bowls: Crate & Barrel. Place cards: Cartier Paris. Salt & pepper bowls and water goblets: Baccarat. Bread and soup bowls: Herend.

Chevy Chase, Maryland, interior designer Kelley Proxmire used antiques and fall tones to evoke classic style in this dining room in Londonderry Villa, an 1860s Gothic revival-style house that was used as The Historical Society of

Talbot County’s 2006 Designer Show House in Easton, Maryland. Proxmire wanted to create a lasting look that brought the outside colors of autumn in, so she utilized warm, burnished browns and oranges to complement the mahogany furniture.

Antique Chinese reticulated dessert plates, circa 1810, adorn every place setting, as well as vintage brass candlesticks from Kelley Interior Design. The Anichini Nobel dinner napkins and placemats with custom brown embroidery complement the Ginori brown chargers from Gore Dean. A brown-on-cream Jane Shelton print upholsters the dining chairs, and a Paul Ferrate domed lantern in wood and antique iron draws the look together. “Exquisite holiday splendor” was the theme of this tabletop and dining room design by Haleh A. Niroo of Haleh Designs and Timothy D. Albrecht of Consider it Done. A Meroni dining room table, Baccarat chandelier and candleholders, Tabriz Persian rug and furniture by Haleh Designs of Potomac, Maryland, complement the Herend porcelain place settings, Moser crystal and antique accessories. Place settings and accessories available through Consider it Done, Bethesda, Maryland. Norma Hoff of C.C. Interiors in Clarksville, Maryland, combined elements of the old and the new to create this classic holiday look. Hoff used a white wreath, greens from her own back yard and silver pieces and dinnerware from her personal collection to create an ambiance that she describes as “casual elegance.” Her goal, she says, is to show how family heirlooms can be pulled together with newer pieces in a variety of price ranges to create a cohesive arrangement.


Designer Victoria Neale translated her love of coral into a holiday
masterpiece for last year’s Georgetown Jingle. Photography by Angie Seckinger.


May Bernhardt’s fall arrangement. Photography by William Monet.


Nestor Santa-Cruz’s design for last year’s Georgetown Jingle.
Photography by Angie Seckinger.


Kelley Proxmire’s dining room in The Historical Society of Talbot
County’s 2006 Designer Show House. Photography by Angie Seckinger.


An elegant table setting by Haleh Niroo. 


Norma Hoff’s holiday décor.