Season’s Gatherings

From traditional to minimalist, these stylish holiday table settings will keep guests talking long after the last glass of Champagne has been poured

Merry Moments

Colorful collections provide the backdrop for a table topped with Christmas cheer

Written by Lori Johnston

Judy Bentley envisioned hosting dear friends for an intimate holiday brunch as she transformed the game table in her great room into a cheerful setting. A red tablecloth in a Kravet velvet provides the rich backdrop for a classic holiday look in her Atlanta townhouse.

Although red and green are traditional holiday hues, Bentley saw no need to pack up her blue-and-white porcelain, which were acquired through travels and purchased from favorite shops around the world. “Every time I look at a piece of porcelain, it brings back a memory of a time, a place, or a person. That’s what Christmas does, also,” says Bentley, who is the owner of design firm Interior Views.

The crisp strawberry pattern on the Wedgwood china, which she’s collected since her twenties, makes a seamless transition to the holidays when paired with red and clear crystal stemware dotted with bubbles, and Cartier gift boxes.

Folk art figurines, angels and Santa Clauses take their annual positions in the built-in bookshelf. Accessories, such as leopard-print stockings and fortune cookie ornaments, lend a humorous wink to St. Nick. Seasonal decor should evoke feeling and bring together favorite things, she says, making holiday events with family and friends even more time-honored and meaningful. 

That Time of Year

Robert Brown rings in the New Year in style

Written by Lori Johnston

A tablescape worthy of a celebratory New Year’s Eve dinner among friends doesn’t require disposable decorations like balloons, or plastic hats. Instead, noted interior designer Robert Brown drew from classic attire—tuxedos, little black dresses and top hats—for this sophisticated celebration.

In a time when casual dining is the norm, these special occasions help us enjoy the finer things, he says. “It’s OK to dress up and sit in the dining room.”

Gold, silver, black and white offer a neutral palette on the heels of the colorful holiday season. A contemporary Barbara Barry etagere keeps dessert, drinks and drinkware nearby, while assorted chairs complement each other. Brown, owner of Robert Brown Interior Design and Townhouse, his retail store, designed the round pedestal dining table, which features a pianolike ebony finish.

A New Year’s Eve dinner is a time to consider the past, present and future: “My firm’s work is to do things that are long-lasting,” he says. The vintage geometric pendant and an Andre Arbus sideboard mix in mid-century sensibilities.

 His firm’s designs traditionally aren’t overly thematic, but he gave a nod to the moment with a china pattern that evokes an
antique pocket watch, while brass clocks placed at each table setting add equal parts whimsy and drama. 

Festive & Fresh

This party-ready dining room combines traditional appeal with fresh, subtle flair

Written by Claire Ruhlin

Interior designer Clary Bosbyshell envisioned a Christmas-morning brunch—one that could easily transition into an all-day affair—when designing this festive yet fresh tablescape. “I really wanted to create a holiday Christmas table that didn’t scream ‘Merry Christmas’ but that also incorporated family heirlooms and small touches of that holiday feel,” Bosbyshell says. 

Inspired by Tory Burch’s iconic green-and-white living room, the designer used Anna Weatherley’s chic tulip plates as her starting point and anchored the room with shades of chartreuse. Modern pieces—such as a custom chandelier by Julie Neill Designs and an abstract painting—mingle with antique treasures including a French chest and silver that originally belonged to Bosbyshell’s grandmother and mother. Dining chairs (Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair) impart a classic silhouette, while an animal-print fabric adds a playful element. 

For a subtle nod to the holidays, Bosbyshell incorporated small silver bells (gifts from her grandmother), along with a fully decked miniature Christmas tree that was handmade by her mother-in-law. “I love the mix, incorporating beautiful antiques with more contemporary items,” she says. “I wanted to show that you can still incorporate your mother’s beautiful silver but in a more fresh, updated and young feel.”