The Essence of Entertaining

What does a well-set table look like during the holiday season? Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles enlisted four area designers to put their personal stamp on entertaining with style and ease. The results are both smashing and unexpected. Cheers!

Pattern Perfect

“I love the idea of a colorful, enchanting tablescape for the holiday season that creates a celebratory feel in an unexpected way,” says interior designer Mallory Mathison Glenn, who is known more for her penchant for pattern and bold color than for the tried-and-true. Inspired by the Old World Weavers ikat fabric table topper and her Royal Crown Derby Regency Flowers accent plates, Mathison Glenn set out to create not just an authentic interpretation of her personal style, but also the kind of intimate, sit-down experience she appreciates most during the holidays. Created in the dining room of her personal home, the bold but festive mix includes only elements she adores, including blue-and-white porcelains, chinoiserie and sterling mixed with gold. When it comes to entertaining, Mathison Glenn, who enjoys experimenting with a variety of linens, flowers and place cards, maintains the only steadfast entertaining rule she follows is to have the holiday affair catered! That way you and your guests can really indulge and experience every last detail.

Bold & Bright 

Holiday entertaining doesn’t always have to be relegated to the dining room, says entertaining authority Danielle Rollins—get creative and spread the season’s joy throughout the house! In her personal home, Rollins fashioned this winter woodland fantasy in her blue trellised garden room. “I decorate for holidays in the same color schemes that suit my home and use natural elements to add the seasonal flair,” says Rollins. “I strive to create ‘living’ designs that change and adapt for the need or the season.” Playing off of her love for anything garden-inspired, Rollins mixed two of her all-time favorite Mottahedeh patterns, Chelsea Birds and Sacred Bird & Butterfly, to jumpstart her vision. Complementing those patterns are both a showstopping floral centerpiece and a Weston Farms wreath of her own design (“Danielle’s Lark”). The consummate host’s personal design stamp is evident in the tablescape’s eclectic, layered feel, in which old and new, high and low, deftly mix, similar to her design tendencies.

Royally Rich

“More is more” is the mantra of this rosy and regal tabletop by the Studio at Jim Thompson. Channeling “New Year’s Eve with the Thai Silk King,” the design team pulled all of the finery they could gather—including personal collections of Baccarat, Orrefors, Tiffany, Waterford, Spode and Jaune de Chrome, to usher in the coming year in ravishing style. Lush Jim Thompson silk satin in a variety of rich, radiant colors (Palin in Lion, Fuschia and Mahogany) overlay each other and fall naturally to the floor, creating a haute-couture moment. This tablescape’s crowning jewels—gilt urns, French candelabra, contemporary bronze candlesticks and a mix of vintage and antique china patterns—fashion a visual feast in which a variety of finishes and textures sparkle and shine. The Studio at Jim Thompson’s single hard-and-fast rule when it comes to holiday entertaining: Use the objects you love and cherish … it’s okay to be different!

Refined Rustic

Designer John Oetgen and partner John Lineweaver are serial entertainers, especially when it comes to the Highlands, North Carolina, mountain house they also call home. Whether the affair is planned months in advance or a casual Saturday lunch after a long hike, Oetgen says the pair’s basic mountain lifestyle is generally casual and contemporary—until it comes to the tabletop decor, where he tends to throw restraint out the window. For this holiday table, Oetgen created a colorful and wild jungle, employing flowers he hauled from Atlanta as well as blooms on loan from “garden generous” neighbors, utilizing vases he’s collected through the years. When envisioning his setting, Oetgen enjoys referencing to history, art or comedy and prefers the funny over the serious. His entertaining must-haves: crisp linens, polished silver, a jungle of flowers, good background music, party favors, plenty of wine and liquor, happy people and cheese biscuits.