Tea with Donna Livingston

Tasteful Entertaining:
Not Your Everyday Table

A few months ago, I had a representative of a silver and flatware manufacturer come into the office for a presentation. This is a fairly regular occurrence for me, but my brand new intern, Eddie, was baffled as to why I would be meeting with a flatware company. It then occurred to me that many people do not realize how in-depth an interior designer will go in their projects, choosing the perfect pieces for a home, right down to the salad forks!

A well-designed place setting is the basis for a good meal – and when gathering great friends and important guests, a necessity! Table settings are one of my favorite aspects of entertainment design – it is important to introduce the proper accessories, flatware, china, and glassware for each occasion. One of my biggest design influences, Alberto Pinto, couldn’t have said it better: “Welcoming friends and sharing happy moments with them around a table that has been imagined and decorated for their sole pleasure exemplifies the art of living and entertaining…”

Left: a formal place setting design with some pieces from my own collection of
china and silver. Right: a playful take on a sea-themed table setting.
I can’t get enough of my mother-of-pearl handled flatware and use  them
on a daily basis. I feel it’s important and fun to incorporate things of beauty
and elegance into my everyday life — make every day a special occasion!

DonnaLivingstonTableSetting_storageI designed this banquette, right, for my kitchen. It’s a fun, functional way
to house some of my table design collection. It’s the perfect place for
chargers and place mats!

If you are a fellow lover of table design then you will adore Alberto Pinto’s richly photographed book, Table Settings. Pinto is a world-renowned interior designer that is known for his love of tableware and ability to artfully set a table in less than 15 minutes. It also doesn’t hurt to have his large collection of silver, china, and crystal!

AlbertoPinto_tablesettingThis black and white setting by Alberto Pinto is fabulous. The silver birds
by Luiz Ferreira and unique floral centerpiece play beautifully with the whimsical
lines of my favorite collection from Pinto’s hand painted porcelain, Vieux Kyoto.

Pictured here is one of Amen Wardy’s table creations. I love the Aspen fall
motif, with silver vases, salt and pepper shakers, and napkin ring by Amen Wardy.

Amen Wardy, based out of Aspen, is another fabulous resource and inspiration for tabletop design. I love the suggestion he gave in an article for HouseBeautiful.com: “The best tables are all about the accessories… put personal candy dishes filled with chocolates by every place setting. They’re always empty by the end of the night.” How playful!

Featured DLD image photographed by Guy Mokia. Alberto Pinto images courtesy of Alberto Pinto: Table Settings, Rizzoli. Amen Wardy image courtesy House Beautiful. All other DLD images photographed by Grey Crawford Photography.