While most fundraisers, especially in the Hamptons, are beautifully designed, it’s rare to have an event as rich in design inspiration as the Hamptons Coming Together Tabletop Event Vacation Homewhich took place on July 20, 2022 at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton.
The event brought together sixteen designers and their table settings, including ABC Carpet & Home, Abundant Habitat, Amal Kapen Interiors, Ashley Stark Home, Elsa Soyars Interiors, Evan Mason Designs, Hidden Gem NY, Kathy Kuo Home, Katie White Interiors, Sage & Madison, Sarah Lederman Interiors, Sea Green Designs, The Lewis Design Group, The Rinfret Group, Unlimited Earth Care by Frederico Azevedo and Weston Table. Each tablescape was chic and an incredible expression of each designer’s unique vision. But above all, this event, founded by Iris Danker, benefited the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
Several of the designers at the event shared with me the inspiration behind their designs as well as some of their top tips for anyone wanting to create a beautiful tablescape at their own event.
But maybe Andrea Stark, who designed the tablescape for Home Ashley Stark says it best. “The inspiration was breast cancer, the memory of those we lost, hope for those going through this and for the future — cures and treatments. So we don’t have to do anymore [these events].”
Weston table had one of the most visionary and certainly New England inspired tables at the event. “Rather than relying on bouquets of summer flowers for color and texture, we surprise our guests with varying sizes of water-filled William Yeoward Crystal glass bowls and live bright blue crankbetta fish. These understated elements allow an unobstructed view around the table,” says Dianne O’Connor, Founder and CEO of Weston table.
“Our beach tablescape captures the rustic elegance of al fresco dining and the extended seaside when the sun goes down and it’s still warm enough to dig your bare feet into the sand. Something unexpected on the table creates conversation. Candlelight reflecting off faces makes everyone glow, and our decor includes modern glass oil lamps of varying heights that stay lit even with the summer breeze. At the end of the night, we hope our gathering leaves everyone with a sense of calm and beauty reflecting the splendor of the seaside.”
O’Connor also thinks it’s best to opt for understated looks. Less is always more. “Set the table, step back, then see if there’s anything that can be removed that might be too loud. Just like how you dress and accessorize, understated elegance is timeless. It’s this classic sensibility that I look for every time I set a table.
These understated yet creative aesthetics don’t have to be expensive either. It’s easy to use the items already at hand. “For example, we use rope as a napkin ring to mimic the rigging of a sailboat, small seashells as salt cellars, and linen beach towels as tablecloths for our beach-themed dinner parties,” says -she.
ABC Rugs & Home
With a bright purple rug underfoot, the ABC Rugs & Home tablescape stood out with a mix of causal and formal elements. Suki LaBarre, vice president, merchandising and e-commerce for ABC Carpet & Home, tells me, “Our tablescape is inspired by the vibrant hues and whimsical illustrations of summer. This is a celebratory assortment of some of our new arrivals, like Ginori 1735, paired with must-haves from our favorite collections and designers, like Astier de Villatte, and our own abcDNA assortment. The eclectic mix of new and vintage-inspired tableware and linens, plus bold mirror accents, trim and color palettes create a dreamlike nostalgia with classic charm.
LaBarre tells me that mixing and matching is the key to creating a similar look. “Whether it’s with mismatched (but coordinated) colors, incorporating both vintage and contemporary pieces, or working with different pieces to play with visual texture and dimension…”
Then enhance the tablescape with the addition of fun elements. “Add unique or whimsical touches, like mirrored accents or natural elements like farm-fresh vegetables, fresh flowers, and accents. We also recommend always anchoring your space with a unique rug, so you can anchor the tablescape and tie the table together for a memorable and striking tabletop ambiance.
Kathy Kuo Home
Renowned designer Kathy Kuo began her coastal Hamptons style tablescape by selecting the basic furniture pieces. “We wanted to choose something light and natural that would also serve as a classic background for the tablescape,” says Kuo. “The Armchair Oly has been a favorite piece to use in design projects as it brings a simple yet elegant touch to any room. Accompanied by whitewashed pine wood dinner table– the two pieces worked wonderfully together.
Then she chose the tableware and flower arrangements simultaneously. “For the tableware, we used a combination of light neutral tones with pewter and gold accents that exuded grace, strength and humility – just some of the many qualities a strong woman possesses,” says -she.
Kuo thinks the secret sauce to a good tablescape is layering. “Combining different heights, textures and colors helps create a bespoke, thoughtful design while adding interest at first glance. It’s also important to establish a color scheme from the start. however, there should be at most three different colors and textures, but of course there are always exceptions.
A tablescape can also be built around a centerpiece. “Whether it’s a beautiful floral arrangement, stunning ginger jars or a statement bowl…It’s important to set it up in a way that makes a lasting impression on your guests and that can often create a topic of conversation. You can also add a personal touch to each decor, whether it’s a handwritten place card or a small keepsake,” she says.
Amal Kapen Interiors
As a designer who caters to the millennial crowd, Amal Kapen of Amal Kapen Interiors tells me she always looks to the past for inspiration, then adds a youthful touch to it. “The classic old school print of Cowtan and Everything served as a starting point [for the tablescape]. It spoke to me with its infusion of lavender, blue, green and brown colors as well as the large format print. I’m obsessed with lavender these days and the large scale vine reminded me of the climbing clematis centerpiece! The vintage 1960s cave chairs are from my store and the plates were a mix of antique Calyxware and vintage Melox lotus plates.
Kapen believes that mixing is essential for a chic tablescape “Your china doesn’t need to match and you don’t need a whole new set of dishes. Consider buying a set of colorfully patterned dessert or salad plates that coordinate with the china you already own to make a statement.
For a little more elegance, she likes to combine tablecloths and placemats. “Placemats are great with tablecloths because they add an extra layer of protection in the event of messy entrances (or guests) and they add extra interest to the table.”
Next, skip the paper napkins and use linen or cloth napkins as the finishing touch. “[They] can be plain, patterned or even monogrammed,” explains the designer.
Katie White Interiors
Katie White Katie White Interiors designed one of the only round table settings at the event. It had a timeless and contemporary look. “The vision was inspired by the outdoors. I am drawn to organic, soft, rounded shapes and neutral colors that reflect the natural world around us. I wanted to create an organic atmosphere [and simple]. The limited color palette of whites, greens and neutrals was selected to suit this theme,” says White.
“For the dishes, I loved the perfectly imperfect natural curves of the mango wood plates and trivets from BeHome. Most of the flowers and accessories came from my home.
Keeping with the theme of bringing the outdoors inside, Dedon supplied the table, chairs, lanterns and rug, all of which are designed for the outdoors. “The whole decor could be used in a dining room or in a garden,” she says.
White tells me that creating a beautiful tablescape starts with a mood and a theme. “The shapes, colors and materials of everything you use should echo this theme and should work with the decorations in the rest of the space. Layer a mix of elements of different heights to add dimension to your table. Use what’s around you. Take a walk outside and bring a pair of scissors. Anything you find will reflect the season and location.