A Tour of the Tablescapes – Art of the Table Westchester 2018
One of the first things people are anxious to do after completing their dream kitchen is to invite guests over for dinner. But when you entertain, are you a slave to your go-to tablescape with all your treasured linens, place setting, and service pieces? (Guilty as charged!) If so, then this event is going to be a real eye-opener!
From June 6th – June 29th, Bilotta’s Flagship Mamaroneck Showroom presented “Art of the Table Westchester 2018” in conjunction with Westchester Home and Replacements, Ltd. Although this is only the second year we’ve hosted the event in Mamaroneck, it has been much anticipated and well attended for the past eight years in our New York City A&D Building Showroom. Each year, interior designers and architects (using the collections from Replacements, Ltd.) are invited to create unique vignettes within our kitchen displays that fuse art and design for an imagined client’s lifestyle, expressed through tabletop design. According to Keith Winkler of Replacements, Ltd., “It’s been a great honor to be a part of Bilotta’s Art of the Table event and partner with such talented designers who can take our product and showcase it in ways that re-imagines and recreates how people can dine in their kitchens.” And Replacements certainly has the best of the best when it comes to tabletop product! This year’s participants were Sharon Rembaum of Sharon Rembaum Interior Design; Jessica Jacobson of Jessica Jacobson Interior Design; Maria LoIacono of Maria LoIacono Interiors; Lisa McTernan of Lifestyles and Interiors by Lisa; Robert Keller and Leslie Cowen of Keller Eaton Architects; and Christine Wetzel and Carolyn Townsend of Christine Wetzel Design.
Now, sit back, relax, and let us take you on a virtual tour…..
Like many of us, Sharon Rembaum drew inspiration from a table setting she admired on Pinterest. Her black, white, and brass scheme is grounded in the classic Fitz & Floyd “China Renaissance Black on White”, but then takes a whimsical turn with the Fornasetti face plates from the “Julia Collection” by Rosenthal. The traditional elements include brass flatware and crystal stemware from the “Hoffman” series by Lobmeyr, but the eclectic touches for each place setting are the textural linen placemats and the casual oversized “tea towel”-style striped napkins.
And the crowning touch? An 8’ garland comprised of seeded eucalyptus, olive branches, artichokes, and limes. This organic centerpiece, made by Stacey Neylan of Winston Flowers, is a nod to both her European upbringing and her time spent as an adult living in California. But “Art of The Table” contributors don’t just limit themselves to the table itself. Sharon (again with an assist from Winston Flowers) added a vase of peonies in the corner of the kitchen and an installation of hanging crystal vases suspended over the island. And the painting perched on the countertop? An original artwork by Sharon Rembaum herself!
The charming vignette by Jessica Jacobson is a contemporary interpretation of mid-century modern design. What was so fascinating about this design was that not only was it an homage to women designers of that era, but it was a fully fleshed-out imaginary luncheon setting for four actual mid- century designers, where each seating was adorned with place cards for Florence Knoll, Ray Eames, Eileen Grey, and Aino Aalto, all whose furniture and decorative items are still in production today. They derived their inspiration for the color scheme from a vase from Replacements in spring green and cobalt blue. The springboard for the rest of the design was the Vintage 50’s “Starburst” Earthenware from Franciscan, with its hugely popular “sputnik” pattern. This further influenced the choice of the boomerang motif for the drapes and lanterns.
The entire setting was furnished and accessorized to further advance the mid-century atmosphere; window treatments, chair upholstery, area rug, table, and stools were all switched out for the fantasy luncheon. (Contributors include Plaza Park Interiors of Mamaroneck, NY for the window treatment fabric and chair upholstery; ROMO fabrics, through Jessica Jacobson Interior Design for the striped fabric; Robert Allen/Duralee for the other fabrics; Fayette Studio in Greenwich, CT for the area rug; Allmodern.com for the glass table; Safavieh in Scarsdale, NY for the stools; and West Elm for the lanterns, table runner and salt and pepper shakers.) And the personal touch from Jessica and her assistant, Sandy Johnson? Their obsession with paper! The balls are made from ordinary coffee filters and the artwork is simply a piece of handmade wrapping paper. OK, all you DIY’ers, get to work!
Maria LoIacono took a more lyrical approach to this design challenge. Her first inspiration was a quote from Virginia Wolf: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. Poetry about food provided the perfect starting point! The ornately patterned gold and white china from Replacements, which reminded her of The Marie Antoinette French Court, further encouraged her to pursue a timeless classical theme.
Maria and her assistant Joyce Dorazio of Lanera carried out the theme with a laurel-leaf design surrounding Maria’s monogram over the cooktop, paired with a classical bust statue. Additional pieces of china were displayed in the lighted glass cabinets, above an elegant bar set-up all ready for serving hors d’oeuvres and cocktails to your guests. Fabric and the painting for the decorative gold-trimmed wall panels came from Acme Awning; stool cover fabrics were from Lanera; and the garland on the island was from Kravet and Forever in Bloom.
In the age of social media, it shouldn’t be surprising that Lisa McTernan drew inspiration from internet-based sources: a favorite food blog, and a talented photography duo’s website and Instagram account. Tieghan Gerard’s Instagram food blog, “Half Baked Harvest”, set the stage for her imaginary Hudson Valley Farm-to-Table setting with its rustic, textured, and colorful food. She envisioned a relatively young couple who might have inherited a beloved collection of vintage “Cabbage Green” tableware that she found at Replacements. In her scenario, this couple would love to cook together and shop at local farmers’ markets. They would invite family and friends to casual “open-door policy” gatherings with dishware informally stacked restaurant-style. The decorative inspiration was a photograph by Steven Randazzo and Bette Blau, whose work can be seen on their Instagram @Whatbettefound or their website www.betteblau.com. One of their photographs reminded Lisa of a modern version of an old master’s painting, so she enlarged it and made it the focal point of the kitchen.
Lisa loves chalkboards in kitchens to communicate a statement of the moment that doesn’t always get said, so she included a chalkboard from her own shop, Lifestyles and Interiors by Lisa. Another personal favorite of hers is Zwilling cookware, both for its practical beauty and professional performance, and she not only uses it in her own kitchen, but has gifted it to her adult children who are avid cooks. So she was anxious to add some Zwilling to add to the realism of this imaginary cook’s kitchen. And colorful paper lanterns add a playful finishing touch.
For Robert Keller and Leslie Cowen of Keller Eaton Architects, the gray color of the cabinets reminded them of driftwood that you might find at the beach. And the fact that Mamaroneck is a seaside town, and Mamaroneck Harbor is just a short walk down the street, meant it was a no-brainer to create a seaside luncheon theme. They started with Juliska plates, which had an artisanal feel, and paired them with upscale Ralph Lauren stemware to create a high-low look that was at once casual but elegant. Once the place settings were decided upon, all the other decorative elements evolved organically based on what you might expect to find at a seaside lunch: flip-flops for the sand, a basket of plush beach towels, potted sea grass, gathered seashells, nautical art, ships in a bottle, and even vintage bubble glass floats!
And wouldn’t you love a martini bar at your seaside lunch? Well, here you’ve got that too! To complete the seaside scenario, Nancy White of the Flower Bar in Larchmont created the centerpieces of blue and white hydrangeas – just like you might find in the Hamptons – made even more complete with greenery native to shore communities and accented with seashells tucked among the flowers. And because no detail was left undone, the hanging rope lights from Terrain in Westport, CT added the perfect outdoor summer touch. Other artwork and accessories were loaned from personal collections.
Christine Wetzel and Carolyn Townsend should probably win a “Good Sport for Participation” award because, unlike their fellow designers who could visit the showroom and see the display for which they were designing, Christine and Carolyn’s display hadn’t even been installed yet! But a designer’s eye knows how to visualize a space, and from the plans, elevations and renderings, they envisioned a contemporary cosmopolitan penthouse apartment. Thus the idea for a “penthouse cocktail party” was born.
The ladies consulted with Keith at Replacements about their idea of a champagne coupe tower, and that became the centerpiece of the design. They wanted it to span the years, as though a couple had retained traditional pieces from their past, but added modern items (and everything in between such as the iconic 50’s colored aluminum tumblers) to their collection as their tastes evolved. Many of the items were from Christine and Carolyn’s own private collections. The gorgeous Italian fixture over the champagne tower is from Patdo Light Studio in Port Chester, NY. Carolyn designed the two beautiful floral arrangements.
So now that you’ve seen an overview of Art of the Table Westchester, 2018, we hope we’ve given you some fresh ideas for accessorizing the table at your next gathering! Check back this fall as the ideas come to life for the 8th annual Art of the Table NYC with Traditional Home magazine to be held on Tuesday, October 9th in Bilotta’s Manhattan showroom. For more information or to be added to the guest list, please email Director of Marketing, Kristin Ohnmacht at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This post was written by senior designer, Paulette Gambacorta. Paulette has been designing kitchens with Bilotta for over 22 years.