Although March still has a bit of a bite left in it, it’s softened by the knowledge that spring begins March 20, and warmer weather is coming. What better way to celebrate the new season than by having a few friends and family over for a meal? Long Island is ripe with inspiration for your springtime tabletops, and Long Island designers are happy to offer some tips to help set the mood — as well as the table.
For starters, make sure you celebrate the season’s best hue. “Color is always an inspiration for me,” says Laurie Genovese, owner of Fovere Interiors in Cold Spring Harbor. “Any springtime tabletop should include the beautiful spring green of the budding trees before the deep greens of summer set in.” Tablecloths, glasses, napkins and plates can all add wonderful pops of fresh color. “Use a combination of organic and inorganic materials, and layer textures and colors for a truly curated look,” she says. “For instance, always use chargers under your dinner or lunch plates. And for dining rooms with northern exposures, I’m all for lighting candles during the day, even though some would consider that breaking the rules.”
Of course, nothing says spring like something from the garden. “The most important elements . . . are fresh flowers and local fruits and vegetables in season,” says Rosanne Lombardo, of Rosanne Lombardo Designs in Huntington. She suggests thinking outside the standard spots, and looking in unusual places for inspiration. “Look in the produce department of your local food store,” she says. “A cabbage can be a fabulous vase for a bunch of tulips, and most food stores always have a nice selection of flowers.”
Then, too, your tables don’t have to cost a lot of money. “You can create a terrific table without busting the budget by using pretty tea towels or dish towels in place of serviettes or place mats,” says Lombardo. “Or try mixing differently sized glasses that you already own, and using a plain white oversized dinner plate as a charger.”
Finally, don’t forget to repurpose your centerpiece after the meal is over. “You can grab two or three bunches of tulips or alstroemeria from the supermarket and cut them low so your guests can see over them,” says Amal Kapen, of Amal Kapen Interiors in Centerport. “After dinner, move your flowers to the kitchen and enjoy them all week.”
Springtime at the Shore
Amal Kapen, Centerport
Ocean breezes, sandy beaches and wide open skies are the foundations of this refreshing shore-inspired tabletop. “Living here on Long Island, I am inspired daily by our beautiful beaches and harbor communities,” says Amal Kapen, of Amal Kapen Interiors in Centerport. “In addition to a few shells and coral, I incorporated blues and greens, as well as plenty of rattan to evoke a seaside theme.” For her tablecloth, she used a custom-made Les Touches fabric topper by Brunschwig & Fils ($1,100), which is owned by Long Island-based Kravet. The animal print is so subtle it could almost be mistaken for a batik, and its colors help ground the bamboo dinner plates (Juliska, $40 each) and fish plates (vintage Limoge, found at Amal’s space in Northport Antiques; $425 for a set of 10). Adding to the nature theme are the bamboo flatware (Pottery Barn, $180 for a set of 20) and shell-trimmed place mats (Wilfordandlee.com, $10.95 each). The glassware is all antique crystal, and Kapen had her linen serviettes monogrammed to add a special touch. Hoping to get your own monogrammed linens? “A great place to get your linens embroidered is either Embroider Me in South Huntington or Interthread in Huntington,” says Kapen. The resulting table is both elegant and casual, which is exactly how Kapen likes it. “Not everything has to match,” she says. “I like to add variety to my tablescapes by pairing two sets of dishes, and even mixing ceramic with china. Generally, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Casual and simple can often be the most inviting.”
Springtime in the Garden
Laurie Genovese, Cold Spring Harbor
Nothing makes it feel like spring more than time spent tilling the soil in your garden. That was the inspiration behind the tabletop designed by Laurie Genovese, owner of Fovere Interiors in Cold Spring Harbor. “I recently took some courses at The New York Botanical Garden,” she says. “They were so inspirational that I wanted to reflect some of what I learned there in the tabletop design.” She began her color theme with spring green table fabric from Kravet (about $400), adding her own French linen napkins and glassware. The woven chargers (Pottery Barn, about $10 each) hold simple white plates (Crate & Barrel, about $10 each). Eschewing traditional floral arrangement, Genovese instead drew inspiration from the anticipation of a bountiful vegetable garden after the cold winter. The tabletop arrangement (about $175, from Floras Avenue in Huntington) features colorful plants and vegetables such as fennel and tomatoes that begin to grow once the snow clears. She says she wanted to showcase the fresh garden flora that follows Long Island’s March thaw. “I drew my inspiration from plants that we see cropping up everywhere as the final snows melt,” she says. “I always draw inspiration from our natural surroundings.”
Springtime at the Farm
Rosanne Lombardo, Huntington
Rosanne Lombardo, of Rosanne Lombardo Designs in Huntington, says her table design is a tribute to Long Island’s long history of agriculture. “I wanted to pay homage to the very roots of Long Island,” she says. Lombardo says that today, the growing trend for farm-to-table produce is bringing back some of Long Island’s farmstand history. Her tabletop incorporates vintage linens and vintage silver flatware (designer’s own), while updating the settings with new rustic rattan chargers (Pier 1, $12.95 each), melamine cream dinner plates (Pier 1, 8.95 each) and cabbage-design salad plates (Pier 1, $9.95 each). The doily-style white lace dessert plates (Pier 1, $34.95 for a set of four) add a delicate touch, which is also echoed in the green hemstitch place mats (Pier 1, $5.95 each). Splashes of color come from pink glass tumblers (Anthropologie, $12 each) and green hobnail goblets (Villeroy & Boch, $36 each). She also added Fitz and Floyd cabbage accent pieces (price not available) and a Waterford jam jar (price not available) to soften the overall feel. She finished the setting with custom-made serviettes made from Tilton Fenwick fabric (to the trade only from Duralee, $85 each), and embroidered linen napkins (Embroider Me Huntington, $10 per napkin). Finally, she added a fresh produce centerpiece. “A container filled with fresh fruit and vegetables has always been a simple casual centerpiece for the kitchen,” she says. “Adding flowers elevates this concept to [make it a] casually elegant arrangement.”
TURN THE TABLES LUNCHEON
The Junior Welfare League of Huntington is hosting its third annual Turn the Tables Decorators’ Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Huntington Country Club, 483 Main St. The event, which usually sells out, features professionally designed and set luncheon tables (including the tables seen here), and offers raffle prizes, a boutique shopping experience, a Youth in Philanthropy Award presentation and the presentation of the Diane Cook Memorial Scholarship. The luncheon benefits local children through the Camp for Kids program, which helped to send 65 children to summer camp last year. Visit jwlofhuntington.org for more information.