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Food & Entertaining

Dream Tables

Author: John Roark
Issue: December, 2016, Page 74
Photos by Isaac Bailey

Entice and pamper your lucky guests for an alfresco holiday breakfast by adding faux fur throws and pillows to outdoor chairs.
Dazzle Your Holiday Guests With Tabletop Designs That Tempt, Delight and Inspire Celebration

Whether you’re planning a formal dinner or casual get-together for two or 20, revisiting a cherished tradition or creating a brand new custom, gathering around a holiday table that’s beautiful, fun and personal will make time shared all the more joyful and memorable. To spark the creative spirit, look no further than these four exquisite table settings created by interior designer Lynne Beyer. Each is an homage to this special time of year and the loved ones with whom we celebrate.

Mild temperatures and abundant sunshine are gifts for which to be grateful, especially when they allow Christmas breakfast to be enjoyed outdoors. Your holiday alfresco setting can be naturally casual, inviting and cheery, even on a crisp Arizona morning. Here, each chair has its own faux fur throw and pillow, creating an irresistible invitation to settle in.

Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to explore an unexpected color scheme. Instead of traditional red and green, Beyer’s neutral palette includes linen napkins and table runners and bamboo flatware—and a surprising pop of color courtesy of her favorite blue and white plates and bowls from Mexico.

As the focal point of any table, the centerpiece sets the theme. Here, nature inspires a tabletop montage of greenery and fruit. Beyer adds a Southwest touch with succulents in wooden and twine-wrapped vessels, then layers in evergreen branches, Queen Anne’s lace and white-tipped pine cones to playfully suggest frost.

When planning a table setting, shop your own cupboards first and use what you have in unexpected ways. The designer incorporates her grandfather’s prize-winning woodworking projects, using cutting boards as chargers, canisters as vases and a salad bowl to corral pastries. She also uses her grandmother’s beloved vintage glassware for breakfast juice and nutcrackers from her son’s collection for decor. “This setting is all about collected mementos, family heirlooms and items I’ve found while walking in my own neighborhood,” she says. These are all things that say ‘home.’”

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A canister—one of interior designer Lynne Beyer’s grandfather’s woodwork creations—cradles a Christmas cactus and succulents. Pine cones found by Beyer on neighborhood walks and tipped with white paint add a wintery touch.

A breakfast menu printed on a wallpaper swatch embellished with angelic gift wrap decor perches upon a bamboo easel, which echoes the bamboo-handled flatware, and complements the palette of natural colors and textures.

Make the centerpiece a showcase for what you are serving. Here, a silver bowl frosted with faux snow serves as a fun ice cream cone caddy.
For children, nothing compares to the wonder and magic of Christmas. If you have little ones on your guest list, think like a kid and you will create memories that last a lifetime. This young-at-heart fete literally has the best seats in the house.

When creating an event for youngsters, home in on a theme that is special to them. Pets are essential members of Beyer’s family, and this celebration of four-legged friends includes whimsical mementos rich in family history, such as animal figurines, dog-themed plates and polar bear steins, plus holiday-hued heirloom sundae dishes.

For children, controlled chaos is part of the fun. Don’t stress over matching plates or glasses. Use what what you have that embraces your theme and create a cavalcade of colors, shapes and patterns. Our bold red-and-green plaid tablecloth is grounded with handmade placemats made of black construction paper and embellished with white chalk. Personalized name tags on goodie bags provide another ‘just for me’ touch.

Make the centerpiece a celebration of self-serve goodies. Mouthwatering temptations, such as candy, popcorn, and ice cream, are sure bets. Or go seasonal; snow cones are a winterlike novelty in our sunny climate. An array of oversized, fresh-baked cookies and fixings for hot cocoa will also delight tiny tummies.

Santa knows who’s been good. The wish list is an essential part of every child’s Christmas. Have butcher paper and an assortment of brightly colored markers, cards and stickers on hand, and invite children to join in the festivities by sharing their wildest under-the-tree wishes. “Bringing young guests into the creative process takes their engagement to another level and adds to the fun,” says Beyer, who draped chairs with extra-wide open-weave holiday ribbon and a wish list with each guest’s heart’s desires.

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Personalized wish lists mark each guest’s place.

Chairs are decorated with glittery open-weave ribbon and a  personal wish list made of butcher paper bedecked with seasonal cards and stickers. Holiday-themed tea towels add an additional note of cheer and protect upholstery from enthusiastic young diners.

Variety is part of the fun of this inspired table for tots. Use elements that bring to mind family history, such as heirloom glassware, colorful plates and mugs, and include whimsical touches that have a personal connection to your young guests.


Let your table’s natural wood add richness to the setting, and use mirrors to reflect dancing candlelight.
The night before Christmas is the perfect time to pull out all the stops and entertain the people you love as beautifully as possible. Fit for royalty, this stunning table evokes drama and seasonal sophistication.

For this most important evening, bring out your finest china, lead crystal and formal sterling. Choose a color palette that is rich and striking, and don’t shy away from going bold. Here, Beyer dazzles with black and white accent pieces, bright red details and stately metallics. While creating a sense of drama is essential, remember that in this case, less is more. With elegant simplicity, the designer showcases high ceilings with majestic white lilies, red roses and crystallized faux branches in tall vases of varying heights. Soaring tapers in crystal candlesticks complete the look. Individual nosegays of red roses, boxwood and Queen Anne’s lace tucked in mercury glass votives greet guests at each setting. In lieu of a traditional covering, let the beauty of your table’s natural wood add richness to the canvas, and make use of mirrors to reflect the glittering stemware and candlelight.

Go formal in unexpected ways, advises Beyer. In an inspired touch of simple elegance, red satin ribbon marks each place setting, encircling plates and trailing off the table’s edge. For a unique alternative to place cards, use small silver frames with each guest’s initials—a take-home keepsake of this special evening.

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Stately and regal, the table matches the importance of the night. Showcase high ceilings with elongated vases, crystal candlesticks and elegant tapers.

Satin ribbon in classic red adds a touch of elegance, artfully encircling the place setting. Napkins are adorned with petite filigreed frames with each guest’s monogram, which can be a take-home remembrance of an unforgettable evening.

Sweetheart roses and flickering candles in cut lead crystal votives lend a romantic air to this table for two.
After the rounds of parties and social obligations are complete, New Year’s Eve is “together time” for couples to relax, reconnect and make plans for the year ahead.

“Creating an alluring setting doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Beyer. Begin by moving the event out of the dining room to a place in your home where you may not normally linger. In front of the fireplace is an excellent place to start, with oversized pillows and luxurious throws around the hearth or a low table.

Beyer chose family china with elements of gold and lavender, and added hued cordial glasses. The adjacent place settings get a touch of glamour with silver and violet masks—a wink at the mystery of the year ahead.

Masks in textured violet and silver fabric add a playful touch to this tableau, a nod to the mystery of the year to come.
Match the sparkle of the evening with glittering accents on the table. A beaded runner, napkin rings studded with tiny crystals or faux gemstones, sparkling crystal and smaller-scale flowers, such as sweetheart roses in beaded votives, keep the scale intimate. Your table cover should add flair without overpowering. “Get creative with what you find in your linen closet, says Beyer. “Improvise with leftover upholstery fabric, something sheer or an embellished runner.” And for such a special evening, cloth napkins are a must.

No New Year’s Eve is complete without resolutions. Include everything needed to inspire goals for the coming year. Pop the champagne and list your ideas. “Writing your resolutions down on paper makes it real. Plus, you’ve got a witness there to make sure it happens,” says Beyer, who included beribboned parchment scrolls for jotting down dreams for the year to come.
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