Easy Entertaining with an Instant Table

When I have proffered an ‘instant invitation’ –you know, someone calls to say they will be passing through your area and you find yourself saying, “Why don’t you stop for a simple lunch or dinner?”. . . but as soon as you put down the phone you moan, “Now what do I do?”  Fortunately, I usually have big bowls or baskets of red or green apples around the house — or can have them with a quick run to the grocery store. That, plus a few house plants (in this case African violets borrowed from guest bathrooms) and I can create an ‘instant table’ and concentrate on what I will prepare for the lunch or dinner.

Another quickie table, featured in Veranda a couple of years back,  is something I do all  the  time. When I have no flowers at hand (because it is winter or simply a moment when nothing is in bloom in the garden),  I use house plants such as ferns —  here a large Boston fern flanked by smaller Maidenhair ferns —  again mixed with fruit (key limes from the grocery store). The ferns and limes  strengthen the green theme of the table, which  creates a sense of welcome and occasion for guests.


13 thoughts on “Easy Entertaining with an Instant Table

  1. Have enjoyed most if not all of your books. I have owned my own gift shop for 22 years and am always looking for inspiration in many forms from very talented designers such as yourself. Keep up the very creative work!

  2. Your beautiful books are resting on the coffee table in our family room right now. I still enjoy meandering through them. You have been such a gracious inspiration to me for many years. It’s good to see some ‘old friends’ here, in your blog. I’ve often admired your Botanical Faience plates, and I’ve been searching for the Moretti ‘Torse” goblets for a long time. Some day…sigh. Glad to see your new website up and running. I look forward to reading it regularly. Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

  3. My library includes all of your stunning books……a continuing sorce of information and inspiration. You have kept me current with your amazing taste and style. I am thrilled that your new “gifts” for us are simple and charming and so very do-able. Thank you sincerely.

  4. I have been following everything you do since you used to work for Oscar de la Renta, I think you have an impeccable taste and I own all of your books and I admire you, keep up the good work.


    Berta ATofani

  5. *** As one who would rather design/set a fab BREAKFAST/ BRUNCH/ LUNCH or DINNER TABLE, I can honestly say Y*O*U are the B.E.S.T…. NOBODY does it better!!!!!

    And note: I didn’t know there were books of yours that I DIDN’T have!!! Wow, must take care of that soon… very soon!!! Your “work” is always sooooooo stunning!!!


  6. Everytime we eat off of an antique plate or put wine in a old green colored cut glass goblet from a recent trip to Paris your name comes up at the dinner table. “What are we saving it for company?”one of us will say. Two can be company too. So we eat our cake on the antique plate and tonight our wine will be in the goblets from France, and we’ll think of you!

    Thank you in advance,
    Vincent & Larry

  7. Thank you for all the inspiration that you beautifully share in your site.
    I am awed by your impeccable taste!

  8. These tabletops, are simple, yet divine! The ferns are so lush and go so well with the silver and lovely tablecloth. The color combinations are very striking. I have several of your books and hope to find the others to add to my collection. I am delighted to have found your blog and look forward to many more of your lovely gifts of inspiration. You have been one of my favorite designers for a long time. Thank you for sharing your creations with us.

  9. Carolyn,

    So beautifully done! I, too have been admiring your work in both fashion and design for years.

  10. Have just discovered your exquisite website,now I know what special gifts I can buy for special friends.
    Absolutely beautiful books
    Full of admiration to see how you have moved on from the time I met you in the world of fashion in the 80’s.(that was also in impeccable taste)

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