Every successful host and hostess knows that when it come to dining, stimulating the imagination is every bit as important as stimulating the appetite. Food needs to look great as well as taste great. One way to do this is to set the stage for the occasion.
Whether formal, informal or buffet, any table looks best when set with flair. Interior designer and well-known host Richard Taylor of Taylor/Siegmeister Associates enjoys planning fireside buffets for friends. For this evening after the theater, a window with a view of the city becomes the backdrop for an informally set buffet board. French printed napkins and simple white Faience plates add to the elegant yet simple setting. A mix of wooden serving utensils and crockery contributes to the relaxed atmosphere.
A dramatic Japanese table setting by interior designer James E. Peterson of Rita St. Clair Associates proves that a table setting can transport the imagination to another place and time. In Mr. Peterson's own dining room, a brown marble-topped table and Chinese Chippendale chairs evoke the look of the Far East when backed by a large Japanese screen. Instead of a Western-style tablecloth, the table top is crisscrossed by two unmatching but similar obis, traditionally part of Japanese costume. New, red lacquer trays are used instead of place mats. At the table's center, an antique Lalique vase holds a simple flower arrangement.