HFG Design discusses how to set a table as featured in Newsday March 3, 2016

Excerpt from Newsday article 3/3/16

Junior Welfare League of Huntington's spring luncheon designers show us how to decorate, set table

Between plates, flowers and fabric, some of the table settings to be showcased March 6 at the Junior Welfare League of Huntington’s spring luncheon cost the designers more than $3,000 each to dress. “The takeaway is that you will be inspired to go home and create something beautiful of your own,” says Centerport decorator Amal Kapen, co-chair of the event, a fundraiser for the league’s summer camp charity.
Here is a peek at what five of the 14 designers plan to serve up.

Although the table cost $3,500, Amal Kapen says you can do parts of it for less: Use a designer fabric and trim it with pinking shears to avoid frayed edges to make a table topper, placing it over a banquet-length tablecloth, she suggests.

Amal Kapen of Amal Kapen Interiors in Centerport, co-chair of the Junior Welfare League of Huntington spring luncheon event, designed this table. The theme is “Chinoiserie Summer in the Hamptons." The table is draped with fabric sponsor Duralee coral linen and set with three plates for each of the 10 guests: a rattan charger, a bamboo-detailed dinner plate from Juliska and a vintage majolica cabbage salad dish.

Bamboo-handled flatware from Cambridge Silversmiths is used to “add a bit of whimsy” to the monogrammed green linen napkins from a trade source and floral napkin holders by Deborah Rhodes, says Amal Kapen of Amal Kapen Interiors in Centerport. Vintage crystal glasses will be placed alongside vintage gold bamboo name card holders and goldtone bamboo salt and pepper shakers. There are also Greek key-etched hurricane lanterns available at the Locust Valley shop of designer Meg Braff as well as vintage items such as foo dogs purchased at an auction and Syrian worry beads...

“Try purchasing remnants or inexpensive fabrics by the yard and making your own linens or chair covers,” says Flecker, who spent about $2,500 on the tabletop.

Helena Flecker of HFG Design in Lloyd Neck decorated this tabletop, which she is calling The John Muir Table [or Eclectic Chartreuse Spring Luncheon Table Top]. Several tablecloths are layered over the table — in linen, cotton and jute materials in the soft shades of taupe, green and gray and varied edge details. The intentionally simple asymmetrical setting for 10 — only including forks — features handspun ceramic dishes by Homenature on recycled corrugated cardboard place mats.

The centerpiece features fruits and vegetables, including limes, pears, blueberries, kumquats, asparagus and artichokes, matched with driftwood, succulents, moss and topiary from Scarsella’s Florist in Syosset.

Newsday Interview with HFG on table top event:

HFG Design, Inc’s table design is influenced by John Muir (1838-1914, was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States, The Sierra Club which he founded, is a prominent American conservation organization) - who in fact inspires much of the work we do. The inspiration of our table top design for this event is the month of March and its wooing influence of spring on the one hand, and the retreating footsteps of winter on the other along with these two quotes from John Muir:

"In every walk with nature, one receives far more then one seeks"


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Natures peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The trees will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

CAN YOU PLEASE DESCRIBE IT? For our table top we are using natural linen, cotton and jute materials in the soft muted shades of early spring - taupe, subtle greens,grays and taupes, We are in love with color and texture and want to evoke moss and bark, and are using things like a beautiful tassel fringe from Duralee that feels like early morning spring dew. As with our home design, there is always a little of the unexpected and everyday common materials used in an unusual way. Our table top is designed to work equally well in both traditional and contemporary environments and is dramatic and exciting enough for a fabulous day of entertaining, but also tranquil and peaceful for an intimate gathering.

IN A WORD, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO? Earth loving (oops - thats 2 words!)

HOW ARE YOU SETTING THE TABLETOP? DESCRIBE LAYERS, NUMBER OF SETTINGS, ETC. We are designing a 72” round table top for seating 10. We are using an asymmetrical layering of plates, placemats and napkins (symmetry can be so over rated and less interesting at times!) and three overlaying table clothes. There will be mixed fabrics all from Duralee of differing natural materials with varied edge details and sizes.

• Table linens fabricated by: H&A Upholstery (718) 855-9664, 185 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn New York, 11231
• All fabric materials by: Duralee - 125 Michael Drive, Suite #101, Syosset NY 11791, #516.584.8370 (to the trade only showroom)
• Flowers and misc table top items by: Scarsellas Florist, 1702 Rt 25A, Syosset, NY 11791, #516-692-6222
• Dishes by Homenature: #631-527-7088, showrooms in NYC, Southampton and Amagansett NY
• Additional table tops by IKEA and/ or from designers own collection

CAN YOU PLEASE DESCRIBE WHATEVER FLOWERS YOU CHOSE AND WHY? Everything at Scarsellas is an inspiration - for all of our projects, we walk around their beautiful showroom and wait for something or many things to speak to us. It usually involves a mixture of natural elements as for instance with this table top design where we are using fallen wood, moss, and succulents.

HOW MUCH DOES EACH PIECE ON THE TABLE COST? • It varies greatly - plates range from $10-15 each, centerpiece is approx. $200 depending on size, tree arrangements can range from $45 up. Fabrics used range from $30/ yard to $100+
CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE ONE TIP FOR THE READER ON A BUDGET WHO WANTS TO “GET THE LOOK” OF YOUR TABLETOP? Style is easy on a shoesting, and for last minute entertaining as well! You can go cheap and chic for parties by utilizing what chain stores have to offer, Ikea and Target, CB2 and West Elm all have amazing design at low prices. Because the things can be as inexpensive as $2 for a glass, or $3 for a plate, you can experiment and have fun. Try purchasing remnants or inexpensive fabrics by the yard and making your own linens or chair covers. We are simply draping inexpensive cotton canvas over our chairs here and tyeing with rope from the local hardware store. Candle holders can be anything, be adventurous! For thanksgiving we cut off the round bottoms and hollowed out beautiful purple cabbages to stick our candles in them, our votives here are fruit in a regular inexpensive glass with cheap floating candles. Take cuttings from your yard or the beach instead of expensive and perfect professional arrangments, or buy potted plants and herbs that will last longer then cut flowers and you can plant them in your yard afterwards. Wrap the plastic containers of the plants in fabric or burlap and tie with ribbon or twine. Rosemary or mint and asparagus twigs or cumquats used in bundles can add not only a wonderful scent and color to your table but also have a dramatic effect. Leaves make fabulous place cards and textured paper or recycled card board can make inexpensive and in colors dramtic place mats with plane white plates.

WHAT IS YOUR ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR DESIGNING AN AMAZING TABLETOP? Find something that inspires you and have fun with it. For me, nature provides endless inspiration and you can never go wrong with taking a walk outside and letting the seasons elements influence and energize you - take a cutting of something, put in a recycled glass jar (something as ordinary as a jelly jar with the label soaked off can look fabulous!) and VOILA!