“La tavola,” or simply the table, is a place where we gather with family and friends to join in a meal. The dining room is a place where we appreciate good food, fine wine, and great company. As we near the holidays, the dining room will become the spectacle and shining jewel of the home. The lights will be turned on, the linens will be pressed, and the fine china, crystal, and silverware will find its way out of the tomb to reveal a spectacular presentation. All of this occurs before the first crumb is ever prepared.
In most high-end homes, the luxury dining room will service a minimum of ten to fourteen guests. Lighting a long dining table is an art; a crucial and integral part of the design. The chandelier, the magnificent statement it is, is only there for mood lighting, and should have low candle output and sparkle only as an accessory – not serving as the task lighting for the room.
I have designed many custom residences with luxurious dining rooms, and while it seems pretty straight forward, proper ergonomics is essential. One needs to consider service of food, the overall extension of the chair when a guest is seated, and the elbow room from guest to guest. In addition, the design must respect the flow of food service from the kitchen or adjoining butler’s pantry. Will there be hired servers in larger parties, and how will the servers maneuver to present and remove dishes? Unlike a commercial restaurant, where you expect to see the action, this is your home, and we must consider the other 350+ days of the year that the dining room is just a lovely space in the residence.
I grew up sitting at the dining room table for every single meal. It was an Italian household, where the dining table is the center of the kitchen in place of an island; it sat eight to ten comfortably. A chef’s table, if you will, steps from the cantina where new barrels of wine were made every year, and prosciutto and salami hung from the ceiling! It was not a catered kitchen, but the chef of the night, Mom or Dad, had full command of the meal presentation and preparation. Timing was everything so the food was always served at the perfect temperature! As our family grew in size, so did the dining room. Now, choices that are different. The buffet, chandelier, and artwork on the walls can and should make a special statement. These furnishings are the focal point, the “pop” of interest that can easily change the room’s styling from common to unique and memorable. Let your personality have more freedom when selecting these “artistic” pieces, it’s an opportunity to reflect your personality into your social gathering place! The finale to “la tavola” is a great centerpiece and stunning tableware. It’s nice to have a staple design, a floral or everyday arrangement, but these are decorative items that can be changed easily to get into the spirit of the season!
This Thanksgiving, I hope you all have a great time with your loved ones around “la tavola,” no matter how big or small, have plenty of thanks for all of your blessings. Our early American settlers did not have Versace decor, but they certainly had all that was needed for a historically memorable event!