From the December/January 2015 Issue:

Table Setting 3: Let it Glow

    Writer: Meg Fox | Photographer: Patricia Burke |

Design James Yarosh • Occasion New Year’s Eve Dinner • Location Jersey Shore Townhouse

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enlarge | Yellow hues shine at the annual New Year’s Eve dinner celebration of designer/artist James Yarosh. “I always try to incorporate the table setting to reflect the design and colors of the home,” he says.
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Getting ready to host a holiday gathering with family and friends? Designer James Yarosh serves up a festive table setting to spark the imagination and celebrate the magic of the season. Whether you are planning a small, intimate occasion, a formal affair or a casual get-together, he lays it all out on the table, sharing best-dressed scenarios, tips and strategies for making it memorable.

Party Plan
When hosting his annual New Year’s Eve dinner for friends, interior designer and art dealer James Yarosh incorporates the design and colors of his home into the table setting. “By doing so, the excitement created becomes part of everything in the room and extends to everyone as well,” says Yarosh, owner of James Yarosh Associates Fine Art &Design Gallery in Holmdel.

Still, every year he tailors the design to where his aesthetic interests lie, what he may derive from fashion or from a beautiful fabric. “I treat myself to having a new tablecloth made” or to an oversized silk scarf to be used as a table topper or draped around the base of the tree, he says.

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enlarge | To emphasize the monochromatic scheme and play up the texture, Yarosh chose a solid yellow silk velvet table­cloth and hung shiny glass and vintage satin ornaments from the chandelier. The vintage silver tabletop tree at left is a “portrait of what Christmas looks like—all glittery and unreserved,” he says.
Setting the Scene
To welcome 2014, Yarosh chose silk velvet fabric for the tablecloth. Its rich egg-yolk hue pairs well with the goldleaf frames around his collection of paintings and the “complicated palettes of the many artists [represented] in the room,” he says. The occasion also called for his most formal crystal and china, the latter being Rosenthal’s Magic Flute, which is based on Mozart’s opera of that title. “Each piece represents a different scene, and the verse is written in German on the back in gold,” he says.

The crystal pattern, Extravagance, is by Saint-Louis, an old French company now owned by Hermès. “I began my collection with three candlesticks and then added two glasses at a time until I had 12,” he says. The latest additions of Saint-Louis crystal are small banded glasses used to ring in the New Year with champagne toasts. Antique opaline Baccarat flower vases and decorative plates supplement the setting.

“I never needed much arm-twisting when it came to collecting,” says Yarosh, who owns about five sets of china and stemware appropriate for everything from everyday to formal use. “There is no easier way to make even casual dinner at the kitchen table special than to quickly set the table with beautiful pieces,” he says.

Leaving an Impression
To take the edge off the formal settings and reinforce the textured monochromatic color story, Yarosh suspended shiny glass and vintage satin ornaments from the Murano glass chandelier above the table. “It feels magical on New Year’s Eve to have little ornaments dancing within your peripheral vision,” he says.

Ornaments spill over to the nearby tabletop tree. “I started out with big, lively trees and then smaller balled trees that could be planted outdoors,” Yarosh recalls. Over the years, his choice distilled almost unknowingly down to one vintage silver tree that has since become his tradition. “The tree is a portrait of what Christmas looks like—all glittery and unreserved,” with each ornament evoking a memory, he says. There is a quantity of orange cat ornaments to “rival any crazy cat lady,” an old Grease ornament that plays “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” fancy tokens from holiday shopping days and favorite ornaments from childhood. Topping the tree is a Farrah Fawcett figurine. “The most beautiful angel ever,” Yarosh says.

Details Make the Difference
Rosenthal china, flowers in shades of yellow and cream, and a place card signal the festivities are about to begin.

Holiday whimsy
A Farrah Fawcett tree topper, a holiday shopper and a dolly on a flying duck are among the lighthearted ornaments on the silver tree.

Table Talk with James Yarosh

Use of Place Cards “As a host, I kind of like picking who sits next to me, but I also think the idea of guests switching places is fun. I’m always happy for silly party subplots.”

Paper vs. Cloth “I’ve debated the use of paper vs. cloth napkins over the years, but I prefer paper napkins as a guest because they are more functional. Big cloth napkins can be dangerous on tightly packed, crystal-laden tables. I also find that paper napkins are more versatile to slip into a table design with less attention. I did start monogramming napkins and set the table half with my initials and half with my partner’s.”

Fragrant Blooms “One of the nicest things about setting a table is the excuse to plan flowers. My own tastes for flower arranging have developed into full color compositions, removing all the leaves and using smaller flowers as filler to the larger ones. I also like flowers to have a rich fragrance.”


Design, accents and artwork, James Yarosh of James Yarosh Associates Fine Art & Design Gallery in Holmdel; Murano glass chandelier, Artemide; dining chairs, Côté France; Rosenthal Magic Flute china and Extravagance crystal by Saint-Louis, both through Rumson China & Glass in Red Bank; silk velvet tablecloth fabric, Clarence House; opaline flower vases, Baccarat; crystal place-card holders, Bergdorf Goodman; scarf around tree, Hermès.

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