Recipes in this Story
Niçoise Olives with Fennel Seeds and Thyme
Baby Potatoes with Crème Fraîche and Caviar
Arugula and Pear Salad
Squid Ink Fettuccine with Clams
Black and White Pot de Crème
Text by Krissa Rossbund
Photographs by Luca Trovato
Plenty of things went right for Mary McDonald in 2010. She secured a spot on an upcoming design show and finished her first book, Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style (Rizzoli, 2010), a compendium of the bold and glamorous interiors that demonstrate her aesthetic soul. So when it came time to sign off on 2010, she shed the idea of a party in a swanky hotel or trendy restaurant and decided to pay tribute to the year by hosting an elegant dinner in a dining room that she designed for friends and featured in her book. .
Using the chic icy-blue-and-tangerine room as the stage for her intimate dinner, Mary emphasized the clean and contemporary sensibilities with a black, white, and silver table scheme that mixes expensive antiques with simple wares from big-box stores.
"Black and white always connotes the famous Capote black-and-white ball to me," says Mary. "It's convivial, festive, and full of great expectations. The combination also varies from clean and modern to the most traditional applications, all expressing a certain amount of theater. In a way, black and white are the tuxedo for the table, and who doesn't look good in a tuxedo?"
Mary interrupted the dark espresso finish of the sleek, modern table by laying a vintage remnant textile end to end. The quilted matelassé fabric with the slightest tint of blue served as a runway for Mary's fashionable centerpieces of silver objects holding whimsical items.
In the middle of the runner, a footed glass bowl held a sumptuous arrangement of white tulips and black calla lilies. Next in line were two silver compotes, each held aloft by a base of tall, architecturally styled silver columns. In the compotes, frosted white Christmas balls from the tree were paired with feathers and repurposed as table decor before being stored until next year's holiday season.
At the table ends, silver champagne buckets served as befitting receptacles for the buoyant and feathery plumes symbolizing the hoped-for highs of the coming year.
Simple white plates showcased the entree of squid ink fettuccine with clams, and Mary discovered vintage glass salad plates and stemware with silver bands that glamorized the dinnerware ensemble.
"New Year's is really a chance to be grateful for your blessings and to leave the past burdens behind," says Mary. "After all, everyone needs a clean slate."