- Samantha Wasser, photographed by Mikey Pozarik
- The swing at by CHLOE. in the Flatiron District, photographed by Mikey Pozarik
- The interiors at by CHLOE.’s West Village outpost, photographed by Mikey Pozarik
Amazing vegan eats aren’t the only things to catch your eye at by CHLOE. Stop by any of the restaurant’s outposts in New York, Los Angeles and Boston and, in addition to the tasty guac burger and pesto meatball (yes, all vegetarian), you’ll be captivated by the bright and beautifully designed interiors — the handiwork of one Samantha Wasser, who’s co-founder alongside Chef Chloe Coscarelli as well as ESquared Hospitality’s Creative Director. Here, we chat with Wasser, who shares her pro tips on setting the perfect summer tablescape and recreating by CHLOE.’s fun design elements at home.
To create the perfect tablescape, start with…
The menu. Once you know what you are serving your guests, you can create the tablescape that best highlights that. Serving a family-style menu? Then I’d keep the table simple to allow for easier passing around of dishes and plates between guests. Serving finger-friendly dishes at a barbecue? I’ll keep a canister of flatware on the table instead of at each setting and compensate with extra napkins to keep things easy and comfortable. If I’m serving a multi-course dinner that will go well into the evening, I’ll add some candles and florals to the table along with vintage place settings. It’s the little details.
Never forget to…
Have a plan B. If an extra guest shows up, or someone cancels last minute; someone has a new dietary restriction or it rains the day of our outdoor dinner party, always prepare yourself for the unexpected. I know it’s what everyone says but that way, as a host, you can stay calm and collected no matter what comes your way!
When it comes to centerpieces…
Less is more. Pick one things to focus on — whether it’s a type of flower, a color or table runner, I always try to keep the table clean and not fuss over a lot of trinkets. Always remember that a centerpiece should never interfere with the meal — whether that means blocking the view of the guest across the table or limiting the amount of space available for the actual food, a centerpiece is meant to enhance your tablescape, not overtake it!
My favorite tablescape ideas for summer…
Small bud arrangements, whether it’s one bloom of hydrangeas or a selection of white dahlias, they always add a level of simple sophistication to a table. I also love using fresh ingredients like a small bowl of lemons or a collection of fresh herbs for a bright focal point that also may even be used by guests should they need to. You can also add a unique twist using different linen napkins to help add color, texture and flair to a table. And I always keep the rosé on the table so guests can help themselves!
Indoor vs. outdoor gatherings…
Always outdoor so long as it’s not too hot — you don’t want your guests to melt in the heat!
The most memorable table I ever saw or created…
The tables at my wedding by the fabulous Ed Libby. To this day no table will ever be as special to me. I am also a huge fan of eyeswoon — I just love how perfect Athena’s tables always look.
My favorite online design resources…
Pinterest is my secret weapon for design inspiration. Whether I’m picking out details for the house my husband and I have been building this last year, planning out the @bychefchloe Instagram or conceptualizing a new restaurant project, Pinterest is a great way to keep all my thoughts and inspiration in one trackable place whenever I need it — whether I’m in the office, or running around — it’s always there right on my phone.
Three design tips from by CHLOE. you can recreate at home…
1. The swing chairs — they are fun and bright, and one of my favorite unique features of each of our three locations. We actually added a real swing, like what you’d find hanging from a big tree in someone’s yard, to our new location at 22nd street. It always makes me happy to walk in and see someone taking a moment to enjoy a cookie or matcha on the swings — and they are all situated in the windows, perfect for people watching!
2. The bathrooms at by CHLOE. are my secret design treat. I’ve worked really hard with Dekar Design to create something fun and totally different at both NYC locations. At our new location on 22nd street, you’ll find a vintage-inspired black and white graphic wallpaper on the walls, accented by yellow splatter paint on the ceiling. The bathroom at Bleecker has a psychedelic surprise on the ceiling with black and white arrows on the walls. It’s a fun surprise for an unlikely, and most times overlooked, space in a restaurant.
3. At our new location in Silver Lake that opened in May, we created a special art installation for the store that I was really excited about. We had two of our by CHLOE. icons — the burger and French fries, of course — made into neon signs that hang on the wall. I wanted them to make a statement but still be unobtrusive to guests dining in the restaurant, so I had the designers dip the front of the neon in black lacquer so it creates a black-lit glow of the icons. Plus, it also looks really great turned off!
More to explore in Entertaining
- Entertaining 6.18.18 Landscape Designer Fernando Wong On: Summer Garden Tips
- Entertaining 6.13.18 Wine Director Helen Johannesen On: Summer Wine 101
- Entertaining 5.29.18 Spotlight On: Ice Cream Season Is Here!
- Entertaining 5.25.18 Editors’ Tip: Top 10 Hostess Gifts
- Entertaining 5.24.18 Recipe: Wölffer Estate’s Pink Siren Cocktail