Holiday Tablescape with Adair Curtis

Adair Curtis is an American interior designer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of JSN Studio with his celebrity stylist husband, Jason Bolden

By: rē•spin staff
Holiday Tablescape with Adair Curtis

Adair Curtis is an American interior designer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of JSN STUDIO with his celebrity stylist husband, Jason Bolden.

A master visionary, Adair got his start in the entertainment industry, working for the likes of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Naomi Campbell, and later, Russell Simmons. He pivoted in 2014, making a career switch to focus on design full-time, and hasn’t looked back since.

Beyond their marriage, their combination of expertise introduced the couple into the realm of celebrity styling and interior design, leading them to launch their company to play to their mutual strengths. The dynamic duo launched their joint multi-disciplinary business in 2014, designing interiors, products, and fashion moments to help their clients and collaborators look and live well.

Their Netflix show, Styling Hollywood, debuted in 2019, showcasing the behind the scenes of JSN Studio. To this day, the show is revered as the first reality show that is centered around a gay, Black male couple.

The duo has continued to build their brand through their many fashion, design, and television ventures. With Adair navigating the interior design side of the business, JSN Studio has been named “One of Nine Rising Stars Taking the Design World by Storm” by Architectural Digest. Most recently, JSN Studio joined 15 other Black-led design firms to collaborate on the virtual “Iconic Home” for AD, tackling the rooftop terrace to create a space that felt natural and warm to let you find your balance and just be.

Adair and Jason currently reside in Los Angeles, California.

How long have you been interested in interior design?

I’ve been designing spaces for as long as I can remember. Mine was the classic experience of growing up and always finding a way to rearrange the furniture. When I started making my own money, I remember experimenting with Ralph Lauren suede paint in my bedroom and adding moldings and gilt mirrors to the walls. I ended up switching careers in 2014 to focus on design full time.

What will you be doing for your tablescape this holiday while sheltering in place?

While this isn’t a typical year for us, we’re still going to celebrate. I’m undecided on an exact theme but I’m envisioning calming earth tones, plates in organic shapes, and centerpieces made with items found around the house and plant instead of flowers!

What’s the foundation of a holiday tablescape?

The foundation of any great holiday tablescape starts with the base. This is your tablecloth or runner. And you can be creative here too! I’ve seen everything from brown butcher paper with guests leaving messages for the host to Christmas wrapping paper or a strip of faux grass! This base sets the tone for the rest of the table.

Do you have any top tips for the perfect tablescape?

Start with an inspiration or two – both Pinterest and Instagram are the perfect places to source your inspiration from.

After you’re set on inspiration, break the who tablescape down into the following 3-parts:

  1. Part I | The Foundation Level: This includes the basics such as dishes, silverware, glasses/stemware, napkins, and your tablecloth or runner
  2. Part II | The Upgrade: At this level, you should focus on your centerpieces
  3. Part III | The Crescendo: It’s all about the small details, embellishments, and personalization at this point

How should the table be set?

Setting your table should be simple. Remember, the base of your tablescape will be your foundation. Start with choosing your base. Again, this can be a tablecloth, a runner, or even a large vintage serving tray. Be creative!

Next, choose your centerpiece. Focus on vases and candles at varying heights, as well as serving platters so you know where the food will live on the table once you’re done. You’ll want to encourage conversation amongst your guests so remember not to include anything that will obstruct a guest’s view across the table.

After you have those elements in place, it’s time to create your place settings. You’ll want to start with a charger plate that adds to the overall aesthetic you’re creating, then add a plate, napkins, and utensils.

Finally, add a few embellishments and personal touches to each place-setting. For instance, if it’s a Halloween theme, you can add small personal jack-o-lanterns for each guest. For Christmas, top each setting with a small personal gift to help your guests feel special and remember you long after the dinner concludes.

Bonus tip – don’t forget to pay attention to your guest’s chairs. You can have fun there too with small embellishments that help bring the whole theme to life!

What makes the best decor?

The “best” is subjective. I always say the best decor is the one that resonates most with the people who live with it and resonates most with the people it was intended for. I find the best decor to be both useful and aesthetically pleasing. And for it’s all in the small details!

Can you mix and match designs? How can you mix and match for a unique look?

Creativity breeds innovation! You can certainly mix and match designs. We always encourage it! For the best results, find one or two things that unify two distinctly different styles and let that one thing tie the two styles together! It could be a color, a shape, or even a texture!

Do you have one design hack that you’d recommend?

There’s a saying that goes, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Generally, this is the case, but when putting together a holiday tablescape, you’ll want to focus on the opposite advice! The secret sauce is in the small details. For instance, if your theme is Christmas, accessorize your table with beautiful garland or mini candy canes!

How can someone personalize an experience to best match their taste?

To create a deeply personal experience for yourself and your guests, lean-in to who you are and what you enjoy. If you enjoy jazz music, incorporate music notes into your tablescape and the auditory experience around your dinner. Whatever that thing is you love, double-down on it!

Is it important to stay within a specific color scheme or if there is the freedom to experiment?

I’m a designer that firmly believes that one should learn all the rules, then figure out how to break them accordingly! That means I’m all about one having the freedom to experiment and express themselves free of what society tells them is “right.” Mix-and-match and come up with something uniquely your own!

Do you have any advice for first-time hosts?

The best advice I’d give to a host, especially if it’s their first time, is to plan for everything. Planning two weeks should be just enough time to determine the type of gathering you’re looking to have, figure out the theme and decor that goes along with it, the guest list, food, and all the other small details.

Photographer Credit: Juan Veloz

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