For F&W's ham dinner, Zeff sets the mirror-topped table from his own furniture line with place mats made by Zairean women for the heads of their households; each one is unique. To the left of each place setting he puts small South African cowrie-shell mats from his store for guests to rest their bread on. The tall heirloom wineglasses are filled with a South African Merlot, the 1989 Meerlust.
For the centerpiece, Zeff arranges a collection of antique silver--salts and peppers, candlesticks and vases, a cigarette box--on a large silver tray that once belonged to a Johannesburg country club and is inscribed with members' names.
Tying the scheme together are spots of vibrant greens: small dessert wineglasses, a large glass vase in the center of the table and a dozen perfect greengage plums, one in the middle of each gold-rimmed white dinner plate. "The plums are a simple, easy hit of color," he says, "and they complement the warm, muted tones of the room."
For a catalog of Zeff's furniture, including his signature "Heraldry" chairs, call Mark Zeff Consulting Group at 212-580-7090. This fall the designer is launching a collection of bed and table linens, which will be available through his retail shop in Southampton, New York; for more information call 516-283-2999.