Do you have any tabletop obsessions or entertaining quirks?
I love old Flemish glass, old Georgian-coin silver—I place my forks and spoons on the table facing down because the monogramming is on the back! I'm a bit obsessed with silver right now because Oscar de la Renta Home is introducing a flatware collection for Lunt Silversmiths next month (800-242-2774 or luntsilver.com). Instead of napkins, I use white tea towels with red stripes that I got in a French flea market. They're enormous, something like 36 square inches. If you're doing a large buffet dinner where you have to hold plates in your lap, those tea towels really cover you up.
What's your favorite party dish?
I like food to be seasonal. In summer, I make something I call Perfume Salad—baby Bibb lettuce, Boston lettuce, lots of basil, cilantro and mint. It's a pain because you have to wash all the leaves and pick them off the stems. Then I add the simplest dressing of olive oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar and Maille Dijon mustard. I'll serve the salad with cold Thai shrimp flavored with lots of lemongrass. In the winter, I love a potato and scallop dish I basically lifted from Aureole restaurant in New York City. You arrange a layer of homemade fried potatoes, then top it with a layer of creamy potatoes and then a layer of scallops. Then you start again with another set of layers.
Describe the entertaining space in your home.
My sister Sarah and I live in the same town house. She has the lower two floors and I have the upper two. Sarah wanted an orange-lacquered dining room, so I created one for her inspired by the Paris design house Jansen. Because her dining room doesn't have windows, we installed antique mirrors in the panels on the walls to add sparkle. Sarah's kitchen is made for a family—the café table and freestanding banquette is where she has breakfast with her kids. But we also added grown-up touches, like ebonized-wood cabinets and a wood floor that looks striped because it's stained two colors.