Recently F&W visited the loft of New York City designer Troy Halterman and his wife, Patsy, and asked them to set their table for a dinner featuring light summer pastas developed in our test kitchen by Grace Parisi. Troy came up with a look reflecting the style of his SoHo store, Troy, where he mixes Sixties and Seventies outrageousness with his own Nineties modernist designs. For seating he chose boxy leather ottomans ("They create a relaxing lounge feeling that's good for conversation"), and he placed inexpensive glass globes containing candles, lilies or goldfish around the table ("I like an organic element--something living and not necessarily always flowers"). The table, which Troy designed, has a removable Plexiglas top that you can put colored paper underneath: "This eliminates the tablecloth dilemma, it's modern and it allows you to add color to a room quickly and inexpensively."

--Eric A. Berthold