Even in a Chilly Mountain Cabin, You Can Throw One Hot Dinner Party

503found Co-owner Kim Rodosky Shares Her Tips on Creating a Rustic Table Setting

Written By: Nick Cimarusti Even in a Chilly Mountain Cabin, You Can Throw One Hot Dinner Party
Photographed By: Josie Gonzales

A cabin in the woods, far from the buzz of the city and the blanket of light pollution, is just what the doctor ordered. With views for days and plenty of fresh air, you’ll be looking for excuses to stay in no time. But as relaxing as well-deserved quiet time can be, don’t hesitate to throw a party or two. Earthy woods and charming cabin ornaments are juxtaposed with modern place settings and elegant glassware, turning your mountainous retreat into the perfect location for a picturesque tablescape. Just ask Kim Rodosky, interior designer and co-owner of 503found, a Newport Beach showroom and design consultation service, specializing in curated furniture, lighting and accessories.

What would you say are the essential design elements when you’re going for a rustic cabin look that’s still a little upscale?

Kim Rodosky: I don’t like to over match, I like things to be a little different. By not matching everything, some of the items stand out more; they kind of make statements. And just to be kind of warm and cozy but then with really clean lines, because I like to have juxtaposition. So if you’re in a cabin and it’s rustic, maybe put some clean lines to balance it out so it’s not too cliché.

Q: A lot of designers talk about clean lines. Can you explain what that means?

KR: We decorate a couple of mountain homes, and I kind of go for more modern pieces with real straight lines, real simple—It just kind of balances out the rustic instead of going all in and making it like a total cabin. So your plate can have clean lines, or your silverware. Sometimes we use silverware that’s all matted black. Just more modern pieces to balance it out.

Q: The setting features African glass beads, which might seem a little odd to put in a cabin. But does that go back to your mix and match theme?

KR: Do something unexpected, which you wouldn’t normally see and makes it stand out a little more.

Q: So, was that how you were selecting the items for the photo shoot?

KR: Yeah exactly. Or, I’m just so bad because I’m not very well thought out, I kind of just go with what pieces we have. So I put together a collection that didn’t match, that had some unexpected elements, something you just normally wouldn’t mix with that. With the beads, if it’s around the holidays they could be green; some element that ties it together but it’s not normally what you would go to. I’m a big believer in using what you have and making that work and then adding a couple pieces.

Q: Would you say that that’s kind of a rare philosophy among designers to mix and match, and work with what you have?

KR: I would have said it was a while ago, but now I would disagree. I think with the internet and with Pinterest and Houzz, people are getting inspiration from all over. And I think that people are glad to lean more toward a look that’s unique to them. So, if we went into a home we’d be happy to use some of their antique glasses and we’d put our flowers on there and our table and silverware, but then mix in with an old linen they had, which just makes it look very unique to them. We really try to take on, when we design, the personality of who we’re working for.

Q: Do you stray from matching because it’s too boring?

KR: Well, it’s more my personal taste. I think matching can be done so well. In fact, sometimes I say it’s just me—I’m naturally a little disorganized and eclectic, so to match everything would probably be a little impossible. I think sometimes when a designer [matches], it can look amazing with a minimalist look. I just kind of gravitate toward an eclectic look that looks like it wasn’t done in a one-stop shop, but looks like it evolved over time and is personal to the person’s individual taste.

Q: What would you say is the most important aspect of making an impressive table setting that will wow your guests?

KR: First of all, make it very reflective of the way you want to entertain that night. If you’re having kids or if it’s all adults, making the tablescape reflect the way you want to entertain that night. If it’s mainly kids at the table, you don’t want to use china that you won’t want to get broken. Also, I think it’s really fun to throw in something kind of surprising. If it doesn’t represent what you’re trying to do then it’s not going to work as well.

Q: Do you have any decorative do’s or don’ts when designing a dinner table setting?

KR: My biggest do is to plan ahead, and in planning ahead it might be that you have no plan and you just go with it and have fun with it. Just try not to force it. Have fun with it, don’t take it too seriously. Your whole purpose of entertaining is for everyone to have a good time, so keep that as your goal and let everything else fall into place and not get too stressed out about it.

Q: So, staying calm is definitely a “do.”

KR: Definitely. If all else fails, good wine and alcohol, right? I think my main bit of advice is to know who you’re entertaining for and why and keep it rooted to that.

Q: When you think of winter, you don’t usually picture flowers, so for our shoot you chose antlers. What would be the winter version of seasonal fresh flowers?

KR: Since New Year’s is a little more formal, maybe using black linens and put a little gold on the table. I always love green, it’s so organic, so black, gold and green—you can’t go wrong. That would make an impact, is the colors you use. And don’t be afraid to layer. If you put one black tablecloth down, you could add some organic layers on top of it, so we’ve used macramé table runners or maybe a little gold table runner if you’re going more formal.

Q: Does 503found have anything new or exciting in the works for the new year?

KR: We have some really cool tabletop resin pieces from a designer up in San Francisco who mixes resin pieces with brass. I think they’ll do really well for us here. We’ll be carrying white grey and brass. And then we have some really cool ceramic pottery, vases and such.

Q: Are there any tabletop trends on your radar lately?

KR: Candles, especially for New Year’s and January, candles would do well. People are really making things more unique and reflective of who they are, doing those little extra special things like place cards or gifts for people to take home. And bringing in some sort of organic element, whether that’s antlers or we’ve even used shells and sea grass before.

Curators of Cool: 503found’s items come from a wide variety of sources: acclaimed design shows in New York, trips to Parisian flea markets, local artisans and everywhere in between.

If These Walls Could Talk: Rodosky’s collection reflects her personal aesthetic—an unexpected mix of contemporary, antique and artisan pieces that tell a story about the owners. Rodosky applies this same approach to holiday entertaining by encouraging clients to have fun with their decor, incorporate eclectic touches with items they already love and let the rest fall into place.

503 31st St
Newport Beach, CA 92663

W I N N I N G /// in the Winter: What It Takes to Design the Best Cabin Dinner Party Ever.

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