Drinks at Sunset or Breakfast in the Garden? Oh, Yes

September 17, 2018
Hallberg in the driveway with his pooches Mellon, left, and Marnie. Falcon-shape Wall Reliefs, Formations, formationsusa.com. Max Kim-Bee
Richard Hallberg is an interiors-industry polymath who likes to fly under the radar but is thoroughly revered by those in the know. Not only is he one of the most sought-after designers in the world, with a roster of prestigious and exceedingly discerning clients, but the two furniture companies he co-owns— Formations and Dennis & Leen—are both juggernauts in the field, known for their pitch-perfect modern and classic pieces, as well as oodles of chic objects.
Hallberg and his business partners, whom he met in art school, produce almost everything by hand in Los Angeles, where Hallberg is also based. Whatever he touches is marked by exquisite taste and effortless style, including the fetes he frequently hosts at his transporting getaway in the California hills.
Recently, he invited us over to share how his thoughtful yet relaxed take on entertaining embodies some of the core tenets of his aesthetic approach.

Drinks At Sunset

Hallberg makes extensive use of all the various spaces on his property when hosting, creating special moments wherever inspiration and opportunity strike. This courtyard is a favorite place for cocktails at dusk, while the turtles in the koi pond are still sunning themselves on the rocks.
Early 17th-century bust. Capistrano Console Table and Origami Bird Sculptures, Formations, formationsusa.com. Tablecloth in La Marea 177350, Schumacher, fschumacher.com. Max Kim-Bee

Breakfast In The Garden

One of Hallberg’s first changes to the property after buying it was developing the lovely grounds, essentially wrapping the house in a big green box. “The house is great,” he says, “but the garden is fantastic.” When setting a table, Hallberg mixes disparate elements to achieve a casual effect that still has a sense of occasion. Metal tumblers from a trip to India, philodendron leaves plucked from the garden and inexpensive reusable bamboo cutlery are all part of the delightfully layered scheme.
Animal Sculptures (often given to guests as favors), Formations, formationsusa.com. Tablecloth in Overlapping Dashes by Caroline Z Hurley 74030, Schumacher, fschumacher.com. Max Kim-Bee


Soaring hedges throughout the garden divide the space into multiple outdoor rooms, enhancing the sense of tranquility, discovery and retreat. Max Kim-Bee

Lunch On The Terrace

With its shade-giving olive trees and gurgling central fountain, made from a 16th-century wellhead, the upper terrace is a frequent choice for lunch. All the main rooms of the house feed off it, facilitating that wonderful California idyll of indoor/outdoor life. Hallberg often uses potted plants to anchor a tablescape, then builds everything else around them. “They last longer than cut flowers,” he explains. “After a party I’ll use the same table for the next few meals to continue enjoying the centerpiece.” Hallberg is also an inveterate dish collector, as evidenced here by the stunning Meissen pieces he custom-ordered to be pattern free.
Lourdes Dining Table, Verano Dining and Occasional Chairs, Cirque Luminaire Hurricanes, Daybed, Bird Sculptures, custom tree planters, Formations, formationsusa.com. Table runner in Nomad 69982, throw on day bed in Cusco Ikat 71970, Schumacher, fschumacher.com. Max Kim-BeeMax Kim-Bee

Dinner In The Dining Room

“I’m perpetually inspired by nature,” Hallberg says. Even indoors, his tablescapes always incorporate an animal component. Delicate glasses from his collection of 18th-century stemware are paired with pieces from his stash of antique French faience to strike a beautifully rustic-luxe tone.
Spanish Oval Dining Table, Dennis & Leen, dennisandleen.com. Napkins in Andromeda 175380, Schumacher, fschumacher.com. Max Kim-Bee


Hallberg refers to his ample shelves of dishes and tableware as his “grab zone,” where he can spontaneously pick and choose what to use when. “The most important thing,” he says, “is to have fun.” Max Kim-Bee