of the house is a canvas for Thomas, who sometimes does his
arranging and rearranging of objects simply in anticipation
of a lunch party for friends.
Naturally, for Thomas, entertainment is serious business.
The dining table, designed by the original architect for the
previous owner and made by Marin’s Thomas Fetherston, is
a crucial component. Thomas, who has to make sure every
seat he creates for Wynn’s casino resorts will keep his audience
happily captive, designed his own animistic chairs, from a
sketch he made of Wynn’s dog’s legs, to be comfortable for
at least six hours.
No detail is too insignificant for Vegas’s comfort whisperer.
Party invites come first.
“There isn’t always time to do it right, but I like to start
with a handwritten invitation,” he says. “Where I was raised,
in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, invitations were handwritten
Even catered lunches need a properly set table, he adds. “I
look for comfort and consideration in table settings. Nothing
is worse than having to fight with table decor when you
sit down.” For instance, large napkins — to cover the lap
completely — are folded to open with the lightest touch.
And “there are always place name cards for everybody, to
split couples and help along any friction and interest we’ve
created in the guest list. I collect place name cards wherever
I go and always keep a large selection on hand, to coordinate
with anything that might be fresh and inspirational at the
flower market, for my table arrangements.”
All shades of green are favored, as they coordinate with
almost any color scheme in flowers. Likewise with show-
casing food: simple white china for most courses allows the
meal to be the star. Dessert dishes and place chargers are the
exception; they can be highly decorated and over-the-top.
“We dispense with preprinted menus because the market
determines what is available fresh, but we set the table with
dishes, napkins and glassware, then suggest a silver service
for the caterer to suit the menu she creates,” Thomas says.
Here too, visual and physical comfort rule. Sterling
flatware has to be gleaming, and only menu-appropriate
utensils are offered, placed for easy access. To avoid clutter,
Thomas prefers salt-and-pepper bowls between each place
setting rather than one set for each guest.
Such details are extra-important because “our lunches are
for designers, fellow artists and creators,” Libera chimes in.
These might include Bay Area designers Paul Wiseman and
Ken Fulk or painters like Evans and Brown.
“If there is a lull in the conversation, I like to suggest a
change of venue to the living room, or, if the day is beautiful,
a walk out to the garden,” Thomas says. For someone like
him who spends all week working in the desert, “these old
California trees are to be admired. Even when we are inside,
we feel like we are in a marvelous tree house.” n
Above: From The Roger
Thomas Collection for
by De Sousa Hughes is
the dark oak and rock
crystal étoile cabinet
with a Calacatta marble
top and steel mounts,
topped by 1950s carved
wood Alexandre Noll
lamps and a plaster figure above which hangs
a white oil painting by
James Hayward and
flanked by 1940s René
Drouet wrought iron
chairs with needlepoint
seats by Thomas.