Hosting a gathering of any kind in your home is a lot of pressure, at least for me. Obviously, since I’ve professionally planned parties for years now, I take hosting and entertaining very seriously. Joe invites the guys over last minute to watch the game I frantically start making sure I have everything they’ll need or want. Then, run around cleaning the house as much as possible. Ridiculous, I know, because they are guys and won’t even notice.
For larger occasions, Joe and I both tend to get into it. We like to plan what we’ll provide for our guests, and make sure everything looks, tastes, and feels good being in our home. We genuinely enjoy hosting friends or family or even strangers but it certainly involves some work. Grocery shopping, cleaning, having enough supplies (like serving plates and glassware) are all things to think about and plan. Watch for a blog post on “How I know I have Enough Supplies for My Party”. Anyways, when we starting designing and talking about the layout for the renovation there were five things we knew had to implement in the design.
Built-in Wet Bar
Space a full wet bar allows for means you’ll never have an excuse not to be stocked up. If guests are a spur of the moment thing, it’s easy to be ready, and there’s no added stress. A mini-fridge with mixers, a cupboard full of booze, tons of glassware stored in the upper cabinets, wine rack stocked, whatever, you’ll always be prepared. I swear the only reason I don’t buy these things ahead of time right now is that there’s no place to put them or hide them, and what we do keep in our apartment always seems cluttered and disorganized.
Access + Setup
Coming from someone who has set up parties in other houses many, many times, the best thing is when they have designated areas for everything. You can tuck some beers in the ice-filled mini sink as an automatic beer bucket. Line up glasses on the counter with some wine and booze. Put out a few pitchers of soda or juices and voila, a self-serve bar.
The ease of people coming in and out of the house was tricky but crucial in our design. Both the front and back access are small, so we knew we had to set up the spaces well. In the back we made sure there was a full coat closet. In the front, it will come down to the correct decor with coat hooks and a bench. Either way, it’s important that you can keep your home looking put together when the people flow in. Plus, they’ll feel more comfortable if they have a place to put their belongings without being a hassle to you has the host.
We toyed with where to put the dining table/area for a while. It seemed it would be too tight and obtrusive and too choppy right in the middle of our very open, open floor plan. When we realized there was enough space tucked under the skylight almost kitty-corner to the kitchen area, it clicked. The flow of the living room to the kitchen to the dining with a sitting/entertaining area mixed in between it all would work just right. Put a few chairs and some end tables, a TV on the fireplace, it seemed perfect for when we have guests and don’t want to get too casual on the couch.
Shrinking the usage space in front of the fireplace then allowed for us to move out the kitchen island. Either way I just wanted a big @$$ island BUT it will make for easier entertaining!! People can stand and drink at the island or actually sit and eat (increasing your maximum sit-down capacity is never a bad thing). It’s great for setting out appetizers. Or, for a full buffet. Again, coming from a caterer, if you already have an area for a buffet figuring out the flow of the party is so much easier. Maybe it will be used in one, two, or all the ways. The bigger the island, the more uses you’ll get out of it while entertaining.
So we’ve pretty much covered all areas of a great party. From how guests come in, where they’ll get their drinks and their food, to where they’ll hang out when they’re there there’s one thing that’s missing. The entertainment!
The few months before we installed the electric and Joe was researching what to get he was all “we have to figure out what makes the most sense for the house and what will be conducive to our lifestyle.” Then, one day I went to the house, while the electrician was there, and realized there were boxes for ceiling speakers in EVERY ROOM. Like, even all the bedrooms. Joe’s response: “What?! I wanted the coolest, newest option.”
I laugh because that’s such a Joe move, trying to be practical but really just wanting the best (I’ll get into the shower “system” in the master bathroom later). We are installing the
Original Sonos Play:1 – Compact Wireless Speaker for Streaming Music. Metallic Black. Works with Alexa. If I disappear in a year, now you know it’s because Alexa got me.
Obviously I’m not complaining. In fact, I can’t wait to watch the Bill’s first away game and just have the sounds of Sunday football echoing through the house. Snacks on the island with a stocked wet bar. I love hosting, I love entertaining, and I wish I could invite you all when it’s done! I want to know, what ways do you try to always stay prepared? Are you a host or do you need some help? Any great tips, please share!