There is one trend I am seeing in several of our renovation and new construction projects.
While I began designing some homes with them pre-Covid, they are being drawn into renovations and new construction more often as people spend time at home focusing on what their home is missing.
So… what is this trend?
A resurgence in a scullery or second kitchen.
They are more functional than a butler’s pantry as they host a second dishwasher and refrigerator (and some even a second range). These spaces work hard in a home when it is time to entertain.
These second kitchens have special touches such as beverage drawers, dishwashers and coffee bars. Storage is always a priority, too.
They are perfect for containing the mess while the main kitchen serves as an entertaining space for family and friends. I believe that once society is back to entertaining, formal spaces will make a resurgence.
Hopefully, our time is limited that we have to continue to socially distance.
I long for the days of not only having family over, but large gatherings of friends. After all, our homes should be a refuge we love to share with others.
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There is nothing I love more than when friends or family stop by at a moment’s notice, and there are five things I like to keep on hand for when it happens.
Whether it’s catching up with a neighbor or an impromptu girls’ night, I savor these moments.
It’s not about stressing over how clean your house is or the fact that you may still be in your workout clothes from the morning. It’s about enjoying friends and family and the time you spend with them.
The key is to be prepared for unexpected company.
Your guests will only be as relaxed as you are, so don’t fret over the things you can’t control. But for the things that you can…..
5 of my tried and true tricks for last-minute entertaining:
1. Keep a delicious dip in your freezer and crackers in the pantry.
This way, all you have to do is pull it out and heat it in the oven. Not only will your home smell amazing, but you don’t have to fuss with any dishes or prep work.
Here is my family’s favorite dip recipe, courtesy of the Junior League of Birmingham’s Food For Thought cookbook. FYI- it freezes wonderfully, too.
Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, soften
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled,
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, Swiss chases, and green onions; mix well. Transfer to a baking dish. Top with bacon and crackers. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and serve with crackers or Fritos.
2. Have cloth napkins pressed and ready.
No thought or effort required – It is as simple as pulling them out and displaying with your hors d’oeuvre of choice and wine.
3. Light a nice candle
I love a good candle and am constantly changing out the one in my kitchen. Find one that speaks to you and enjoy it.
4. Keep a selection of simple, clear vases in different sizes tucked away for entertaining.
These are great for filling with grocery store flowers or branches from your yard for a last minute arrangement.
Sprawling branches make such a beautiful, effortless statement, and according to my youngest, flowers make your house look cleaner. Who knew!
5. Slow down and give your guests your undivided attention.
Put down the cell phones, send the children off to play or to do homework, and make your guests feel like you have time for them (no matter what fire you might be in the middle of putting out). Be present and enjoy your visit!
I hope these tips help you enjoy a spur of the moment company when the opportunity arises. I’d love to hear your tried and true hospitality tricks.
Cheers to living (and entertaining) well,
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