Style at Home: The art of welcoming guests
When my sister, Judy, comes to visit us in a few weeks, she will be lucky if I have stocked the guest bath with toilet paper and put a few scraps of food in the fridge. But if Judy (or I!) had been lucky enough to have my friend Marsee as a sister, she would have had a different experience. Very, very different. Marsee is the Queen of Hospitality, making her guests feel like visiting royalty, whether they are there for a few hours or a weekend.
So it wasn’t surprising to hear that when Marsee and Mike downsized to a smaller townhome, they knew that using their home’s smaller spaces to make guests feel welcomed would be a top priority.
Eat, drink and be merry
A few days ago, I received an invite that made me bounce with joy. Marsee was hosting a small luncheon for her mother and my dear friend Nancy, and I was invited to join the fun. Even though it was just the four of us, Marsee dressed the table grandly. She thought through every detail, from fresh flowers on the table to a mouthwatering menu, complete with sorbet to cleanse our palates between courses. So much for my diet!
When Marsee entertains in her smaller home, she has to get creative on how to serve food and drinks. She may greet guests at the door by inviting them to onto the patio, where a table filled with drinks and appetizers awaits them. This entry table also becomes a perfect place for appetizers.
A beautifully styled bar is always at the ready in the kitchen, so guests can help themselves.
Guestroom you won't want to leave
When I first saw Marsee’s guest room at her new townhouse, I wanted to check in for the weekend. It felt like a luxury resort. The bed was beautifully dressed. Snuggly white robes hung on the wall, to wrap up in after a steamy shower. A comfy reading chair awaited.
Marsee said she learned how to trick up a guest room from her mom. “My mom always had fancy snacks and water ready for guests, and a little gift on their pillow. She always made the guest room so inviting, with a drink area, snacks and things to read,” Marsee remembers. A stack of old suitcases holds a drinks service, with coffee to wine. A pedestal bowl by the bed is stocked with chocolate, nuts and breakfast bars. At night, Marsee even leaves milk and cookies on her guests’ nightstand.
A basket outside the guest bath holds essentials like towels, soaps, luxury lotions, a brush and toiletries. Inside the guest bath, more pampering products await. It’s a wonder Marsee ever gets her guests to leave!
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at nellhills.com