Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Filling up the tip jar

Your 'entertaining tips' jar can never be too full! Browsing's online Introspective Magazine's Style Compass section, I ran across a profile of designer Darryl Carter, the Washington D.C. based interior designer. He has a compelling story, but more importantly, a clear vision of how he likes to entertain. At the end of the profile, when asked about his ideas for entertaining, Darryl replied that he thought "... a narrow table, too much food, too many candles, and too much wine!" makes for a perfect evening. This first picture is from the profile, and there it is: the too narrow table! Entertaining is about "relationship" and "communication" and making things just a little tight brings everyone into the mix (okay, it's also about food and wine!) He also said that his preferred company list would include, "the smallest gathering of the smartest people from diverse places and professions and with strong opinions that are diametrically opposed on every possible account..." Can you tell that, before he started designing interiors and furniture, he was a lawyer?!
This notion of 'close quarters' has also been the mantra of Ina Garten, everyone's favorite domestic fairy godmother. On House Beautiful's website, there is an interview with her where she reinforces this idea in her entertaining equation: 48 inch round table+six guests, elbow to elbow= successful dinner party. Sometimes this is by design, other times, by necessity.
Our apartment in Los Angeles had a dining room (which always struck me as as so civil- one of the reasons I love older buildings and homes), but the only way it could hold our 36 inch square table comfortably was on a diagonal, chairs pointed towards the corners. For a party we had for 5 (impossible to accommodate at a square table) we rented a 42 inch round table from a party rental supplier and had a cloth and glass topper made for it. This is shown in the second picture and was perfect for providing that intimate feeling we were after.

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