Ask Kate

Holiday Party Tips!

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

We’re getting ready to invite a ton of people to our home this month to celebrate the season at our annual Christmas Party and we’ve been doing it for over ten years. A few of you sent me some emails about how we do it, so I thought I’d share some tips.

We’ve come up with a few tricks for making it flow smoothly, and not come across as too fussy, just a lot of people having a lot of fun. We host our party every year the Saturday before Christmas and it’s a big party with 100 people invited and we usually get a big turnout so we prepare for a crowd. 

In the past we’ve started with an icebreaker game, this was before everyone knew everyone like they do now, but it’s a great idea if you’re mixing a lot of people that don’t know each other, we call it the Guess Me Game and we stick the name of a character on people’s backs, they have to ask yes or no questions of other guests to figure it out and it always gets guests talking!

For more game ideas, Apartment Therapy published a list of great party games today.

guess me holiday party game

 

Sometimes we assign someone the role of greeter (my dad is so good at it) but I’ve also used a sign on the door inviting people to come in on their own since it gets loud and it’s hard to hear the doorbell! I set up a collapsible garment rack (like this one) in my office for coats and purses so they can enter on their own and join in the merriment.  

sign on door

We learned the hard way to have kids remove shoes – we ended up with horribly muddy carpet one year so we ask just the kids not the grown ups to remove their shoes and magically it calms them down too. We play a movie for them and hand out candy canes, it keeps them happy while parents socialize.      

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Mixing Wood Tones

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Wood has made a comeback, have you noticed? Well what’s true is that wood never went out of style (are you kidding, how could it?) it’s just that our tastes have changed.

We’re so over the heavily shellacked yellowish and reddish stains from past decades, remember those? What we crave today is more natural and more organic. Think less shiny, more exposed, the real and the raw. Letting the wood itself be the star, after all, it took nature decades to create that beauty so why not show it off. 

mixed gray patina and wood tones

tine k home

A reader wrote to me recently inquiring how to mix wood tones. Truth is, there are no hard and fast rules, the key is to mix them so that the wood finishes complement each other and don’t clash. There’s no secret formula, however these guidelines may help:

First, Avoid the Matchy Matchy. The “everything in the same wood tone” bedrooms and dining sets are a thing of the past. This bedroom set would work if the bed frame and armoire were a classic black or white and the dresser and end table were wood, but all of it together is just too much of the same thing.

matching wood tones in bedroom

If you happen to have one of these sets, no worries. Consider painting a piece or two in a classic shade (black, white, gray) to break up the set or replace one piece, say the bed frame for a softer upholstered version and you’ll achieve a less “matchy matchy” look.

White Makes It Alright. Wood is earthy, neutral by nature, and unpredictable in its grain, that’s what makes it cool. You can go crazy mixing the wood tones when you’ve got plenty of white to interrupt your medley and ultimately balance it all. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this very idea, check it out here.

mixed wood tones with white

mixed wood tones with white

wood floor white walls

mixed wood tones in entry

lantliv / house beautiful / greige / light locations/ roger davies

 

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