How to : effortless hosting
Look at how effortless hosting can be. This relaxed table setting and menu make it easy to have everyone over - no airs and graces necessary. Alice Lines, Editor of Homestyle magazine & our very own Città Stylist Sam van Kan, share their tips to relaxed but polished summer entertaining.
Find all this and more in the latest Homestyle magazine.
Game of Tones
Interiors are having a tonal moment, which is a look that’s perfectly suited to a laid-back table setting - and couldn’t be easier to achieve. First let’s get the bones right. Timber bench seats bolstered with cushions are ideal for accommodating a crowd, and look great teamed with oak and leather dining chairs.
A low shelving unit works well as a servery and drinks station; fill it with spare cutlery, napkins and coasters so they’re close at hand.
Embrace effortlessness by leaving your table linen unironed. The trick to mastering this undone effect is washing and air-drying your tablecloth and napkins the afternoon before your get-together, then placing them straight on the table, rather than folding them away. If the result is a little too wrinkled for your liking, spritz the fabric with water and smooth it with your hand.
Use tonal napkins to tie a white tablecloth into the rest of the setting. We went for Città’s Citron and Olive hues, which riff off our summer - meadow - style floral arrangements made using locally grown anemones, Queen Anne’s lace, spray chrysanthemums and wheat.
A simple yet delicious way to feed a crowd, platters are the time-poor entertainers best-friend. Simply stock up on cheeses, pickles, cured meats, nuts, olives and whatnot to serve with fresh crudites and loaves of bread.
Be inspired by European breakfast and lunch traditions and theme your next gathering around the open sandwich. For Danish-style smørrebrød, finely slices radishes, cucumber, beetroot and fennel with a mandolin, then combine with hard cheeses, smoked salmon, boiled eggs, caperberries and fresh dill.
Or take things in a Mediterranean direction with tomatoes, ribbons of courgette, grilled aubergine and capsicum, basil, olives, cured meats and chunks of torn buffalo mozerella.
Bowl them over
More is more when creating a visual feast. A combination of boards, plates and bowls indifferent shapes, sizes and materials results in a look that’s much more ‘now’ than ‘old-school buffet’. Consider stacking larger and smaller receptacles to create a layered look, and dot small ramekins and spoons around the table for condiments and seasonings.
Water infused with fruit and herbs is such a refreshing summer beverage. Some of our favourite combinations include nectarine and rosemary, lemon and thyme, watermelon and basil, and blackberry and mint.
Fill jugs with oversized ice cubes, add long herb sprigs alternated with sliced fruit, then top with sparkling or still water.
A scattering of smaller floral arrangements provides an on-theme styling solution. Using one type of vessel keeps the look modern - we chose marble canisters. Pop metal flower frogs (sourced from florists, Asian supermarkets and vintage stores) inside, then add flowers and grasses of different heights for a wildflower effect.
Words by Alice Lines. Styling by Sam van Kan & Alice Lines. Photography by Simon Wilson