Too often I default to meeting friends or clients at coffee shops and restaurants. Someone else to pull the espresso, someone else to manage the playlist, someone else to clear the dishes. I grew up in a house always full of guests, and as an advocate for throwing parties, large and small, I find myself wondering why I’m sometimes prone to migrate towards spaces away from home.
Opening your home is exposing a glimpse into your private dwelling and offering an intimate look inside your world. Perhaps there is a certain apprehension that comes with that reality. I glance now at dust on the blinds, baseboards that need to be installed, and a succulent that hasn’t seen water in weeks. Most houses bear similar, insignificant blemishes, but ideally, a happy home is a place of refuge, of relaxation, and of rest. These are things I feel when I’m here in my home, surrounded by my little family, in the physical place we call ours. Why hesitate to experience that haven with others?
Being welcomed into a house, sharing food and conversation, and enjoying a new experience together, there’s nothing better. Well-thought-out details and the creation of an inviting atmosphere is all it takes to host a memorable assembly of friends. Let’s get back to the beauty of hosting at home.
Through these words and images, I hope to re-ignite some interest in holding a thoughtful, yet simple gathering in your household. With our well-styled event recipe, you will have the tools necessary to pull together a relaxed, mid-morning coffee table book exchange.
The function of a gathering is all about the goal, the purpose, or the activity to be shared. This particular cozy get-together includes an offering of bagels, quality coffee, and pretty books. Most surfaces in my home are stacked high with beautiful hardcover coffee table books boasting incredible imagery perfect for inspiration and decorating. Have each guest bring along a few favourites and do a temporary exchange to enhance each other’s collections. Be sure to include a label inside your prized hardcovers to ensure that you can switch back at a later date.
Form encompasses the theme, the aesthetic, the décor, and the details. We decided on a warm and simple look for this party. White ceramic dishware, seasonal pops of coral and orange, and a simple floral arrangement to add life to the vignette. We opted for some hearty little blooms from a local farmers’ market stand, but make things even easier and simply forage from your yard. We also used the actual coffee table books for levels and display purposes. To ease into hosting, keep in mind well-styled does not need to be fussy. Start with a clear vision and use what you already have.
A gathering is never complete without the sharing of food and beverage. For the sake of simplifying your to-do list, opt for store bought but meaningful goods for this particular event. We sourced eats and sips from our favourite local bagel stand and neighbourhood coffee shop. Assorted toasted bagels, cream cheese, and a press of coffee are all it takes. A menu of simplicity at its finest, and just as thoughtful and delicious as homemade treats.
To help you get started ::
Our top local picks for bagels + coffee
Wayne’s Bagels, Calgary Farmers’ Market
Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters
Click to download a free printable template for your own “From the library of…” labels.
The perfect playlist
We suggest soft, energizing tunes for this kind of mid-morning party. We’ve been relaxing to Songza’s Coffee Shop Sway.
Written by :: AJ Wig
Photographed by :: Blair Inkster