There are really only two types of holiday hosts: the one who researches recipes during an August heat wave, has a linen closet perpetually stocked with freshly pressed holly-embroidered tablecloths and obsesses over individually placed pumpkins at each place setting (we’ll call her the “Monica Geller”).
Then there’s that rare creature who makes holiday entertaining feel effortless and stress-free by focusing more on creating meaningful moments than carefully crafting a five-course gourmet meal. (Editor’s note: We know there’s no such thing as “effortless entertaining,” only hosts who make it all feel effortless and, in doing so, put their guests immediately at ease. This is the art part.)
When we think back on the holiday memories that never fail to put a smile on our face, it isn’t the roasted turkey or Grandma’s china that we remember, it’s those times spent gathered around the dinner table laughing, connecting and reminiscing. In other words: It’s who’s at the table, not what’s on it. In our mind, the best hosts are those who take the time to set up those memory-making moments and allow that special brand of magic to unfold.
Here are our five favorite tips for getting the dinner party started — and ensuring that the memories last long after the punch bowl is packed away.
1. Set the stage. Now’s the time to pull out all the stops. You don’t need to OD on red and green and tinsel, but if you’ve been collecting hand-blown glass ornaments or vintage decorations from the 1960s, make sure they get their chance to shine. Stage beautifully framed familyphotographs from past celebrations. Spin a festive playlist. And add generous dashes of plush textiles and glam sparkle— holiday decorating is your home’s once-a-year chance to really show off.
2. Make your guests feel one of a kind — because they are. Yes, gathering a diverse group of guests (especially if they’re related) carries a certain amount of angst. But, if you look past the differences and find the common ground, you’ll remember why you’re all there, together in one room. So, really, a lesson in navigating life itself.
3. Whip up a signature cocktail. Nothing says “this is a party to remember” than a cocktail crafted especially for the occasion. Have fun with it! Bust out those gold-rimmed martini glasses or Champagne coupes that have been gathering dust. Find a simple-to-prepare and easy-to-please recipe online. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint or mini candy canes. Bottoms up!
4. Banish boring place cards. “Best smile.” “Class clown.” “Most likely to name drop.” Rather than seating guests by name (ho hum), choose stand-out personality traits (think of your high school yearbook) and let your guests suss out who’s who. This will surely mix up the seating chart in interesting and unexpected ways.
5. Craft creative conversation starters. Choose a question designed to draw out an interesting answer (“What advice would you give your childhood self?” “Who has been your biggest inspiration?” “What is the first thing you do in the morning?”). Write it on a piece of paper and tape it underneath one of your guest’s dining chairs. While you’re enjoying dessert around the table, ask everyone to look under their chairs for a surprise and let the chosen person have the floor. You just might be surprised at what you learn.
The Inspired Interiors team wishes you and your family a very happy holiday season filled with meaningful moments and once-in-a-lifetime memories. We’re looking ahead to 2019 when we will reveal our “Dare to Live” series exploring how design can help us all live life more fully. We hope you’ll join us on the journey!
Who is he? Dr.JD was born in 1977 in Boston, Mass to an established, prominent family. As a young man, he had dreams of attending Yale University, specifically being accepted into their biotechnology program. Along with a passion for genetic manipulation he also had a knack for origami and creating intricate creations from paper.
What has he accomplished? In 1995 at the age of 18, after years of hard work he was accepted for early admission to Yale University into the Biotechnology program. During his studies, his hobby for origami began to manifest into a breakthrough concept. After years of testing and perfecting, he founded a major MIT Technology of ingestible origami robots that perform stereotactic brain biopsies and microscopic surgeries. It was a huge success, with recognized accolades from the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and he received an Innovator Award.
How does he live? After spending years working on the east coast, Dr.JD turned his attention to the midwest specifically Chicago. With his new found success, he wanted to find a home that not only provided him with luxurious space and comfort but also one that had the potential to be a place of innovation and creativity.
Why Vista? Vista is the perfect location for Dr.JD as it’s in the heart of Chicago and near major hospitals and medical universities. As a bachelor, this location is perfect for nightlife with a never-ending supply of entertainment and great restaurants.
WHAT MAKES THIS THE ULTIMATE BACHELOR PAD?
DRIVE-IN MOVIE AREA There is something to be said about watching a movie on your own personal drop down screen while sitting in a vintage 1955 Porsche Spyder.
KOI POND No one can deny the aesthetic appeal of a koi pond. Peaceful visual elements combine with the meditative sounds of water to help relax and reduce any negative feelings.
FLOATING STAIRS Open ultra-contemporary modern feel of custom designed floating stairs that add an eye-popping accent piece to overall design.
A multi-purpose environment has been designed so our bachelor can equally spend his time, both personally and professionally, in a breath-taking elegant setting. Space is sectioned so that the minute he walks through the front door, he can turn left and enjoy the ‘personal mode’ of his space, or turn right and move into ‘professional mode’. The apartment functions to reflect the day and night versions of his personal and professional life.
To the left… As one steps into the living room, the first space they encounter is an incredible drive-in movie theatre with a fully remote-controlled interface. Our bachelor can cozy up with a bucket of popcorn in the front seat of this vintage 1955 Porsche Spyder (just like James Dean). Guests can also enjoy the movie in one of the lounge chairs by Aston Martin (well-known for designing the iconic cars for eternal bachelor, James Bond.)
CUSTOM CONSTELLATION LIGHTING CONFIGURATION
A lighting configuration made up of both circular and square heads. The square heads depict the stars that make up three major constellations, while the circular heads show other stars which shine less brightly. Each constellation depicted represents an important human quality.
AQUARIUS LOCATION: Above the drive-in movie theatre. SYMBOL: One of the largest and most well-known constellations. Represents the water-bearer, a symbol of eternal youth and renewal.
AQUILA LOCATION: Above the dining table. SYMBOL: Known to be the thunderbolt carrier for Zeus – making the constellation a symbol of power and strength.
ARIES LOCATION: Above the kitchen area. SYMBOL: Ares depicts the Ram. In Greek Mythology, the Ram represents kingship and authority.
This exquisite kitchen is designed to provide a 360° view of the Chicago skyline and allows one to entertain guests in an open plan. Whether our bachelor is mixing drinks or cooking dinner, he can engage his guests in conversation while having the city as his backdrop. The adjacent family room is casual for daily life, but still upscale enough to be used for entertaining guests.
The Master Suite is a robust combination of energy, romance, and recharging. The fitness room is designed to accommodate meditation and suspension yoga but also includes space to engage in energetic fitness training. Our bachelor needs a variety of solutions for his weekly health and fitness regime. In the bedroom, the bed is positioned so that it is facing outwards towards Chicago’s skyline. The moment our bachelor opens his eyes, he is greeted with a beds-eye view of the iconic city. Dapper black leather chairs are placed in a small reading area so he can relax in style. The Master bathroom includes a generous two-person shower while providing much-needed relaxation in a quiet soaking tub that overlooks the city.
To the right… Taking a right turn after entering the unit brings our bachelor and guests to a space designed with a more professional use in mind. The right half contains a large area to be used as a boardroom/ meeting room, with tables that can extend to seat 6-8 people.
This professional space also includes several smaller areas by the fireplace, which can be used to facilitate one-on-one conversations. A touch-screen TV center, which is fabulous as an information display during the work day, can also be used to provide multiple viewing options for guests when entertaining. During the night, our bachelor can host high-stakes poker games while viewing multiple sports games simultaneously. The finishes were chosen for the walls and furniture illustrate his soft, edgy and highly-intellectual personality.
PERSONAL DJ BOOTH This personal DJ Booth, featuring high-end audio components, provides the soundtrack for everything from wild late-night parties to quiet evenings spent listening to old favorites. A music lover’s dream.
CHAMPAGNE FIRE… WATER…FOUNTAIN On the far wall, we have a custom designed waterfall, fireplace, champagne bar combination, flanked by two backlit onyx walls. These elements all come together to create a truly unique and breathtaking statement. Relax by the fire with a glass of champagne in hand – you’ve earned it.
DAY TO NIGHT This multi-purpose area breaks down the barriers between a casual mid-day lunch meeting, and a cocktail hour turned late-night party.
Upstairs… The second level is replete with unique entertainment opportunities for both personal and professional lives. We have provided a wide open space where our bachelor can host a gathering of people and easily have it catered. The upstairs bar/kitchen area is designed to host a hibachi chef to cook for all of our bachelor’s guests- day or night! A virtual reality room is a highlight: our bachelor can host a VR presentation for business or personal guests. And for the late, late nights, a DJ booth can spark an impromptu dance party.
The real centerpiece of the room is a feature wall of water /fire/champagne. This custom-designed waterfall/fireplace/champagne fountain is visually striking and serves to create an inviting and comfortable environment. The waterfall feature makes guests feel relaxed, and the fire component makes them feel warm and welcome. Hidden behind layers of water and fire is a multiple port champagne fountain. Having a variety of champagne brands on tap will make anyone feel special! This wall is flanked by two backlit onyx walls
accented with artwork from the bachelor’s favorite gallery.
Emily Mackie, Founder of Inspired Interiors, was one of the select showcase designers at the fourth annual “Dreaming of Design” event hosted by River North Design District and Chicago Luxury Beds. Best known for adding transformational value to people’s lives through her designs, Mackie has brought artist Sarah Raskey onboard to create a bedroom vignette titled, “Awake and Rising”, that emboldened women in a new and empowering way.
The centerpiece and backdrop of the installation will feature the imprints of the breasts of thirty influential Chicago women. The participating women come from different cross sections of life, having a wide array of accomplishments. Each woman’s breasts have been painted and stamped onto tiles of Maya Romanoff wallpaper to create a collage of unique pieces of art. After the showroom debut event, each tile from the backdrop collage was auctioned off with proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen Chicago.
“I wanted to create a backdrop for the room that celebrates women that support one another, so I came up with something daring, beautiful truly unique”, said Mackie. “The wall will showcase breasts of different size and different shape, but most importantly the breasts of women that use their voices to foster positive social change.”
While the bedroom itself is a safe haven from life’s daily stresses Awake and Rising included a Worship Table. This area was meant to tantalize the five senses. From the ceiling hung greenery and gardenias for your sense of smell, the sound of running water from a nearby koi pond, a textured rug for meditating, a tea set to calm your nerves, and of course, the walls were covered in art.
In addition to the backdrop, the bedroom vignette featured a Hastens Classic Luxury mattress from Chicago Luxury Beds adorned with a living floral bedspread to illustrate the beauty of the group of women coming together. Other vendors featured in “Awake and Rising” were hand-selected by Mackie and come from a narrow market of female-owned furniture manufacturers or distributors, including Organic Looms, Holly Hunt, Gemini Builds It, Maya Romanoff and Pagoda Red.
Vendors for the Worship Area: Worship table (Pagoda Red), meditation rug (Organic Looms), Koi fountain (Pagoda Red), Artwork (Sarah Raskey), Ceramic Tea Set by Susan Messer McBride, and greenery by Roberto Gonzalez
Here is one of the prints created for Awake and Rising:
To see the rest of the prints please go to our Facebook page: https://bit.ly/2rP5NMQ
Together we raised $10,380!!!
Inspired Interiors curates spaces that embolden you to enjoy life in new, empowering ways. We use design to transform the way you live, love, work, and function.
Inspired Interiors Headquarters 25 W Hubbard St. Chicago, IL 60654 Satellite Office Wilmette, IL Inspired Interiors: 773.728.0419 Email: email@example.com