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Big parties in little spaces.

Since I am not feeling so hot and don't have the creative energy for my own post, I thought I would point you to At Home At Home, where Laure has a great post about her dinner party guest list growing from 3 to 7 and tips for making it work.

When I had a smaller apartment, I always wished I had thrown parties, but I always thought my space was too cramped. But lately, I keep reading about New Yorkers who seem to make those ridiculously small apartments work.

Remember this Domino? Cover girl Lauren Yaggy talked about throwing small drinks parties with just cocktails and nuts and then heading out for dinner with friends, which seems like a good strategy.

A lot of designers rave about round tables because even if small, you can always seems to squeeze more people in.

Laure has great emergency party tips:

• Do not freak out, it just wastes energy
• Just double the recipe and it should all turn out fine
• In a small space like mine where we eat around the giant coffee table, I just pulled all of my furniture apart by an extra foot to create more space for people, that seemed to help.
• Serve Ice Cream for Dessert (no prep time!) and ask your aunt to bring home made cookies!
• Don't worry about the house being clean, just shove the litter box into the shower and clean the faucet on the sink so that the chrome is shiny, then light the bathroom by candlelight.
• This one is important: Set the table ahead of time. Do not leave this until the last minute.
• Put the wine out so that people aren't all up in your kitchen looking for glasses, the wine and the bottle opener. Have it in the other room and ask someone else to open and pour it for your guests!
• Relax because, as my bf's mom says, anything tastes good if you didn't have to cook it yourself.

Anyone else have tips & tricks to add? Is anyone else really guest and party ready? I tend to think if I had to have people over in the next hour I would have a heart attack....


laure is at home at home said...

Thanks for the props!

Having another 6 person-er tonight. We'll see how it goes! Pot luck should make it easy...

The Nerdy Fashionista said...

This is too funny! I was just fantasizing the other day about having enough space for an actual dining table, where my guests could sit on ACTUAL CHAIRS, instead of on the floor around the coffee table. But then I realized that almost everyone I know in NYC has the same scenario... and I never even notice that I'm sitting on the floor when I'm eating a yummy dinner that someone has cooked. The one exception was Kids Got Hitched when she lived in NYC: she only had room in her tiny studio for one big piece of furniture, and instead of a futon, or a bed, she had six chairs and a proper dining table (and an air mattress). The girl had her priorities straight.

I usually set my coffee table with a couple of big, lovely printed dish cloths; they're big enough to offer some color but not so huge that they get in the way or conceal all the wood. I just recently bought a bunch of proper placemats, though, and I think I can make room for six of them... we'll see how it goes!

beachbungalow8 said...

my house is tiny. the kitchen is a galley over looking the living room. but for some reason, which i don't entirely understand, people don't mind huddling in as long as there's good wine and good conversation.

eating is a little trickier. we all just sort of balance the plates on knees.

i'm a fan of trader joes. if you have one of these in your town, you are blessed. the most incredible frozen hors d'oeuvers.

pve design said...

In france, they have "picard" which you can buy almost everything frozen which helps. I love to prepare a one pot dish, lots of it, fresh green salad, french bread, wine, cheese platter. Pies always are a huge hit and bite size treats. I prepare the dish a day in advance so the house smells divine! People love to be served! It is the highest form of compliment in many countries to dine at home with friends.
Table set, check the list twice, bottles of sparkling and flat water - white china, silver, fun table talk-
flowers, or some sort of unique item...
Dim the lights, shall we! Dinner is always at 8!

Pigtown-Design said...

My house is 11.5 feet wide, and my last one was 9.5 feet wide. I have had as many as 14 people there for parties, and 10 for meetings. People come with the expectation that they will have to sit on the stairs or on the floor.

My best suggestion for a small space is a gateleg table that you can fold down when not in use. Mine's about 12 inches folded, but can seat six people for dinner.

Samovars of Liberace said...

Crowded parties give people an excuse to feel each other up.

Kids Got Hitched said...

I agree that Trader Joe's is a fabulous resource for last minute partying, if not for their fantastic selection of snacky treats, then surely for their cheap wine which can be decanted (meaning no one will see the cheap bottle, ahem). And no, I'm not guest or party ready, but if I had to be, this is what I'd do:

+ spend ten minutes shoving things into closets/drawers/cabinets (let's not pretend that this isn't necessary)
+ wipe down the bathroom (ignore the tub), and put out clean hand towels
+ get yourself dressed and put makeup on (this is something you really can't do once people arrive)
+ run across the street and get wine, sparkling water, and nuts
+ turn on some good music, light a candle, set lighting
+ worry least about the state of your kitchen; people will just assume you've made the mess in getting everything ready...they'll have no idea you haven't washed dishes in a few days.
+ if it's truly last minute and you've got to serve food, just focus on booze and order some great Indian food; you can turn it into a buffet-type thing...supplement with a green salad, if possible.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Where are all the comments from the decorno anons?
One would have thought this is the type of dilemma they are particularly adept at dealing with. One would imagine though they might be just lacking the necessary ingredient: friends? Those cats? They don't count. Unless of course they have found the ultimate solution - the virtual party? Who knows? I'm sure we will find out though.

Liberace's Samovar might have had a better ring to it, or maybe Liberace's Spitoon might have been more apt? Who knows?


Anonymous said...

Whenever I read HOBAC's posts, I always hear them in the voice of Margaret Dumont, the straight woman of the Marx Brothers' movies:

Decorno said...

Oh dear God, am I going to have to break you two up?

As every mom in a minivan with rowdy kinds in the back seat says, "DON'T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE!"

I have to say, even though my beloved Anons are stirring up my much-adored HOBAC, I am pleased even the bitchy fighting is entertaining and witty.

Just don't draw blood, kids. Momma's too lazy to get the rugs cleaned.

Table Skirts of the Damned said...

Mama, you need more Twizzlers! Your sugar diabeetus is gettin' bad again!

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