Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hostest with the Mostest

Growing up in the South as a preacher's kid, we had a lot of house guests. Being that my dad was a baptist minister, these guests were mostly vagabonds. My mom always kept the house spotless and had a gourmet dinner on the table no matter who showed up on our doorstep. She has taught me a lot through the years, but my favorite memories are helping my mom prepare to entertain. Here are a few tips on how to set a guests room from one of my favorite celebrity entertainers, Carolyne Roehm. She is super old school and has tons of charm. I think that if you are able to do just a few of these things, it will make your guests visit extra special.

Dressing tables and desks add comfort when space permits. At the very least, I like the room to have a comfortable chair and ottoman.
Keep good reading lights next to the bed. If the lamps that match your décor are not adequate, stow personal lights (like the Itty Bitty Book Light) in the night table.
An alarm clock is essential.

Personalized stationery is a lovely touch and can be bought cheaply at off-set printers. I have mine printed with Weatherstone’s house logo.

Along with notepads next to the phone, keep nice pencils on hand rather than a hodgepodge of strays from the catch-all drawer.
Everyone enjoys music, so I keep small CD players in my guest rooms.

I leave out a basket of washed fruit and a plate of pretty cookies (covered) in each guestroom.
Bottled water or a carafe with the cup on top is a must. I I have a closet down the hall from my guestrooms that serves as a mini bar, complete with a small fridge, glasses and a corkscrew. I stock it with red and white wines, Coke and Diet Coke, bottles of fizzy and flat water as well as cookies and other little nibbles.

The Closet
Toss your wire hangers in the trash–nobody wants those annoying leftovers from the drycleaner. Use matching hangers-–white plastic ones are OK if you don’t want to invest in the pricier wooden versions. Be sure to include a few soft hangers for knits as well as pant and skirt hangers.

I use leftover fabric from the room to cover shelves in the closet. This creates a nice place to stack sweaters and I like the way it matches the décor.

Use neutral room fragrances like cedar or lavender to keep the closet smelling fresh.

Have a luggage rack available. Bags are dirty from airlines and what not and definitely don’t belong on the bed.

The Bed
Start with a good quality mattress, better to be on the firm side than too mushy.

Use only 100 percent cotton sheets. Frette and Pratesi are luxurious, to be sure, but you need not break the budget. William Sonoma and Wamsutta are great sources for good old-fashioned, pure cotton bedding.

Take the time to do a little ironing. At the very least, press pillow cases and the fold-over hem. A good trick is to pull sheets out of the dryer when they are still a bit damp. Put them on the bed and press them right on the mattress.

A variety of good pillows is essential. Keep on hand soft, regular and hard, as well as non-allergenic for anyone who can’t use feathers or down. There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning all night because the pillow is the opposite of what you prefer

The Bathroom
Fresh soap is a must. If you hate to waste a full-sized bar, buy small guest soaps and toss them after each visit.
Keep toiletries stocked for anyone who may have forgotten some thing essential, including: toothbrush, toothpaste, Advil, aspirin, band aids, emery board, disposable razors, lotion, small scissors and sewing kit, shampoo and conditioner, and a mini hairdryer.
Check shower curtain liners for mold and change as necessary.Place a pretty glass next to the sink.

All photos via Absolutely Beautiful Things, All the Best, & Coco Kelley

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