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Hosting For The Holidays

From mid-November to the beginning of January, there’s one thing that consumes our calendars year after year: holiday parties. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, you’ll likely be a part of the celebrations in the role of either host or guest. If you’re a natural host, you’re probably already in the process of prepping meals, décor, and/or activities for one or more of these events. Providing the space for everyone to gather is no easy feat, but the memories created with loved ones is a rewarding experience. If you’re always the host/hostess or are hoping to step into that role more often, creating a space that is designed to entertain will help eliminate any party stress so that you can focus on enjoying your guests’ company. To help our hosts and hostesses that are looking to build or remodel, we asked our Gravel Lane designers for their list of home must-haves for those that are always down to host!

5 Home Must-Haves for Hosts:

1. Large Kitchen Island

From mid-November to the beginning of January, there’s one thing that consumes our calendars year after year: holiday parties. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, you’ll likely be a part of the celebrations in the role of either host or guest. If you’re a natural host, you’re probably already in the process of prepping meals, décor, and/or activities for one or more of these events. Providing the space for everyone to gather is no easy feat, but the memories created with loved ones is a rewarding experience. If you’re always the host/hostess or are hoping to step into that role more often, creating a space that is designed to entertain will help eliminate any party stress so that you can focus on enjoying your guests’ company. To help our hosts and hostesses that are looking to build or remodel, we asked our Gravel Lane designers for their list of home must-haves for those that are always down to host!

2. Beverage Station/Bar

While the food is often a big part of a holiday celebration, we can’t forget about the drinks! Now if you’re hosting a meal, you probably spent a good deal of time prepping, cooking, and serving the food, so in reality, it would be easy to forget about beverages. Therefore we recommend having a designated drink station so that guests can get what they want without you having to worry about it. There’s a few ways to add a beverage station to your home. It could be a kitchenette or coffee bar right off the kitchen where you can store glassware and a self-serving punch bowl. It could also be a full blown basement bar where guests can get creative with cocktails. A more space-saving way to add a drink station is by simply installing a beverage fridge. A beverage fridge could be installed right into your cabinetry in your kitchen or bar area, and it gives guests the opportunity to grab a cold beverage without you having to lift a finger. The great part about a beverage fridge is that they’re usually transparent, so guests know exactly where to snag their favorite drink. Plus, you don’t have to take up valuable fridge space storing a bunch of cans or bottles, leaving more room for leftovers!

3. Open-Concept Floor Plan

The idea of an open-concept home is nothing new, however, an open layout is a must for entertainers. While open-concept is not everyone’s cup of tea as we can acknowledge the importance of having defined spaces, there is a way to have a little bit of both. What we would recommend is having the spaces you use to entertain be open-concept while keeping your private spots more closed off. This could look like a kitchen that flows into the living room and dining space so that no matter where you are, you can interact with your guests, while the other areas of your home can be tucked away since guests won’t be frequenting them. For the high traffic areas such as a kitchen, consider the layout of your cabinetry and opt for the most natural flowing design, which our designers are happy to assist with! If you’re building a home, consider adding a mixture of open-concept and defined spaces as it makes sense for your lifestyle.

4. Storage Spaces

When designing a space for entertaining, it’d be easy to forget to include plenty of storage, however, we could probably create a whole list of just storage ideas that would be helpful for party people. The main reason to include storage space for those that like to host is the simple fact that you’re not always hosting. Obviously, you live in your home when guests aren’t there, so naturally you’ll have items out and about such as keys, coats, small appliances, etc. On the other hand, those serving trays that you break out for the party appetizers need a resting spot when they’re not in use. Having designated storage for both seasonal items as well as everyday items ensures that you can transition from host to homeowner seamlessly. One storage suggestion would be adding a mudroom which would provide a space to shove that everyday clutter into a cabinet as well as a place to hang guests’ coats (so you don’t have to lug them to the nearest bedroom). Another idea would be a butler’s pantry, which is essentially a space near your kitchen and dining area that allows for an overflow of kitchen storage (for those more seasonal items) and doubles as an extra prep space.

5. Custom Kitchen Cabinetry

In keeping with the concept of storage, we have to mention the ultimate storage solution for your kitchen: custom cabinetry. Custom cabinetry essentially means that you get to choose the color, stain, dimensions, storage inserts, hardware, and anything else you can imagine for your cabinets. With other cabinetry lines, you are limited to certain visual choices such as cabinet colors, but you are also limited by the size and shape of your cabinets. With custom kitchen cabinetry, you can specify the entire design of your kitchen so that it works for you both aesthetically and functionally. When you have guests over, you want your kitchen to feel inviting. A designer can help you achieve this by creating both the look you want as well as a layout that invites people in. With custom cabinetry, you’ll be able to customize all of this without limitation. Not to mention that with custom kitchen cabinetry, there are so many custom storage inserts that you can add to your cabinetry that will increase the functionality of your kitchen and make hosting a meal that much easier. For the baker, there’s the appliance lift so you’re mixer is always within reach and easy to stow away when your guests arrive. For the cook, there’s the knife blocks or hidden slats, spice drawers, utensil pullouts, etc. The options are endless with custom cabinetry, making it the perfect home addition for the host who needs their kitchen to work as hard as they do.


So as you find yourself prepping for this holiday season and all the joy it brings, we hope you’re able to pause and notice the memories in the making as you gather with good company. This is one of the reasons our designers love doing what we do at Gravel Lane, creating spaces for families to enjoy for years to come. To all of our wonderful hosts out there, we are so thankful for the part you play during this season. From all of us at Gravel Lane- happy holidays!

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