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In Styling For Entertaining, Susie Coelho reveals how ordinary spaces can be easily transformed into settings for casual entertaining or extraordinary parties -- with minimum effort and maximum effect.
Susie Coelho is today's freshest force in lifestyle. As a bestselling author and television host, her accessible philosophy and inspiring personality have made her a trusted authority on styling advice. In this hands-on guidebook, Susie styles four areas (living room, dining room, patio, and lawn) in three different ways. Using her signature styling philosophy, Susie reinvents each space for a casual entertaining get-together, a seasonal party, and a special, one-of-a-kind event. You'll see that when the emphasis is on styling (which uses things you already have) rather than decorating (which generally means a lot more time and money), almost every makeover can be done in as little as one day and may cost next to nothing! Styling success is inevitable when you use Susie's formula. You'll see all eight steps in action: planning the occasion; envisioning the ideal setting; developing a makeover style; creating a style board and using a "style file" (Susie's great organizing tool); painting your color palette; gathering your styling supplies; styling the space (by laying the foundation, softening the lines, and personalizing with details); and finally, styling the food and table. Susie shows you how to make a living room come alive for a vintage-inspired birthday party; how to transform a dining room for a festive Thanksgiving; how to dress up a patio lunch with French flair; and even how to turn your lawn into an exotic Moroccan lounge for a summer gathering. Lavishly illustrated with 200 full-color photographs, each of the twelve makeovers are as inspirational as they are informational. Full of quick-results styling tips for pulling any event together with economy and flair to spare, Styling for Entertaining eliminates the need for hiring caterers or renting spaces. This essential stylebook will help you transform even the simplest occasion into an opportunity to express yourself, entertain your guests with ease, and most important...have fun!
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Susie Coelho is one of the most sought after lifestyle experts in the country. Her new television show, Outer Spaces, an outdoor style show for Home & Garden Television, is the follow-up to her top-rated series, Surprise Gardener. Her first book, Susie Coelho's Everyday Styling: Easy Tips for Home, Garden, and Entertaining, was received with critical praise. She was a regular lifestyle contributor to NBC's Today show and appears on many other television shows including Oprah. She is frequently featured in national magazines and newspapers such as Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, USA Today, and The New York Times. She's a former Ford model, actress, and entrepreneur-having owned two restaurants and a retail store, A Star Is Worn, which sold celebrity collectibles. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter 1: Styling in 8 Simple Steps: A step-by-step system that will get you styling like a professional in no time.
You know the saying: If you want to whip your house into shape or even just get the place clean, throw a party! For some reason, hosting a bash has the power to evoke styling inspiration in each of us. It seems that as soon as you decide to invite people over, you suddenly have the eyes of a designer, the spirit of a magician, and the energy of third-graders on a playground -- or at least you wish you did!
Why does the mere prospect of throwing a party excite us into action after we've gone weeks or months without so much as buying new dish towels for the kitchen? For one thing, most of us are energized by the challenge of creating a special environment for a special occasion, for nothing gets a party going like the right atmosphere. For another, once you decide to have a party, the drive kicks in to make it a standout -- something to talk about. Not only do we want our guests to have a great time, we also hope that at the end of the evening they'll walk away with smiles on their faces and say, "What a party! What a house! How does she do it?" But perhaps most importantly, fixing up the home in anticipation of guests is a creative act, an avenue of personal expression. And that's what styling for entertaining is all about.
Styling for Entertaining will help you develop your own personal style so you can entertain more with less effort, enjoy every moment to the fullest, and reap the many benefits of living in a welcoming, creative space. Everyone has their own story about why they entertain less than they'd like. Mine was that I began a demanding new career at about the same time that I became a mom. Wow, did things change! One of my largest styling dilemmas was the dining room, which I'd converted into a playroom for the baby. Hmm, where to put grown-up people wanting something to eat? I had previously co-owned two restaurants, so the utter absence of a dining table presented a whole new challenge. My child's needs unquestionably came first, but I still wanted to entertain. I needed to streamline and simplify -- reduce the stress, get maximum effect from a minimal outlay of time and money, and then make sure that I was having as much fun as my guests. My solution was an easy-access approach to creating fabulous spaces to entertain in based on the principles of Everyday Styling that I introduced in my first book.
Styling is a relatively simple and inexpensive process that can almost immediately give your home and garden a new personality. It does not require much more than your own creativity. Simply by looking at things in a fresh light, you can manipulate your spaces and turn them into beautiful sanctuaries and relaxing retreats. Because the commitment of time and money is significantly less than when you decorate or landscape, you can allow yourself to experiment to no end. When you style you use your own creativity, rearranging your belongings in a fresh new way, rather than using someone else's cookie-cutter design. You can easily update your spaces once you look at them as an opportunity to express your personality and your lifestyle, and to unearth your inherent creativity. Anyone can style on any budget. That's the allure of styling!
Certain spaces are central to opening up your home for easy entertaining.Your living room should welcome guests to sit back and relax; your dining room should easily morph into different styles for varying menus; your patio should be a comfortable environment that offers the best of indoors and out; and your backyard lawn should be able to transform instantly for outdoor events.
In my experience working makeovers on hundreds of homes, I've found that these four areas -- living room, dining room, patio, and lawn -- are not only places where most people entertain, but also areas where homeowners say they need the most help.
Waiting to be discovered within these four areas, like sculptures hidden in stone before the artist begins carving, are many different party settings. These few spaces can give you enough flexibility for all kinds of get-togethers -- from tea for two to a buffet for dozens of people. Becoming fluent in styling each area will put an endless variety of parties at your fingertips.
The style of any space in your home can change as naturally as the seasons or with your mood, and change is both practical and creative. On one hand, your entertaining venues have to shift from one function to another to serve the purposes and particulars of the event. On the other, any space looks and feels stale if it stays the same for too long. Just as your plants need water, fertilizer, light, and an occasional haircut in order to blossom and grow, your home also craves attention -- and what better excuse for a makeover than to throw a party?
By the way, my styling solution to the missing dining oom was to have a table mde for the living room -- my favorite room in the house, with its beautiful fireplace and habd-painted 1927 wood coffer ceiling. During the day, this french country farm table doubles as a beautiful desk (complete with a fake drawer), while for special dinners it opens up with leaves and seats twelve with ease. I love our fireside parties in our customized "dining" room!
By bringing together ideas from the worlds of professional entertaining and styling, I've streamlined the process of styling for entertaining into eight simple and reliable steps that make both the creative and logistical parts of a party doable and fun. Whether you enjoy elaborate affairs, prefer to keep your get-togethers simple, or want to change effects with every event or season, the eight steps provide a blueprint you can follow every time.
To illustrate the eight steps in action, I've created twelve makeovers for entertaining you'll see in the following chapters, each accomplished by following the same procedure. None of the makeovers take more than a day or two, even those that require building structures or repainting furniture. That's the power of having a system. And if the mere idea of a makeover has you groaning and giving up before you start, don't worry: the eight steps make it easy. When the procedure is predictable, you can unleash your imagination and embrace the surprises styling for entertaining brings.
So check the calendar. Grab a notepad and pen. You're about to learn a process that will keep you styling for life!
1. What Is the Occasion? A friend of mine planning a birthday party for her small twin boys thought it would be fun to add an elegant cocktail party for the young guests' parents. Location: their big living room, with ice cream and cake at one table, champagne, cocktails, and canapés at another. Sounds fun and different, right? But my friend didn't think the idea all the way through. Twenty running, squirming, sugared-up five-year-olds with sticky hands and faces, plus expensive suits and dresses, plus tall slender glassware standing atop the perfect setting for a fort or playhouse, equals...Let us now draw the curtain on the next morning's bottleneck at the dry cleaners.
The question, "What's the occasion?" seems so simplemindedly obvious that we too often forget to ask it. But all of your creative choices stem from the answer, so let's give it some thought.
Why are you entertaining? Is it your best friend's birthday? Time to have a few friends over for cocktails? Did you just decide to host your son's wedding in your own backyard? Or maybe you simply want to restyle the patio because spring has come, or spruce up the living room to give yourself a change. Defining the occasion gives meaning to your plans, so think through what you're celebrating and why. Whatever the reason, write it down now.
2. Envision Your Ideal Setting With the groundwork laid, now is your chance to dream. What is the most exhilarating environment you can imagine? Let your mind soar with ideas. Do you want a romantic, flowery garden filled with the sweet aroma of English roses -- a perfect setting for afternoon tea with a close friend? Or are you captivated by the idea of creating a desert oasis in your backyard, with luxurious lounging areas and passionate colors where you can serve exotic foods and relax on a summer evening?
This step requires you to frame a big picture of the space in your mind. If you're short on ideas, try paging through your favorite magazines and books, or preview Step 3 to spark the seeds of your vision. If the first image that comes to mind doesn't seem to fit your home or garden -- perhaps a ten-foot waterfall is a bit extravagant for your allocated space and budget -- then find a substitute that incorporates its essence, such as a small water feature. At this stage, don't second-guess yourself by thinking you can't reach your goal because of budget or time. Believe me, I know how easy it is to get stuck in the practical logistics from the very start. How many chairs do I need? How many plates? How much wine? How many manicures for all the nail biting? Quiet these chattering voices and take this opportunity to expand your styling possibilities beyond the boundaries your skeptical mind tries to draw. Keep working your image until it becomes clear, and you can't wait to get started.
In this step, you will also need to determine the location. This decision isn't as straightforward as it sounds. A large dinner party might work better in a living room than in the dining room, while a formal tea you'd thought to hold in the living room could be even more elegant in the backyard. Take into account the number of guests you're inviting and what kind of event it will be, then consider all four spaces -- living room, dining room, patio, and yard -- before choosing the best location. Once you've determined where you will be entertaining, your makeover will be much more tangible, as you have finally set its physical framework.
3 Develop a Makeover Style Now that you have a vision, you need to take the image from your head and make it manifest in the physical world by determining your style. The style is the overall general concept that will guide your makeover to fruition. It will focus you, and your styling supplies, and give you a clear concept that will make it easy to weed out the yesses from the nos. Think of words that you can use to describe a style for your makeover -- tropical, vintage, ethnic, Asian -- and I'm sure just the words themselves have already given you a feeling or picture in your head.
Now, come up with a title: "Tropical Paradise," "Vintage Romance," "Exotic Oasis," or "Asian Fusion." You have suddenly created your own makeover style. You can find inspiration for your makeover style in a seasonal holiday or particular event, a single inspirational item, a photo you saw in a magazine, or even something as intangible as a memory of good times past, ripe for revisiting and creative play. So check your box of treasures under the bed, or an old scrapbook from your last vacation for inspiration. Don't worry if your style idea is not fully developed at this point; it will become more clear in the steps to come. It's always better to make a decision and move forward (especially if it doesn't cost you anything) than to wallow in indecision -- the kiss of death for an artist.
4 Create Your Style Board In this step you begin to bring the makeover style to life and refine it through work with your Style Board. You'll collect and display the materials that move you into action: pictures, color samples, and other items that align with your style, mood, and color. Although creating a Style Board isn't essential for every entertaining makeover, it is, nonetheless, an extremely beneficial tool when styling. Designers often assemble such boards for their clients with samples of tile, fabric, and drawings to test ideas and serve as a creative springboard. Likewise, creating a Style Board allows you to find real-life examples that illustrate the ideas you have in your head. It's like a scrapbook of an event that hasn't yet occurred; a transfer of ideas from your imagination into visible reality.
To create your Style Board, buy a piece of white or colored foam core from an art-supply or craft store or a framing shop. This light, sturdy, and inexpensive material makes a handy medium for playing with style ideas and is easy to move from room to room. Start by pasting, tacking, or sticking small items to the board that have inspired your style. These may include fabric swatches, small ornaments or accessories, paint samples, tear sheets from magazines, pictures from your Style File (see "Style File," p. 20), and recipes and food photos that fan the creative flame. Keep an eye out for snippets in your daily rounds -- bits of ribbon or lace, wrapping paper or seed packages, stickers, matchbook covers.
The Style Board enables you to try out colors and ideas for your makeover before you make the commitment of time and money. Experiment; swap things around; add and discard. Don't hesitate to return to your Style Board at any point as you find new materials or test and develop new ideas. You may have no problem coming up with a color palette in this step, but if you do, it is perfectly okay to revisit your Style Board for color refinement later in the eight-step process.
The Style File, a powerful creative tool I introduced in my first book, Everyday Styling, helps you whip up a Style Board in no time flat. Essentially, the Style File is a collection of images you like -- colors, patterns, designs, rooms, gardens, and so on. Once you learn how to collect and work with the visual images that inspire you, your styling possibilities are endless.
Here's a quick route to creating your personal Style File:
· Label four file folders "Indoors," "Outdoors," "Holidays," and "What Were They Thinking?"
· Take some time to look through magazines, books, and catalogs, pulling out anything that favorably impresses you: flower arrangements, table settings, color combinations, living room setups, dinnerware, deck treatments, holiday decorations. Mark each picture with the date, then circle the part that attracts you and write a note about why ("pretty flower arrangement," "russet and gold color combo"). For the "What Were They Thinking?" file, pull images you don't like or that just plain make you wonder who would design such a thing? Sometimes knowing what you don't like helps build confidence in what you do. File the pictures into the four folders as you go.
· Continue to collect pictures until you have a good assortment, then organize them one step further. In a file drawer, accordion file, or portable file box, label four hanging files with the four main categories, then insert file folders for subcategories: individual rooms for the "Indoors" file; each of the holidays you hope to celebrate; the patio, lawn, kids' areas, garden, and so forth for the "Outdoors" file. You don't need subcategories for "What Were They Thinking?"
· Keep adding photos, clippings, and printouts to your Style File, and you'll soon have an archive of your personal preferences, a practical guide to your own taste, a...
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