Thanksgiving may be over but chances are, the kitchen is still redolent of the scent of turkey, ham and stuffing. The fridge is filled to the brim with next week’s leftovers and there’s a leaning tower of dishes piled up in the sink. The holidays are the perfect time to entertain your family and friends, but there’s always so much pressure to provide the best experience possible for your guests.
Despite the lingering food coma, there’s a part of you that knows next year can be better. It’s the perfect time to start assessing the situation and figuring out how to improve the holiday experience for everyone. And at least now you know that while you can’t entirely prepare for the impact of a holiday family maelstrom…at least they should all have a place to sit.
What better way to entertain your family than to do it outdoors – or at least make it appear that way. (The weather in this season can be quite tempestuous, after all.) The use of large windows and skylights around your entertainment area allows the diffusion of natural light throughout the space. Even if its 30° below, you can make people feel connected to the outdoors. Or perhaps if you’re fortunate enough to never touch the 40°s during the holidays, perhaps you should consider creating an alfresco dining room, replete with an expandable dining room table, weather resistant furniture and a fireplace.
The other notable aspect of holiday entertaining is that it’s just that – a seasonal event. One of the newest trends in architecture over the past few years is around the concept of “flex rooms” – multi-purpose spaces that can be reconfigured without costly renovations. Flex rooms allow you to do more with less space – collapsible cabinets, storage built into the back of a couch, sliding doors that can open the room into a larger space, etc. No one needs to know that you can start doing laundry in the same room immediately after all the guests go home.
No forward thinking discussion would be complete without a bit of futuristic design thrown in for consideration. One of the most innovative trends in residential design centers around the concept of Wi-Fi enabled Smart Homes. Home Automation is no longer a fringe luxury for adult Trekkies; instead, it is a practical necessity in today’s digitally enabled marketplace. Imagine being able to dim the lights, raise the thermostat and even crank the volume of your music all through your phone. Advances in Smart Home design allow for increased security of your home (via remote monitoring) as well. Regardless where you stand with technology, wouldn’t it be nice to see who’s ringing your doorbell – with your phone? Remote security systems can go a long way to providing peace of mind.
When considering a new project, its important to recognize the value of locally sourced building materials. For example, there is a resurgence in using mixed metals like polished nickel and silver or brass and gold; retro-chic nuances that lend a touch of sophistication to a space. Buying locally keeps the overall construction cost down by reducing transportation and/or shipping fees and its also a testament to local craftsmanship. After all, the holidays are all about celebrating community – what better way to include them in your home. Who knows, next year you might have to add an extra seat or two to the table!