Kitchen Renovation Tips for Entertaining

Did you host the holidays this year and find your space less than ideal? Or did you not host because you didn’t feel that your kitchen layout was adequate? Make 2019 the year to fix that! While a large, open kitchen is great for entertaining, kitchens of all sizes can be maximized to accomodate a crowd. No matter the size of your kitchen, see below for tips to consider when renovating for entertaining with ease….

A Large Island
This is an ideal space for food prep, cocktail creation and lingering guests during the final dinner preparations. You can avoid being locked away in the kitchen if there is space in the kitchen for your guests to join you! Additionally, the island can be cleared off and used to create a serving bar for guests should your holiday dinner be buffet-style. If your kitchen space does not accomodate an island, consider a breakfast bar, hutch or other long counterspace that could serve a similar function to an island.

Plenty of Seating
Do you feel that you kitchen never has enough seats for everyone during holidays? Create a small eat-in space within your kitchen for guests to sit at while they nibble on hors d’oeuvres. This space can be either a breakfast booth, bar stools, pub table or window seat depending on your space available. It can also double as a kids table during formal dining if your party warrants it!

Point of Service Refrigeration
Self-serve beverages can be a godsend as guests begin to arrive. Stock a small beverage fridge with water, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer and whatever other options you feel your guests would appreciate. If space permits, arrange glasses, an ice bucket and cocktail ingredients on the countertop above or next to to the beverage fridge. This will allow guests to make their own beverage upon arrival rather than waiting for you to serve them individually. Bonus – this frees up your time to visit with guests and put any finishing touches on the food!

Flat Screen TV
Do you find yourself often entertaining during sporting games or other televised events? Including a flat screen TV in the kitchen layout in an asthetically pleasing way will allow guests to keep up with the latest action and spend time with you in the kitchen. From an everyday perspective, this ‘appliance’ is also handy for watching the news during morning coffee or entertaining oneself during dinner prep.

Counterspace and Walkways
Two important things to consider in all kitchen designs, particularly those that will often be used for entertaining are counterspace and walkways. Be sure to include significantly more counterspace and walkway clearance than you think you need, as these two features are always at a premium when the kitchen gets crowded! Additionally, be ensure to account for your kitchen triangle (sink, fridge, range) to be easily accessible when the kitchen is full of people – you don’t want to be squeezing between Great Aunt Helen and her new beau to take the turkey out of the oven!

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Low Maintenance House Plants – No Green Thumb Required!

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share how much I enjoy having GREEN plants in my home!  Not only are house plants visually appealing, but they purify the air and can provide a selection of fresh, edible treats.  Given my minimal green thumb, I definitely go for low maintenance house plants!  Below are a few of my favorites:

  

Hydroponic Tulips & Other Bulbs

While hydroponic bulbs don’t live as long as potted plants, they certainly outlast cut flowers!  You can pick them up during spring in many grocery stores.  Bonus – you can save the bulbs and plant them in your outdoor garden!  The tall glass vases are also good for storing corks, seashells, Christmas balls or other small items at a later date.

Low Light Hanging House Plant (aka: Pothos)

This is one of my all time favorite house plants, because it thrives with low light and once weekly watering. Typically they can be found in the garden center in a hanging basket.  However, if you are looking to purchase more than one, you can buy more economically online.  If your plant comes in a hanging basket and you don’t wish to hang it, you can simply removie the ‘hangers’ or transplant into a pretty pot.  Placed on a stand, these plants make a great accent to the corner of any room!

Succulents

Succulents are hearty plants, requiring very little water.  Some appear more cactus-like while others have smooth leaves, but all are easy to grow!  You can find them in many home improvement stores and garden centers, but the most economical way is to purchase small plants online and transplant to larger pots as they grow.  You can find them in varying quantity increments depending on how many you wish to purchase – the more you buy they cheaper they are!

Terrariums

You can easily create a terrarium at home with a few simple components!  I have included below a few links to recommended resources – otherwise, feel free to pick up from your local garden center.

First, decide if you would like a hanging or tabletop terrarium and select your glass container.  There are some really neat glass containers designed specifically for terrraniums or fee free to re-use a old piece of glassware you have at home.   Once you have selected your container, layer in…

1.  1 inch rocks for drainage
2.  1/2 inch of activated charcoal for soil cleaning
3.  1 inch of potting mix to provide a base layer under the plants
4.  A selection of 1-4 styles of succulents depending on the size of your container (be sure to wear gloves if you selected a cactus variety)
5.  Potting mix to fill your glass container to the base of the succulents

If you like, you can add a little moss or other garnishes to decorate the top of the soil as a finishing touch.  Water sparesely, (only when soil becomes fully dry) and wait for your succulents to grow!

Mint & Other Herbs!

Mint can be very invasive, which in a garden is bad, but in a self-contained house plant is an excellent property!  While some herbs can be difficult to grow indoors, Mint will re-generate it’s leaves on a regular basis.  Try this mint sampler pack, containing Mojito Mint, Spearmint & Peppermint to find your favorite!  If you are feeling ambitous, you could also try this herb sampler pack of Mint, Parsley & Oregano, but be know that the others take a bit more maintence and time to regenerate.

For more information on planting herbs, stay tuned for my upcoming blog on a building an indoor hanging herb garden!

Happy planting and enjoy your green beer this evening!