March 10, 2010

And the winner is…

Ricki! She sent in her answer via e-mail and I posted it on the comments, but here it is…

Having a comfortable home that's kid-friendly and dog-friendly has always been our focus and sometimes a challenge. When we have guests, we want them to make themselves at home, to feel at ease and relaxed.

These are the rules we've tried to keep:
1. Make sofas and chairs comfortable enough to curl up in, but durable enough to withstand spills, etc. I don'[t want to have to worry if someone puts their feet up, or is juggling wine and drippy food.
The House Downtown 021

2. Choose floor coverings that are forgiving, i.e. glazed Mexican tile in the kitchen---nothing shows on it! Hardwood if possible with, preferably old, Oriental or Oriental-style rugs. Ditto, nothing shows!

3. Slipcover chairs and sofas if possible. I actually have a Mitchell Gold sofa in our house in Canada from Pottery Barn (one of the only benefits to living in Memphis is that they have a Pottery Barn Outlet and used to have warehouse sales with unbelievable discounts!). It and the chairs are covered in an off white twill. The slipcovers have survived everything from chocolate, mud, red wine spills--and we're talking about an entire glass! The savior was soaking for 4 days in Oxyclean and washing in the machine and drying in the sun.The House Downtown 005

4. If you don't like slipcovers, we have ultra-suede type on our sofas in Memphis. I actually took samples of the fabric, allowed Winston and Georgia, our Shar Peis to drool on it (Winston especially drools like a bulldog), let it dry and wiped it with a damp cloth. Voila, no stains! The damp cloth really takes out the worry.

5. Give people things to look at in your home: stacks of books, gatherings of found objects, a grouping of photos or small painting, manageable groups of something you collect. etc. Make it warm with little vignettes that draw the eye and make people want to pick it up and look at it or touch it. It doesn't need to be fine art, just something interesting or feels good in a tactile way.The House Downtown 011

6. Think about which colors give you a sense of completeness: beach tones, warm and cozy, neutrals so you have a free palette.The House Downtown 024

7. Always have plenty of food and drink. It doesn't have to be the best wine or the fanciest food, just let friends and family feel welcome. Don't be absent in the kitchen, choose things that can be prepared ahead of time or things that your friends can make themselves: fondue, spring rolls, tacos. Or have a big pot of soup, gumbo, stew, or chili.The House Downtown 022 8. Let music set the mood, but don't overpower conversation.

9. Have furniture close enough so people can really talk to each other.

10. Enjoy!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered and wrote such wonderful comments about what makes a home comfortable. Connor and I really enjoyed reading through them.The House Downtown 020

He and I both make ourselves comfortable, regardless of where we are!


  1. Congrats to Ricki!!! She has a way with words that are so touching and so real!!

    Art by Karena

  2. I think that having eclectic, antique, well-worn furniture takes the edge off people worrying about messing it up, besides looking really cool even when nobody is over.

    Personally, I think slipcovers look like furniture baggies. Ew. Just one step away from clear plastic covers - ack!


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