Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Holiday | | | 11 Replies


Merry Christmas everyone! We are so happy and proud to be a part of your homes. Cheers to you this holiday season!

Here’s some of our favorite holiday posts from this year:

5 Easy Christmas Cocktail Recipes and Serving Suggestions
Holiday Home Tour: Classic Christmas Decor
Jessica Biel and Domaine Home’s Dream Holiday Decor
A Pottery Barn Christmas Tree With All the Trimmings
A Glam, Golden Mantel by The Glitter Guide
8 Ways to Design the Perfect Holiday Table Setting
Tony’s Top 10 Tips: How to Decorate a Beautiful Holiday Home
Holiday Hosting: Create a Welcoming Guest Room for Family and Friends
5 Simply Stunning DIY Gift Wrap Ideas
Professional Tips for Decorating Your Holiday Mantel

5 Hostess Tips for the Best Christmas Dinner Ever

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It’s Christmas Eve! Dinner is in the oven, It’s a Wonderful Life is playing in the living room and the kids are scrubbed and dressed before your relatives arrive. Once you’ve checked all the big items off your list, it’s time to think about the little things. Sometimes it’s the small details that can make the biggest difference of all. We spoke with lifestyle and entertaining expert Kelly Lyden to get the scoop on how she prepares her home for Christmas dinner. Take a look at her top 5 tips, below.

1. Layer your table. Put down a patterned tablecloth or runner and add a woven or metal charger plate at each seat. Stack dishes at each table setting for height and drama, rather than placing bowls and bread plates to the side.

placecard holder
2. Use placecards. “I always use placecards,” says Lyden. “Whether I’m setting a table for two or 12. It adds a personal touch to your table, and with a larger group, it ensures your guests will have stimulation conversation no matter where they’re seated.”

3. Mix up your seating arrangements. “I tend to alternate men and women,” says Lyden. “However I do mix married couples a bit — perhaps seating them across from each other versus next to each other.”

4. Consider a kids’ table. A children’s table tends to work best when there are four or more children over the age of three. “I always provide activities for the children — coloring pages with crayons, a mini tic-tac-toe game or a small table gift to keep them occupied for just a bit longer,” says Lyden.

three tier

5. Choose your serving style. Buffet or a served dinner? Think about the kind of vibe you want your dinner to have. “For a small, intimate dinner party, I prefer to serve myself and create more of a formal feel,” says Lyden. “But for a larger party, buffets are perfect and the host’s time is freed up to mingle with guests.

You might also like: 8 Ways to Design the Perfect Holiday Table Setting

5 Easy Christmas Cocktail Recipes and Serving Suggestions

Entertaining, Holiday, Recipes | | | 1 Reply

Our resident entertaining expert said it best: Find a signature cocktail to host a holiday fete with style. We know, it sounds intimidating — but branching out beyond wine and beer isn’t that difficult. We’ve compiled 5 decadent, delicious cocktails to finish off the holidays right — all with little to no bartending skills required.


1. Dulche de Leche Martini

2 ounces Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon
1/2 ounce Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka

Combine Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon and Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into a martini glass.

We suggest serving it in one of our Schotts Zwiesel Martini Glasses (shown above).


2. Ciroc Bellini

1.25 oz of Ciroc Peach

Pour the Ciroc in a champagne flute, and fill to the top with champagne.

We suggest serving it in our champagne flutes from our Caterer’s 12-Piece Glassware Set.


3. General Harrison’s Eggnog

1.3 oz. George Dickel Rye
.75 oz. mixture of equal parts egg white, sugar and syrup
1 dash DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
2 oz. apple cider

Mix all ingredients in a large mug and dust with fresh nutmeg.

We suggest serving this in a Great White Latte Mug.


4. Bulleit Rye Manhattan

1 oz Bulleit® Rye
0.5 oz sweet vermouth
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 cherry

Mix all ingredients and stir with ice in a cold glass. We suggest a Library Double Old-Fashioned Glass.


5. Ketel One Hot Chocolate

1 oz Ketel One vodka
5 oz hot cocoa
¾ oz heavy cream
¼ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Combine all ingredients and serve warm in a glass mug. Lightly dust with cayenne pepper and cinnamon.

We like ours topped with extra whipped cream in one of our Alphabet Mugs.

You might also like: Tony’s Tips: 10 Ways to Plan the Perfect New Year’s Eve Party

Guest Gift Picks: 5 Holiday Pottery Barn Presents from Designer Melanie Coddington

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The best gifts are the ones that your friends and family don’t even know they want — beautiful and luxurious objects that your loved ones wouldn’t think to buy for themselves, but would make each day just a little bit better.

Interior designer Melanie Coddington took this approach when choosing her favorite Pottery Barn gifts for this holiday season.  Take a look at her top 5 picks, below.

1. Bone Inlay Bath Accessories. “Little luxuries for the bath make great gifts.”

3. Gilt Trays. “I love creating little coffee table accessory compositions for my clients in trays like these.  The gilt finish on these is quite glam.”

olive wreath
3. Live Olive Leaf & Myrtle Wreath. “This wreath is fresh, natural and understated.”

4. Rustic Luxe™ Linen Napkins. “Linen napkins make the perfect hostess gift.  Bring these to a party where the host has rustic meets elegant aesthetic.”

5. Travel Set. “Just pop a sleeping pill, slip on the eye mask and avoid those scratchy airline pillows and blankets. Perfection for a long flight!”

You might also like: Guest Gift Picks: Elegant Holiday Presents from Designer Suzanne Tucker

A Globally Inspired California Home, As Seen in House Beautiful

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 1 Reply

Executive Vice President of Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma Monica Bhargava has a stunning California home that exhibits her impeccable taste, and some of the best of the best of Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn designs. House Beautiful recently featured her beautiful home, and we’ve included some of our favorite parts of the story for you to look at today, on the Pottery Barn blog.


Bhargava’s global, collected design sense reigns in every room. We particularly loved this quote from Bhargava: “Someone once said that a home is like an autobiography, and my California living room is filled with things I love — a Beni Ourain rug, Indian sculpture, a wood mirror found at a local flea market.”

The kitchen opens to the dining room and a family room. Neutral textiles and white walls give the home a refreshing, comfortable feel.


The kitchen’s open concept makes it a central hub for Bhargava’s family. The large island is where everyone ends up spending their time. “Everything is centered here,” Bhargava said in the interview. “I can put out the best hors d’oeuvres on another table somewhere else, and it doesn’t matter. Everyone goes right back to that island.”


Layered textiles in the family room give it a cozy, lived-in look. Natural materials mix textures and patterns in a way that feels subtle but purposeful.

The master bedroom is a recent addition to the home. “We wanted a sanctuary,” said Bhargava in the interview.  A clean color palette and cozy textiles give the room a serene look.

Want to hear more about Bhargava’s design aesthetic? See the full story from House Beautiful.

Weekly Roundup: 12/14 -12/20

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration | | | Leave a comment

Don’t worry — we’re not mad at you for missing some of our posts this week. In fact, we’ve made it easy for you to catch up on the last week at Inside & Out with our latest Weekly Roundup. Scroll down to check out the top links from this week!

12.17 friday roundup

You might also like: Weekly Roundup: 12/6-12/13

Tony’s Tips: 10 Ways to Plan the Perfect New Year’s Eve Party

Entertaining, Holiday, Parties | | | Leave a comment

Don’t you want to send 2013 off right? We do too! This year, we decided it’s time to take matters into our own hands and plan a New Year’s Eve bash of our own. But a great New Year’s Eve party is an entirely different beast than the decadent holiday get-togethers we’ve been hosting over the past month, so we turned to our our resident entertaining expert, Tony, who revealed his professional insights to planning the perfect New Year’s Eve party. Read on to take a look at our favorite tips.


1. Get rid of your red and green. “Let’s ditch the red and green for some winter glitz on New Year’s Eve. Try a more elegant approach. Flood your buffet with clear glass, silver, white ceramics and a splash of mercury. “


2. Avoid dark beverages. “Mix your champagnes and white wines into a beverage tub so people can choose whatever they want. This isn’t really the time for red wine, especially because everyone’s going to be shaking their tail-feather — and you don’t want to have to get red wine out of your sequins or your sofa.”

3. Stick to classic cocktails. “Keep it as elegant as you can, and stick to a simple gin or vodka martini. If you want to do something a little special, switch it up a little bit and make a Gibson instead of a martini, or throw a black olive in there and make it a Baltic martini.”

 4. Keep your food light. “Stick with finger foods. You don’t want anything too heavy. Make it easy! Have just one hot finger food out of the oven, and have everything else out and ready to serve. Cheese, oysters on the half shell and olives are fresh and fabulous. If your guests are hungry after midnight, keep your favorite takeout menu on hand!”

german glitter

5. Be a good guest. “If you’re going to be a guest at someone’s house this New Year’s Eve, bring them a gift. You could bring a bottle of champagne, but dress it up with a stopper or tie a German Glitter Ornament around it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the name of the person — choose an X and an O. The ornaments will last longer than the champagne. Or bundle six of our fabulous Schotts Zwiesel champagne flutes to bring with your bottle. Your host will probably need them. “

6. Don’t forget the men at the bar. “Make Champagne a little more masculine for your New Year’s and make a Black Velvet: Guinness and champagne”

7. Flameless candles are a must. “I’m going to say it again: Do yourself a favor and use flameless candles this year. The fire department is the last guest you want at your New Year’s party!”

8. Add sparkle to your sofa! “Every part of your home should shine. Add some rustic luxury to your home with our beaded pillows and a fur throw.”

star led lights

9. Glitz should be classy. “Not the disco ball type? Mercury your mantel! I love our Antique Mercury Glass Pillar Holders, and you can pair them with our LED string lights. A budget option is to run a white extension cord and use your leftover Christmas lights to set your candlescape aglow. Sprinkle some of our faux snow on top, if you were lucky enough to get it before it sold out.”

10. Mix décor and entertaining. “With buffet tables, your centerpiece can be any height. Use decor-taining ideas. Pair some of our great functional entertaining pieces with some other decor. Silver Malta Lanterns can be paired with a couple small Malta lanterns and an Antique Silver Three Tiered Stand. Offer the proverbial olive branch to your friends and family for the New Year and run an Olive Leaf Garland down the center of the table.”
Tell us: What are your New Year’s Eve plans this year?