Coffee Table Books for Style

Coffee table books can be one of the fascinating peeks into the personality of the home. These are the ones not housed in a book shelf or inside the cabinets. They grace the tops of our side tables, consoles, mantels, and not least of all coffee tables. These are the ones we are most proud of and put on display. They are the conservation starters, objects d’arts, and identifying interests. As I write this, I chuckle to myself. I know that in my home coffee table books are part wine coasters, candle holders, and food trays. Some people style their homes with designer fashion moments, others choose music iconography and some can’t stay away from pages upon pages of artfully arranged home design anthologies. One thing that is certain, coffee tables books for the well styled home are here to stay.  

Now that we know these books are a staple in our homes, how should we go about selecting which books can use up valuable real estate. Since you will be constantly flipping through your coffee table books for inspiration, make sure these are books that actually stir your creative curiosity. If you spend any time on social media, there is a strong tendency to gravitate towards the popular trendy ones. So trendy that I don’t even need to name them – you all know the ones I am taking about. While I think those are great, I want to implore you to really explore your interests and plan what you wish to display. Is there a particular selection of cultural art books? Are there any biographies that move you? And what about a historical tome? Here are some helpful guidelines:

Select a beautiful cover that matches your home aesthetic

A beautiful cover can add to the aesthetic of your home. However, if the cover does not match the vibe you are going for, you can remove the paper cover to reveal the book cloth beneath which is usually a nice neutral color. Books on display can be works of art of their own or as part of a vignette. In addition, you can select books to complement the hues of your space and highlighting an intended color scheme.

coffee table book

Consider the size of the coffee table book

Before you purchase your books consider the size of the space you are working with and where its final resting place will be. Coffee table books can at times be oversized and can overwhelmed the space. I just recently purchased some these cute set of books that are mini size. The small size is ideal and I am a fashion lover. This is the epitome of form and function.

Coffee table books
Fashion Coffee table books

Pick books with beautiful inspiring imagery

Pick a book with large beautiful photography. This will ensure that you engage with the book consistently – and browse through from time to time to be inspired. Also, select books that friends and family will want to engage with.

Use family photo books as coffee table books

With the help of a photo publisher and there are many, you can download your photos onto a website and they will print and bound your books for you. These are the best because they are so personal, create the best memories. and you will never stop engaging with them. This may be my personal favorite coffee table book.

So, when choosing a coffee table book there many options to consider but in the end make the selections that truly represent your well styled home.

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    La Vie En Rose

    La Vie En Rose is a love story. This year my husband and I set out to celebrate a special someone. A person who is near and dear to both our hearts. What better way to show someone that you love them, than to throw them a fête in their honor? So, we decided to have a birthday party for my sister Rose and aptly coined the party ‘La Vie en Rose” – Life in Pink.

    “La vie en rose” essentially means viewing life through rose-colored lenses. Living life with a positive attitude, and trying to see beauty in the everyday. I set out to create a swoon worthy event with all the proper vibes. For a La Vie En Rose party, the formula would be quite simple. There was no doubt that there would be assortments of pink roses everywhere and of course never-ending flowing bottles of rosé wine to enjoy.

    Months in the making, I gathered a group of her most special friends to mark the occasion. Rosé wine bottles invitations, imprinted in calligraphy set the tone of the event. If you know anything about me I will always be a stationer at heart. It should be no surprise that I took special pains to make sure the invitations met the mark. Also, the invitations also served double duty, as guest favors, to savor long after the evening was over.

    The decor included serpentine tables spread with blush linens and pink rattan chargers. Whimsical tones of pink, orange, amber, terra-cotta, and gold dotted every inch of the yard.

    Rose Floral Centerpiece

    In line with the theme La Vie En Rose, each place setting had a hand rolled flower napkin. Lovely birds and green botanicals graced the tops of the dishware.

    Rose Shaped Napkins
    Serpentine tables for La Vie En Rose Party.

    Should you look around at other events I have styled, you will know that I am a huge fan of serpentine tables. The curved edges add a little bit more interest than rounds or squares. For our La Vie En Rose party, we feasted on a delicious surf and turf meal. This was excuted by none other than celebrity Chef Vanessa Cantave of Yum Yum Chefs and her lovely staff. The menu, designed by me, was printed and clipped on mini boards that guests could follow along as the dishes were presented.

    La vie En Rose Dinner Menu clipped onto wooden boards
    Pink roses green garland outline window with mini white picket fence

    Life is a collection of little moments. How you spend those moments will define the quality of your experiences. When I reflect on my memories, I would like to think about the people I’ve loved, celebrated, cried and laughed with. Having celebrated this La Vie En Rose party for my sister I couldn’t be happier.

    If you want to read more about this lovely party, please follow this link over to Kara’s Party ideas who was so kind to feature it on her website.

    All these lovely photos were shot by @mrosovskym

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    • KevonneThis is joy at its purest. From an undeniably beautiful setting with memorable moments at each turn, to this letter of why it is so worth pouring yourself in celebrating those you love. Bravo!ReplyCancel

      • ahouseonguilfordThanks Kev! It was actually a nice setting. I think the most memorable thing for me will the the time we spent together making it happen.ReplyCancel

    • RosevonyA truly memorable and love-felt celebration! The decor was exquisite. The food was five-star. The stationary was brilliant. It was perfect. You are truly amazing hosts and curators of special moments. ReplyCancel

    • Katya Dossous-SchwartzLove love Loved this theme and decor! If “attention to detail” was an event? It was a great pleasure to attend and experience! Trés trés bon boulot! 💖ReplyCancel

    Steps to Host a Fabulous Apéro

    Who doesn’t like a good happy hour? I know I do – How about a French styled hour of fete – or, an apéro. It’s not complicated at all and you will follow these easy steps to host a fabulous apéro. An apéro is an aperitif, an appetizer, a drink, or light food served before dinner. While the word apéro does not exist in English but the French term “apéritif” is sometimes used to mean drinks and appetizers served before a meal.

    The apéro is neither lunch, brunch, dinner, or even happy hour. In fact, the French do not snack in the same way Americans do. For the French, snack time is the apéro – and it is a quintessential French way to end the workday and gather with friends and family. Apéro can be as basic or as elevated as you wish – hosted at home, on a stoop or a nearby café. Grab what you have on hand – chips, olives, nuts and your favorite light wine. The most important addition of course is friends. Let’s walk through the steps to host a fabulous apéro.

    Egg Chair, drinks, snacks,

    First, choose a proper time and location.

    Find a location that is most inviting and comfortable. Apéro generally starts at 6pm.  Enjoy small sips and bites for 1 to 3 hours. After hours of grazing and drinking, you can fully end your event without serving your guests a full meal.

    Second, set the scene. 

    Since apéro is a casual affair, you can host a fabulous apéro without using any special decorations. However, since eating a sensory past time, why not make it pretty? I recommend displaying elegant wooden bowls and marble platters, baskets for small linen napkins, pretty glassware – some votives and a few posies in mini vases.

    apero, happy hour, olives

    Third, add noshes and bites.

    Step away from the stove! Your spread should be easily eaten and shareable.  More importantly, cooking is not required.  But if you must, prepare a mini quiche in advance or make little gougeres. Stop at your gourmet deli and pick up a combination of the following:

    Spreads/dips: olive tapenade, rillettes, fois gras terrine, fig jam, tomato pesto (or regular), tzatziki, hummus

    Fruits/veggies: cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, radishes, cucumber, melon, grapes, cornichons

    Salty/Crunchy bites: nuts, kettle chips, cheese sticks

    Breads: baguette, pain de campagne (sliced), pain aux noix et raisin, bruschetta, pita chips, gougères

    Fourth – bring on the Cocktails! 

    I use the term cocktails very loosely. The last thing you want, is to spend time away from your guests mixing drinks. So, set out bottles of very cold light white wine, rose, or flavored Rhum. Adding these mini individuals serve wine bottles are a neat way to add something fun. Cold light IPA would be great here as well.

    Finally, Enjoy! 

    After setting up your tablescape, the final thing to do is to greet your guests as they arrive. Welcome them in, delight in the hours ahead and enjoy your fabulous apéro. Santé!

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      Styling A Pastel Baby Shower

      Prior to now, I had a whole career in designing event stationery and styling small parties.  I really enjoy being a part of peoples lives in this way. My work was super rewarding as it allowed me to help people celebrate their most precious moments in style. So it was only natural to me that when I found that my brother was having his first baby that I would style a pastel baby shower for the lovely parents to be. I’ve planned quiet a few showers in my day, but none was more special to me than this one. The colors of the sweet nursery provided the inspiration for the color scheme of the pastel baby shower. It would be all the shades of mango, yellows, blues, and greens. We wanted to create a light and airy affair where friends and family would gather to connect, laugh, and celebrate.

      pastel baby shower tablescape

      Whenever I plan an event, I always have my go to list of ideas of what I believe makes an event truly special. One of the things I like to add is as much personalization as possible. That way the party feels custom and special. This pastel baby shower would be no different.

      shower flowers

      For this pastel baby shower I screen printed the menus onto each napkin. I also sprinkled the table with framed maternity photos of the cute couple. Guests were so excited to be able to go along the table to look at each photo. This little addition was a great conversation starter and guests were happy to be able to share in the couples maternity journey in this way.

      printed menu
      Screen printed napkins

      The pastel baby shower was held poolside in my family home and we were able to use the inside and outside of the property. The property is also flanked by a beautiful lake and was the perfect backdrop for the event. It was a fantastic of blend of lot’s of laughs, incredible food and festive cocktails. I engaged the talents of a paella chef for the event and it was a hit with everyone.

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        Hostess Gift Idea #100 – In Good Taste Wine

        So you got that sweet dinner invite this weekend and your in sweats about what to bring to thank your host. Not to worry I am here to guide you and give weekly tips about some good hostess gift tips. A good hostess gift is a way to show your appreciation for not only the invitation but also for the good time you are about have.

        Don’t wait until the last moment to regift a bad bottle of wine or grab a cheap one on the way to your soiree. Think about the planning, shopping, and execution that your host has undertaken to show you a good time. The last thing you want to do is to say thank you with the wrong gift. Right now I can go to my cupboard to see the many wine bottles I have received as hostess gifts that are simply undrinkable. I file those in my use for cooking only stash. You may think this is harsh but unfortunately it is true.

        A good tip is to get a good bottle of Champagne or Prosecco. Champagne is so festive I have yet to meet anyone who is not excited for sparkling wine. Whatever you would spend on a luxurious bottle of champagne is certainly less than you spend for a night out on the town for two for sure.

        In Good Taste

        While recently scrolling through Instagram, I happened upon the In Good Taste wine company. I love it when a new discovery stops me dead in my tracks. What first caught my attention is the cute brand identity and the individual serving sizes. This is perfect for when you want to enjoy wine but do not want to open a fresh bottle. They come in packs of 6 and you can purchase the wine as a flight, as a curated for you collection, or in varietals. This makes the perfect hostess gift. It’s hits all the marks – it’s unique, it’s useable, and sustainable. After you drink the wines, the little bottles are so cute you can repurpose them around your home.


        So how do they taste you’re wondering? Well I tried the rose and the curated summer sipper and I give them a B+. The wines are pretty reasonable at less than $11.00 per bottle. These tiny sizes makes wine drinking less intimidation and affordable to try new wines because there is little waste. So go ahead and gift these cute little bottle to your next host, in my opinion, it’s In Good Taste.

        Wine and Cheese
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        • RosevonyGreat post with some helpful hints. What would you recommend for host who do not drink?  Since I am not a wine connoisseur, I prefer to bring a bottle to add to the bar — Tequila anyone?…but I am always stumped when I know the hosts do not drink. ReplyCancel

          • ahouseonguilfordThanks for your response! So I just recently discovered Fever Tree sparkling drinks. Available at most grocery stores. Try the Yuzu Lime. Its taste just like a cocktail and only 30 calories. Pour it in a fancy glass, add ice, and sprig of rosemary.ReplyCancel

        Micro Champagne Towers are a Yes!

        Micro champagne towers are always a yes for me on Friday nights!   I love hosting friends at our house and when I do, I always like to add little fun and unique touches to entertain our guests. Micro champagne towers are an epic way to add a fun splash to a small gathering or to up the fun to any soiree.   The look is so glamorous, so elegant and just perfect.  It reminds me of old Hollywood and grand affairs but just done on the micro level.  

        Of course you can go all out and make them as tall you want. Normally, we see the super tall ones with rows and rows of glasses at formal weddings and grand galas.  But, guess what? there is no need to wait, just do it now, anytime you want to up the ante at your next fete.   The look of the steadily spilling champagne from the top to cascade down to the rest of glasses is to die for.  And don’t worry, even though it looks like the champagne is spilling there will be very little waste.  Arrange all the glasses in the tower or pyramid formation before your guest arrive.  The look of the micro champagne tower alone will be an amazing ice breaker and will set a great festive tone for the rest of your gathering.   Here is the perfect recipe to achieve the look. 

        micro champagne tower

        First step:

        Have a large square, round or rectangular tray to use as a base to place the glasses into. This will collect any of the extra champagne that spills over.

        Second step:

        With the number of guest in mind count how many glasses you need to arrange the pyramid until you get to 1 glass on top. So for 12 guests you will have 6 on the bottom, then 4, then 3, then 1.  Clean sparkly classic coupe glasses work best for this.    For the one I arranged, I wanted a bit of a glam look so I used sparkly iridescent glasses that give off a nice colors when the light hits – so incredible.

        Third step:

        Start building your micro champagne tower with the largest number at the bottom and work way up to create your envisioned plan.  Be sure to work carefully to ensure that the glasses are well supported.  Place the glasses as close as possible to each other for a tight look. 

        Fourth Step:

        Depending on how high your tower is you might have to stand on a stool to fill your glasses. Pop open your favorite bubbly.   As a guide, a 750ml bottle of champagne will fill 6 glasses. To serve a tower for twelve you will need three full bottles. You can start at the very top and start pouring the champagne down while ensuring that every glass is filled.  Another faster way to do it is to pre-fill the glasses a little and then start pouring from the top.

        So yes it is just that easy.  I just love micro champagne towers and I am so sure you will love it too.  Cheers!  

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          A Book Review – Wonderland is Wonderful

          Summer Thorton’s Wonderland is wonderful! So, you’re already being forewarned. Proceed with caution! This post will probably get me some shade but let’s go! Lately, on instagram most of what is currently trending are pages of homes full of neutral tones in every tone but not an ounce of color.  People have sworn off color like it’s a bad habit.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a well designed monochromatic moment.  The look is calming, it’s airy and it’s clean.  But,  if I were to be true to myself, I’m definitely a color girl.  Give me all the color, give me all the patterns, all the texture and all details. 

          To tell you the truth, I was feeling a little lonely out on my color island and in comes Summer Thorton. With her newly published book, Wonderland:  Adventures in Decorating her designs wow us on every page. Wonderland is wonderful and reaffirms for me that – Yes, color is absolutely amazing. Thorton charges us to use color as much as possible until it feels just right.

          “when it comes to interior design, reason, logic, and practicality are largely overrated.” 

          – Summer Thorton

          Wonderland – Summer Thorton

          Wonderland is an ode to color, a bible if you will, that not just encourages but wills you to unleash your wildest design fantasies using your home as your palette.  Every page of Wonderland is wonderful and is full of beautiful luxe designs with nonconforming decor ideas.  Summer Thorton uses multiple colors in various shades, textures such as fringe, mohair, velvets, mixes various styles like vintage, glam, modern, and lot’s of chinoisserie.   In her book, the lacquer painted walls are to die for and I am definitely looking to add this high gloss dimension somewhere in my home.  Wonderland is so inspirational and it is the perfect coffee table book.  

          “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.  Better yet gold it.”

          -Summer Thorton

           She affirms, “a purple sofa is a real power move,”  and my favorite “live like Marie Antoinette is coming to breakfast.”  This book speaks volume to me as I try to live my live more with intention and in the present.   I am willing to take risk and allow myself the freedom of self-expression in my home.   

          The first pieces of furniture I bought for my new home three ago were two luscious luxurious velvet teal coaches by Mitchell Gold Home.  You can see me sitting on one of them on the top left photo and also here on my instagram page.  They are beautifully feminine that curve out the in the back and curve in the middle creating a gorgeous silhouette.   Literally swoon worthy in my honest opinion.  Those couches set the tone for the rest of my home and has helped me create a space that feels luxurious and full of drama.  

          Wonderland is wonderful and it is Summer Thorton’s collection of her most favorite things.  Whether you have a love of monotones or multi-color dream coats be unapologetic of how you express yourself. 

          “Every day can be a fantasy when you create a dream world.”  

          Summer Thorton

          Summer Thorton Wonderland

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            Tropical Glam Tablescape is Loading!

            Welcome to my very first blog post! This should be a glorious moment for me, it’s too little too late. Full transparency – this post was to be about how to put together a swoon worthy Mother’s Day tropical glam tablescape that would make even the most unbothered mother take notice. To my dismay, this post is three weeks too late! You know crazy busy life and all that!

            Speaking of Mother’s Day, do you know how this day became a national holiday?  The Mother’s Day celebration dates back to the early 1900’s and believe or not originated in Philadelphia.  Started by a woman’s group founded by Anne Jarvis as a day to promote friendship and health.   Within 5 years, this yearly gathering spread like wild fire nationally. Before long, President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day an annual event – what could be better than that?

            Fun fact – what was to be known as a day of honor was hijacked by the corporate powers that be and Mother’s Day transformed into a day of sending cards and gifts.  The last years of Anne Jarvis’ life were spent trying to revoke the holiday.

            tropical glam tablescape
            tropical glam tablescape

            Not to let a good tropical glam tablescape go to waste, allow this setting to inspire your next brunch, lunch, or fete you have coming up. I decided on an elegant yet fun floral arrangement with tropical accents that would be unforgettable at any event. The flowers used here are roses, carnations, anthurium, and pampas grass. Using blue chinoiserie plates as the focus, I paired them with a thick woven leaf placemat. I added raffia covered glasses to complete the look. Other accents include blue and white vases, and disco balls placed throughout the setting. This bit of shine is just the right touch that will be sure to delight your guests. Looking quiet glamorous and casual, I love the way it all came together.

            tropical glam tablescape
            tropical glam tablescape

            Next time your looking to plan your next gathering keep this tropical glam tablescape design in mind. To get the same look tropical glam look in a paired down version add your own twist. Use any women placemats and add coordinated florals in a glass jar, a few votive candles and voila!

            Tablescape styled by AHG // Photographer: Tori Sikkema

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              Well Hello there! Welcome to my blog. Here you’ll find a range of topics and tips about home design, small gatherings, gifting and much much more. Grab a cup, stay a while and check back weekly for new content.

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