What better way to enjoy your custom built home than to host a holiday gathering with friends and family? Many luxury homeowners put a great deal of thought into entertaining and gathering spaces, yet don’t actually create enough opportunities to enjoy and share these magical spaces for which they were designed. The holidays are fast approaching, and there are many ways to make your entertaining areas festive, personalized to reflect the unique style of your custom home and your family life. While planning out the decorative touches, consider the scents and sounds, as these two sensory experiences are triggers for memories recalled.

The kitchen isn’t just for cooking, as it is often the heart of the home. Typically meal preparation time is when families come together for conversation, and the holidays are the perfect representation of that, as more time and energy is put into preparing holiday meals, and all present are often part of the preparation. Thanksgiving in particular emphasizes the feast without added distractions of gift giving, which makes it a favorite for many, as the holiday’s emphasis is on the joy of gathering for a meal. Seasonal foliage (evergreen boughs, poinsettias, chrysanthemums), garnished with berries and bows, fragrant candles in warm tones, gold or silver foiled fruits and pine cones, can all be seamlessly carried from the kitchen to the dining area to other gathering spaces and reflect the holiday from Thanksgiving through the new year.

Setting the table need not be a burden and is often a fantastic opportunity for creative input from the entire family. As a good part of the evening will center on gathering for the feast, create the mood to linger and relish the opportunity to dust off the finery that lays hidden in the cabinets. Beautiful china, crystal and silver should not be on display; they should be used for the meal. Linens will accent these special pieces, along with candles, festive touches and imaginative centerpieces. If casual is the tone, handmade touches such as children’s artwork and pieces of nature are easy to incorporate. And, as with seasonal touches in the kitchen, consider materials used (for vases, centerpieces, candlesticks, bowls), whether crystal or copper, wood or silver as to which best fits the style of your home and the desired scene being set. And especially with Thanksgiving, the food is the main event; a few thoughtful garnishes of herbs and fruit encourage a pause to admire and appreciate the beautiful bounty.


The post-meal gathering space should also factor into the equation, provided the host wants to encourage further socializing. If a tradition is not already in place with typical holiday gatherings, perhaps consider starting a new one with games or activities planned following the meal. Dessert and coffee drinks around a fire or piano or a game of charades can provide a memorable ending to the holiday gathering. Game or billiards rooms are also common features in luxury custom homes; consider extending the holiday touches in these spaces to maximize the entertaining experience. Keep the fires burning in the hearth, add colored pinecones to create dancing light, change up the music to evoke the desired mood.


Enjoy this holiday season and celebrate the warmth of family and friends by welcoming them into your home. In addition to lighting and decorating touches, the scents and sounds of your home should be thought out, as old traditions are honored and new ones are created. Whether your custom built home is lake rustic, country casual or contemporary and sophisticated, choose the accents that highlight its personality.

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