The Gracious Guest

Shops July 12th, 2011


Lucky enough to secure a summer invite? Be thoughtful enough to bring the perfect gift. Fetch finds everything the creative houseguest needs to ensure a return engagement.

Pictured above, top row, from left:

There is not a hostess alive who doesn’t need or want more hand towels, especially when they are as simple and beautiful as these. Available at Digs, they are made of pristine white linen with a chic khaki embroidered edge.

We adore these realistic apple candles from The Mercantile. Perfect for illuminating a summer dinner table under an arbor at night, they’d make the most thoughtful present mixed in a basket with a couple of varieties of the real thing.

This lovely antique tole tray from And George is a handsome and practical addition to a country house front hall console or back door table in an especially chic mudroom. The perfect size for invitations to clam bakes or postcards from far flung friends, it can also serve as a resting place for spare keys, Jitney cards– anything both host and guest need to keep handy.

We have long been huge fans of Jules Reid’s amazing clothing line, and now she’s come up with an equally amazing couple of house gifts that we are mightily tempted to keep for ourselves. Made of white lacquer with the Jules Reid logo in her signature green, both boxes are lined in black velvet. Order up one of Eli Hardof’s fine bottles from A Wine for All, slip it inside the JR wine box, and you’ll have house privileges for years to come.

Bottom row, from left:

No beach house (or any other house for that matter) should be without this Buccellati sterling silver small shell dish from Far 4.  A masterpiece of form and detail, it might well be the lone example of nature actually being improved upon.

These handblown Optimist Carafes from Orbix not only have a sexy shape, they wittily combine clear glass with either gold or strawberry to reflect the company’s self-professed attitude: The glass is always half full. Once presented with these (and perhaps the odd bottle or two), your host will heartily agree.

All the best summer houses have endless places to curl up with a good book and endless throws to go along with them. The San Miguel Merion Wool Throw from Anichini in sage/fig/gold somehow also incorporates lime leaves and meadows, apple trees and fresh cut grass– in short, all the shades that evoke summer.

Every porch is in need of a drink bucket, especially one as good looking as this oxidized stainless steel version with fig leaf handles at Corzine & Co. Put it atop a twig console or wicker table, fill it wine or some good Polish vodka, and you’ll have an instant bar and the makings for an entirely civilized evening. The bucket’s designer, Michael Aram, says he often uses it while entertaining in his own Northern California back yard where he serves figs (wrapped in prosciutto or stuffed with goat cheese), of course.


About Julia Reed

Julia Reed is a columnist at Garden & Gun magazine and a contributing editor at Elle Décor. She also contributes to The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, and The New York Times, and makes frequent appearances on MSNBC. She is the author of five books, including But Mama Always Put Vodka in the Sangria, Adventures in Eating, Drinking and Making Merry and One Man’s Folly, The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood.

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