DESIGNERS & INFLUENCERS
Get inspired to reinvent your gatherings with tips from top designers and influencers in this exciting new series. Explore all these compelling design ideas below, and create collections that speak to your style.
Q&A with Lynn Terry
For this edition, we spoke with Lynn Terry, Homes Editor for Southern Home magazine.
Q: You entertain for many occasions. Can you tell us about how you plan for your gatherings?
A: I do enjoy opening my home up for all sorts of occasions, and typically they involve food. People enjoy a nice meal, but they really enjoy good fellowship and a special dessert. There’s a saying: “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.” Based on this philosophy, I like to have “dessert parties” where nothing but dessert is served. I enjoy making desserts, so these parties are particularly fun. My mother always had at least one homemade dessert on the table my entire life, and although I’m not nearly as accomplished as she is, I learned that serving a homemade dessert is special.
I try to have a well-rounded dessert spread: something chocolate; something with fruit (or just fruit with fresh whipped cream); a cheesecake; and a wildcard dessert. I typically use luncheon-sized plates, and then have smaller plates if a guest only wants to sample one dessert. I love to serve a Biscoff banana pudding in a martini glass. It’s a layered dessert that looks fantastic in a crystal glass, and since it’s already prepared in individual servings it makes everything that much easier.
Q: What advice or tips would you give someone on setting an Easter table or hosting an Easter gathering?
A: I typically set my table the day before so I can take my time and know I am happy with the final results and not be rushed. However, mentally, I think about my table weeks before the actual event and scour inspirational photos for something new. I love a maidenhair fern in a blue and white foot tub mixed with hydrangeas. The lines of a maidenhair fern are delicate and the color is so fresh. For drama on the sideboard, I may purchase a bunch of bells of Ireland to put in a large blue and white jar, and put hydrangeas at the mouth of the opening.
Q: You mentioned hosting brunch or a cookout the day before Easter, and lunch on Easter day. Do you approach those gatherings differently from a planning standpoint?
A: When family comes in for Easter weekend, we plan meals to capitalize on our time together. A cookout is usually on the schedule, and I typically use a simple white plate on a rattan charger with blue bandanas for napkins as an ode to our time spent in Texas. I recently purchased some splatterware and enamelware pieces which will make a debut this year.
A nice brunch starts with a planned menu that you are comfortable with and a beautifully set table with fresh flowers. I believe that guests and family appreciate when a host (or mom) takes the time to think through chargers, linens, china, and flowers. My sons are not into china or tabletop design, but I now have a daughter-in-law who certainly notices the little things that make a table special. I also like to have a little gift for everyone, and on Easter it’s usually their favorite candy.
Q: Are there any particular patterns or collectibles you like to use for your Easter gatherings?
A: I love blue and white, and feel that it’s my “go-to” for setting a beautiful table. It’s a color combination that always looks fresh and sophisticated. Easter signals the start of spring for me, so I like to add some green to the setting and may combine lace-motif patterns with a leafy Majolica design or cabbage-shaped plate or bowl. Freshly ironed linens complete the theme.
Q: Do you have any other entertaining or table design tips you'd like to share?
A: I "play" with my patterns until I come up with something fresh that makes me happy. I love to use small bowls or even crystal in unexpected ways.
A host needs to be relaxed and enjoy the party. Accidents happen and things don’t always go as planned, but a good host is able to adjust and adapt. When everyone has left, I find it therapeutic to wash my china and reflect on the evening and what great memories were made. As the Homes Editor for Southern Home, I’m always looking for beautifully designed homes, however, the real truth is that a true "Southern Home" is a gracious and inviting home where the food is good but the fellowship and memories are even better.