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How to Host with Lucinda Chambers

FEATURE: LONG READ
Words by Grace Cain

Lucinda Chambers is good at many things, but she’s a self-confessed bad guest. “It’s not a control thing,” she says, quickly. “But I feel awkward in other people's houses. I hate not knowing when I should come down for breakfast or have a shower. Anyway, I’m just too busy to stay away.” It's a fair point; since she left her post as Fashion Director of British Vogue, Chambers has co-founded two new ventures: shopping platform Collagerie, and innovative lifestyle brand Colville. However, she always finds the time to welcome friends and family to her home in West London (which you can read more about in the September/October issue of Harrods Magazine, available in-store and to eligible Harrods Rewards members).

Here, Chambers curates a tablescape using some of her favourite glassware, serveware and table linens. Plus, she shares her top tips for successfully entertaining at home.

Keep Your Friends Close

"My signature dish is a roast of some sort, usually chicken. Potatoes are always involved. But my husband and I are not exactly ‘party’ people. What I really love is having just a couple of friends for dinner, because it means we can have more meaningful conversations and really enjoy our time together."

Stay Calm

"I often have people staying at my house, and they always say it’s very cosy. I like when friends refer to our spare room as 'my room', and I love when visitors make themselves at home. Some of my regular guests will even rearrange the furniture. When you’re a host, you can’t be a control freak."

Bring Fun to the Table

"I approach tablescaping in the same way as decorating; I follow my nose, fall in love with things and – somehow – they all work together. I like when things don’t match, and I love grouping unexpected items together. In this tablescape, I like the combination of very modern pieces with designs from Ginori and La DoubleJ that feel much more old-school-fabulous-Italian. Then you have the Les Ottomans tablecloth that doesn’t really go with anything, but somehow pulls everything together. Table setting is one of the joys of my life."

Be Considerate

"Always put yourself in your guest's shoes – or rather, their chair. When I'm setting a table, I like to think about whether everyone will have napkins, little salt and pepper pots within reach, and a place to put their glass down. Make sure there is nothing that they can knock over, because you want them to be comfortable. Be imaginative and think about how you want your company to feel when they come to your house for the first time." 

Put Your Guests First

Get Good and Ready

"I really believe that you should never go into anything unprepared. When I’m hosting dinner, I try to have everything organised so that I don’t have to be in the kitchen all the time. Otherwise everyone gravitates towards the aga, and you don’t want lots of people clamped to your side while you’re hauling out a roast chicken. If you prepare everything in advance, you’ve got room to breathe and make changes when the unexpected happens."

- Always Be Prepared

Do The Most For The Host

"If (unlike me) you are good at being a guest and you want to take your host a gift, I always think that you should opt for something useful because then they don’t have to be polite about liking it. Personally, I love to receive beautiful soaps or candles that you can burn during dinner – although I’m also on the hunt for some really good incense."

- Do The Most For The Host
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