How I Host: Chelsea Petaja
For years now, Chelsea Petaja has been our go-to designer in Nashville. She has a spirit of creativity and kindness that always makes the process and final product tenfold better than I could have hoped. While we collaborate with her mostly on client projects, I also adore her shop. The Etsy staple is chockfull of prints and posters that inspire and encourage, transforming that nook of your home into a little brightening respite.
I was so excited to have Chelsea join us for "How I Host" and see how her joyful creativity poured over into the hosting realm, making guests feel welcomed and delighted. This September was the perfect opportunity. It was her daughter, Pax's, first birthday, and the Petajas were kind enough to invite us into their home to celebrate their darling girl. Get a firsthand look below at all the sunshine Chelsea creates and the lovely Pax that inspired it all.
How would you describe your hosting style -- 5 words or less!
Simple, but I love details!
Environment is key. What is your favorite space to host a party?
If the weather is great, I love to host in our backyard. It's always a work in progress but the spot we have it in right now feels cozy and cheery.
Do you have a signature dish or drink you like to serve?
If you count a cheese board as a dish, then yes! We almost always keep all the fixin's for a killer spread on hand—yummy cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, seeds, crackers, bread... OK, my mouth is watering.
What's your go-to color palette for design?
I love neutrals mixed with a pop of color or shine. For instance, our kitchen has black cabinets and white countertops and backsplash, but our fixtures are all brass and we've got a burgundy (fake) Persian runner down the middle.
With events, it's important to touch all the senses. The perfect playlist includes...?
Ohhh, well it depends on the guests! But I'll say for Pax's party, we kept it all Motown. We had her great-great-grandmother in attendance, and then little ones even younger than Pax, so we wanted something everyone could appreciate!
Who are your dream dinner guests?
I don't know if it gets better than laughing while enjoying a good meal, so the best guests are ones that we can cut up with over a drink and whatevers on the menu.
What inspired your design for "How I Host"?
We were so lucky to get a beautiful day to celebrate our girl, so I wanted to maximize our outdoor space and make it as comfortable for our guests as possible. So, as always, comfort and ease were the name of the game.
What's your best "hosting" tip for beginners?
Keep it simple! Of course the vibe and setting are fun elements, but if you're stressed about the food or flower arrangements or flatware, your guest will pick up on it and you'll feel like a crazy person. Focus on what matters—creating an environment for people you love to come and feel at ease. Sometimes that looks like a candlelit dinner and a full course dinner, and other times that looks like eating takeout pizza on paper plates, crossed-legged on the floor.