How I Host: Jason Arnold & Carl Denton



Good hosting is all about balance—creating a space that is, at once, elevated but approachable.

Jason Arnold and Carl Denton, two gems from Nashville's design world, invited us into their historic Germantown dining room to the most sophisticated and enduring welcome. Introducing southern hospitality at its finest. 




How would you describe your hosting style -- 5 words or less!

Carl: Admirable ease

Jason: Effortlessly Casual




Environment is key. What is your favorite space to host a party?

Carl: Yes, environment is key and equally is movement. That said, my favorite place to host a party would be is at home or private residence. A home in which the indoor and outdoor spaces can be utilized is ideal. I suppose it’s the Southerner in me but a porch is where you’ll find me at the end of the night.

Jason: I love hosting dinner parties at the house. I think if you are hosting a party, the environment should should reflect you and allow your guest to relax and have fun so what better place than your own home.




Do you have a signature dish or drink you like to serve?

Carl: Pimento and Cheese - growing up, my Grandmother always had it on hand. 

Jason: A good parmesan cheese and LOTS of wine. People love to have something to nibble on so I always have a cheese plate on the cocktail table.




What's your go-to color palette for design?

Carl: Black and White is definitely my go-to which makes a great platform for introducing seasonal colors. 

Jason: I always use lots of white and then let the flowers, wine, and guests add the color.




With events, it's important to touch all the senses. The perfect playlist includes...?

Carl: I have found of the years, that hosting for me isn’t able having a “party”. I feel music is the “trailblazer” for the direction of the evening. So, I find myself coming back to the Etta James station over and over again. 

Jason: Something that reflects you, the host and the mood that you want to set for your guest. Most of the time I like something jazzy but I just had a party and played 80’s pop.




Who are your dream dinner guests?

Carl: I’d like to just notify the neighbors that morning that dinner would be served at 6 with cocktails after and see who shows up. Something impromptu is right up my alley. 

Jason: Anyone who I am NOT relieved to see leave at the end of the night. Entertaining should be fun and so should your guest.




What inspired your design for "How I Host”?

Carl: We host dinners often and at this point in our joint design style, we inspire each other and ourselves. We truly appreciate and love all the pieces in our home. Many of them have stories behind them, which makes using them for entertaining fun.

Jason: Our design styles... simple and classic.




What pieces did you choose and why?

Carl: We chose the Equipale Chairs because they are so warm and structural. 

Jason: We chose the dining chairs to add texture and balance the formality of the room. I also love a barrel back chair because they are comfortable which is important. A design motto that I stand by is opposites attract and that’s why we chose the contemporary glassware and organic plates to pair with my great grandmothers flatware. The napkins were chosen for contrast and texture.




What's your best "hosting" tip for beginners?

Carl: Do it more! Find the dishes that you enjoy making, the glasses that make you want to drink, and the people that will appreciate your efforts. There! Now 90% of the work is done. :-)

Jason: Don’t try to do everything! Know what you are good at and let someone else do the rest and most importantly, make sure your guest have fun!