Planning Your Party Pad; the Right Layout Makes a House That Much More Entertaining, Says Sarah Edworthy
Byline: Sarah Edworthy
CAN I see myself at home here? That's the question you keep in mind when viewing a property. If you are a dedicated party-giver, you should also be visualising yourself 'at home' -- in host or hostess mode.
Some properties are natural venues for entertaining, while others are less conducive to the business of providing fun.
Few of us have Gatsby-esque mansions or Ibizan beach villas in which to indulge our friends, but there are several universal features to consider in a property that make it ideal for throwing a bash: namely space, flow, a large kitchen, storage, flooring, separate loos and good acoustics.
Space is the priority. For drinks parties, you need a big communal room or, preferably, a series of interconnecting rooms on the same level to create a cosier setting.
Guests can gather in spaces that suit different moods or age groups, mingling in a less intimidating environment than having to work one noisy crowded room.
In an urban home, the best layout is likely to be an open-plan living area that extends out on to a garden. In the countryside, converted barns and chapels offer the 'wow factor' and a historic sense of social gathering. Outdoor space is a bonus, whatever the season.
'Visualise the garden as part of the room it leads off because patio heaters can enable year-round use and prevent smokers from feeling alienated,' advises Henry O'Grady of True Deli caterers. 'A gazebo, awning or marquee also helps make the most of outdoor space.'
Country dwellers might seek out a farmhouse with some down-at-heel outbuildings. 'Tidy them up, put up some pretty bunting and lights, and you have a free marquee -- without hordes tramping through your house,' says Polly Betton, author of Party! How To Organise A Brilliant Bash.
The second feature on the checklist is a navigable hallway and floor plan. Consider a property's layout to ensure good flow. Avoid too many bottlenecks caused by doorways, boxy rooms or narrow corridors. …