photos by julie pointer adams
“We’ve forgotten how good it is to have unhurried, uncurated experiences in the company of others, in real time, with real conversation. These pages are a reminder that all entertaining requires is a bit of thoughtfulness in order to make our homes the kind of intimate and comfy spaces that people love to gather in, and how rich our lives become when we take the time to regularly open our doors.”
This was one of the many quotes that I underlined and starred in Julie Pointer Adams book Wabi-Sabi Welcome, and it’s managed to stick with me, permeating my approach to cooking, decorating, and inviting friends into my home in recent weeks. Like Julie herself, the book is both inspiring and humble, a celebration of beauty and imperfection, and more than anything, it reminded me that entertaining can be one of life’s deepest joys when we embrace it as an opportunity to share our true selves and connect with others. As she created the book, Julie travelled the globe illuminating the lessons from other cultures (in Denmark, California, France, Italy, and Japan) that serve as inspiration for our own journeys in discovering the good life, and today I couldn’t be more excited to share our interview in which Julie shared her personal approach to hosting at home. Read on for her well-lived secrets, the beautiful images she captured at a Denmark friend’s outdoor dinner party, and all the inspiration you need to throw open the doors, invite a few friends over, and just enjoy the moment.
This was a very casual but delicious grilled dinner feast after a day at the beach. This beautiful summer cottage is in a quaint beach town called Tisvilde, just a short ways northwest of Copenhagen, and the home belongs to the mother of our friend Camilla. Camilla’s husband, Mikkel Karstad, is an extremely talented and sought-after chef in Denmark, and we were lucky enough to enjoy a home-cooked meal with him and his family. He made grilled squid, cabbage salad, homemade rosemary bread, caprese salad, potatoes (a Danish staple), an amazing zucchini dip for the bread, and more. We were visiting Mikkel and his family during travels for my book, Wabi-Sabi Welcome, which many of these photos are a part of.
Your entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Simple, down-to-earth and intimate.
Standard hosting outfit:
I tend towards a simple breezy dress that I don’t have to think about all evening.
What scares you about entertaining?
I’m constantly worried leading up to a gathering that I won’t have enough food—which usually means I way overdo it.
Must-have entertaining tool:
Music! I think music always sets the mood.
The perfect dinner party playlist includes:
A bit of old and a bit of new. I love including old favorites like Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan and Billie Holiday—tunes that make everyone smile.
Favorite party color palette:
Usually my tableware and linens are very neutral and I let the fresh, colorful food speak for itself.
I often have leftover flowers floating around since I am a floral designer (among other things), but if those fail me I love a simple arrangement of eucalyptus or olive branches. I’ll stick these in a low vase or basket, or simply spread them along the table like a faux garland.
Signature party dish:
I nearly always make a cheese board of some kind. I love piling on a few different varieties and textures of cheeses, marcona almonds, a hunk of honeycomb, fresh and dried fruits, unique crackers and salty bread…you really can’t go wrong with a good appetizer spread.
Taste you’re always craving:
I have an insatiable sweet tooth and always add a little sweetness to anything and everything. Maple syrup is my go-to sweetener.
Always in your refrigerator:
Loads of greens, fresh veggies, yogurt, fruit for smoothies and cheese.
I always love a crisp rosé, especially for a summer party.
The entertaining rule you never break:
Pretty much the only rule I stick to consistently is to always do my best to invite my guests into cozy, intimate spaces and to make them feel as warm, welcome and relaxed as possible.
Do you reference any family traditions when you entertain?
Baking is a big tradition in my family so there’s almost always a baked treat that comes from a long line of seasoned bakers. My favorite is an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe that has been used hundreds of times between myself, my sisters and my mom.
Who are your dream dinner guests?
All my friends who are scattered around the world that I never get to have all in once place.
Favorite tabletop item you own:
This is a hard one as I have so many special items I’ve picked up on trips or received as gifts! I’d have to say right now my favorite is a beautiful gold serving spoon I bought from a friend’s shop in Japan.
What guest behavior is your biggest pet peeve?
Probably not eating enough, ha!
What would we never find at one of your parties?
Stuffy, uptight guests and fake flowers.
Secret to a great dinner party:
Good conversation (and conversation partners) and a yummy dessert to top off the meal.
The restaurant meal I’ll never forget:
Though certainly not the fanciest meal or setting I’ve ever been in, my husband and I had just arrived in Florence (also traveling for my book) and we were weary from a day of train travel. We popped into an unassuming little trattoria right next door to our Airbnb and we had one of the most divine meals of our lives. We were so blown away by how even the most modest-looking (and modestly-priced) restaurant in Florence delivered better Italian food than we’ve ever tasted.
Favorite after-dinner activity:
Sitting around over drinks and dessert and talking long into the night.
Fill in the blank: “It’s not a party without ___”.