Our Home Life Series is a weekly sneak peek into the homes and lives of Australia's most creative and inspiring people.
This week on the Home Life Series, we step inside the home of good friend and resident foodie Jessica Nguyen. Jess’ luxe, cosmopolitan style is on display throughout her Melbourne home. Crowned as the queen of dinner parties, we chat to Jess about her non-negotiables when putting on the ultimate spread.
Jess wears the Toasted Marshmallow Linen Shirt
1. Thank you so much for letting us inside your gorgeous home! Can you tell us a little bit about it, how long have you been here and who lives here with you?
My pleasure! Welcome to my Edwardian two bedroom semi-detached house. Built in 1910, I’ve been living here with my husband and two dogs, Marlo & Pabla for a little over 3 years now.
2. Not only do you have an incredible eye for colourful table styling, but your home interiors reflect this too. Where do you source your inspiration from?
I style my interiors the same way I create recipes or tablescapes, I never stick to one cuisine, theme, style or era because life is too boring to just stick to one thing. That being said, I do love anything that is vintage from either the Art Deco, Mid Century and Hollywood Regency periods. I source inspiration from a range of different sources including Pinterest, design books and things I’ve picked up from my own travels. Lately I’ve been inspired to take on more DIY projects in my home, including painting my fireplace in a beautiful buttery yellow, and finally finishing my gallery wall in the living room. Both of these projects have injected so much more colour into my living room.
3. What is your favourite room in your home and why?
My favourite room is definitely the dining room as it's the heart of the home, and connects to all of my other favourite spaces (deck, kitchen, living room.) The dining room has the best light pouring in throughout the day and It’s where I spend the most of my time: working, eating and entertaining. It’s also where I host all of my friends and family, and where our best memories of parties and celebrations have been enjoyed.
4. Let’s take a moment for the bar cart! A stunning, unique piece that completes your living room. What are your top tips for styling?
I have two bar carts filled to the brim with pretty much every drink, spirit, mixer, garnish, glass you could find under the sun and another glass cabinet of spirits and glassware, so I'm prepared for any guest or impromptu party! My bar cart definitely isn’t styled, it’s more of a how many spirit bottles can you fit onto it, but I do have them ordered by spirit with the tallest at the back and shortest at the front so there is a bit of order to it. If you have a bar cart that needs a bit of styling my top tips would be: pop a plant, vase of flowers or even a bowl of limes to add some life, source some vintage glassware and display it with on the cart and don’t be afraid to add in some other personal trinkets to it to make it personal to you.
5. If you had to pick just one, what would be your favourite cocktail recipe?
It’s so hard to pick, as I pick my cocktails based on the mood, however my current favourite is the Sunset Petruccio. It’s a sour made using gin and aperol, and I love to add in a dash of grenadine to give it that sunrise colour gradient and it perfectly matches my Summer Sunset Check table linen in case you want to match your cocktails to your table too.
6. We are officially crowning you the queen of dinner parties! What are your top three non-negotiables for putting on the ultimate spread?
I love that thank you!
Plan the menu around your guests and what they love to eat. If you choose dishes, drinks or cuisines they love, then you’re guaranteed for a successful dinner party.
On food, focus on one key dish that you want to spend time on, that way you don’t get overwhelmed. For the rest of the dishes like sides, starters, dessert keep them as simple as possible, or even better outsource it to your guests to bring something for you.
Prep and organise as much as you can the day before like doing the market shop, cleaning the house, prepping the food and cocktails. Especially if you’re hosting a lunch, the morning can easily slip away and you want to enjoy as much of it as possible. Prepping everything the day before leaves the day of the party for you to do the last minute touches or grab that one thing you forgot about.
7. We are lucky enough to be collaborating with you on a limited edition table linen collection. Can you tell us the inspiration behind these designs?
This collection is a culmination of my love for colourful tablescapes, bold colours and prints, delicious pastas, putting on a spread and most of all, eating! It’s an ode to summers in Italy and my love for colourful tablescapes, bold colours & prints, delicious pastas and putting on a spread! The collection features two prints across tablecloths, napkins and tea towels to suit a variety of different personalities:
Spicy Clam Check
This print is inspired by a spicy vongole pasta that you'd enjoy on the Italian coast. It’s a beautiful check print from afar but as you get closer you’ll see a repeating pattern of tomatoes, vongole and chilli: three ingredients that make for the perfect seafood pasta.
Summer Sunset Check
This print is a riff off Kip & Co’s archive ‘Across The Border’ print which was one of the first tablecloths I bought from the brand and what made me fall in love with Kip & Co’s collection. It’s a print that is close to my heart with so many great memories attached to it, including when I styled it on my table for the first Christmas lunch in my home. I wanted to re-create this print in a gradient of my favourite warm tones. It’s dopamine dressing for your table with an injection of sunset hues. A gradient of pink, orange, yellow and purples, inspired by a summery sunset by the sea. We’ve designed the prints for you to ‘mix and clash’ them together, I can’t wait to see how you guys will style it your way!
8. As we head into the season of entertaining, what are the trends we should be keeping an eye out for?
No trends here, just enjoyment! Invite your favourite people over, dopamine dress your table (ideally with our beautiful linen), cook in the sun, make the food your love, have a long lazy lunch that turns into an impromptu dinner, wear a fun outfit but chuck on your comfy slippers. Do whatever makes you happy because you’re at home and can entertain the way you want to.
Read more Home Life Series on the Kip&Co blog