Sunday, July 14, 2013

House and Home

What is it about that word "home"?  Humor me...say it out loud...don't worry, I'll wait.

Now, doesn't that feel better?

It's very soothing, comforting, and well, just plain warm and fuzzy, isn't it?

"House"...Nothing.  Just a word.

I remember the afternoon that we closed on our house.  My husband (The Captain) and I signed paper after paper, and nodded and smiled like we knew what any of those forms meant, then we got in our car and drove to our house.  We stopped at MacDonald's drive through, got two large fries, and sat on the bare floor of our empty living room sipping Champagne, eating French fries and dreaming out loud.

But it wasn't a home yet.  And it wouldn't be, for a long time. We had the hard wood floors refinished, moved in our furniture, bought a dog, but it still wasn't a home.  Home is a process.  When we built our fence and The Captain carried our pup Speck, in one hand, nail gun in the other,  to determine how close together the planks had to be by holding up her teeny little head to make sure it wouldn't fit between them...a little bit of home happened.  When the dining room light fixture dropped from the ceiling in the middle of the night, and the three of us crept down the stairs behind a baseball bat to investigate the noise...a little bit more home happened.  When we filled the house with friends for Pumpkin Carving Brunch on Halloween, Oscar Parties, Twin's Playoff Games...a little bit more.  Every new trick that the Captain taught Speck for my birthdays, every holiday, every fit of laughter, every tear, crack in the wall, leak in the roof, waltz in the living room, spider in the bathroom, dinner party, takeout on the couch, late night, early morning, hug or fight, made our house a little bit more Home.

Now, what the Hell does any of this have to do with wedding cakes?  Patience, people...I'm getting there.

Linda is one of my favorite clients.  We did her daughter's wedding cakes and invitations in 2010.  Her style is impeccable, she knows how to work with color, design, and even Hershey Kisses (see the blog).  Now she was calling for daughter number two.

She described it as an "at home" wedding. 

I've heard about Linda's house.  I've never been there, but knew that it had been featured in magazines.  And I wasn't surprised that her daughter would want to have her wedding there.
We began to plan the cake, desserts, and invitations immediately.  Not having seen the house, I went off of what I knew about it.  It belonged to one of the most stylish women I knew, and it had been featured editorially in magazines.  I pictured a live-in gallery.  A place that you could host a swanky cocktail party, a place that was impeccably put together and thought out.  Nothing like my little two bedroom Cape Cod.  And I wasn't entirely right.

I met with Linda and Rachel, and began showing them the concepts that I had for the invitations, etc.  There wasn't a set color scheme, or theme, so I was just listening to Rachel describe the wedding to get an idea of what we should design.  Funny thing.  She didn't describe colors, patterns, d├ęcor, or anything of the kind.  She described the feeling of an at home wedding.  Funny thing is, that by her description, I walked back into my office, and came back with a photo of a cake that I had found online (don't know how I did this job before the Internet, insert "old" joke here) that I loved.  I never thought I'd have the right wedding for it, but it made me feel all the things that Rachel was describing.  And even though none of the cakes in my portfolio quite grasped what she was looking for, as soon as I showed her this little unassuming cake, she confirmed, that it was exactly what she wanted.

We followed through with a beautiful pale grey invitation with just the tiniest calligraphed heart motif and red envelope liners.

The groom got involved, and mini pumpkin pies, cheesecakes and giant turtle clusters were added to the order. 

The delivery was on a chilly October afternoon.  I arrived at the house eager to set up one of my favorite cake and dessert combinations ever.  My only concern was how this was going to hold up to a designer house.  As soon as I pulled up the driveway, all of my concerns were quelled.  The stone house with a big bay window had quaint shutters, beautiful shade trees, and a tent extending into the back yard.  When I went inside I was floored.  My expectations of some over-designed, "don't-sit-on-the-couch", "don't-touch that" house were completely off base.  Linda's home, while incredibly beautiful,  was warm and comfortable.  Welcoming.  The black-walled living room that I had heard of wasn't some overdone statement, it was actually so cozy that I wanted to pull down one of the books on the wall of bookshelves, send my assistant to set up the cake, unfold the fuzzy throw on the couch and read myself into a nice autumn nap.  The bride's gown hung from the balcony over the lofted family room ceiling, and I could feel the energy and the joy of the day and the history of the home.  The cake was set up on the dining room table on Linda's own cake stand, and surrounded by candy cinnamon hearts (Linda's idea).

The whole set up was exactly as Linda had originally said..."an at home wedding", which is very, very different from a wedding "at my house".  I thought of how intimate and personal the whole idea was.  How honored the guests must have been to be invited, not only to a wedding, but into the family's center.  But the one thing I bet none of the guests knew is that they were taking part in something that would make this already warm, inviting house even more of a home.  And they didn't even need a baseball bat or a nail gun to do it.

Many thanks to the incredible Liz Banfield for the fabulous photos of the cake cutting!!