Feature
How to Host

With Bryony Sheridan

Our homeware buyer reveals how to make a gathering something spectacular

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@LibertyLondon

With friends and family set to gather around a bounteous table, there’s never been a better time to flex your hosting skills. That said, let us introduce Bryony Sheridan, homeware buyer at Liberty London. Credited with curating Cook & Dine and the Interiors Emporium on 3, this seasoned tastemaker knows what it takes to please a crowd. Better still, this year she’s throwing open the doors to her own home - demonstrating how to make a gathering something spectacular.

How would you describe the aesthetic of your home? It’s a combination of 19th century classic London architecture and modern, on-trend interiors. I really love bringing vintage and modern together.

Has working as a buyer for Liberty London influenced this? Absolutely. Not only do I get to source amazing home styles from some of the world’s most exciting designers and bring them to our shoppers at Liberty - I get to source them for my home too!

How to Host With Bryony Sheridan
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How often do you have people over for dinner? Well I love entertaining, so I try to have people over as often as I can. Anything from a big Sunday lunch with loads of friends or a quiet kitchen supper, mid-week.

What key things should always be on the table? Prosecco. Always Prosecco. Ok, but seriously I love a good tablecloth. They’re cool again, especially one with a unique design that’s a real talking point. My favourite at the moment is a tiger design by Avenida Home. I’m also a huge fan of contrasting linen napkins, such as the mustard ones from Sir Madam.

Can you talk us through the steps of table dressing? Where should we start? Dressing a table for dinner is a great opportunity for you to express your own personal tastes and style, so I'd say start with the serveware and tableware that you really love! If you know me, you’ll know I’m obsessed with Astier de Villatte. I have been collecting it for years, so there is always an element of this. I love to mix and match the serveware. A classic is the Bordallo Pinheiro cabbage bowls, a menagerie of animal jugs from Quail. But also the food you're serving has a lot to do with it. If I’ve recently travelled, I quite often do a themed evening and try and incorporate some ceramics I’ve brought back with me with some tasty new recipes.

How to Host With Bryony Sheridan
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Are there any definitive no-nos? No cracks or chips. I am ruthless about this.

What are the finishing touches? Well, I love a good table feature! And that can be a flower arrangement, objet, candles - anything decorative that reflects on your taste and style. I love to include little presents and favors on the table too.

Aside from table settings, what are the key elements for a successful dinner party? Obviously the food is a pretty big deal. Planning what courses you're going to serve is important, and making sure each course complements each other in the right way. So don't start your winter dinner party with cool Vietnamese prawns and homemade spicy sauce - common sense really. Oh and the guests…

How to Host With Bryony Sheridan
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What’s your go-to dish? I don’t really have one signature dish… but I do love changing up a classic. A citrus infused, roast chicken with salsa verde and parmesan roasted potatoes is a firm favorite at the moment. And I’ve been perfecting my plum and apricot tarte tatin for some time, so that’s now a winner… Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

What can people expect to find in-store on 3? A celebration of Interiors. Anything from our Heritage brands such as Omersa, Astier de Villatte and Moorcroft to the hot, new talent of Azem Ceramics. I feel it’s important to mix everything from an everyday pick-up plant pot or cushion to those really special one-off investment pieces which set your home apart from the ordinary. We love the idea of curating your own edit, with new brands and art coming in all the time; it’s a constant turnover of fresh talent. I’m all about championing up and coming artisans and designers who don’t necessarily have the spotlight that the big brands have.

How to Host With Bryony Sheridan
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What are your go-to dining brands? I love Emma Bridgewater’s mugs and plates. She has this quintessentially British style that's both classic and modern. Also, the reactive glaze bowls and mugs by Studio Arhoj mix Danish and Japanese design together in a way that's modern and cool. These are my everyday staples.

And interiors brands? Owning a piece of Luke Edward Hall is essential in my world. As well as the elegant nudes from Alexa Coe. I love Fornasetti homewares. They're great for just adding some classical Italian style to any part of your room. And of course, life wouldn’t be complete without an Omersa Rhino, sticking his head out between the sofa.

How to Host With Bryony Sheridan
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What advice would you give to someone looking to overhaul their décor? Don’t rush to buy everything at once, your home should evoke memories and evolve over time. My surroundings really affect my mood and I love pottering around, moving things about. Also, your taste changes gradually so it’s nice to be able to make slight changes with a new cushion or vase. At Liberty, we source the most exciting collection of homeware brands from Europe, Asia and America. We work with new and emerging talent so we can make your interior that amazing space that everyone talks about. Drop in and see us - I might even ask you over for dinner.

How to Host With Bryony Sheridan
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