The Details Matter
Whether you’re hosting gatherings of your own (large or small) or putting up house guests over the holiday season, the little details can make all the difference. Clare Hieatt, co-founder of the Do Lectures, explains.
You know when you walk into a space for the first time and you immediately feel at home? What is it about those special places that make you feel like you belong as soon as you walk through the door?
More often than not it’s the details that show that your comfort has been considered and your needs cared for. A pitcher of water at your bedside. A flickering candle on the kitchen table. A comfy seat by a crackling fire. The smell of food cooking over coals, carefully brewed tea, a hot water bottle to take to bed. Your guests might not notice any of these things. But they will get a sense of feeling welcome and cared for.
It all comes down to the details. Here are a few places to start.
Ten ways to do the details
1. Consider everything. Every tiny detail.
2. Don’t strive for perfection. Crumbling plaster, peeling paint and lichen covered stone can make beautiful backdrops for a vase of flowers or flickering candle.
3. Look at your space as if you are a guest who has just arrived. What do you see, smell, feel first?
4. Leave secret things for people to discover: a message behind a door; a candle in a gap in a stone wall; a pebble on a window ledge. Small things that most people won’t even notice. But even if they bring pleasure to just one or two people, they are worth doing.
5. Source materials, flowers and foliage from the locality.
6. Create small, quiet spaces where people can take themselves away from the crowd — not everyone is an extrovert.
7. Keep fires burning and candles flickering. Buy more candles than you think you will need and invest in eight-hour tea lights and gas lighters.
8. Let the natural beauty of your space be the hero and make sure the things you add enhance it, not overpower it.
9. Add words. Informal signs with well-chosen words, a hand-written baggage tag or welcome note, hidden messages chalked or stenciled in unexpected places, big, bold phrases to welcome people in. They all add to the magic.
10. Don’t be too precious or serious. Add touches that make people smile.
Of course, not every detail is a physical thing you can see and touch. It’s often the little things that impact the way you feel that can have the biggest effect. And often this is down to the people. The spirit of the Do Lectures, the event we run on our farm in West Wales, is one of giving and sharing, summed up by our mantra ‘Givers get lucky’. The best people we have worked with are the ones that will do anything to help anyone, the caring ones, the smilers. There’s nothing better than to be welcomed with open-armed warmth and love.
Adapted from Stay Curious: How we created a world class event in a cowshed by Clare Hieatt. Copyright @ 2018 by Clare Hieatt. Published by The Do Book Co.
Ten years ago, Clare and David Hieatt started the Do Lectures with a simple aim: To gather together the world’s Doers — disruptors and change makers, experts and pioneers — to share their stories, and encourage others to go and Do. Since that time, the Do Lectures has grown into a small but mighty institution, a unique gathering around ideas set over four days on their farm in West Wales. It has attracted world-class speakers and inspired countless attendees to follow their passions.
Stay Curious: How we created a world class event in a cowshed is a celebration of the Do Lectures’ life-changing magic, full of personal insight and lessons learnt over the last decade — from curating the very best speakers, to styling and producing a beautifully intimate event, and the importance of people, place and passion.