Already a collector of vintage glasses and silverware, Farra Mirón came up with the idea of renting table- and barware in 2012, as she and husband Juan, co-owner of MIHO Gastrotruck and The Vetted Table, planned to host Thanksgiving for 35 friends. “It’s usually all about the food,” says Mirón. “But for some reason, last year I became obsessed with the tabletop and began collecting very specific styled pieces.” For their feast, Mirón scoured everything from estate sales to Etsy for vintage white Limoges china plates, rustic brown ceramic plates, brass chargers, and pressed water glasses and wine goblets in amethyst and deep sea blue. For her business, she sought unique bowls and plates to gift to 25 event industry A-listers as a way of introducing them to The Hostess Haven. Soon enough, stylists and event coordinators began tapping The Hostess Haven for weddings. In 2014, Mirón will expand her
business to include an online shop and blog featuring entertainment ideas, small-batch food items, and vintage wares.
In the meantime, she also collaborates with Juan to source pieces for his businesses. She even taught him how to haggle properly during a visit to L.A.’s Rose Bowl Flea Market. “I grew up going to flea markets and thrifting, so I know how to say, ‘I’m not paying that,’” she says. “But then Juan was like, ‘Oh, it’s that much? Okay. Yes, I’ll pay that.’ So I had to tell him, ‘No! That’s not how you do it!’”
Planning a party is second nature to Mirón, who grew up in Orville, Ohio, watching her mom regularly host get-togethers for 40-plus family and friends. “It was a huge production,” explains Mirón. “For Christmas, she’d say, ‘We’re going to move the Christmas tree in the middle of the room and all of the tables will be around it.’ And there would be food that she took all week to prepare.”
She and Juan bought their Grant Hill home earlier this year and, to accommodate her company’s growing collection, the detached one-car garage was converted into a stockroom and studio. Glasses from mid-20th-century highballs to Gatsby-like Champagne coupes are organized by color, height, and shape on rows of open wall shelving that circle three-quarters of the space. Varieties of vintage flatware sets are stored in custom-made crates. The Hostess Haven is Mirón’s way of elevating the tradition of hospitality and, most keenly, of staying close to values she cherishes from her childhood. “I want to carry it on and make a clear, conscious decision to say, ‘This is who I am,’” she says. “‘This is who I want to be for the rest of my life.’” hostesshaven.com
Entertain and Decorate Like Farra
Pay attention to the details. If you have to use disposables, opt for plain paper and stamp something personal on them. Try to use real flatware: It will always make a difference and is minimal cleanup. If you’re purchasing store-bought food items, present them in your own dish with a great serving piece.
Make a list. Planning is important no matter the size of the party. The list doesn’t have to be elaborate, but make notes and work backwards from the time the guests arrive, always including time for yourself to get ready.
Make your table warm and inviting. Add a runner or two horizontally to a table or layer tablecloths. Just don’t make the table too pretty to sit at or to move something. Pile on the plates and special pieces and don’t worry about the space; the more people moving around dishes and glassware, the better.
Look flawless. Choose an outfit that can transition from prep master to hostess. And if you normally wear heels, don’t swap them for flats just because you’re the hostess; rock ’em!
Design menus around your commitment level. If your goal is to create the most perfect and tastiest meal, then do it! If you would rather not think about the menu, make it easy either by buying your faves from a restaurant or serving just a cheese plate or dessert.
Be a part of the party. A successful party is one in which everyone is enjoying themselves, hostess included. Interact with your guests. Don’t spend all night tidying up after them; only clean up if it works with the flow of the party.
Don’t over-pattern or over-style. When in doubt, go with all clear or all white pitchers, platters, and serving pieces, and offset them with colorful fabric or napkins. Too much pattern will look messy.
You’re always a hostess. Always keep a bottle of wine, coffee, tea, sugar cubes, nuts, fresh and dried fruit, honey, and a specialty bar of chocolate on hand to serve to impromptu visitors. You can create a simple fruit plate using these items by arranging freshly cut fruit, dried fruit, nuts (even trail mix, if that’s all you have), some fresh raw or creamed honey, and chopped pieces of chocolate on a wooden cutting board.