For us, good hospitality, when friends or colleagues visit, starts in the kitchen. The room, you see, is a huge priority; it’s where we settle guests as soon as they arrive in our homes. We’re far less about secreting people in the drawing room while we brew coffee or arrange light snacks and much more about being ‘inclusive’. PLUS - we’re nosey… and don’t want to miss out on any of the chatter from those who’ve just arrived.
Whether you like it or not, people will judge your space from the moment they walk into your home. The kitchen suggests so much about your lifestyle, and the way it looks and feels says much about you. In the same way that artwork in your living room or a statement plasma TV says; ‘we know what we’re about’, so too can the correct kitchen accessory subliminally signal that you appreciate life’s better things and appreciate ‘good stuff’.
So when was the first time we experienced the joy of Nespresso? Ah - we remember it well! The first time was a decade or so past. Holed up in our favourite hotel, The One And Only Saint Geran in Mauritius, we had just come in from the beach where we’d been chatting to fellow guest Nelson Mandella who regularly holidays at the same spot. Our Butler arrived with a ‘Cube’ machine and from that point forward we were sold. Thereafter, we used it to kick start every single day. The luxuriant flavour of the Nespresso coffee was like oxygen after waking, woozy, from a beautiful sleep in a stunning tented bed. Aye, from that first delicious taste, all those years ago, we were committed fans…
You see we’re simple souls. Guess all we want in life is a perfect cup of coffee and someone to make it for us? Hey, wait a minute; the machine does that bit. Simply fill with water, choose and insert your favourite flavour pod and watch as the viscous ebony liquid flows… before being crowned with it’s bubbly golden crema. Heaven!
The next month, still relaxed after our holiday, and back home in Britain, we gathered with a group of friends in a beautiful London mansion after a celebrity lunch at The Wolseley, one of the Capital’s HIPPEST eateries. All of a sudden we were back in The Indian Ocean as our host prepared short sharp bursts of creamy, golden headed espresso. When we left our friend’s house we battled a path straight onto Oxford Street in London’s busy hub and invested in our very first Nespresso machine. Now, when friends visit us, we delight in making ‘coffee at its best’ for them.
These days, due to our professional boomerang, we’re fortunate enough to have homes in London, Glasgow and Toronto. And in each kitchen there’s a Nespresso machine just waiting to entertain. Oh, and of course a huge supply of coffee. For the record, we adore Arpegio, an intense shot of creamy espresso, and we love Roma, another distinctly strong velvety flavour. Whatever your preference for coffee - whether strong or mild, rich or fruity - there’ll be a flavour to suit you. We guarantee it…
But anyway - back to the machine, itself. We have the same device in each of our homes; a black cased Citiz and it always grabs attention when people settle in our kitchens. We call it our ‘kitchen’ jewellery. It’s the thing that people see first and it sets the scene and whispers a little about us. About our style. It signals that we enjoy life’s better things. It’s not just a coffee maker; it’s a scene setter. It’s a way of life. End of.
We had a conversation in Glasgow, recently, with a TV producer and, together, we conspired a TV segment which we called ‘Counter Scaping’. Put simply, counter scaping is the art of dressing your kitchen worktops to add sparkle to your cook zone. Our TV segment was aimed at folk who are thinking of selling their homes and who want to make best of their kitchens ahead of viewers arriving… without refitting from scratch.
Aside from all the usual points - like new hard wares and new appliances - we recommended positioning lovely ‘lifestyle inclusions’ to help steer people’s mindset in the direction of buying. It sounds grand but it’s all about ‘merchandising’. It’s about seduction. In the same way that stores dress their aisles to make everything look as desirable as possible, so too can you effect better ‘stage setting’ with the right things.
So position your Nespresso machine centre stage. Brew coffee before folk arrive so your atmosphere is permeated with that delicious aroma of high, indulgent temptation. It’s well recognised that olfactory senses play a major part in decision making - it’s not simply what you see, it’s also how your nose is titillated….
And, while you’re at it, bring out some of your other lovely kitchen appliances. Show them off! That said, we don’t recommend making your kitchen look like a branch of Sears. Remember; less is more. Your Nespresso machine and maybe your Dualit toaster. And perhaps your Kenwood Chef blender. That should take care of it!
And don’t forget to make your space sparkle. Remember what we said about kitchen jewellery? The bling should gleam but the surfaces upon which it all sits should also glisten like a branch of Tiffany’s. So! Scrub your hob and make sure everything is spotless. A clean ‘older’ kitchen is much better than one that appears poorly maintained. If budget permits, new granite or butchers block countertops - and a change of faucet - will make a big difference and if you can stretch yourself to new cabinet doors (or even smart new hard wares on existing cabinetry) then all the better.
So what you waiting for? Go and get your scapes on. Your counter scapes!
Colin and Justin, Scaping Warriors xx