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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

A Belated Look at My Valentine's Party

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Anyone who knows me can attest to Valentine's Day being my favorite holiday. This year I decided to host a cocktail party. What started out as a small guest list with a few friends quickly ballooned to a guest list of 90! As usual, I enlisted the help of Pierre who takes care of all my cooking needs as I am hopeless in the kitchen and Matt Perella of Perella Events whose troop of waiters allows me to focus solely on my guests. I also arranged a fabulous candy bar full of Hershey's kisses, Hot Tamales and Conversation Hearts – all appropriate for the holiday. Here is a behind-the-scenes peek at the set-up.

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There was no way that I had enough glasses for such a large number so a quick call to Party Rental solved that problem. They deliver and pick-up straight from your door.

1 There was no way that I had enough glasses for such a large number so a quick call to Party Rental solved that problem. They deliver and pick-up straight from your door.

Prep for the bar set-up on my dining room table.

2 Prep for the bar set-up on my dining room table.

Treavor, bartender extraordinaire unpacking glasses and setting up the bar.

3 Treavor, bartender extraordinaire unpacking glasses and setting up the bar.

I ask that all the staff wear the booties until just before the guests arrive as I like to keep the floor as clean as possible.

4 I ask that all the staff wear the booties until just before the guests arrive as I like to keep the floor as clean as possible.

For the evening I served pink champagne, white wine, and martinis. We had a special cocktail, the Passion Chili Sour, made with
Bulleit bourbon, passion fruit juice, lime juice, and Thai chili.

5 For the evening I served pink champagne, white wine, and martinis. We had a special cocktail, the Passion Chili Sour, made with Bulleit bourbon, passion fruit juice, lime juice, and Thai chili.

An absolute must on my cocktail party menu – pigs in a blanket.

6 An absolute must on my cocktail party menu – pigs in a blanket.

Crispy Risotto and Vegetable Pesto Arancini

7 Crispy Risotto and Vegetable Pesto Arancini

Crostinis with tomato, mushrooms, and fresh herbs.

8 Crostinis with tomato, mushrooms, and fresh herbs.

For dessert: cream cheese tartlets with chocolate caramel toasts.

9 For dessert: cream cheese tartlets with chocolate caramel toasts.

Delicate lemon cookies which were garnished with lemon curd.

10 Delicate lemon cookies which were garnished with lemon curd.

I kept my version of a candy buffet very simple. Silver trays were piled high with Hershey's kisses and candy hearts. The bulk candy came from www.acandystore.com

11 I kept my version of a candy buffet very simple. Silver trays were piled high with Hershey's kisses and candy hearts. The bulk candy came from www.acandystore.com

Hot tamales are one of my favorites and they rounded out my candy offering.

12 Hot tamales are one of my favorites and they rounded out my candy offering.

Because of the weather and number of guests, I set up a coat check in the lobby of my building. I had five rolling racks from Container Store, tons of white coat hangers, and coat check tickets kept everything neat and orderly. A very handsome attendant helped my guests.

13 Because of the weather and number of guests, I set up a coat check in the lobby of my building. I had five rolling racks from Container Store, tons of white coat hangers, and coat check tickets kept everything neat and orderly. A very handsome attendant helped my guests.

I set-up a DJ booth in the corner of the living room so there would be plenty of great music. I just had to move the chairs in a bit and all was fine. Notice the ice cubes I put on the floor where the chairs had left indentations. They are the quickest way to remove them.

14 I set-up a DJ booth in the corner of the living room so there would be plenty of great music. I just had to move the chairs in a bit and all was fine. Notice the ice cubes I put on the floor where the chairs had left indentations. They are the quickest way to remove them.

The decorations were pretty sparse. I filled a antique Japanese Hibachi with pink cymbidium and orchids and my giant piles of Hershey kisses and sugar hearts.

15 The decorations were pretty sparse. I filled a antique Japanese Hibachi with pink cymbidium and orchids and my giant piles of Hershey kisses and sugar hearts.

The cymbidiums were the perfect shade of pink.

16 The cymbidiums were the perfect shade of pink.

I carried the orchid theme throughout the house – there were in my dressing room.

17 I carried the orchid theme throughout the house – there were in my dressing room.

I put lady slipper orchids in all of the bathrooms.

18 I put lady slipper orchids in all of the bathrooms.

In the library, forsythia took the place of orchids and this stunning arrangement was almost 8 feet tall.

19 In the library, forsythia took the place of orchids and this stunning arrangement was almost 8 feet tall.

This is what I woke-up to find in my refrigerator on February 14th.

20 This is what I woke-up to find in my refrigerator on February 14th.

The MOST beautifully decorated and most delicious cake ever, made especially for me by Alexis. The frosting roses were not to be believed.

21 The MOST beautifully decorated and most delicious cake ever, made especially for me by Alexis. The frosting roses were not to be believed.

The next day, I received the nicest gift and note from two guests from the night before. The note of thanks was not for the lovely party, but for having introduced them to each other years ago.

22 The next day, I received the nicest gift and note from two guests from the night before. The note of thanks was not for the lovely party, but for having introduced them to each other years ago.

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Comments (6)

  • Beautiful behind the scene photos. Love love the details. Alexis's cake looks pretty.

  • Wow. What great photos. I never tire of looking at your apartment. And such a great party. It seems as though you're a wonderful host. The cake Alexis made for you is just too amazing. I hope she's doing well. I miss her blog posts. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you continue to do so.

  • This may be your best post yet! Loved Loved Loved the simplicity of the candy and flowers and cake and pink champage.

  • Thank you for sharing your photos. You didn't have to name the cake maker , anyone that follows your blog would know where the cake came from. It's sweet to have such good friends that love you.

  • Loved this blog Kevin! Wish you would post more like this one. Will Alexis ever blog again miss her so much.

  • Hi Kevin,
    This was a fun post to view. Your apartment is beautiful. I really like your paintings. I've always been impacted by Franz Kline. And, the paintings in your library make me think of Mark Rothko. Also, Alexis' gift-cake was beautiful. She is so creative. I've never seen roses done in that way. They would be gorgeous on a wedding cake. Anyway, thank you for the inside scoop on your party prep.

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