ZOO Label Founder Kat Zulueta-Melgarejo Shares Tips For Hosting Elegant Parties At Home
People who know Kat Zulueta-Melgarejo can attest to how meticulous she is. Pretty much the same way she styles herself impeccably, this entrepreneur and hostess' attention to detail when it comes to her hotel-inspired home is on the same level of perfection. For her, each and every element, no matter how small it is (be it a tissue holder or a soap dispenser), should look cohesive with the rest of the accents in a space.
Refined luxe and timeless elegance were the styles that she and her interior design team at Heim went for when they were furnishing the condo unit she shares with husband Paolo and their five-month-old son Zach.
Having an open layout was a must for the lady of the house, because it's more conducive for entertaining, something she loves to do every chance she gets. This fascination with throwing parties runs in their family. Her mom is an amazing cook and has, in fact, inspired her daughters to start a catering business. Kat's siblings, Karla and Kim Zulueta, are the girl bosses behind the famous Aperitif, a business that resulted from their love for hosting get-togethers and creating grazing tables.
Kat's dining area has a luxurious hotel-like design that feels very cozy and welcoming; the mismatched furniture pieces help inject some fun and warmth to an otherwise too-formal setup. With only a carpet demarcating the dining area and the living room, there's a smooth transition between the spaces, inviting guests to feel more at home.
There are two living rooms, one formal and one informal, which give guests more space to lounge in. There are ample seats, where everyone can comfortably enjoy drinks from a customized console by Restoration Hardware that the homeowners use as an alcohol cabin, watch a movie from their recessed wall mounted TV, or sip tea using cups from Kat's Royal Albert tea sets.
In this Metro.Style exclusive, ZOO label founder Kat Zulueta-Melgarejo prepared a sumptuous spread in an elegant table setting and shared tips for throwing intimate parties at home:
What do you usually serve when you're entertaining at home?
"Usually, we have a grazing table from Aperitif, a gin cart or a wine bar, and all of my mom's recipes like callos, paella, truffle pasta—those are our staples.
"I’m a tea person, so every time I have guests, the first thing I serve is coffee or tea."
What was the most memorable party you've ever hosted?
"I think the nicest party I hosted was my son’s baby shower. What we did there was we mixed our staples with other stuff in the menu like baked bone marrow.
"When I throw parties, I like the overall experience. I don’t just prepare the food, I make sure it’s also a sensorial experience for the guests—sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Even my outfit [needs to be aligned with the theme]! That’s my personality.
"For our baby shower, we hired a live saxophonist, so he was playing the entire time during the dinner. It was very intimate, it was very elegant because he was playing classic music."
How do you usually style your table?
"For the table setting, I always use a lot of gold elements just to make it classier. At the same time, I use neutrals to get that timeless feel. I also use a lot of plants and flowers, and usually we design a centerpiece and put a lot of candles.
"We typically like the rustic theme but, of course, the theme depends on the party. When we had our baby shower, it was all-white. We just made sure that the table was very well put together, and every element should have a purpose."
Where did you get your dinnerware?
"My dinnerware is from Crate & Barrel. I like that the plates are not the usual shapes, even the glasses."
Photographs by Daniel Soriano
Makeup by Angelica Garcia
Hairstyling by Rudolf Davalos
Additional photos from @katzulueta