Finding a Gathering Place in Your Home

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I created a fantastic family gathering place and I love it so much! I was inspired by the incredible book Inspired Gatherings by Courtney Allison.

Fall Gatherings with Wine

When my dear friend Courtney from French Country Cottage asked if I would share my thoughts about gathering in our home, I jumped at the chance. We have all spent so much time at home this year and I was thrilled to try to find a new gathering place in our home.

Fall Gatherings at Dusk

Some of you are thinking that was an impossible task. You are probably thinking (as I was) that I had wined and dined my family this past summer just about everywhere in our home. 

But guess what, I found a new spot.

Fall Gatherings

Before I share the crazy challenge I gave my self to create this spot, you all need to be aware of Courtney’s new book French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings. It is probably the most beautiful book ever published. Seriously, I am not kidding.

Inspired Gatherings

I love looking at Courtney’s book because it inspires me every single time I read it. (The book cover can be seen above. Wow!) 

I decided to create my own new gathering place and came up with a challenge to create a new gathering place in our home. Lett’s look at one more photo from Courtney’s book. It’s gorgeous.


I gave myself one hour for the challenge. I limited myself to everything I had on hand (which meant no shopping was allowed).

And I had one goal. 

My goal was to create an intimate new gathering place in my home. 

So let me tell you how it went.

Fall Gatherings

I set an alarm on my phone for one hour. I went out to the backyard looking for our small white foldable table. It was nowhere to be found. I looked in the Carriage house and looked in the attic. No luck.

I decided I would have Dave help me move our round table by the pool to a more intimate spot in our yard. Of course, he was on a zoom call in his office and wasn’t available. Aarrgh! Only 50 minutes left.


So I studied this area (pictured above) and decided it was perfect. I knew I could move the couches myself and the green trunk was already there. I moved the green vintage chairs out from under the porch and knew I had the perfect spot. Only 40 minutes left.

Fall Gatherings for Fun

I spent the next ten minutes cleaning the area. There were a few cobwebs (ok, more than a few) and the hanging light looked pretty bad. I tried to put one of my vintage metal trays on the top of the trunk but didn’t like it. I moved two candlesticks on to the trunk and then went inside the house to throw together some flowers.

Dining at Dusk

Fortunately, I went to trader joe’s yesterday to buy pumpkins and I picked up some greens and a few dark hydrangeas. They were all styled in the green vases on our dining room table but I ripped them out and cut down the stems. I literally threw them in an old crock that was on the back porch. (I did clean out a few cobwebs first.) Only 20 minutes left.

Fall Gatherings With the Family

I ran into the kitchen, yes I ran, and opened the fridge looking for food to put on a cutting board. Dave and I gave up dairy three months ago so it is a miracle that I found any cheese at all. But I did! I knew we had grapes so I put them on the board and added almonds and cranberries and that was it.

Wine and Cheese Fall Gatherings

With twelve minutes to go, I went into the butler’s pantry (which did not come with a butler by the way) and grabbed two wine glasses. I was lucky to find an already opened bottle of wine and I poured two glasses and added them to my seating area.

Ok, I should tell you that the wine was not drinkable (it was open and four days old) but we do have a wonderful wine cellar in the basement that I would have visited if I had more time.

I finished setting up my gathering area way ahead of my deadline.

I had two minutes to spare.

Fall Gatherings in the Evening

The funny thing is that I spent more time taking photos of this fun new gathering area than I did coming up with the idea and creating it. But that’s the way the life of a blogger works. I think.

What did this one hour experience teach me?

  1. Courtney’s book has so many incredible gatherings that she created and photographed. I appreciate every single photo of hers even more. Because I know she spent an entire day setting up and photographing each one.
  2. I way overthink things. Normally I would have spent hours setting this up. Perhaps I need to set a timer more often in the future.
  3. Even when you think you have already found every gathering spot in your home, there is always another one you haven’t discovered.
  4. I think we have a spider and mosquito problem. Time to call our bug guy.

So guess what? Now it is your turn!

And I am not kidding. 

Fall Gatherings with Wine

Set your watch and see what you can create in an hour. Post the photo on your Instagram and tag me @my100yearoldhome.

I will share it on my Instagram stories.

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  1. What a great challenge and you were spectacular. This is gorgeous Leslie! Your creativity shines. These photos make you just want to jump through the screen, sit and enjoy the moment. Beautiful photos!!

  2. Spectacular….I absolutely love this! Rustic, yet so cozy, warm and inviting…just what we need right now! I feel like I want to rush into my yard and set this up now! Thank you for such a charming post!

  3. I always enjoy your posts and the time limit was a great idea. Amazing how creative one can become when under a time crunch. The richer colors are so beautiful and I have almost the same chairs with all their rusty gold. Beautiful results.

  4. You are incredible. When I first saw the photo of your table before reading any of your post, I thought this looks like one of Courtney’s pictures. So what does that tell you. Just beautiful , as usual, and the wine still looks delicious to me.

  5. So beautiful! Love your pictures and encouragement to show how truly easy it can be to create an invitation to gather.

  6. Leslie – you nailed it in a perfect “Courtney” style. The mood is perfect – love you timed yourself……..and yes, perhaps we all overthink too much and that’s why it seems daunting sometimes.

    You have a killer back portico yard area – and you put together a spot I would love to be sitting at once the sun goes a little lower into the day. Well done, ma’am!

  7. Great post Leslie. That inspires me to do something like that this fall although I don’t have the space to do I still can be creative. I wanted to let you know the other day I messaged you about the screen pop up and how I couldn’t turn it off and I finally figured out what it was I have an SE 2020 which is a smaller screen phone and on some of the websites and applications for whatever reason the webpages are designed for the bigger phone I had to keep Moving the pop-up down and about and around until I found the X and eventually I was able to do it so I don’t think it’s your on your end it’s just a smaller screen phones like the new SE 2020 can’t encapsulate the entire pop up if that makes sense I have the same problem with depositing checks into my bank. I hope that helps

  8. I would like to suggest the object of the post is to use what you have readily available, for one’s own circumstances.
    4 day old wine happens, it was used in the post as a prop.
    I enjoyed the idea of the post, as to not over think and be creative within a set time frame.
    We all have differing circumstances, here in southern Ontario it is unseasonably cool even for here. I would never suggest someone is a snob because they can live say in California.
    Great post Leslie, highly enjoyable, and please know I would like to enjoy our cool weather whilst living vicariously knowing you are enjoying much warmer temperatures.

  9. This is beautiful and so intimate! I love it! But what I really want to know about is how and why you guys gave up dairy?!? How are you feeling?? I love cheese and don’t know how I would live without it?? Please advise!😍

  10. I love what you came up with in the limited time! Maybe that should be a clue to all of us that we overthink and overplan!

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