Like many Americans, my husband Andrew and I felt the pandemic was a good time to weigh our life decisions and make some moves. Unlike many Americans, we moved not one but three times from May 2020 to April 2021. By the time spring flowers were blooming in the West Village, my ever-patient husband had reached the end of his rope.

“We are done with dinnerware,” he declared dramatically over the 90th box marked kitchen. “We are becoming a one-bowl family. Choose your favorite, and that’s the only thing we will have in the cupboard.”

It’s so rare that I have the chance to be the sane one, the one that smiles and says, “Yes dear” while my partner throws a fully hissy. Usually I’m the one with an intense relationship with ceramic. How the world turns. I really leaned into it. If there was an Academy Award for Best Long-Suffering wife, give me that statuette.

“Oh, of course, sure, just one bowl, what a wonderful solution,” I replied beatifically. “How wonderfully Spartan.”

It’s so easy to be beneficent in a 10-year marriage when you have nothing on the line and so much opportunity for humor down the road. 

Reader, we were back to the full assortment in a matter of weeks. My husband is nothing if not a lover of lovely plating for his unbelievably good food, and his creativity could not be contained in a single basin. We’re now a multi-bowl household again, and I open the cupboards dramatically at every occasion, gasping, “HOW did all these BOWLS get in here? We’re a ONE bowl family! 

Despite his bowl-induced hysteria (in his defense, we do have a lot of serveware), there is something wonderfully freeing about his idea. This platonic ideal of a life in which you have only one perfect object that serves so many of your needs. Time and time again for hosting at home, we reach into our cabinets for the same basic essentials.

That’s the inspiration behind our essentials scenes. So much of our entertaining is done with these few items, and we love to use them all in a variety of ways.

A great cutting board? Use it for charcuterie now or for a cupcake tray for a birthday next week. We even love it as a centerpiece on a small table, layered with tapers and petite bud vases. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Style it next to your bedside table with some candles and a catch-all bowl when guests are gone.

A champagne bucket? Great for the obvious solution of chilling your champers, but we like it on our bar cart full of limes for a margarita party. During a brunch soiree, we love to use it as an ice bucket or an impromptu vase. Picture it full of dahlias—gorgeous. Feeling bold? Toss a handful of long taper candles in there and use it as a makeshift candelabra. Everyone looks great under candlelight.

Votive holders? Not just for candles. We like them as tiny snack bowls on your bar—nuts, olives, you name it. They’re also perfectly sized for small bud vases. A couple blooms from your bodega, and you’re ready to party. When the party is over, we love to use them to corral cosmetics or jewelry on our vanity.

There is no harder worker than the humble snack bowl. Perfect for your buffet, sized just right for late night affogato, we reach into our closet for them again and again. Our favorite hack? Turn them upside down and use them as risers under a vintage cutting board when setting a tablescape.

Wrapping up your holiday gifting? May we recommend our essentials. We love them for so many people on your holiday list.

Shop Feste Essentials: Best of Feste, Small

Great for new entertainers

Just get a new place? Finally pull the trigger and move in with that girlfriend of yours? May we recommend our essentials as a great way to start your collection.

Great for stocking up

In the course of great parties, accidents happen. Sometimes you open your closet and all your favorites are gone. Our essentials are a great way to stock up quickly on everything you need to get the party started.

Great for seasoned hosts

Sometimes even the most seasoned host gets stuck in a rut. We love our essential scenes for its versatility.

Great for gifts

Priced just right as a gift this holiday season.


December 01, 2021 — Brenna Gilbert