A Family Affair

Designer SANDE BECK creates an afternoon of summer delights for three generations of family and friends

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles: As a mother of four sons, was entertaining always casual at your house, or did you also entertain formally with them? 

Sande Beck: With four boys, entertaining was frequently casual, however, holidays and special occasions have always been formal at our house. I inherited fine china, and for the past 30 years I’ve collected more pieces that I mix with silver, linens and stemware for a more elegant look.

Three fun facts about me: I never set the same table twice. I use melamine and paper when entertaining informally outside in the summer, and I’ll throw in a find from Home Goods if it works.

AH&L: You founded your company with your mother. Is she still involved? 

SB: My mom, Peggy Storey, and I started our company in 2008, and since then we’ve designed projects from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. to the Cashiers Designer Showhouse. She retired to take care of my father, but I keep her involved via telephone. 

AH&L: Your company is a family affair—you even employ two sisters. Tell us about that.

SB: Family comes first in my life, so I love having two sisters on our team. We’re closed on Fridays and take a lighter summer schedule to accommodate personal and family time.

AH&L: What was your inspiration for this tabletop?

SB: It all started with my fabulous peacock plates, and I knew that the pool would echo the turquoise palette. I added pink in the cabbage plates and napkins so it’s pretty and summery but not overtly feminine. 

AH&L: What are your secrets for entertaining a large family? 

SB: Always have more food than you think you need—teenagers can be hungry and we love leftovers! Also, I create different areas for drinks, food and dessert because it helps create flow and opens up opportunities for conversation.

AH&L: What are some of your favorite meals for summer entertaining?

SB: We live by the grill in summer—burgers, steaks and fish. Tomato pie, deviled eggs and watermelon are a few of our favorite summer sides. 

AH&L: Any decorating and entertaining tips for other women who might be the lone female in a house of all men? 

SB: Relax and enjoy it with them! Whether that takes place at the table or in front of the television, enjoy the beauty of time with them. Meet them where they are, even if that means more casual meals than formal affairs.

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