• The hostess: Laura Vinroot Poole at her home in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • The setting: A beautiful mix of blooms and more blooms (on the de Gournay wallpaper)
  • Homemade peaches-and-cream ice cream, anyone?

Meet Laura Vinroot Poole, the ever-chic owner of Charlotte shopping destinations Capitol and Poole Shop, who also founded the mobile shopping app for specialty boutiques, House Account. But there’s more to this North Caroline native than savvy retailer and entrepreneur — she’s also the ultimate hostess. Here wearing Tory’s Brigitte tunic and Ronnie pullover, Laura invites us to her home for a recent dinner party and shares her tips on pulling together the perfect affair, from decor to dessert.

To transform the home for a dinner party…
Anything from my garden — big bunches of peonies, garden roses, hydrangeas, even rosemary!

I always set the table with…
My grandmothers’ linens and crystal and my mother’s silver goblets. I love the tradition and connection with family each time I set the table.

My insider tip when it comes to seating…
Separate couples as much as possible — it makes for much more engaged and interesting conversation.

And to kick-start the dinner conversation…
Really delicious food disarms people and makes them blissfully talkative.

My menu of choice…
I am a serious farmers’ market shopper and am devoted to specific farmers for the things they do best. The very best menus start with the most simple, seasonal food and I always base my menus on this. There is really nothing more beautiful than a plate of fresh summer tomatoes in August accompanied by a small dish of Duke’s Mayonnaise.

And go-to cocktail…
In summer, a Pink Grapefruit Vieux Mot is just right — refreshing and not too sweet.

And go-to dessert…
I always make a seasonal homemade ice cream. The peaches are heavenly this time of year and I can’t think of anything more delicious than peaches and fresh cream.

No dinner party in Charlotte is complete without…
Homemade cheese straws.

My dinner party playlist includes…
We have a new turntable and Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp, Sam Cooke’s Night Beat, and
Elton John’s Honky Château have been in heavy rotation this summer.

And to make any party fun and festive, always remember…
That the best manners are to always make your guests feel comfortable and at home.

Read more features from our Entertaining Issue.

Photographed by Chris Edwards

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