Photos courtesy of Nathan Turner
Entertaining outside is one of the great things about the arrival of warm weather. In Nathan Turner's American Style, he offers ideas and tips on keeping things simple and festive, all while maintaining a sense of place. Capturing the essence of a locale is a wonderful way to maximize the gathering. I had the chance to chat with Nathan about his entertaining thoughts, and he shares his ideas below. As a born and raised 4th generation Californian, easy living is in his makeup. As you will see, nothing is too precious, and his layered, casual look is possible to achieve.
Photo Victoria Pearson
Party prep is on!
Photo Oberto Gili
Keeping things casual at the coast is a nice way to make the glorious water view the star. It's amazing how just a few strong colorful elements can carry the table a long way. A striped umbrella, beachy pillows, simple flowers and the view are all you need.
Photo Melanie Acevedo
Using a melange of brights, little things can make a big impact. By focusing on flowers seating cushions and colorful (and cheap) Chinese paper lanterns, a setting can evoke faraway lands like this night in India does
Photo Melanie Acevedo
Taking on a theme can be as simple as planning a few statement-making components. Lighting, color scheme, flowers and decorative objects can quickly transform a setting at home.
Photo Miguel Flores-Vianna
Having a dining area in a nook is a nice idea for smaller spaces. The bookcase adds dimension and a cozy intimate library feel
Photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna
Mixing highly textural objects in natural tones, a country setting looks relaxed and layered with antiques
What do you do when you entertain to make it personal?
I think entertaining at home is the most personal way to do it...if you”re unable to entertain at home then infuse your style into your tables… be yourself. I am a fairly casual person so i like my tables to be stylish but informal.
You love to do buffets. What is your advice to make a buffet stress - free and easy?
I do love a buffet, because it is stress free and easy the way I do it.
I like to put everything out at the same time. dinner, dessert station, bar -- everything. that way all I have to do is maintain them and do not have to worry about what has to be served next. Use your food and serving pieces as decorations....a beautiful bowl filled with oranges that still have leaves on them, or pretty wrapped candies scattered about add color to the dessert table. I like to keep extra plates, napkins, cutlery, and glasses hidden away under the table in case I need extra. It’s really about thinking of unforeseen needs and being prepared that keeps you cool and having a good time.
How do you incorporate interior homey items into your entertaining when you are outside? Do you create an outdoor living room, and what do you like to use?
Growing up in California, I spent so much time outside.....so naturally i love to entertain outdoors. Outdoor rooms create comfortable environments that people want to stay in. Think of what you would want and need when entertaining inside and recreate that outside. So a dining area and a living room are great for outdoor entertaining. Outdoor sofas with side tables create comfortable seating away form the table. proper coverage is important for daytime, as I find it off putting eating in direct sunlight. For tables use stone, iron, and ceramic for easy maintenance. there are so many outdoor rugs available now and that really makes an outdoor living area feel homey. Potted plants in different shapes and sizes also make for good outdoor room accessories.
What are your favorite theme parties and how do you incorporate the theme creatively?
I love an ethnic theme...Indian, Moroccan, Chinese, etc. you can really have fun with the decorations and table top, and if you are not a cook, order take out. I’ve done this a lot when i just did not have time to do it all. I'll make amazing floral arrangements and an over the top table then fill all my pretty serving pieces with take out....its a great cheat!
Guests love to interact with a costume theme. how do you set the tone for fun right from the start?
Invitations are so important so if you have a theme--start there--give your guests a taste of whats to come! I still send out paper invitations, but there are so many great online companies as well. I am always excited to go to a party when i get a fabulous invitation...it makes me want to go and it really sets the tone.
You are a style expert for Pottery Barn. With the seasons changing what are you loving for spring? What color combinations are you working with?
I love mixed metals...like copper and iron Pottery Barn has some great pots and lanterns for fall.
I’m working with a lot of warm colors, oranges and yellows....I took a break from them and was in a real cool color period...so I've been heating it up!