KEITH Etc.

SKI designer Keith Arnold’s talents are endless and his design advice priceless.
Here he shares some interesting insights and amazing anecdotes for
throwing together the perfect summer soirée!

PHOTO: PAMELA MOUGIN

OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING

Have you ever read Julia Reed: Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns and other Southern Specialties? It makes entertaining so wonderful. Homemade mayonnaise, pimento cheese, cute cocktails and chic clothes. I think we all dream of being Julia's glamorous mother who could effortlessly throw a party. I am no glamorous hostess and I certainly cannot pull off a hostess gown, but I do have a few ideas that make it appear that I have it all together…

Earlier this year Ronda Carman asked us to be a part of her second book with RIZZOLI. Each designer was asked to put together an entertaining concept that would be photographed. The concept we settled upon was a French inspired luncheon on Suzanne’s lawn. It was the perfect opportunity to truly test our entertaining skills, and I can’t wait to see it included in her book!

Here are some of the tried and true entertaining tips I thought I’d share with you all this season…


1. The Bar.
If you don't have a bartender, put the bar somewhere easily accessible so people will feel comfortable making their own drinks. Please note that you cannot monitor every glass or control its contents and if you try, you won't have one bit of fun.

Make the bar enticing... have an ice bucket, mixers in pretty containers. Don't just set out cans of Coke and ugly tonic water… get bottles with pretty labels and great shapes. Fill a giant container with ice (please, no coolers) and fill it with bottles of wine and champagne.


2. The Flowers.
I said before, flowers always look best if they are a little vulgar. Don't stress over making fussy arrangements. Instead, fill odd containers with copious amounts of one flower or cut leafy limbs off shrubs or small trees… make big statement with your florals.


3. The Food.
Don't try to make everything yourself. And don’t make things you’ve never attempted before. It will stress you out and it may go pear shaped on you. Just make sure it is all pretty and presented in a meaningful way.


4. Do something specific and special...
Have a theme, it makes all your decisions easy, and is fun for your guests. Have a menus and place cards. It takes the stress away from the guests on where to sit and encourages them to speak to someone they might not know as well. Use your nice china, even for casual events…you can mix and match it to make it less stiff. Always use beautiful napkins, silverware and glasses. Do something unexpected like set your table up outside, under the trees, so even your most frequent house guest will be pleasantly surprised when they arrive.