Join us as we celebrate Summer al fresco with the Women of AvA! From tablescapes and gardens to AvA styles made for entertaining, we're feeling inspired by the subtle beauty that comes with being at home.
AvA Al Fresco
Ala Isham/ @ala_von_auersperg
Founder / Creative Director, Ala von Auersperg
A Collector's Eye - I’m a bit of a tabletop junkie. I love to find new combinations to mix into my table linens and plates and join the pieces I’ve inherited from my parents.
A Personal Touch - I’ll occasionally bring out one of my own designs that I had printed on a tablecloth. I like to use rattan chargers underneath a pretty plate, like swirled glass plates by Laguna B. I cannot do without flowers, so I try to pick whatever is in season and around.
Meg Braff / @megbraffdesigns
Location, Location, Location - We have a terrace that stretches the length of the house, covered by a black and white striped awning. It is wonderful for morning coffee, workouts, lounging with a book, and I can seat up to 40 for dinner. There is a ceiling fan to keep the air moving, and lanterns on dimmers. Sometimes we'll string up lights for a more festive look.
Mix and Match - I have several sets of woven placemats which I like to use outside, and I mix up the flatware with natural bamboo, vintage brass faux bamboo, and silver depending on the mood I'm going for.My favorite way to add impact is the tablecloth— I'll often use one of the fabrics from my line and simply hem it to the length I need. In the case of the dinner seen here, we custom printed my "Southwind" fabric in a graphic black and white.
Bettie Pardee / @privatenewport
Interior Designer and Author of Living Newport
All About Ambiance - The Orangerie is the centerpiece of our garden and lends itself so well to romanticizing with lights...from the candles in the chandelier to the glass votives hanging from the lower branches of the ornamental trees at the entrance.
Evening Attire - It caps off the evening to be wearing something that is chic and comfortable at the same time. And if it's garden related, all the better!
Color Story - I adore wearing my signature color pink, which also translates to implementing a pink and green color scheme when I set an outdoor table!
Raise A Glass - We love to start a celebratory evening with champagne. My favorite is Cristal cuvee of Louis Roederer, which was first created in 1876 for Alexander II, tsar of Russia. For casual evenings, a chilled bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay to start, and on to a red French Bordeaux wine.
In Good Company - I love to create a table and an evening that sings to everyone the joy that I feel in their company. Friends are gifts that we give ourselves. Now, during quarantine times, this rings even more true and sweeter than ever!
Get the Look - Holly is wearing the Mary Kaftan in Jaipur
Julia Leigh Sergeon / @thecamp.interiors
CEO, The Camp Interiors
An Outdoor Menu - I love dining al fresco on food that would be otherwise messy to eat indoors: Corn on the cob, lobster and crab, and watermelon slices are all more fun to eat when one isn't concerned about the carpet.
Mood Lighting - Candles are great for ambience and keeping bugs away. I often use one of my grandmother's candlesticks placed inside of a larger hurricane jar amidst other multi-sized candles both on the table and surrounding areas. Everyone looks their best near candlelight.
Festive + Fizzy - Anything sparkling is a crowd-pleaser - Sparkling water, sparkling wine... a fizzy pitcher of a mixed cocktail is a good go to for a larger party.
Get the Look - Julia is wearing the Belinda camisole in Horn
Party Palette - I love beginning with a classic white palette and adding pops of Tiffany Blue, green and vivid orange.
Must Haves - Monogrammed cocktail napkins ALWAYS! And lots of candlelight with unscented candles of various heights. A flat table is a boring table!
Get the Look - Tiffany is wearing the Fede Duster in Water Mill
Family Style - The crisp cool air in northern Michigan at my family's cottage makes dining al fresco a must. We don't eat one meal inside while we are there. Food always tastes better outside and it feels more casual and relaxing. My family loves nature and is super casual so it just feels right.
Cocktail Hour - I love margaritas. I add a squeeze of fresh orange for flavor but also it makes the prettiest peach color. I also add freshly crushed mint. It's extra refreshing!
Ramey Caulkins / @gdsinteriors
Interior Designer / Owner of Griffin Design Source
Size + Shape - A round table, filled with friends and good food, for me, is one of life's greatest luxuries.
Pattern Play - I am an interior designer and one of the occupational hazards is becoming a fabric and textile junkie. I have bolts of fabrics that I've picked up from antique places in nearby Maine or just acquired as left-overs from projects. Colorful fabrics make up beautiful tablecloths that when washed again and again develop that well-worn soft hand. Mixing and matching patterns and colors is something I use in my own decorating and it is even more fun to do up a table with unexpected colors and patterns.
Now Serving- A breakfast cocktail doesn't seem appropriate until well, it does. Fresh orange juice and prosecco with a slice of summer peach doesn't sound too bad!
Get the Look - Ramey is wearing the Kathe Dress in Gardenia
Amanda Reynal / @amandareynalinteriors
Interior Designer + Decorator / Owner of Amanda Reynal Interiors
Sky View - Summertime is so fleeting and there is nothing more luxurious than feeling the crisp fresh evening air and gazing up at the sky at twilight. Dining outdoors on a beautiful evening always feels like stolen time. I love when the sun is close to setting and the sky is still a deep purplish blue. There is no more beautiful dining room than being under the sky.
Cocktails Please! - I invented a new cocktail this Summer and my guests have loved it. I call the new drink a Watermelon Spritz, it has puréed watermelon, rose wine, vodka, a splash of sparkling water, crushed ice, and fresh mint from the garden.
All in the Details- I love creating playlists. One of the columns I write for my Style Sketchbook blog is called “Social Movement”. I create all of the elements to host an event including table setting photos, or centerpiece ideas and discuss various aspects of pulling the look together. Then I create a wardrobe edit and playlist to coordinate with the type of event.
Get the Look - Amanda is wearing the Mary Short Kaftan in Water Mill
Christina Juarez / @christinajaurezandco
Communications & Business Strategist / President of Christina Juarez & Company
The Great Outdoors - There is nothing better than dining al fresco—either on the deck overlooking the bay or a Manhattan terrace—the sunsets, the warm summer breeze and the sounds of the evening all make for a beautiful setting.
Color Palette - Greens always highlighted with lavender or bright fuchsia.
Cocktail Menu - Tequila/fresh lime juice/splash of coconut Lacroix seltzer with a jalapeno or two.
Personal Favorites - Always a soft background music and still love the Hôtel Costes mixes. Always a fragrance - Jo Malone lime basil mandarin candles (subtle but still there) and always Cire Trudon colored candlesticks.
Get the Look - Christina is wearing the Kathe Dress in Queen Palm
Sky Fall - I adore cocktails at magic hour when the light gets rosy and then bit by bit, course by course, I delight as the night sky begins to shift in colors from lilac to Yves Klein blue to midnight black with the wondrous stars and the moon casting its mysterious glow.
Festive Flames - Hurricane lanterns allow for candlelight on a windy night, Tiki torches are low key exotic and keep away the mosquitos and sometimes string lights above a pergola are a lovely romantic touch.
Crowd Pleasers - Aperol Spritz or Mezcal and Ginger depending on my mood, but- truly- margaritas are forever crowd pleasers.
Get the Look - Katie is wearing the Kathe Dress in Queen Palm