Seattle Home & Lifestyle Magazine


 

FAREWELL TO SUMMER

RANDY ALTIG OF MAXIMUM LIVING OFFERS GREAT TIPS
FOR THROWING AN END-OF-SEASON SOIREE

WRITTEN BY RANDY ALTIG
PHOTOGRAPHS BY HANK DREW

AS SUMMER COMES TO AN END and the kiss of the sun starts to fade, I like to look at the season one last time by throwing my Maximum Living Summer Soiree. An end-of-season blockbuster party can be a lot of fun to put together, as long as you plan ahead.

THE RIGHT SETTING INVITES GUESTS TO RELAX AND ENJOY THE TRANSITION TO FALL. FLORAL PILLOWS AND EARTHEN PILLAR CANDLEHOLDERS (POTTERY BARN, POTTERYBARN.COM); WHITE AND STRIPED PILLOWS AND GOBLETS (RALPH LAUREN HOME COLLECTION, RALPHLAURENHOME.COM); PLATES (MACKENZIE-CHILDS TABLEWARE & HOME FURNISHINGS, MACKENZIE-CHILDS.COM); NAPKINS, NAPKIN RINGS, AND BOUQUET (MOLBAKS, 13625 N.E. 175TH ST., WOODINVILLE, MOLBAKS.COM).

THE RIGHT SETTING INVITES GUESTS TO RELAX AND ENJOY THE TRANSITION TO FALL. FLORAL PILLOWS AND EARTHEN PILLAR CANDLEHOLDERS (POTTERY BARN, POTTERYBARN.COM); WHITE AND STRIPED PILLOWS AND GOBLETS (RALPH LAUREN HOME COLLECTION, RALPHLAURENHOME.COM); PLATES (MACKENZIE-CHILDS TABLEWARE & HOME FURNISHINGS, MACKENZIE-CHILDS.COM); NAPKINS, NAPKIN RINGS, AND BOUQUET (MOLBAKS, 13625 N.E. 175TH ST., WOODINVILLE, MOLBAKS.COM).

First, decide on the theme. This will help you create enticing invitations. When I’m going to feature different wines and the best foods to pair with them, I mail my invitations with small wineglass charms and enclose a menu. For the latest trend in invitations, go green: I recommend Paper Source (paper-source.com) for beautiful recycled papers in bold colors, prints and interesting textures. Sprinkle lavender seeds in each envelope to add a fragrant reminder of summer days. Whenever possible, I hand-write invitations for a personal touch.

One of the most important aspects of a perfect party is a successful menu—and one that makes it as easy as possible on the host (you). I like to make shish kebabs (try pineapple, red onion, orange peppers and organic chicken from your local butcher) or hamburger patties (I infuse them with blue cheese and my favorite steak sauce) and then let my guests grill their own entrees.

Since this event is all about the last days of summer, you want it to feel casual and carefree. Build comfortable seating for your guests by placing a feather bed over several benches against a wall. Then drape them with white sheets or tablecloths and toss colorful throw blankets and pillows on top.

Use your favorite summer colors to establish the look. I like red, orange and green in all different shades because they transition any design from summer into fall.Mix and match patterns within your color palette for chair cushions, tablecloths and tabletop décor. Place late-summer blooms such as roses, lavender, honeysuckle and dahlias in loose bouquets tied with raffia onto the backs of chairs.

As daylight fades, softly light up the night with groupings of colorful floating candles and flowers. For a whimsical feel, I use garden pots, pails, buckets and birdbaths to create a luminous display.

Once my guests are seated under a starry evening sky, I introduce them to another kind of star—the ones in old movies. I create a drive-in theater setting using a DVD projector with audio and the new inflatable Airscreen by Aeropro. Then I play my favorite summer film: Grease.