Girls Night Out: Nicole Richie's Guide to Entertaining Alfresco

One must be careful not to use the b-word around Nicole Richie. "I hate the term bohemian," the House of Harlow 1960 designer, author, and actress confesses. So when it came to updating the backyard of the Laurel Canyon home she shares with her husband, Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden and their two children (son Sparrow, 3, and daughter, Harlow, 5), Richie plotted a course toward all things "relaxed and eclectic." The direction resulted in a vintage-meets-industrial makeover of the Moroccan-tinged outdoor area, which she unveiled at a late-summer dinner party staged for friends including stylist Simone Harouche, Pressed Juicery co-founder Hedi Gores, and Domaine co-founder Katherine Power. And while the environs may have been new, the act of entertaining--complete with a Middle Eastern menu created by chef Jeffrey Nimer and a classic rock soundtrack (The Animals, Led Zeppelin, and Janis Joplin)--is business as usual at Richie HQ: "Our house is the one people come to, to hang," she says.


Richie began by honing her palette. "The colors in the backyard were a bit all over the place," she says. She settled on turquoise, yellow, and black as a unifying colorway, creating throw pillows in the shades with Sunbrella fabrics to anchor her scheme, carrying it through with accents such as CB2 Shroom Side Tables and recycled glass tumblers, and offsetting with glam touches including Jayson Home's quirky Brass Peace Sign.

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Sunbrella Fabric,
price upon request,
F&S Fabrics
Shroom Side Table,
$249, CB2
Salud Tall Drink Glass,
$8, Crate & Barrel
Brass Peace Sign, $168,
Jayson Home


Metal school chairs from Cisco Home and steel Lyle Side Chairs from Crate & Barrel flanked the Restoration Hardware Teak Metal Basket Dining Table, adding a touch of modernity, while Persian rugs from Lawrence of La Brea were unfurled for a worldly and relaxed lounging option.

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Metal Chair, $89,
Cisco Home
Lyle Side Chair, $199,
Crate & Barrel
Teak Dining Table, from $1,275,
Restoration Hardware
Incrusta Rug, $2,900,
Lawrence of La Brea


Artfully strung globe lights, rows of sparklers, and Fez Star Lanterns intermingled with Kamali Tabletop Lanterns imbued the scene with a magical ambience, while succulent arrangements designed by Inner Gardens owner Stephen Block brought in an earthy element. But for Richie, the crowning touch was a hand-painted Magic Cabin canvas teepee embellished with a California-inspired mural by artist duo Clamdiggin. "It's the real deal," she says.

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 Room Essentials®
Clear Globe Lights, $13, Target
Fez Star Lanterns, from $59,
Pottery Barn
12' Cotton Canvas Teepee, $299, Magic Cabin Kamali Tabletop Lanterns, from $15,
World Market


Nimer's gluten-free-friendly family-style menu was presented on servingware including an antique zinc platter, Kelly Wearstler's Salone Tray, and agate cheese plates, while the table was set with Wearstler's Mullholand Plates mixed with West Elm's gilded flatware. The chef's impeccably spiced offerings ranged from stuffed grape leaves to organic tabbouleh salad to baked Kibbeh balls. "You feel the love and thoughtfulness in Jeff's food," Richie raves.

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Agate Cheese Plates,
from $60,
Jayson Home
Mulholland Salad Plate, $82,
Kelly Wearstler
Salone Tray, $2,275,
Kelly Wearstler
Gold Flatware Set, $29,
West Elm


Click on the images below to create chef Jeffrey Nimer's recipes at home.  

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Photographs: Justin Coit, Art Direction & Styling: Mat Sanders, Market: Peter Dolkas, Text: Melissa Goldstein