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 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 , Pressed Juicery co-founder , and Domaine co-founder . And while the environs may have been new, the act of entertaining--complete with a Middle Eastern menu created by chef  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  to anchor her scheme, carrying it through with accents such as CB2  and , and offsetting with glam touches including Jayson Home's quirky .

Sunbrella Fabric,
price upon request,
Shroom Side Table,
Salud Tall Drink Glass,
Brass Peace Sign, $168,


Metal school chairs from  and steel  from Crate & Barrel flanked the Restoration Hardware , adding a touch of modernity, while Persian rugs from  were unfurled for a worldly and relaxed lounging option.

Metal Chair, $89,
Lyle Side Chair, $199,
Teak Dining Table, from $1,275,
Incrusta Rug, $2,900,


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

 Room Essentials®
Clear Globe Lights, $13, 
Fez Star Lanterns, from $59,
12' Cotton Canvas Teepee, $299, Kamali Tabletop Lanterns, from $15,


Nimer's gluten-free-friendly family-style menu was presented on servingware including an , Kelly Wearstler's , and , while the table was set with Wearstler's  mixed with West Elm's gilded . 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.

Agate Cheese Plates,
from $60,
Mulholland Salad Plate, $82,
Salone Tray, $2,275,
Gold Flatware Set, $29,


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





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


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