Anna Bond’s gouache paintings of rich blooms and velvet-like leaves are synonymous with artful vintage style, yet the Florida home she shares with her husband, Nathan, and son Ford (with a baby on the way) is surprisingly minimal. “I like things serene and clean,” says Bond, who keeps a light-ﬁlled studio for Rifle Paper Co. designs in a spare room of the house. “I do most of my creative work at home, and I need it to be calm.”
That blank canvas provides an ideal backdrop for entertaining. “Hosting is an extension of doing anything artistic,” explains Bond. Her circle of friends and collaborators share a similar life-as-art mind-set. Case in point: Bond’s good friend Ellen Bennett—the founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett, a cult brand of handmade aprons worn by everyone from David Chang to Martha Stewart.
Bennett and Bond met in New York years ago and make a point of catching up over meals whenever their schedules ﬁnd them in the same city. A believer in connecting over food, Bennett assembles a rotating guest list of creatives, chefs, and entrepreneurs for monthly “Bennett Brunches” at her Los Angeles home. “People bring ingredients, nobody knows one another, and we all cook together,” she says.
A fan of easy-to-prep, healthy ingredients, Bennett elevated a store-bought hummus with spices, seeds, and good olive oil—while the crudité plate and cucumber salad with pickled onion required not much more than a mandoline. (Another trick: Salt the water before freezing it and your ice will last longer.) Plus, six-minute eggs mean no messy pans to clean up after.
This spring, as Bond and Bennett launch their ﬁrst collaboration—a line of aprons, recipe boxes, and chef’s notebooks, each adorned in Bond’s signature, saturated ﬂorals—the pair celebrated with their own laid-back gathering at Bond’s home in Maitland. Bennett, putting the new aprons to good use, planned a menu of fresh, crisp spring fare, including a citrus salad, six-minute eggs, lamb with rosemary, and bright crudité platters. “Ellen brought in color and texture with the food, and I ﬁnd endless inspiration in the shapes of ﬂowers,” says Bond.
From fabrics to food, there’s no lack of inspiration at Bond’s home. Her free-flowing floral paintings dress the new Rifle xHedley & Bennett aprons, and fresh Florida ingredients star in the spring meal. Bennett serves a citrus salad made with a trio of oranges (blood, navel, and cara cara) to add subtle variety in flavor and color. Her zippy apple cider vinegar–based dressing, spiked with lots of chopped garlic and Dijon mustard, cuts the sweetness.
Riffling on Bennett’s eclectic brunches, Bond invited a fun mix of local friends, including chef Andy Corton of Orlando’s much-loved Cuban restaurant Black Bean Deli, who arrived with heapfuls of local strawberries and lettuce. Everyone settled in the home’s airy main room, a central space that the Bonds renovated to create one open layout for cooking, dining, and hanging out—where Florida sunlight streams through the windows and all-white walls frame views of Lake Minnehaha. At the table, guests grazed on bowls of olives, market-driven small plates, and vibrant ﬁnger foods. “I like things you can eat with your hands,” says Bennett of the meal’s casual vibe.
To ﬁnish, Bond served a white buttercream cake she decorated with roses, ranunculus, delphinium blooms, and berries. Glasses in hand, the party moved outside, and the crew ﬁnished the afternoon by taking a boat out on the lake. “I have such a regimented schedule every day; this lets me enjoy a free afternoon with no agenda,” Bennett explains. “I love brunches because there’s no end time.”
A roasted asparagus and leek salad gets a garnish of shaved Parmesan and delicate pea tendrils. And the garlicky yogurt dressing includes a little lemon zest to make the dish really sing.
The key to the brunch menu is balancing heartier fare with fresh ingredients (especially come spring)—like lamb chops with rosemary and preserved Meyer lemons seared in butter.
“My home is a blank slate, a calming environment. Food and flowers bring in color,” says Bond.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue with the headline “Garden Party.”
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