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For a low-key daytime gathering with close friends, opt for pillows and low tables. RUG from Lawrence of Labrea, lawrenceoflabrea.com

The best way to kick off summer? A relaxed poolside party with friends. These simple ideas are easy to pull off all season long.

photography by   AMY NEUNSINGER  written by   SARAH BRUNING

Real plates and silverware elevate an alfresco party and are easier to manage poolside.


was looking for a new home, she knew she wanted plenty of space to entertain. The actor, screenwriter and fashion designer loves throwing big open-house parties for her friends, but didn’t have the room to do it in her previous prewar apartment in Los Angeles. Up in the Hollywood Hills, she found a gorgeous, modern house with a split-level front yard. To create a welcoming, yet glamorous bohemian vibe, Katie mixed traditional outdoor materials with modern shapes and high-contrast color combinations, softening black and dark grey with dusty rose and pale blue. Two patios and a shady side lawn provide ample room for multiple hang-out zones, which encourage guests to float from space to space and mingle. A zinc-topped table with a wooden base acts as a staging area for appetizers, while low mosaic tables are decked out with plenty of oversized pillows, perfect for lounging.

Draw menu inspiration from seasonal produce and herbs at the farmers’ market. This cocktail pairs fresh lime, celery and cucumber juices with basil syrup and rhubarb bitters. Spike it with gin or vodka.