Q. How could an outdoor room be the perfect place for holiday outdoor entertaining?
Butera:It all really depends on the area of the country you live in, but from the coast of California where I live to the heart of the Midwest and East Coast where it’s cold and frosty any outdoor space can be the perfect place for holiday entertaining. Here in Newport Beach, we really use our outdoor spaces year-round. Sometimes in the evening, we bring out space heaters for events, but for the most part a light sweater or jacket will do it. Outdoor spaces, designed correctly with conversation and flow in mind, add a fun and festive twist to a holiday party- a bit unexpected. I always do a magnificent tree inside of course- but if I know I have a special event coming up I will make sure to have a tree outside as well. Set up a great bar with at least one warm cocktail offering. Guests can mingle in and out, you can keep the food inside and have a nice private setting for mixing and mingling.
Q. What is a must have for outdoor holiday entertaining?
Butera: Three things will make or break your outdoor holiday event:
· Lighting is so important- it adds an air of festive sophistication. I prefer to string globe lights from the trees, and you can almost create a border around your entertaining area. And plenty of hurricanes with real candles. When the sun goes down it’s magical- and when guests arrive they know to follow the lights!
· Music is everything. My tastes tend towards swinging classics from Sinatra, Dean, and Steve Tyrell. Save the reflective, religious ballads for another time; parties call for upbeat cheeky tunes that are a must. These guys know how to put your guests in the mood for a good cocktail.
· Of course, Comfortable seating like my new Barclay Butera Outdoor Collection for Castelle.
Q. With fire tables and fire pits, do you see fire features adding a “spark” to outdoor holiday entertaining?
Butera: Always, but especially at the holidays. When guests gather around a fire it’s so intimate. And I love the photo opps, nothing is quite as flattering as firelight!
Q. What would be a creative way to add holiday flair to existing outdoor furnishings?
Butera: Even if it’s warm, I use plenty of pillows and throws on my outdoor furniture during the holidays. With all the great outdoor fabrics available, the sky’s the limit. And toasty fleece throws in holiday colors are great- they are light weight, really warm, relatively inexpensive and machine washable. Guests love to hunker down with a drink and tapas under a blanket.
Q. Is there a favorite holiday drink or snack that you can see being a hit for outdoor entertaining during the holidays?
Butera: I happen to love cranberry cider in a copper mug, garnished with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. It’s festive and packs a punch. For something over ice, vodka tonics with a splash of cranberry garnished with mint are refreshing, and the colors work. And of course, plenty of hearty red wine; I love Caymus Cabernet. If this is a cocktail party I keep the food simple, one bite options. To be honest, I let my caterer do the work!