Whether it’s in a magazine or on television, pictures of celebrity homes are everywhere. With sweeping porches, magnificent views, rooms that appear to be always seemingly bright and clean, and everything in its place, these multimillion-dollar homes almost always catch our eye (and make us cross our fingers that that five-dollar lotto ticket in our pocket is printed with the winning number). Sure, it’d be great to live and entertain in a celeb’s house — but back to reality here. Is that really going to happen? Why not just draw inspiration from these dream estates when throwing your own party at home?
Take, for example, this romantic romantic rose arbor outside the late Elizabeth Taylor's home — isn't it just the perfect place for a dinner party at dusk or for walking down the aisle? Even if you don’t have an expansive lawn and mature roses growing in the backyard, you can use this garden as a reference point when hosting an al fresco dinner party in your grassy yard. All you need are some rectangular tables, white voile linens, flickering votives, and lots of big, pale pink and white roses for the table.
If you’re like us and love to entertain friends on the back deck or porch all summer long, look to the Malibu home of Friends star Courteney Cox for some fresh inspiration for your next get-together. According to Elle Décor, the actress grew up spending Sundays gathering with her extended family for lunch at her grandmother’s home. As she got older, Cox continued the tradition herself, regularly hosting get-togethers with dinner and karaoke at her home for friends and family. So it’s no surprise that when she renovated her house, she took advantage of the dramatic view of the Pacific and constructed a flexible back patio and deck space that is the perfect spot for hosting both those parties and intimate dinners by the sea — complete with a high-tech fire pit that we thought only existed in our dreams.
Or, if sitting on the porch with a cold beer at the end of a day is more your style, consider Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Bridgehampton home. Looking to expand their entertaining space, the growing family decided to add on a spatious front porch when renovating their 1865 Victorian farmhouse that is perfect for parties of all sizes. Lucky enough to have a porch of your own? Do as they did and transform it from a collecting area into your own outdoor living room. Clear out the bicycles, recycling bins, and plastic kiddie toys. Power wash the cobwebs away — even give the ceiling a fresh coat of sky-blue-colored paint. It can be the perfect place to spend an afternoon reading with friends. Yet, when it’s time to party, all you need to do is move the furniture away (set up a seating area on the lawn) and set up rectangular tables for serving and dining. It's a great place for kids' birthdays, too: Parents can sit on the stairs talking while the kids play in the yard, then everyone can retreat into the shade of the porch for crafts, lunch, and cake.
Yes, you could say Americans are fascinated by celebrities. We follow what they eat and what they’re cooking — we’re even obsessed with learning how they celebrated their marriage or that impending arrival. So isn’t it only natural that we look to the stars for inspiration when entertaining? After all, what sorts of get-togethers do you think the handsome Burt Reynolds hosted at his all-glass private compound with a private screening room high above the hills of Los Angeles? Can you say movie night?