Whether she’s at home in Beverly Hills, at her weekend retreat in Ojai, or at extended-family properties in Santa Ynez and Lake Tahoe, good design is always front of mind for Jenni Kayne. The founder of California-based fashion label Jenni Kayne and lifestyle website Rip + Tan has a knack for entertaining, where nothing feels too stiff or fussy. It’s about about a cool, clean California aesthetic. Her first book, Pacific Natural ($45, Rizzoli), is a perfect embodiment of her knack for producing simple, seasonal meals in a refined, laid-back setting. “I’ve always loved entertaining—bringing people together around a meal or celebration is one of my greatest joys,” says Kayne. “I love sharing tips, recipes, and inspiration with those I love, and this book is my way of sharing that with everyone.”
From a rustic Thanksgiving dinner for 14 in Santa Ynez to a casual brunch by the beach on Lake Tahoe, Kayne creates a table setting and menu to match the occasion, venue, and vibe—and shoes are most always optional. The book is organized by season, and each tableau is shot in a different California location: Ojai, Santa Ynez, Los Angeles, and Lake Tahoe—all of Kayne’s favorite places. “Because the book is about coming together to share a meal and the beauty of every detail, it felt natural to shoot in my home, my garden, with my family, or in one of these places I find so inspiring,” she says. Martha Stewart, who’s become a friend, wrote the foreword. “I am so grateful that she has paved the way for women like me to even be able to make a book on entertaining,” Kayne says of Stewart.
The designer and her husband, Richard, live with their three children in a contemporary home in Beverly Hills (December 2016, AD), and she started thinking about lifestyle and entertaining ten years ago, when pregnant with her first son. “I started to take cooking classes and learn about flowers and floral arrangements, and became so passionate about making a home full of love,” she says. But family has always been a source of inspiration. “My dad’s mother, Ida, always had an open-door policy—she was the grandmother who took kids in from all over the neighborhood for dinner or even just to hang out, and I get that from her—I’m definitely that mom now.” Kayne’s mother is from the South, and she, too, stressed the importance of family and food when Kayne was growing up: “She taught me how to set a table with intention and respective to the occasion, and how important it is to have nightly dinners with family around the table.”
So what’s the best tip she’s picked up along the way? Kayne’s friend and collaborator Annie Campbell taught her not to play bartender when hosting: “Constantly refilling your guests’ glasses will ensure you won’t be able to enjoy yourself or be a guest at your own party. Instead, make your guests their first drink and then set out a bar with all the fixings so they can serve themselves from there on out.” Kayne is a big proponent of not making everything too perfect: “I cannot stress how important it is to not put too much pressure on yourself. Prepare as much ahead of time as possible…as a host, you want to be relaxed so that your guests are relaxed. It’s all about energy.”
Kayne recently launched a home line, which features linen textiles, vases, pillows and throws, and dinnerware. “I am equally as passionate about clothes as I am about my home,” she says. And for Kayne, every detail counts. “What I’m wearing, how I approach interiors, my favorite recipes, and even how I set the table, I consider everything to make up a life of beauty and intention.”