Hosting Tips

A Chic Campground in the Malibu Hills

One Gun Ranch lives up to the legend.

By Jenn Rose Smith
One Gun Ranch

If you’ve ever picked up a copy of Sunset then you already know what a unique publication it is — every page is packed with colorful ideas for road trips and outdoor adventures, and all of it edited with a keen eye for style and design. So when we heard that the editors behind our favorite outdoors ‘zine were throwing a party to celebrate the release of their first book, we did our best to snag an invite. Camp Sunset: A Modern Camper’s Guide to the Great Outdoors is every bit as colorful and inspiring as the magazine, and the amazing outdoor book launch party was all that we hoped it would be and more. We spent the afternoon chatting with Sunset contributing editor Jennifer Marnach, who oversaw the event. Read on to discover how she created a glamorous campground in Malibu fit for some serious outdoor fun.

photographed by tom story

The event (co-hosted by Heather and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS, actress/blogger Shiva Rose, and textile designer Heather Taylor together with Sunset magazine) was held at the rustic One Gun Ranch in Malibu, California.

Outdoor enthusiasts have long trusted the editors of Sunset with the latest, must-have tips to make the most of their camping trips, so it was by popular demand–that the editors packaged their shared wisdom in a one-stop, friendly, modern guide.” says Jennifer Marnach. “Senior Food Editor, Elaine Johnson, oversaw the content including step-by-step recipes, so there’s just as much inspiring scoop when it comes to what you’ll eat by the campfire as well as where you’re sleep!”

“From the beginning we wanted to create an intimate, special experience for guests to mix with editors at this one of a kind destination, so we kept numbers low at 40 total,” says Jennifer of the guest list. “Guests included Sunset editors, and Southern California based contributors along with friends of ours hosts: Blake and Heather Mycoskie, Shiva Rose and Heather Taylor.”

One Gun Ranch in Malibu is a working ranch with a biodynamic garden that provides fresh produce for local businesses as well as volunteer and education programs for children.

“It’s currently not regularly open to the public, but they do host special days throughout the year for events that you can discover details for through their social media channels. They also just recently opened the chicest shop, called Ranch at the Pier, which will keep you busy for hours discovering special finds, One Gun Ranch owner, Alice Bamford curates herself. Expect to find everything from the best in luxe British cashmere, surfboards designed by big wave rider Laird Hamilton and stylish Soludos slippers to chic gardening supplies, including biodynamic seedlings from the ranch.” says Jennifer.

Party guests Jessie and Brian De Lowe posed for a photo in front of the Malibu hills.

Sterling Social event planners created a chic, bohemian vibe with help from Found Vintage Rentals, The Ark, and textiles from Heather Taylor Home.

“Our floral designer Joni Noe went for an un-fussy look, so mixed wildflowers along with loose and whisky, Chocolate Queen Anne’s Lace,” says Jennifer. “For statement blooms she mixed dahlias with some wiggly pink and purple clover for contrast and teddy bear sunflowers.”

Co-host Shiva Rose looked chic in a bohemian red dress and boots. “She’s an incredibly lovely friend to Sunset, which made her a perfect addition as a host to the event,” explains Jennifer. “Her blog, The Local Rose and her new beauty line are just some of the ways she inspires us. It means a lot when you can include personalities that epitomize both your brand and your event in the most natural and authentic way.”

In keeping with the hearty Indian summer theme and the biodynamic element of the property, floral designer and prop stylist, Joni Noe used branches of pomegranates. She layered these with autumnal looking amaranth and millet and propped inside vintage dough bowels from Found Vintage Rentals.

Waffles the donkey (who lives at the One Gun Ranch) is considered a local celebrity in Malibu and “was a hit at the party,” says Jennifer with a laugh.

Auntie Em’s Kitchen, a beloved destination in Eagle Rock (known for chef and owner Terri Wahl’s farm to table comfort food) created our beautiful, rustic lunch. It was important that we serve dishes in line with the ethos of Sunset and guests. Terri was a star, preparing the yummy feast, propped to perfection with a loose, bountiful, family style approach.” says Jennifer.

Under Canvas drove in their amazing “marqui” tipis in from Montana just for the event. “In addition to renting their tents for events, they’ve also incredibly created awe-inspiring camps at national parks throughout the country,” says Jennifer. “Campers can find information on their site to reserve overnight stays at these one of a kind camps.”

Shiva Rose and friends hang in the shade of an Under Canvas teepee. 

The event designers at Sterling Social incorporated Heather Taylor Home linens with chic, tabletop pieces from event rental company, The Ark. When discussing creative direction for the event “we talked about making the day a dreamy, elevated camp escape with a touch of rustic, tomboy flair, thus the copper mugs in tow.” explains Jennifer. 

Guests enjoyed a seasonal fruit and cheese board featuring black grapes, pomegranates, and mandarin oranges.

Event guests Bunni and Zen Nishimura (of the biodynamic chocolate brand ZenBunni) are pictured here with their daughter Alchmey. 

Pressed Juicery was a perfect refresher for campers on this especially sunny day,” says Jennifer. “Guests loved having the mix of cold pressed drinks from the local and popular brand from Santa Monica. In addition to the Pressed Juicery, we also served Westside Wine Co. — a fun and friendly way to serve chilled wines without glassware, so perfect for outdoor entertaining!”

Low and lounge-y seating set the scene for a relaxed and fun event.

“Western gypsy folk” duo Will & Wyatt performed a campfire-worthy acoustic set. 

What’s a campout without s’mores? A chalkboard sign directed party guests to the fireside s’more building station.

A guest posed for a photo opp inside one of the Under Canvas teepees.

Guests braved the firepit on a sunny day — anything for s’mores!

When asked what makes an outdoor event successful, Jennifer is thoughtful. “It probably sounds cliché, but people really make an event. In this case we were fortunate to have an incredible mix of talents who’re happy to contribute–from a meaningful craft activity by TOMS and gourmet chocolate s’mores by Valerie Confections to the unprecedented use of One Gun Ranch. Nothing makes an event feels like a success more than producing not only an uncompromised vision, but having talented, inspiring contributors involved who are kindhearted at that!”