If you happen to find yourself passing through Joel Mozersky‘s door, you’d better have nowhere to be any time soon. A visit to the interior designer’s historic home that he shares with partner Ted Allen serves up a true test in time management, as lunches tend to last well into twilight, and dinners late into the night. Chalk it up to the rural backdrop, the delicious food, the beautiful interiors — from my experience, it’s the company that keeps the party going. Along with his closest friends and family, Joel manages to foster the kind of good vibin’ table talk that just makes you want to stay awhile.
Built by a General in the Texas Cavalry in 1903, Joel’s home is about 30 miles northeast of Austin in Taylor, TX. I found the drive to and from the historic town to be especially peaceful — the exact right distance that allows you to get lost in your thoughts.
How long have you and Ted lived here?
We moved in early December of last year. The house has many of the original finishes, including the original plaster walls, which were stenciled in 1903! It’s on 1.15 acres, has a pool and the original carriage house.”
Let’s dive straight into the good stuff. Tell us about this incredible kitchen renovation.
Because the house is 115 years old, we didn’t want the kitchen to look too contemporary. It had been redone (poorly) in the 90’s, so we took it down to the studs. The floors were a wood-look linoleum, which we replaced with Ann Sacks honed carrera and noir sully marble tile in a traditional checker board pattern on the axis. We wanted something classic so the kitchen wouldn’t look outdated quickly.
I then discovered Bluestar appliances, who will powder coat their appliances any RAL color. I have loved British racing green since I was a kid, and chose it as my appliance and cabinet color. I then extended that gloss green to all of the woodwork in the kitchen and the butler and cook’s pantries. I am really happy with how it turned out. I think in the end it looks appropriate to the house, but is clean and modern at the same time. We did not expand the footprint, so it is not big kitchen at all, but it is very efficient and there is a ton of storage.
We love following along your the culinary adventures you share on your foodie Instagram account. What’s your favorite recipe resource?
I love, love, love Jamie Oliver, and his website has a plethora of great ideas. I also love the New York times cooking app. However, I prefer the creativity of cooking over the science of it, so I use recipes and cookbooks for inspiration. I never follow a recipe to the letter. For me it sucks all the fun out of the process. I think if you know various techniques and understand proportion, you can make almost anything.
What’s always in your refrigerator?
About a million condiments, especially hot sauces. The rest is a revolving assortment.
What’s your signature cocktail?
I like making a mixer that can work with wine or any hard liquor, such as hibiscus tea, or a lemonade or punch.
pictured: vintage wine glasses found by Ted at Next to New in Austin
I noticed that guests can’t help but gravitate towards this light green living room as soon as they enter your house. What is that paint color?
I had it custom mixed to match the trim color in the entry, which was originally selected by Louis Shanks in the 1940’s. We call it pistachio.
What’s your must-have entertaining tool?
I love putting out a big wooden serving tray with apps so people can dig in to something the minute they get there.
Where did you learn to cook?
I grew up eating amazing food, and I developed a good palate very early. My mother is a fantastic cook, and even taught cooking when I was in high school and college. I loved watching my mom make people happy by serving them amazing food, and I wanted to emulate that as I got older.
We’re loving the beats playing throughout this dinner party. What does the perfect dinner party playlist include?
We usually customize the music for the group that’s coming. And by “we” I mean my partner, Ted, because he is far better at that than I.
What would we never find at one of your parties?
Crawfish. I don’t understand their appeal at all.
Do you have a standard host outfit?
I don’t like dressing up, so probably something linen and comfortable. I like our dinners to be very casual, and for everyone to relax.
Tonight Joel’s serving up a southern-inspired spread of pulled pork, charred collard greens, a corn salad, sweet potato wedges, homemade pickles and cornbread. Yum.
You have such an interesting collection of tableware. What’s your favorite?
I have a lot of family style platters that I have either inherited or collected over the years. I love arranging them, and making the food look abundant. My favorite is a giant periwinkle and white transferware platter that can handle anything.
What scares you about entertaining?
I think timing is the only thing I ever worry about. I want everything to be the right temperature when I serve it. If you make too many things for a party it can stress you out, so I try to prepare as much in advance as possible so I can have fun with my guests.
The restaurant meal you’ll never forget:
We went to Italy a few years ago, and had the most amazing meal at a 300 year old restaurant looking over the Umbrian countryside. It was pretty magical.
We couldn’t help but peek into this gorgeous breakfast room off the kitchen. So dreamy!
It was originally a screened-in porch, and the Prewitt family, who lived in the house in the the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, enclosed it, and added the media room and 3 bathrooms at the same time. When we moved in, the shiplap was covered in beadboard and a really bad wallpaper. We stripped it all down, and painted the shiplap white to brighten it up.
The entertaining rule you never break:
Always be properly lit. Also, always make more food than you need. I always cook way more than necessary in general, so this has never been a problem. You can always send home a care package with your guests.
pictured: vintage dining table is stamped Karl Springer parchment and lacquer with knife edge; vintage dining chairs are Ward Bennett “landmark” chairs in British racing green wood and an ostrich pattern leather from Again and Again in Dallas
Who are your dream dinner guests?
Jamie Oliver, Kelly Wearstler, and Zac Gallifinakis, but I would probably freak out the whole time, and not be able to relax.
In your opinion, what’s the secret to a great dinner party:
I always ask my guests if they have allergies or foods they dislike or avoid so they will eat what I make. I often ask what their favorite dish or type of cuisine is to insure they will love it!
Fill in the blank: It’s not a party without: ___
“A lot of laughing.”