You know when you step into a house, take one look around, and instantly want to move right in? For me, that’s the light-filled Austin home that Maya Nairn has created for their family. It’s minimal and warm, earthy and sophisticated — one of those rare occasions when a home is a perfect synthesis of its owner, since those are all the words I’d use to describe Maya herself. As owner of chic baby brand de Buci Baby, Maya’s mastered the art of luxurious simplicity, so it’s no surprise that her entertaining style is equally elevated in the most effortless-feeling way possible. She invited us in for a casual dinner party in her airy all-white kitchen and open dining space, then spilled the details on her entertaining fear, dinner party playlist and the ridiculously gorgeous halibut en papillote she served.
The entertaining rule you rarely break:
I like to seat couples apart.
Current favorite color palette for parties:
I’m generally into neutrals but the dining table is one place where I like to use color. I have some block printed linens from India that a dear friend gave me. One set is yellowish gold and the other is red and blue. I generally use one or the other and just sort of add in from there.
What scares you about entertaining?
Timing! There are lots of moving parts, particularly with three kids in the house.
*Maya let us in our her secret cheeseboard tip – provide dried orange slices that guests can use as crackers.
Her cheese board also included:
- Dried apricots
- Marcona almonds
- Truffle honey
- Cowgirl creamery mt tam
- Point reyes blue
- Rosemary and olive oil flatbread crackers
Must-have entertaining tool:
The perfect dinner party playlist includes:
I have a ten hour playlist that I put on shuffle. It’s a real mixture. Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Manu Di Bongo, some electronic, Joy Division, Arcade Fire… I’m constantly adding to it as I discover songs that I love. It’s really good for any audience.
Standard hostess outfit:
Maya’s dream kitchen in the heart of Austin… Her colorful, vintage rug came all the way from Turkey.
Your signature entertaining dish?
Roast chicken, fish en papillote, or anything where I can do most of the prep in advance.
The taste you’re always craving:
Definitely spicy… and I love an extra squeeze of lime or lemon on most things.
The restaurant meal you’ll never forget:
Steak tartare in Paris 12 years ago. It was served in the shape of a heart, which was interesting…
After graduating from college, Maya moved to Paris to attend culinary school. She inherits her love of cooking from her mother.
Maya’s husband delicately cultivates a variety of citrus trees in their front yard. His orange tree is in full bloom.
Secret to a great dinner party:
The right mix of people and a relaxed host.
Items always in your refrigerator:
Yogurt, eggs, avocados, and a couple bottles of champagne, just in case.
Your dream dinner guests:
It would be two separate dinners. All of my grandparents have passed on and they were pretty extraordinary people. One dinner would be with my dad and his parents. My grandfather passed away before I was born and I would love to see the dynamics of all of them together. The other dinner would be with my mom and her parents. They passed away, six months apart, when I was a teenager and I would have really loved the chance to get to know them as an adult.
Your entertaining style in 5 words or less:
Comfortable and fun.