Designer Trina Turk California Home


Trina Turk Q&A With Elle Decor.
Have you always been color obsessed?
It might have been ingrained in me from growing up in California in the 1960s and ’70s. My husband and I did a Big Sur trip recently, and we stopped by places I went as a kid. There was a lot of color, like these yellow and orange and pink and purple flowers growing on cliffs that go down to the ocean. I didn’t set out to have a colorful lifestyle brand. All I wanted was to do a women’s clothing collection, and it just took on a life of its own. Designing the textiles and working with color is pretty much my favorite part of my job.
You frequently entertain at your two Southern California homes—a midcentury-modern house in Los Angeles, and the iconic “Ship of the Desert” in Palm Springs. How do the locations shape your entertaining styles?
We go out to Palm Springs on the weekends as much as we can—October is my favorite month in the desert. There, you can call people up on the spur of the moment, and the attitude is relaxed—more like hanging around by the pool and grilling. In L.A., advance planning is required, so the invitation process is a little more complicated.
When you have friends over, how do you and your husband divvy up the host duties?
My husband loves to cook—he would have a dinner party every week if I let him. So he’s in charge of the menu and the food, and I’m in charge of the music and the setup and the table: Are we eating indoors or outdoors? What’s the table going to look like? Are we going to have flowers? I usually finish first, so then I’m the prep cook and do whatever is assigned to me.
How do you devise your menus?
This year we actually ripped up part of our lawn and turned it over to a vegetable garden, so whatever is ready in the garden inspires the menu. It’s pretty amazing when you go out there and pick the lettuce and eat it five minutes later.
What do you serve for drinks?
We’re on a mission to bring back the white-wine spritzer, but so far we have not had many takers. I know they went out with the ’80s, but I don’t understand why they're so despised! Other than that, if you have citrus trees in your yard—we have quite a few in the desert—it's great to pick oranges or lemons or limes and make cocktails using the juice. One of my favorite things is Campari and fresh-squeezed grapefruit. The color is amazing: The pink-orange grapefruit juice with the Campari creates a red-to-orange ombré effect that’s so gorgeous.
Do you have any favorite sources for vintage finds?
I am always on the lookout. Vintage shopping is my big hobby and luckily somewhat related to what I do for a living. In L.A., I go regularly to flea markets and vintage-clothing sales. In Palm Springs, there are a lot of vintage modern furniture stores and even thrift shops that I love. My favorite is Bon Vivant, which has mainly decorative accessories for the home—glassware, pottery, artwork, metal, a little bit of jewelry. Another is Hedge, in Cathedral City. Same thing: It’s like going into the house of somebody who has amazing taste and an amazing collection of whatever it is they’re into. For dishware, eBay has been a good source. If there’s a dish you like, you can just keep collecting it until you have enough to actually use.


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