The Perfect Dinner at Home with Windsor Smith

Designer Windsor Smith is an innovative force in the design industry. After two decades of planning and designing homes for some of the world’s most discerning clients, she brings her trademark lifestyle approach to a new kind of architectural template for the modern global family. Her latest project is the next evolution for The New Homefront. Nestled in a coveted enclave of Los Angeles, it is a 12,000-square-foot estate that returns two lost luxuries back to contemporary families: time and togetherness. Designed to be as easy to live in as it is to maintain, this gracious, but contemporary home combines Windsor’s celebrated break-the-rules space planning with smart and easy technology. www.windsorsmithhome.com/

Windsor Smith
Photo Credit: Luca Trovato
Windsor Smith Photo Credit: Luca Trovato

“Now that we have been bunkered down and rethinking our home spaces (and entire lives frankly) to be our new ‘everything’ motherships, what if we forgo the clever design tip and opt instead for a bigger idea.  Like reshuffle the deck and flip the rooms around entirely! Reinvigorate spaces that get little by injecting them with new functions that will inspire and serve your family in new way… Don’t overthink it, just act intuitively. Use it as a therapeutic metaphor for what we all need now, a fresh take and an entirely new playbook!”

DINNER AT HOME WITH WINDSOR SMITH

“Our homes are a diary, a shrine to the things we love and that hold meaning. I’m most excited to discover who lives in a home by the objects they choose to gather along the way of life that tell their unique family story.”

Minotti Fil Noir Chairs
Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Minotti Fil Noir Chairs Photo Credit: Michael Wells

What details make a home special for you?

WS: I have several mystical gazing orbs and a beautiful collection of architectural artifacts, wooden rosary beads and I love the classic syntopia they create when blended with the reflective, ethereal and mercurial details that resonate with the Pisces in me.

The quintessential dinner at home is…

WS: an opportunity to connect and celebrate life and those we hold dearest.

Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells

What are your favorite pieces in the dining area? Most essential?

WS: The way we dine is pretty fluid and a bit nomadic using several areas around the house and property. We mostly dine in our kitchen around a huge Downton Abbey style farm table that we have been known to pile 20 heads around when my husband is holding one of his lobster fetes. But now that spring has sprung, I‘ll change the energy by using our foyer and convert our center table into a dining table.

Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells

WS: My favorite elements of the space are the vertical volume, the composition of the staircase and the towering sycamores seen through the high windows. The evening light is extraordinary and the boxwood balls in gravel give the space a more ceremonial feeling. Whenever I do this, I cull seating from all around the house gathering unlikely pairings, modern with antique, minimal with exuberant, midcentury and 18th century – anything goes.

Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells

WS: It’s a pleasure to handpick the flora for table. I prefer a rustic simplicity or “wabi sabi” approach – a long vine of viburnum here, a clutch of wispy wisteria branches there – all in a gentle dialogue with the more architectural angularity of this part of the house.

EVENING GUILTY PLEASURES AND DINNER RECIPES

“I’ve always been drawn to soulful objects. They bring a warmth and comfort to our home and they’ve never been more comforting with their emotional value understood more than ever now. For me, the silver Venetian lantern in my entry has held its reign in the entry of every home we’ve had, and I have likened it to my wedding band. It is displayed proudly, as a symbol of the incredibly good fortune I have had in love and in family.”

Photo Credit: Michael Wells
Photo Credit: Michael Wells

A perfect dinner begins with…

WS: A warm welcome and always includes uplifting conversation with lovely humans…a curated playlist, lovingly prepared food. I would describe the dinner playlist as international, nostalgic, jazzy, cozy to set the mood. (Click here for Windsor’s Dinner Playlist.)

What is your favorite dinner recipe to make?

WS: An asparagus risotto and peppercorn encrusted rack of lamp with a “live lettuce” salad – butter lettuce, arugula, cilantro, and fresh pear with white balsamic and sesame oil. If I were going to the electric chair this would most certainly be my last meal!

Evening guilty pleasures include…

WS: Soulful music (particularly vinyl), Poli Grappa, farm to table ingredients, candlelight, a gentle breeze, and green tea mille crepes.

Photo Credit: Windsor Smith Home
Photo Credit: Windsor Smith Home

INGREDIENTS

1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths

5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Blanch asparagus pieces in large pot of boiling, salted water 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse asparagus under cold water. Drain asparagus well.

2. Bring chicken broth to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep broth hot. Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir 3 minutes. Add dry white wine and cook until liquid evaporates. Continue cooking until rice is tender but still slightly firm in center and mixture is creamy, adding chicken broth 1 cup at a time and stirring almost constantly, about 20 minutes. Add blanched asparagus pieces and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter and stir until incorporated. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper.