Chatting about California Love with Nathan Turner

My friend, Nathan Turner is one of the kindest, most down to earth people in the design business. Most of you probably know Nathan from seeing his work published in countless magazines, from the cult favorite Bravo TV show, Million Dollar Decorators, or from his great Instagram, @nturnerdesign that chronicles his frequent travels and his darling dogs, Nacho and Wally. Nathan is super talented and has an incredible knack for mixing textures, colors, and other vibrant details to create warm, comfortable environments and is as lovely and engaging as the rooms he designs. However, design is far from his only talent. Nathan is also a warm and gracious host and a consummate cook. One of the first things he did when he opened his shop in West Hollywood years ago was install a kitchen so that he could host dinners in the shop for his friends. His passion for design and entertaining has once again intersected, this time in Nathan’s latest book, I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way, a love letter to his native California. Today, we’re discussing Nathan’s love for his home state, the impetus for his book, and his top tips for entertaining.

Paloma Contreras: What makes California so special?

Nathan Turner: I think it’s the California spirit that makes it special…. Which started with the pioneer spirit. Adventurous people having the courage to follow their dreams and see what’s new. That idea runs rampant in California, from the entertainment industry, to Silicon Valley and of course our design community. 

PC: How do you define California style?

NT: California style has been marketed to the rest of the world for decades, through films, fashion and most recently food…theres a laid back, simple relaxed feel that just seems fun!

PC: Your new book, I Love California is divided into sections such as Northern California, Central California, and Southern California highlighting cities such as San Francisco and Calistoga in the North, Los Angeles and Rancho Santa Fe in the South, and Hope Valley and Big Sur in the Center. How did you go about selecting these individual destinations? What do they mean to you?

NT: When I knew that my home state would be the focus I started to think of all the places that were special to me, whether it was my hometown, or places I visited as a child, to where I live now. I also wanted to share the diversity of California, there are so many hidden gems in the mountains, at the beach, Central Valley…honestly there’s something for everyone!

PC: California is home to so many wonderful ingredients from the most amazing produce to top notch wine and olive oil. What are some of your favorite California ingredients?

NT: We make amazing olive oils, wines obviously, being a new resident of Ojai I’m blown away by all the incredible citrus and avocados grown there, and one of my favorite vegetables is the humble artichoke, the best ones come from the central coast in Castroville, which is also a chapter in the book.

PC: You are an avid entertainer and a delightful host. What do you find to be the most important element for effortless entertaining?

NT: Letting go of the idea that something has to be perfect before you can entertain. Just do it! I constantly hear “I want to have you over but my house isn’t finished” which I honestly reply that “I don’t care!”…people are just happy to be invited and spend time together. I really hope this book inspiresmpeople to have their friends over, cook a little something up, set a pretty table, but most of all have fun!

A big thank you to Nathan for sharing more about his beautiful new book today! You can order your copy here.

{Photography by Victoria Pearson, Courtesy of Abrams and Nathan Turner}

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