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California Adventure

Nathan Turner champions the Golden State in his newest tome.

Nathan Turner I Love California


"I want to write recipes,” is certainly not what interior designer Nathan Turner’s editor expected to hear when it came time to discuss the topic of his second book, but in many ways, Turner’s I Love California ($40, Abrams), on shelves April 10, was kismet. “In the back of my mind, I always wanted to write a cookbook one day,” says the author and former Million Dollar Decorators star, who grew up visiting his mother’s hippie organic grocery co-op on weekends in Napa and admits he regularly comes over and cooks for friends.

Brimming with mouthwatering, approachable dishes, like marinated tri-tip and his family’s cioppino, Turner’s new release is an homage to his lifelong love of cooking and entertaining, as well as his experience of being a Californian. Traversing the state, from Rancho Santa Fe to San Diego to Tomales Bay, Turner, who calls himself “a traveling cook,” takes us into the most picturesque settings—the homes of family members, friends and clients. His journey “is about California the state, but it’s also a state of mind—the way we live,” he says. “It’s casual and laid-back and barefoot, with great quality and style, but not fussy.”

The designer, who’s in the midst of decorating his own new home in Ojai, as well as client homes in Connecticut and California, tells us the secret to his easy outdoor entertaining is eschewing the elaborate. “Instead of flowers that could wilt in the sun, just use greenery from your own backyard or sea grasses from the beach.”

Don’t bother purchasing a fancy outdoor furniture set, he says: “Bring indoor stuff out, and outdoor stuff in.” As for food, “A simple menu will serve you better because going back and forth between your kitchen can be daunting. But simple doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing style.”