By Zina Sheya Designs
Photos by Sara Joy Pinnell
Nostalgic All American Classic Style
With Summer in the air, I wanted to inspire you a bit with our throw together, all American style dinner party. When I say throw together, that is exactly what I mean. I created this All-American Alfresco Style table with no plan or thought, other than hot dogs and corn. In doing so, I hope that it will inspire you to think outside the box and let your creative energy out.
We placed the lounge cushions on the ground next to the table and threw on a few accent pillows from the house. Now we had the foundation for a unique, fresh and relaxing dinner party.
Table or Chaise Lounge?
Our All-American Style Table was created out of our Teak Chaise Lounges from Ikea. We removed the cushions and laid them flat. We then lined them up and just like that; we had a long yard table. We placed the lounge cushions on the ground next to the “table” and threw on a few accent pillows from the house. Now we had the foundation for a unique, fresh and relaxing dinner party. We love the soothing lounge ambiance this table creates. There is something nostalgic about lounging on the ground, surrounded by cushy pillows rather than seating at a formal upright table.
Keep it Simple
We love layering colors and textures. In our place settings, we used a combination of our metal and wicker chargers; a pure white plate, layered on a paper plaid napkin, (that we found at the dollar store) under a cloth napkin. We purposefully used a combination of napkin colors and styles on the table to give interest and pops of color. We created BBQ name cards (doubling as paperweights for when the breeze flows in). These were created from purchasing a 12x12 white, whimsical style tile mess sheet. We removed the individual tiles, then used a sharpie to write a name or message on the tile. These name cards are a super simple, inexpensive and an excellent extra detail for your place setting.
Family Style Food
What is the best way to display your food and decorate the table? Place your nibbles on wood platters and in colorful bowls; then set them down the middle of the table. Throw in a few vases (or glasses) and fill them with fresh greens and flowers from your yard. With that, you have an elegant and relaxed table—filled with great food and friends.
A traditional side dish with a fun twist.
Soak corn on the cob in water for five minutes, with the husk still on. Remove and peel back one side of husk and place them on the BBQ grill or oven. Cook them until you have a shared color on the corn. While the corn is cooking, soften a stick of butter. Chop fresh basil and thyme and mix in the butter. Remove corn from the grill and spread the butter mixture thickly over the corn. Sprinkle with sea salt and paprika.
You know the saying, rosé all day, it’s the summertime wine. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to add a little style to a glass of wine. I add a few fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a sprig of fresh thyme or mint. I know some would say it changes the flavor of the wine and while that is true, there is nothing prettier on a hot summer day than a glass of wine all dressed up. I wonder about putting a slice of watermelon in the wine, but what would the winemakers say? I know adding a slice of watermelon to a beer is refreshing.
S'mores are such a simple dessert and seem to bring out the kid in all of us. Nowadays we see s'more kits all over. You can add a little style of your own, and get the kids involved, by printing out some fun labels on brown sticky craft paper. Throw chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows into a clear bag, and then all you have to do is add the fire and stick. For some of us, you will remember taking a metal clothes hanger and unwinding to make a smore or hot dog stick—ahh the good old days.
For questions or design needs contact Zina Sheya Designs at
Has been in Interior design for 18 years. Award winning and featured in multiple publications. She is the owner of Zina Sheya Designs.
This story first appeared in Ardent
for Life Summer 2019 issue.