Candles flickering, music up, hand-made margaritas on deck: that’s how Partners Trust Founding Partner F. Ron Smith and his wife, Tracy, throw a summertime soiree in their Brentwood abode. The couple recently transformed their Ranch-style home—which they originally purchased in 1999—into a brand new 6-bed/8-bath retreat worthy of year-round entertaining amongst family and friends. Finding a compromise between farmhouse (Tracy) and modern (F. Ron) styles of architecture, they were always in agreement about a few particulars: incredible indoor-outdoor flow, large grassy yard, and a dedicated entertainment level with billiards table, media room, full bar, and wine vault.
With longer days in full swing, we thought we’d take the opportunity to ask Tracy and F. Ron how they’re gearing up for a season of hosting. From floral arrangements to party favors and composing the perfect charcuterie board, the Smiths have it all dialed in, and their home will certainly inspire your summer outdoor entertaining.
What’s your one biggest secret to hosting an epic summer soiree?
F. Ron Smith: Tacos and Tequila, hands down.
What is the typical vibe of a Smith family-hosted event?
Tracy Smith: “Simple yet elegant” is our prescribed theme for any party we throw. Our guests can always expect there to be an assemblage of votive candles, fresh flowers in one color scheme—using Mason jars, as they are the easiest to arrange in. I also love mixing and matching my supply of linen napkins (although they are not too fun to wash and iron afterwards).
Can you enlighten us about your typical menu, from apps to desserts?
FRS: If I’m not manning the BBQ, Tracy will typically whip up some salads at room temp, poached salmon, or skirt steak tacos…although her go-to recipe is Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella—it was the first thing that she made for me when we started dating.
TS: I always prepare a charcuterie board to have out as guests arrive for cocktails! I love to arrange special cheeses and salami with dried fruits and interesting nuts and seeds from the Brentwood Farmers Market. I use a huge cutting board to serve it on, with small pretty bowls that hold the nuts and mini pickles. This process is extremely simple, looks super gourmet, and is always a crowd-pleaser. Dessert is usually Coconut Cake from Sweet Lady Jane on Montana and something chocolate like brownies or chocolate chip cookies.
Do you prefer make-ahead summer dishes or a catering service? A sit-down dinner or small plates to be eaten throughout the evening?
TS: We prefer buffet-style or big platters (served family-style) that rest on the table.
What’s your go-to cocktail? Is it themed per the event?
TS: Wine and champagne (or sparkling wine) and Rosé all summer-long. I prefer the dry, blush-colored varieties as opposed to the super sweet, dark pink ones.
FRS: I’ll make hand-made margaritas with fresh lemon, lime, a touch of agave and the best tequila. No salt and on the rocks—boom!
What type of music provides the perfect summer party ambiance?
TS: My husband and I are very partial to the music of our growing-up years (70’s and 80’s). During the summer, Sirius XM has a channel called Yacht Rock which plays all the mellow oldies that I cherish. Old R&B can also make for very good dinner music and if all else fails, The Beatles please everyone.
What kind of lighting do you go for, both indoors and out?
TS: Candles make everyone look fab—you can’t have enough!
FRS: Torches placed around any backyard/patio space also adds a nice touch to the overall ambience.
What role does your home play in the evening?
TS: Both versions of our Canyon View abode—the one-story, Ranch-style home of past years and brand-new modern farmhouse of present day—had/have ample indoor/outdoor spaces to live in. For entertaining, it’s wonderful to have a family room that leads right out to the backyard as this layout facilitates such a comfortable extension of the indoors—not to mention, it’s ideal for party flow. I love to seat everyone at one big table outside for an alfresco dinner experience.
FRS: When the house was small, we really relished our outdoor space, taking advantage of the huge sectional couch, comfy chairs, fire pit and television—all of which made the house feel 10x larger.
Are there specific brands that you swear by?
TS: I read a few “lifestyle” blogs for simple table setting and party inspiration, such as the one by Jenni Kayne, and I also follow a lot of home decor designers on Instagram. I’m fond of the linens made by Heather Taylor Home and also love to do add party favors at my guests’ place setting (the clear cubes of Champagne gummy bears from Sugarfina make such a celebratory impression).
169 North Canyon View Drive is listed with Partners Trust Smith & Berg Team. For more information on this property, click here.