CQ "entertainologist" Lulu Powers' outdoor kitchen is a custom-made confection that's both charming and a workhorse. Just like the hostess herself.
If the trick to a great party is a fun host, then star caterer Lulu Powers could make a good time out of a dinner of saltines. And the palm-shaded grounds of her 1927 West Hollywood home, as effervescent as Champagne itself, make the ultimate cohost. "My husband and I are only the second owners of this property, and we wanted to keep its good energy," Powers says.
They preserved its bones but overhauled its outdoor ambience, installing a gate with stone pineapples (a symbol of welcome), and turning the porte cochere into a kitchen with help from designer Anna Warmoth of Bananas & Hammocks.
To make the floor look as storied as her interiors, Powers laid down four kinds of brick. An aged-brass Hudson Valley pendant and bronze cabinet pulls, handmade in Santa Fe by Hardware Renaissance, add timelessness.
Caesarstone created a counter with an integrated flower sink, inspired by one that Powers spotted at the famous 1928 Greystone Mansion, with an inset vessel for blooms. "I often use the flower part as an ice bucket for wine — just pull the plug at the bottom when the night's over," she says.
Eye-level shelves and custom firewood holders mean Powers has all her tools at hand for making frothy cocktails or a roaring fire on a chilly night. Warmoth's custom cabinets keep liquor, cocktail napkins and glassware dust-free; the Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue paint is finished with a marine-grade varnish.
"I've wanted a copper bar for years, but I worried it would get green," Powers says. Warmoth's solution: treating the counter and shelving with lacquer to prevent weathering. A painting from the Nantucket Cottage Hospital Thrift Shop makes the space feel homey.
The bar's undercounter KitchenAid double-drawer fridge/freezer combo has an ice maker, ideal for a last-minute sneeky. Powers says: "I keep wine in the top and make my petal ice cubes in the lower drawer. Always ready for guests!"
Get Lulu's recipe for Arugula Sneekys »
Powers's tiny yard means she can go wild with flora, with one exception: "Our backyard was getting so muddy that we put in fake grass from Southwest Greens with specks of brown in it, so it looks natural. Best investment ever! And it saves water in drought-prone L.A." The cabana was custom made by American Awning & Blind Co. in Los Angeles.
This story originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of CQ.