The co-founder of the Panacea Collective invites us into her Tarrytown neighborhood home.
Autumn Rich takes decorating cues from her house. From an 1890s brownstone in her Washington, D.C., days to her current 1970s-era townhouse in Austin’s Tarrytown neighborhood, architecture catches her eye and drives décor. When Rich saw the concrete floors and private backyard pool at her current home, she was taken back to midcentury Palm Springs, Calif. For the past three years, she’s kept its nostalgic spirit alive with soirees and pool parties because if anything informs her design sense more than architecture, it’s a space’s potential for entertaining.
“I want people to come into my home and feel like they are enveloped in a very welcoming feeling, that they can be free to express themselves,” she says.
An event planner by trade, Rich loves hosting at her home too. She’s ready to play hostess for any gathering, but dinner parties are her favorite. Like her home, they “harken back to that midcentury entertainment.” While the art of the dinner party might seem to be fading in a digitally driven world, Rich maintains it’s a “lovely way to spend an evening with friends.”
From executing festivals and producing private celebrity events to planning presidential parties, Rich has played a role in orchestrating some of the biggest events in the country. While glamorous, the specialty cocktails and elaborate menus do not a party make. For Rich, the success of any event hinges on conversation and inviting the right people.
“They’re going to remember who they sat by. They’re not going to really remember what they ate unless something goes terribly wrong or terribly right, but they’re going to remember who they talked to and how they felt,” she says. “And I want them to go away feeling like they felt special.”
Rich has entertained countless socialites and politicians as part of her dinner-party repertoire, but she has two dream guests left on her bucket list: Anna Wintour and Bruce Springsteen. That would be her perfect party.
AUTUMN RICH’S TIPS FOR HOSTING A DINNER PARTY
Plan ahead: “If a host is stressed, your guests are probably not having a great time.”
Do what you know: Autumn Rich rotates between a few favorite recipes when planning a menu. Three of her go-to dishes are beef tenderloin, paella and salmon.
Have fun with the décor: “I love to go up and down and do something really formal or something eclectic and funky.”
HER FAVORITE LOCAL PARTY-PREPPING SPOTS
Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods