Pull up a chair, doll. You’re just in time to meet our fabulously chic friend, Alexa Hampton, a world-renowned interior designer and the president of Mark Hampton, the design firm founded by her late father, one of the all-time great interior designers. A perennial member of Architectural Digest’s AD100 and House Beautiful‘s Top Designers list as well as a member of Elle Decor’s A-List, Alexa is also the author of two fabulous books on interior design. Talk about talent running in the family. As if that weren’t enough, Alexa, who told us she wishes she could go back in time to attend a Parisian artists’ salon in the late 1800s, was also named one of Cosmopolitan magazine’s “fun, fearless females.” Clearly, she’s our kind of dame. So, what do you say, sugar? How ’bout we raise a cold glass of red wine – we’ll explain – and listen in as our friend and designer-extraordinaire spills her secrets on everything from how to make your home a great entertaining space to her favorite dinnerware collections.
Your entertaining style?
I like lots of wine and loud laughter and not being too dressy. And I love beautiful surroundings.
Best or most memorable party you’ve ever attended?
My wedding in Greece was pretty great. Four hundred people on a cliff overlooking the Aegean with a full moon, fireworks, DJ Johnny Dynell, lots of wine and shots passed around on the dance floor. We dance the danced night away until 7:30 am.
Alexa with her husband, Pavlos Papageorgiou
Dream dinner partner?
My father. I’d like to see him, kiss him, hug him and tell him all about his grandchildren.
How do you stay party ready?
I always have to go out beforehand. There’s always wine at our house but, unless my guests were to want chicken noodle soup, Cheerios or egg white omelets, I’m unprepared. I’d run out for olives, hunks of Parmesan and Manchego, some Brie, rice crackers, a baguette, broccoli rabe, sausages, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, Boston Bibb lettuce and porterhouse steaks on the bone. My husband is our house chef and he is fantastic!
Best way to make your home a great entertaining space?
Have lots of chairs kicking around in corners. Beyond that, be happy. If the host is relaxed and happy, the guests always have a better time.
Room by Alexa Hampton
Your top tip for getting your home party ready?
My best tip is to have your house look great all the time, full stop. Have candlesticks and a centerpiece of some kind permanently located on your dining table. That way you’ll be ready to go. Just grab some fresh flowers on the way home.
Best conversation piece in your home?
My husband. He is really fun and always keeps the party going…until he falls asleep, sometimes even at the dinner table. Our friends have come to expect it. At that point, I take over. I’m the night owl.
Let’s play favorites…
Color – My favorites are expanding. Blue is the longest standing one. Purple is a new fave.
Flower – Anemones
Champagne – I’m not a huge champagne person. I invariably get a headache from it. However, Veuve Cliquot is nice. I also like Krug.
Linens – Leontine Linens
Monogrammed cocktail napkins from Leontine Linens
Party food – Bread and cheese, pigs in a blanket, cheddar cheese burgers, Pasta Bolognese, cheese soufflé and caviar pie
Cocktail – Red wine on ice. Repulsive, I know, but I love it.
Dishes – Aptware. I’m also in love with Spode’s Greek and Queen Charlotte patterns.
Glassware – Baccarat Harmonie, and I love – but don’t have – Puiforcat’s silver champagne goblets
Harmonie by Baccarat
Party resource – Glorious Foods caterers
Comfy shoe for dancing – Prada sky-high heels are, strangely, very comfortable.
Party dress designer – Oscar de la Renta or Issa
Hostess gift – A bottle of wine or champagne.
Three party pet-peeves?
If I’ve gotten myself so stressed out that I’m sweaty
If it rains and there’s no cover
If I forgot I was going to a party on grass and I’ve worn the kind of heels that sink into the dirt
Three party must-haves?
Good food and drink
What will you wish for this year when you blow out your birthday candles?
Another year of health and happiness for my family and friends.
We’ll drink to that. Thanks, doll, for stopping by.