Date: June 25, 2021 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
Outdoor Soirée: Jonathan Parkey shares his recipe for a chic, laid-back weekend on the water
During the months of June, July, and August, you don’t need to look far to find Jonathan Parkey and Chris Marsh. The couple head to Chris’s parents’ waterfront home on Lake Hamilton every chance they get. “Chris grew up coming here, and it’s a special place for us,” Jonathan says. “His mother, Janice, is a wonderful hostess, and his dad, Randy, loves to fry up catfish for a crowd. It’s fun.”
While their weekends here are all about relaxation, the designer and owner of Little Rock’s J. Parkey storefront notes they still enjoy hosting a gathering. “We love to spend all day playing out on the water. Then we’ll come back in the afternoon, change into dry clothes, and tool around the lake for another hour with a board of snacks,” Jonathan says. “Then, we’ll finally head home for the night to eat dinner. This setup is so typical of how we spend our time there.” Read on for easy ideas for your own lakeside or backyard gathering.
With a tray of cheeses, crackers, and fruit, sunset cruises around Lake Hamilton are a favorite spin on cocktail hour.
“This is a real reflection of how our family lives at the lake. We are very social and love to have people over, and from time to time we even break out the china when we’re entertaining.” —Jonathan Parkey
White flowers fill colorful vases, available at J. Parkey, for a simple centerpiece that spans the table.
Janice’s “Indian Tree” pattern and a monogrammed napkin are dressier pieces of this dinner’s place setting that are balanced with a rattan charger and rope-covered napkin rings. This juxtaposition is indicative of Jonathan’s design philosophy for both homes and gatherings.
For the main course on the back porch, the couple serves Arkansas tomatoes, corn on the cob, Chris’s summer succotash, and slaw salad alongside Randy’s famous fried catfish and French fries. For dessert, guests are served a slice of Chris’s homemade lemon icebox pie, a refreshing treat after a day on the lake.