Bryan Batt’s Gilded Touch

Award-winning actor Bryan Batt hosts an intimate dinner to celebrate the start of Hollywood’s awards season
try of champagne on Bryan Batt's coffee table
At Bryan Batt’s awards season party, an antique terra-cotta bust of “screaming Bacchus” calls guests to a tray of Champagne. “Some prefer slender flutes, and some prefer wide-mouthed coups—especially us guys with bigger noses. We serve both styles to give guests options, and because they look better corralled on the tray—less coordinated and more collected,” Batt says.

Bryan Batt puts on a good show—on screen, on stage, and at home. Perhaps best known for his role as Salvatore Romano in AMC’s hit series Mad Men (2007-2015), the actor is also an accomplished author and designer with a penchant for hosting impromptu get-togethers to celebrate anything, everything, or nothing at all. But despite his love of fanfare, Batt prefers to stay out of the spotlight when it comes to entertaining at home. To kick off the awards season, he traded his Tom Ford tux for his J. Crew dinner jacket and planned a small but chic gathering with all the glamour and glitz of Hollywood—minus the paparazzi.

“I’ve attended my fair share of awards shows and experienced all the hoopla firsthand,” Batt says. “Being surrounded by shining stars, bright lights, and flashing cameras is surreal, but it’s also tiring and intimidating. You have to be very conscious of how you look, what you wear, and what you say at all times. Believe it or not, watching the telecasts from the comfort of home with the AC on and the loo nearby is actually a great alternative.”

actor bryan batt stands on his covered porch, wearing a suit and holding a cocktail in a martini glass
Bryan Batt on the second-story porch of the New Orleans home that he affectionately refers to as the “West Indies tree house.”

Against the artful backdrop of his New Orleans home, a late 19th-century raised Creole cottage that he shares with spouse Tom Cianfichi, Batt set the stage for an intimate evening of stargazing over drinks and dinner with friends. The luminous palette of gold, silver, and bronze, inspired by the precious metal (and highly coveted) statues and orbs awarded over the course of the season, cast a glow on the festivities. Resting on the custom travertine-topped dining table, Tiffany sterling flatware and vintage Steuben crystal hobnobbed with sleek faux-lizard chargers, chunky earthenware plates glazed in gold, and stained glass votives from Hazelnut, the Magazine Street design emporium Batt and Cianfichi founded in 2003. As the final luxe layer, oversized linen napkins in a gold damask print fanned out of feather-shaped beaded napkins rings as extravagant as red-carpet jewels.

Lighting can make or break a scene. In the dining room an heirloom Baccarat chandelier is accompanied by a pair of massive trompe l’oeil theater props that Batt and Cianfichi hardwired for use as wall sconces. The couple deems that the flea market finds were meant to be, as Batt played the part of Lumière in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.

The flowers also evoked a star-studded air. Arrangements of garden roses, spray roses, anemones, wax flower, and hypericum—in shades of golden yellow, pearly white, and champagne pink—acted as colorful counterpoints for straight-from- the-garden greenery, including magnolia branches, seeded eucalyptus, and leucadendron. Larger arrangements over owed from trophy-shaped crystal vases while silver mint julep cups were the prized pick for the smaller, tighter mounds of blossoms.

“A dear family friend gave me a silver mint julep cup as a gift to commemorate each of my opening-night performances,” Batt says. “Each cup is engraved with the name of the show and the date. They are among my most cherished pieces, but they’re also among my most frequently used. I always say, ‘Don’t be afraid to break out the good stuff.’ Never save it for a more special occasion because there is no occasion more special than the gathering of great friends. After all, they’re the real A-Listers.”

Don’t miss Bryan’s six dinner party rules for an ovation-worthy gathering.

Bryan Batt’s Entertaining Style

An antique Sumatran headdress and an oversized vintage candlestick lamp bring drama to a clean-lined custom console.
“You’re never too young or too old to start a collection,” Batt says. At age 12, he selected his own silver pattern, Shell and Thread, while shopping with his mother at Tiffany. He inherited his collection of Steuben crystal from his father, who, as an adult, began amassing stemware and more obscure pieces like shot glasses.
“I love using old things in new ways,” says Batt of the 18th-century French armoire repurposed as a wet bar. The interior of the “bar-moire” is equipped with an ice maker and a sink made from a 17th-century Asian vessel and is adorned with vintage art, an antique giltwood mirror, and metal palm fronds by artist Mario Villa. Batt’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards stand proudly on an antique walnut table alongside a reverse-decoupage tray designed for Batt’s New Orleans shop, Hazelnut.
“I thank January Jones for introducing me to the Uva Bella,” Batt says of his favorite cocktail, made with gin, elder flower liqueur, lemon juice, white grapes, and orange bitters. “It looks festive and tastes refreshing—even for those of us who don’t like gin.” Champagne-flavored gummy bears complement the palate and the palette.

Produced and written by Margaret Zainey Roux | Photography by Kerri McCaffety

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