Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Tis the Season for Dwell Studio Holiday Decor!


I receive so many catalogs this time of year. Though it kind of drives me nuts, I usually look through each one (quickly) and find some holiday inspiration or a gift idea. The most inspiring catalog lately? Dwell Studio's Holiday 2013. The holiday specific pieces are super chic and modern, but what I love is the use of things they carry all year. The sparkle of gold candleholders and objects, mixed with seasonal garlands makes for a beautiful holiday setting. I love every page but here are a few of my favorites.
This wreath is made from the Wire Prism Objet (gold leaves not included). The other items are available all year, and still, how festive!

Mercury glass is available all year as well but is even more appropriate in this little tree shape. This is where I would stress the word inspiration, since they are sold out. Try Home Goods or West Elm for great pieces with this finish. 

Felt garlands are a good investment since they'll last for years. I imagine the Evergreen Garland will sell out like the Jubilee Garland has so order them soon if you're a fan! Or try Jamali Garden, West Elm or Etsy for amazing garlands in a multitude of colors. 


Happy Holiday Decorating!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I.O. Metro & the color BLUE

When I was asked by I.O. Metro to be a guest blogger, I was extremely excited! The Arkansas-based home decor retailer opened its Dallas store this past March and it is gorgeous. The store is a mix of rustic and modern furnishings, rich in color and textures, accented with metallic accessories. You really will want to take the entire store home! Go here to find a location near you.

I'm sure you've noticed that the color blue has been trending like crazy this year. I.O. Metro does the color quite well with their Fall collection. The Utica sofa...well it's is just delicious! So hop on over to their blog HERE to check out my furniture picks and tips for using the color blue in your interior. I think you're going to love it. Enjoy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY: Adding Glam to a Vintage Coffee Table

I haven't taken on an interior design project in quite a long time. Many years actually. When a friend called recently requesting my services for a late 1940's Tudor-style home in South Carolina, I couldn't say no. Tudors are my favorite type of home. Full of character and surprises! We've just completed a full bathroom and kitchen renovation and the home is coming along great. I hope to share the finished project with you in the next few months. I'm so excited!

Shopping around in Charleston last week I found the most amazing coffee table at Page's Thieves Market. My client's style is very Hollywood Glam so the elaborate white table base was perfect. It just needed a little bling. Using Rub n' Buff (gold leaf), my new favorite product, it instantly went from a boring white to a dazzling metallic gold.

Rub n' Buff if very easy to use. Just wipe on a little at a time using a dry cloth onto a porous material. Buff with the cloth until it has the sheen that you want. That's it! Check out the Before/After below.

Click here for more ways to use Rub 'n Buff.

Monday, December 2, 2013

DIY: A Console for a Small Space

I have a really small dining room. So small that my area rug is 5 feet-by-5 feet. Nonetheless, I've been on the hunt for the perfect storage buffet and with such specific needs, it's no surprise that I never found it. Those specific needs you ask? 
  1. If it has doors they need to be sliding doors (or have none at all).
  2. It can't be ugly or deeper than 12 inches. 
  3. I need it to have a bit of storage.
  4. I don't want a natural wood finish.
  5. I prefer a modern style. 
  6. The list goes on… 
So far everything readily available has not worked, until now.
I started thinking outside-the-box and realized I needed to repurpose something if I wasn't willing to pay a professional to build something for me. While shopping for other reasons, I was inspired by the Carlson Tower at CB2. It's perfect size and price got me thinking. Let's turn it on it's side. Table legs are easy to get, and I ordered four of these 24 inch hairpin legs online. For kicks, I got a quote to see how much it would be to plate each leg in a satin brass. It would be $175 each, so I decided to skip it.  (*but can always do it later!)  

Tools needed:
  • Screw gun
  • Steel drill bit
  • Machine screws, bolts & flat washers
  • Paper or painter's tape 

Optional tools (but not tested for this project):
  • Right angle drill
  • Counter sink bit
  1. Place legs and trace holes with a marker
  2. Tape over the marks.  *Tape will prevent the drill from slipping and sliding off your mark, avoiding major scratches.  It's going to be the bottom, but why not keep it pretty?
  3. Attach the legs with screws, bolts & washers. Tighten with a wrench. 
One not-so-great detail is this one. I didn't have a right angle drill, so I wasn't able to counter sink the screws.  It'll work for now.
     Voilà! The perfect sized console for a small dining space.

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    The Ultimate Home Garage

    Who's says a garage can't be stylish? Well indeed it can be! I had the pleasure of photographing the home of interior designer Rita Hendricks and her husband Dennis Reed. In their backyard, they have created the most amazing, stylish, organized motorcycle garage ever! I really enjoyed shooting this home tour. It was nice to photograph such a unique space. I'm sure you're going to enjoy the feature. Hop on over to Houzz and check out the complete home tour HERE. Have a great weekend!

    Monday, November 18, 2013

    Home Depot's Holiday Style Challenge

    I had such a blast participating in the Home Depot Holiday Style Challenge. Go HERE to check out my finished space!

    I know a lot of fellow apartment dwellers feel discouraged when it comes to decorating for the holidays. Your space is too small for a tree, you have to work around mediocre finishes, or you'd just rather wait to decorate your future amazing house. Don't fret! Decorate away!! Your apartment is your home, and you should make it feel as such. A few quick tips when decorating a rental is to use small thumb tacks instead of nails. The holes can easily be filled with white tooth paste or spackling paste. For larger pieces of art, use an easel instead of mounting on the wall. If there's no room for a large tree, try a smaller tree on a table top or in front of a fireplace. They key is to think outside of the box. You may have to be a little creative but you can definitely make your home feel festive and full of cheer. Happy Holidays!
    And a special thank you to my friends Cerissa, Garland, Kelli, Karie, Gina and Tammi for all of your help!

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    FRIDAY'S DISH: Easier Than Pie!

    What exactly does it mean when I hear folks saying "easy as pie"? The last time I checked, making pie wasn't all that easy. Achieving the perfect pie crust requires a lot of skill, the right conditions and ingredients, and a bit of trial and error. 

    This is why I have found a way to circumvent the whole pie crust alchemy thing. At this time of year my FAVORITE store, Trader Joe's (or as I affectionately call it, TJ's) has the most delicious ready-made pie dough in the freezer section. They have puff pastry too but for this application the pie dough is perfect. I'm talking about making an unbelievably easy apple crostata. 
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thawing the rolled up dough on the counter, I got to work on the bag of organic gala apples I picked up. This was the hardest part and it wasn't hard at all. I peeled cored and sliced them, then sautéed the juicy pile in lots of Irish butter. As if it couldn't get any better, I then sprinkled them with about a third cup of light brown sugar, a half teaspoonful of cinnamon, an eighth teaspoon of allspice, fresh grated nutmeg and a pinch of salt. When the apples were slightly softened I dumped it into a bowl to cool. 
    By this time the dough is pliable enough to unroll onto a heavy cookie sheet and repair any cracks that happen in the process. I piled the apple filling into the center of the dough and folded the edges up and around to overlap. To make things even more delicious I dotted the top with butter. Brushing the crust with even more melted butter, I sprinkled with granulated sugar, and baked until golden brown (about 25 min). The result is warm apple pie that couldn't be easier. 

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Photograph Those Holiday Feasts!


    Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! As you get those recipes ready, be sure to have your camera standing by as well. A dinner party always happens way too quickly, especially if you’re the host(ess), so get a few of those moments on film! A few of my favorite, self-imposed rules are listed below. These should leave you with at least a few good photos and more importantly, you’ll (hopefully) enjoy yourself as well.    

    1) Use natural and ambient light (I prefer to avoid the flash in almost all situations). I love this incredible centerpiece photo via The Kitchn and the story about this gathering is full of other great party tips.

    2) Handwritten menus and/or place cards are a nice touch. Photograph those details. This picture is from a wedding. It's clean & simple and so perfect for any autumn meal.

    3) Candid shots like this one feel natural, and after a few glasses of wine, your guests probably won't mind being in a picture or two. This also makes good use of he ambient light.

    photos via Instagram

    4) Overhead pictures of a table always look great, even if the food is half-eaten. If a hand makes it in to the shot, even better! Shoot a 'toast' from that angle as well. Cheers!

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Art for Interiors


    Just because it’s a piece of art doesn’t mean it has to be loaded with important references. What if it’s just pretty? And looks good with my sofa? One of my professors at NYU had a few words for the art he didn’t like, “it’s not art, it’s interior decorating.” But there is nothing wrong with that! If it’s important to you and happens to looks good with the upholstery in the room, that's all the meaning it needs.

    Last week’s Design Sponge podcast featured the artist, Zoë Pawlak. She began her career doing commissioned works for interior designers in order to make a living. This piece reminds me of agate, and like the mineral, this artwork would bring a pop of color to any room.  

    This painting, also by Zoë Pawlak, amps up an otherwise traditional interior.  
    The art definitely makes the room, wouldn't you agree?  

    A bedroom that is much more serene, thanks to one of Pawlak's sublime landscapes. It must have also been a commission, as it fits the wall perfectly.  

    Every Forgiveness Bends is my current favorite and it would look fantastic above my new sofa. Though $4,800 is a totally fair price for an original piece measuring 40" x 60", it is a purchase that will have to wait. For others that don't have hundreds (or thousands) to spend, she will be selling drawings for the budget conscious collectors. I'll definitely be on the lookout for those! 

    •   •   •

    Here are a few other great sources for affordable art:

    (in New York City)

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Currently Obsessed: Pantone Rug Collection

    Home Decorators Collection recently debuted a new rug collection by Pantone™ and it is stunning! The colors are vibrant and the patterns are bold and graphic. Shop the entire Pantone™ Collection here.

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    SALE ALERT: Restoration Hardware Dining Chairs

    Happy Monday all! While shopping for dining chairs over the weekend, I came across this awesome sale at Restoration Hardware. There's not many left, but if you're in the market for modern dining chairs, hop on over to RH and snag a few at an amazing price. The chairs are starting at $39! Yes, you read that correctly. Isn't that insane? They come in 17" side chair, 24" counter stool & 30" barstool height with stained or painted finishes. You can't beat this deal. Enjoy!

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Design Trends: All About Agate!


    When it comes to design trends, I’m not one to rearrange my life to accommodate the newest look. However, when it’s a style that I already like, I’m ecstatic. Reasons being, there is more of it available and I'll automatically become much more hip. Right now, there is a rock and mineral theme that’s making it’s way on to store shelves and yes, I’m overjoyed.  
    Decorative Tie Backs - get the DIY here

    For those who like to bring bright hues into a room via textiles and objects, agate adds that bit of color, naturally.  
    Marble Print Pillow • West Elm
    Luce Agate Lamp • Rablabs

    Get ready for the holiday entertaining with some of these lovely objects below. 

    Clockwise from top:
    Agate Ornaments • West Elm
    Brazilian Agate Bookends • The Evolution Store
    Agate Cheese Sets • Uncommon Goods
    Garra Bottle Stoppers • Rablabs 

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    Fresh Flowers and Succulents :: Fall Centerpiece by GRO Designs

    Last week I had the opportunity to visit GRO Designs here in Dallas. Creative Director Nathan Johnson created a beautiful Fall-inspired tablescape of hydrangeas, roses and succulents. It was so awesome to see him in action, he made it seem so effortless. Check out the complete feature here over on Houzz. Nathan shares some easy-to-follow steps to create this arrangement in your own home.

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Colors and Patterns Houzz Tour

    My latest home tour on Houzz is the lovely abode of Steve and Amber Frazee. Amber is the owner of the Dallas home furnishings store StellaDallas. Her use of pattern and color is incredible. Honestly, I don't know how she does it. She has this ability to mix and blend florals, graphic prints and stripes in a way that no one else can. This home just makes you happy. The pops of bright colors on crisp white walls is exhilarating. You can check out the complete home tour and more photos HERE. Enjoy!

    FRIDAY'S DISH: Braising Goddess


    I watch a lot of food television. I mean A LOT of food television and one of my favorite television chefs is Nigella Lawson. She has the most delicious way of describing the food she is making. Her recipes leap off of the screen and she is not afraid to make a bit of a mess. What seems most important to her is the end result. Overall, she’s my kind of cook.  In addition to her glorious descriptive skills, her dishes are no muss, no fuss. Each time I have tried to make something I’ve seen on her show things turn out pretty darn good. With a few modifications, as evidenced by the accompanying pictures, the following recipe was no exception.

    With the weather getting colder I thought it would be a good time to trot out some of the braising recipes I’ve collected over the years, and Nigella’s braised pork knuckle is one I was itching to try. I was also elated to pick up a few apples from the Greenmarket in Jackson Heights near my apartment. I was able to use some in this recipe and some in a recipe for braised kale. I picked up that simple recipe right there at the market. When all was said and done, I had braised my way to a hearty cold weather meal.

    NOTE: This recipe is not mine and all credit goes to the kitchen Goddess, Nigella Lawson and another skillful cook, Ashley Rafalow.

    Beer Braised Pork Knuckles with Caraway, Garlic, Apples and Potatoes
    From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Copyright (c) 2010 Nigella Lawson. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.
    Total Time: 3 hr 25 min
    Prep: 25 min
    Cook: 3 hr
    Level: Easy
    Yield: 6 servings
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
    • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 pork knuckles or hocks, rind scored
    • 2 onions
    • 2 eating apples, cored and quartered
    • 4 baking potatoes, or 2 pounds other large white skinned potatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise
    • 2 cups good amber or dark ale (not Guinness or stout)
    • 2 cups boiling water
    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the salt and caraway seeds into a bowl, mince or grate in the garlic, and stir to combine. Add the pork knuckles and rub them well with the caraway mixture, getting it into the slits in the rind where it was scored.

    Peel the onions and slice them into rounds and add them to the bottom of a roasting tin, making a bed or platform. Sit the knuckles on top of the onions and cook them for 30 minutes.

    Take the tin out of the oven and quickly arrange the apples and potatoes around the knuckles. Carefully pour 1 cup of the beer over the knuckles, so they are basted as the liquid pours into the tin. Put the pan back into the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and roast for 2 hours.

    Turn the oven up again to 425 degrees F, and baste the hocks with the remaining beer. Roast for 30 minutes more.

    Remove the tin from the oven and transfer the apples and potatoes to a warmed serving dish. Lift the knuckles onto a carving board and leave the onion and juices in the tin. Put the tin on the stove over medium heat and add 2 cups boiling water, stirring to deglaze the pan to make a gravy. Transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.

    Take the crackling off the knuckles and break it into pieces, then add them to a serving bowl. Pull or carve the pork meat and add it to the bowl with the crackling. Serve with the apples, potatoes, gravy and some German mustard.

    Make Ahead Note: 

    The pork and onions can be put in roasting tin up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Just before cooking, rub with the salt, caraway and garlic and cook as directed. 

    Making leftovers right: 

    Leftover pork can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 3 days. Eat it cold or reheat gently in a saucepan with leftover gravy, until piping hot. You should store any leftover gravy in a separate airtight container in the in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

    Leftover pork can be frozen for up to 2 months, tightly wrapped in foil, then defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. Even if you have an amount too small to be useful by itself (a likely outcome), simply bag and mark it up and freeze it for future use in the Pantry Paella recipe.

    Kale with Apple & Onion
    Recipe by Ashley Rafalow, Market Manager
    Serves 4 as a side dish
    • 1 head of kale, roughly chopped (keep ribs and stems on!)
    • 1cipolliini onion, diced
    • 1 apple, preferably fuji, gala or empire, diced
    • 12 oz apple cider
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    *Ingredients available seasonally at your neighborhood Greenmarket
    Heat olive oil over medium heat.
    Add onions, sauté until translucent
    Add apples, cook until slightly softened and browned, about two minutes.
    Add chopped kale. Sautee briefly until kale begins to wilt.
    Add half of the apple cider, reduce heat to a simmer.
    Cover and cook until kale is softened, about 5-7 minutes.
    Remove lid and continue to simmer kale until cider is reduced by 2/3, about 10 minutes. If kale begins to stick, add more water.
    Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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