Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'll Just Take a Minute of Your Time...

Katie Lee Joel's townhouse, photo courtesy of Hooked on Houses

A close up of the seating area courtesy of decorpad
My computer has another virus (the 2nd one within 3 days!!), so I am using my mom's computer to finish a few documents for clients. I thought I'd write a quick post on a room that I love, Katie Lee Joel's New York townhouse living room designed by Nate Berkus. I like the mix of colors, the blues, the browns, the grays... The room has a sophisticated formality, but because of the fresh color palate and interesting furniture combination seems young and vibrant. Another thing that caught my attention about this room is the use of metal. The soft texture of the velvet, used on all the furniture, warms up the metal. The texture of the velvet, the rug, the pop of gold, make it lush but not stuffy. There is a lot of detail in this room, but because the color palate is minimal, it has a quiet formal simplicity. And it has a settee over by the stair!! Today's little luxury is looking at a beautiful room for inspiration!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

To A Luxurious and Relaxing Weekend!!!

Yves Delorme Linens

Some days nothing would be more luxurious than to climb into a big bed full of fine white linens with a big stack of magazines and a pot of tea!! Like sleeping on a big fluffy cloud of down!! To a luxurious and relaxing weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

From Inspiration to Reality.....

I have blogged about my fondness for Canadian House and Home magazine and its website several times. I love to watch the videos and stumbled upon the episode about the 2009 Princess Margaret Hospital Showhouse Living Room. The architecture of the house was based upon European farmhouse design. The interiors have a Belgium influence. Lynda Reeves, former editor of the magazine and the PMH showhouse coordinator, describes the living room as, very grown up in style, traditional with a hip flair and trendy influences and a warm spice color palate.

I love the elegant simplicity of the room. The lightwood floors, the minimal use of accessories, the beautiful linen fabrics and the natural elements throughout give the room its Belgium flavor. What struck me about this room is the gorgeous fabric on the ottoman; it is the one pop of pattern in the room. As the camera zoomed on the fabric I thought it would be perfect as curtains in one of my client's dens!! Lynda said, in the video, all decorative fabrics were by Kravit and that the patterened linen on the ottoman was by Ralph Lauren. A little searching around the internet and I found out the pattern was Divima Linen Paisley color onyx. I ordered a sample, showed my client the video and a printed color picture of the fabric and she loved it!! I hope the actual sample looks as great in the room as the printed version!! I will keep you posted on the progress. Just shows, inspiration can be anywhere. This is one of the reasons I love Canadian House and Home Magazine!

2009 Princess Margaret Hospital Showhouse Living Room

View of the inspirational ottoman

Ralph Lauren for Kravit - Divima Paisley in Onyx

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inspired By Martha, A Grilled Cheese Challenge.......

I caught the episode of Oprah, the other day, that featured Martha Stewart. To say I am inspired by Martha, is an understatement. I am not only inspired by her creativity and business acumen, but by the way she conducted herself during her whole "unfortunate incarceration" (see my blog entitled Martha, Martha, Martha!! 5/25/10) - but I digress.......
During her appearance on Oprah, Martha made "grown up" grilled cheese sandwiches. She had all kinds of combinations: gruyere, procuitto, arugula and tomato on white... fontina, harissa, and pear on rye.....cheddar, jalapeno and cilantro on white, to name a few. She also had tips on how to perfectly grill the sandwich.
I love grilled cheese!! It, to me, is the perfect comfort food. When I was first pregnant, a toasty, warm, silky smooth grilled cheese was the only thing I could keep down!! During Martha's presentation, I was salivating!! She suggested having a grilled cheese bar as a party theme; please invite me!! A gourmet grilled cheese and a glass of crisp white wine sounds like a perfect evening to me!!
I was inspired to develop my own combination and challenged myself to come up with one from ingredients already in my house. Below is my creation - not as creative as Martha, perhaps and my pictures aren't expertly styled as hers (I took them in actual time as I cooked) - but, please enjoy.

Mozzarella, asiago, pesto and roasted red pepper on 8 grain bread....

I buttered the backs of both bread slices and
covered the inside with pesto

Added mozzarella, asiago and roasted red pepper
to one side of the bread.

Covered the roasted red pepper with another
layer of the 2 cheeses to help the bread stick
to the roasted pepper.

Grilled the sandwich on a panini press. Buttering
the bread first gives it lovely dark, crisp grill marks.
I served it with nice crisp, sweet honeycrisp apple
What I like about this combination is that the mozzarella's mild flavor and great melting ability works well with the sharpness of the asiago. The sweetness of the roasted red pepper goes nicely with the sharp taste of the asiago, while the pesto adds a herbed freshness. It would go well with a nice crisp sauvignon blanc, but I had it for lunch so I had sparkling water.
The combinations are endless when it comes to this great sandwich type; I challenge you to come up with a grown up grilled cheese sandwich with ingredients available in your kitchen today. What can you come up with?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Decorating With A Box Of Chocolates.......

Yummy Godiva chocolates dressed for the season

It's Halloween weekend and candy is on everybody's mind!! I am not going to lie..... I am a chocoholic!! I love chocolate, dark, rich, smooth and aromatic. When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better for me please!! I love the crisp sound it makes when breaking a chunk off of a bar!! My love for chocolate goes far beyond the taste, I love the color. To me, nothing is as welcoming as a dark chocolate brown velvet chair or sofa; it looks so cozy and relaxing. I love the way velvet feels on the skin, simply luxurious!! Like biting into the most decadent dark truffle!!

Years ago, when I was contemplating my first real furniture purchase, I saw a dark chocolate brown velvet sofa in the Ethan Allen catalog. As I recall, it was in a white room with low bookshelves below the windows, lots of books piled around and cream colored pillows. The shape of the sofa and the color were exactly what I wanted for my first purchase. I went to purchase it, but decided on a dark caramel colored velvet and upgraded the sofa model also. But my love for chocolate brown interiors never faded. I painted my kitchen and eating area brown. I love the look of cream cabinets and brown walls!!

Chocolate brown goes with so many colors; it is a nice contrast against cream, nice with pinks, blues, greens..... the possibilities are endless!! Think of a box of chocolates, the different hues of the milk and dark chocolate work very well together. Think of how the colors of the fillings look with the chocolate, the pinks, the raspberries, the lavenders, the creams, the whites, the mint greens and blues let this be your color pairing guide.

Below are photos of rooms with chocolate brown; I have included many, because just as when I'm eating chocolate, I couldn't stop!! Real Halloween eye candy sure to satisfy your decorating sweet tooth!! Happy Halloween!!

All above photos from Decorpad

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just Add Flowers........

You need little more than a vase full of one type of flower to dress a table or other empty surface in a room. When in doubt on how to address the empty surface, add a vase of flowers and a stack of books or a few other objects. Vary the heights if adding 2 or 3 vases of flowers and you will have a lovely little vignette without much effort. Simple, beautiful, elegant and easy. Add flowers to your Friday, it is an effortless luxury!!

Photos from Sarah Richardson, Mariette Himes Gomez, Decorpad and my house!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have A Settee At The End of My Bed.......

Yesterday I blogged about my fondness for settees at dining tables. My other favorite place for a settee is at the end of a bed. I love this look!! An upholstered headboard with a settee acting as a foot board is such a chic, luxurious and functional look!! A bedroom is a room for relaxing, why not add another space to lounge? I always imagine a glamorous scene, sitting on the settee, at the end of the bed having a cocktail before going out for a fabulous evening..... having a romantic chat with a significant other while seated on the settee at the end of the day..... starting out the day with a cup of coffee and a book while lounging on the settee.... I have a settee at the end of my bed and have done none of the above on it, but a girl can dream, can't she?; and what better place to do it than at a settee at the end of your bed.......
Enjoy the pictures to follow!!

This room, by Frank Roop, is one of my all time favorite bedrooms!! It's chic, sophisticated and urban feel makes me want to put on a jazz record and have a cocktail. I would have friends for cocktails in this bedroom!!

This bedroom, by Mariette Himes Gomaz, is another of my all time favorite bedrooms. It's soft tones and upscale furnishings would be like waking up in a luxurious hotel suite everyday!!

Photos sourced from Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Vicente Wolf

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dining on a Settee......

I love settees!!! A settee is a small or medium sized sofa for 2 or more people, with a back and usually with arms. Settees date back to the 17th century Europe, which shows that well designed pieces or archetypes never go out of style!! I think that settees are appropriate in many settings (foreshadow to future blog....), but my favorite use is at a dining table.
I first became enthralled with the settee when I first moved into my house; I have a kitchen with a breakfast nook that is also open to a dining room. I didn't want to enter the kitchen and see a table with chairs looking onto a table with chairs. I thought a settee would be a perfect solution for this space; as luck would have it, the day I moved in there was an estate sale in my neighborhood and they had 2 settees available!! I fell in love with one, it had wood arms and legs and a simple straight lined upholstered back. It was from the 1950's and the price was good, but alas, sigh, it had a big stain on the seat. I was planning on having it reupholstered anyway, but the owner had several cats and I was afraid it was a urine stain and I would never be able to get rid of the smell; I could get new stuffing, but was worried about the wood and the springs being sprayed also. On to settee number 2 - it had a wing back and was quite charming. I bought it , took it home and it sat in my basement for 2 years until I found a Mitchell Gold settee that sits in my breakfast nook now. Settee number 2 ended up at Goodwill and I hope it found a good home!!
There are several reasons I like settees in dining areas: First of all, I love the look of them, I like the soft upholstered surface in a kitchen area, I like the unexpected element of it at a table, I like that they add a pop of color or pattern to a space, I like that they are comfortable and people can lounge when watching you cook, I like that they remind me of dining in a restaraunt (in my own home) and I like the fact that they encourage people to linger after a meal and have a glass of wine or coffee. In short, I am a big fan of the settee!!
Below are a few photos I found of settees in dining areas (including mine). Enjoy!!

My Breakfast Nook........
All other photos from, Elle Decor, Canadian House and Home, Sarah Richardson Design,
Decorpad, Barbara Barry and Frank Roop Design