Monday, December 28, 2009

1 of 2 recipes

I am not a cook and I don't pretend to be, I set of my fire alarm at least 2 to 3 times each year. But there are two things that I do enjoy making and that I haven't messed up yet. The first is a bread pudding with Panettone Bread (Italian Christmas Bread) I bet you have seen it in the grocery store or been given one as a gift and wondered what the hell to do with it (besides maybe make french toast.) Well here is what I do...

Panettone Bread Putting with Cinnamon Sauce

Cinnamon Sauce
-1 cup water
-1 cup brown sugar
-4 tablespoons whipping cream
-1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Bread Pudding
-1 (1-pound) loaf of Panettone bread, but into 1" inch cubes
-8 eggs
-1.5 cups whipping cream
-2.5 cups whole milk
-1.25 cups sugar
-Amaretto Liquor...just pour it.

For the bread pudding, pull out your pyrex and butter her up. Put in the bread cubes and spread them out in an even layer. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, amaretto, and sugar to blend. Pour it over the bread cubes and press the cubes gently to submerge them in all of the happiness. Let it stand for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for about 45 minutes. It's sooooo damn good.

For the cinnamon sauce (which I usually make while the thing is baking) combine the water and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil and stir until all the sugar dissolves. Boil until it reduces to about 1 cup (roughly 15 minutes) Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the whipping cream (I just pour until it gets a little thick and lovely--I don't necessarily follow the measurement on this part) at this point you can also add the cinnamon--again I usually add more then what the recipe calls for. Then I put it over the head for another 15ish minutes until it gets thick and lovely.

When both are done, combine them for a happy dance in your mouth. Kate Moss said that "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"--stupid model, she's never had this bread pudding. It rocks, eat up, and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thanks BPF!

My super tall and talented friend Brian Patrick Flynn was embarrassingly complimentary of my in his latest post on his new website Decor Demon. Check it out here!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NCIDQ Certificate #26375

I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can not even begin to describe how beyond thrilled/ecstatic/elated/__________ (fill in the blank) I am right now! Thank you to everyone who helped me study and put up with my insanity all Summer long while I prepared, specifically my amazing husband Sandy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Inching towards holiday spirit...

I am not really one for the holidays. Nothing against Christmas, Jesus, Santa or any other holiday entity, it's just not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy certain aspects, gift giving & getting, family gathering, and all of that heartwarming stuff. So far our holiday season has been pretty fun and I am gearing up for another round of yule-tide events. Holidays are tricky for our family, with half of us not being from Atlanta Thanksgiving is the trade off holiday where we all scatter and flee the south. I go home to San Jose, where my favorite thing occurs right after turkey day....Christmas in the Park! It's a tradition in Downtown San Jose that I drag my husband to every year. This year I realized how cool it was when I was younger...and not so much now since it took us about 4 minutes to walk through the whole thing...but it's still a necessary event that begins to put me in the holiday mood.

Where are these Gingerbread People's mouths?

Sorry Sandy, I cut you off...

I think it's an owl? Not entirely sure.

Creepy plastic Santa.

The Rat King from The Nutcracker

NCIDQ rubbing off, the Underwriters Laboratories had a Christmas Tree, ironically it had no lights. Any time you have anything electric and you see a little circle with UL in it, that means these people checked it out for you.

Rows and rows of Christmas Trees

The Fairmont Hotel had a life size gingerbread house in their lobby. I remember when I was little they used to have giant nutcrackers and Christmas trees made out of chocolate & candy.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rhoda moved out

Oh how I will miss flying down West Wesley Road to that big beautiful blue house! I had gotten quite used to going up there once a week to change the flowers, fluff the pillows, see if we had sold anything, etc. I really should be focusing on getting my own house ready for the Holidays, but it just doesn't seem as fun. Anyway, as you should know, the Christmas House is officially closed. It was open for a fabulous 4 weeks, it was so well received with a fantastic turn-out--I am hoping we raised a great amount for the Alliance Children's Theater. Anyway, if you were not able to make it out to see the show house you really missed out, and to make you feel worse, here are the professional photos we had taken of our room by Lauren Rubinstein. She is amazing and so much fun and I am enamoured with these photos that she took of Rhoda's apartment!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chapter 2 - Zara Home

So as a follow up to H&M potentially launching a Home Collection/Division I noticed that people didn't seem to know that fabulous Spanish discount line, Zara has a home division. It is not available in the United States, pretty much only in Europe. You can click here to go to their website, and if you were in Greece, the UK, or Monaco (or a few other counties) you could shop online! But alas, we are not so lucky. Do not expect lots of furniture or upholstered pieces, but there are some occasional & smaller items, along with really lovely blankets, throw pillows and all that happiness. One thing I do like is if you click on the ZH ShowRoom feature, it directs you to a page where you can select from a bathroom, bedroom, living room, or dining room. From there, depending on where you click, it offers you pre-styled rooms to choose from, select the one that appeals to you most and you will be able to see all of the available items for purchase to create that space. Pretty fantastic for the design disabled. All in all it's pretty lovely, simple and just European chic.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


So this just in, thanks to Womans Wear Daily & The Cut....H&M is rumored to be plotting to launch a Home collection in the next year...thoughts?

Monday, November 23, 2009

My New Friend

Meet my friend, Jonathan Adler Barbie! Check out her awesome accessories, my favorite are the vases on the white lacquer night stand! I think she's been available for a while, but I just found her and I am very very excited.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear Beige, I don't hate you

I am not the type of designer who will suggest an aubergine colored sofa because "it's so in." Give me beige and oatmeal and I will make you happy I swear. I don't like to commit my clients to such gestures unless I know they are going to love that aubergine sofa forever and ever amen. I prefer to keep a fairly neutral background and add punches of color through artwork, accessories, or very localized spaces where I can make an impact. Don't get me wrong, turquoise accent walls have there place and when applied carefully and with intention they can be very successful. And I am also not saying that I haven't used some serious color on some very permanent pieces of furniture (hello lime green tufted chesterfield sofa.) Finally, I am by no means telling everyone to make every surface in their home some variation of oatmeal. I just know, that in the long run, it is a lot easier to change out hot pink throw pillows when your sofa isn't aubergine. I am not saying that color doesn't have it's place (and if you want that aubergine sofa then you should have it), I do love to bring it in, but in a way that can be meaningful and lasting. Today when we are all watching what we spend this is important, it is important to invest in good basics, like that great black dress or pair of heels, you can put them on with anything--interiors work the same way. Start with a good basic background and you can go in any direction from there.

Neutral doesn't have to be beige, brown works too! Here I brought in color through accessories and artwork, but the big pieces are simple and neutral. I could easily change out those pillows and accessories and pick up another color in the artwork or in the rug and create a completely different look rather inexpensively.

When everything else is oatmeal go for the lime green chesterfield sofa. This is a clubroom, not a private residence, there is a difference. But you will notice everything else is very neutral yet it feels rich in visual texture. Creating implied texture through light and pattern is another way to add depth without committing to color. That sofa could be any color and same with the accessories, because of the light quality and the pattern in the carpet there is plenty of visual interest, regardless of color.

All three of the above images are examples of bringing in color through artwork and accessories. By selecting color from one point of interest (a rug or artwork or whatever it is) makes it easy to create a palette that you enjoy. If you love a color in your rug, start with that and use it to create a color combination that is interesting to you and centered around a color you enjoy.

This is successful for several reasons. 1-It is contained & localized, therefor it creates impact. 2-It is high in visual contrast compared to the other walls, if this photo was in black and white you would barely be able to tell that it is a different color. 3. It is unexpected, it gets its ques from the turquoise in the rug, but everything else in the space is neutral so it really pops.

This is the same situation as the photo above. Localized color, one big gesture in an otherwise neutral palette. High visual contrast makes it exciting and the bar stool seat cushions reinforce the concept.

In conclusion I say, Beige I don't hate you, I embrace you and the blank canvas you allow me to work with.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Christmas House!

What can I say, I can't get enough. This has really been a fantastic experience that I have thoroughly enjoyed! Friday night was the opening party and it was so much fun and really great to connect with all our fellow designers and appreciate each others work. That being said, here are some good (and some not so good because they are from my phone) pictures of things I really love in the Christmas House.

I think these parrot figurines are fantastic. So cute and whimsical! John Oetgen designed the living room and these live on the cocktail table. I might have jumped over the velvet rope (or satin ribbon) to capture these guys, hopefully Mr. Oetgen would forgive me!

One of the guest bedrooms was designed by Barbara Heath who has a lovely store over in Brookhaven called The Mercantile. This piece that is hanging over her mantel is just beautiful. I believe it is a piece by Julie Jone Boulee (not 100% on that but 98% sure.)

On the way to Beth Webb's space you have to pass through what I like to call Hermes Heaven. There you will meet this life size black plastic horse, I am now naming him Jacques (after my favorite nail polish by OPI "You don't know Jacques") He is super friendly and doesn't bite so be sure to say hello to him!

Beth Webb's Artist Atelier is just beautiful. There are so many details I could do an entire post about that space alone. One thing that I know is that as an artist you like to be surrounded by things that inspire you. It's not about a specific object, but more about what that object says to you as an artist, how it inspires you. I love this particular vignette of the space because I love how these elements feel casual and effortless, meanwhile I know that each piece of this puzzle was placed exactly where it is with purpose and intent.

At one point Friday night there were a bunch of us just hanging out in Susan Ferrier's Master Bedroom. She is one of my favorite people and an amazing designer. Her master bedroom is so elegant and refined, but it feels comfortable. It doesn't make you feel afraid to live in it (probably why we were all lounging around in there!) My favorite thing about that room is the drapery. I couldn't stop petting it, I wanted to just wrap myself in it and stay there.

One space that I haven't seen any other blogger mention yet is Mimi Williams' upstairs hallway. I didn't know Mrs. Williams prior to this Christmas House but Mark has known her for years, and the thing I have learned about Mimi is that she has an incredible eye for art. When Mark and I saw her picking out the pieces she wanted to install I was just in awe of her and her taste. Several of the pieces hanging are from her personal collection, this piece she commissioned from Jeff Jones.

As a designer of a space outside of the main house, I can appreciate the other more remote spaces of this show house that could be easily overlooked. The entire guest house really is lovely and I am not just saying that because that's where our space is. The patio off of Bob Brown's study has some amazing outdoor furniture (which I believe was designed by Lush Life.) The wine cellar designed by Kay Douglas & Dixie Peeples and media room designed by Chip Cheatham downstairs are also really lovely spaces, yes I said downstairs!

This past weekend was the opening weekend and I heard that there was a new record set for attendance, almost 400 people on Saturday alone! Be sure and make your way over there before we all have to go and take it apart! It is a great thing to do on the weekend, and with Cafe Noel downstairs you can also do lunch there too! For more information about tickets and a list of the great special events happening at the house, just click HERE!

Friday, November 13, 2009

"The Funny Uncle" meets Rhoda Morgenstern

I love installations. This show house installation went really smoothly and was pretty much complete and done on the first day--including accessories! There was something about doing this show house that I really like, it's sort of like playing dress up. You can be whatever you want and portray whatever you feel like, this room was like dressing up for me. This time we decided to dress up like Rhoda Morgenstern (meets MWDA)! I have said in the past that I love working with developers, typically you have a lot of creative freedom. Developers just want the project done on time and in budget and they pretty much trust you to execute their objectives in your creative way. I have found that a show house is similar, except you are both the developer and designer. You have to execute your objective on time, on budget and creatively. Mark said that this is the room that the "funny uncle" stays in when he comes to visit, but the further along we got in our design the more we wanted to be the "funny uncle" and we wanted to stay there (in fact, we all agree that we would be beyond content to move into our guest house)! It started to become more Rhoda then Uncle, so we'll stick with that--because let's face it, no one wants to be the "funny" relative but everyone wants to be Rhoda. It really took on this collected and personal feeling, probably because a lot of things came from us personally. I am excited to say that our room is done and lovely, we are so happy with the solution and the feeling. I hope those of you that make it to the Christmas House, please make every effort to walk to the carriage house and check out our room upstairs! The Christmas House opens next week, November 14th and will be open through December 6th. You can get all the details as well as ticket information here!

Installation Day, boxes and bags and lamp shades oh my!

Bubble Wrap is my friend, he keeps things safe!
(like the amazing artwork borrowed from Emily Amy Gallery & accessories borrowed from Stanton Home)

Places places! I actually mapped all of this out on the floor with masking tape to make sure it was going to fit!

Some of my books take from my Library.

Mark and I found this old camera when we were out shopping one day, and my dad brought me this sketchbook of Paris after one of his trips...we like them together.

All sorts of fun things...

My favorite thing, this beautiful Hermes bicycle. I can't believe they let me borrow it!

Another shopping trip find, really cool vintage luggage.

Just a few more finishing touches.

Toasting to the completion of our first show house! Hooray!!!

To see more you are going to have to come check out the Christmas House!!!!!
Open November 14th through December 6th
Details here!!!