Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Design Tip - Big Style in a Small Space

Buying your first place? Downsizing? You don't have to sacrifice style or feel imprisoned because you can't afford the mansion in the 90210 area code. If you're going to inhabit a small space such as a loft, think monotone to extend the eye, then add stylish accessories. Take this loft as a prime example:


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lifestyle - Happy Easter 2009!

Happy Easter!!! One of our favorite holidays is almost here. Below is an image used for one of our Easter ads. If you like the bunny or the nest, hurry in. Of course, you can almost taste the Cadbury mini eggs, right? Trust us, they didn't last long after the shoot. Now owned by Hershey, who would have thought that John Cadbury opened his first shop in Birmingham, England in 1824?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Goods - Juliska

We love Juliska. As their motto goes, it's "possibly the most beautiful tableware in the world." The company offers truly distinctive, gorgeous glassware, ceramics, and linens. Traditional Home used some of Juliska's glassware and linens in a story on personalized desserts...

The Berry Dinner Napkin is shown below in showcasing some absolutely amazing desserts:

The cake stand on the left is Juliska as well:
(Not sure how practical those single-serve wedding cakes are, but they sure look good, don't they?)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Entertaining - A Favorite Sauce

Want to take your steak frites to another level? Try adding Bernaise sauce to the combo. There's really nothing better. Or, if you really want to wow friends by taking an otherwise simple steak to new heights, try Steak Oscar by adding asparagus, lump crab, and then bernaise over the top. Here's our favorite recipe for the sauce:


3 tablespoons- white wine vinegar
1/4 cup - white wine
1 - shallot thinly chopped
8 - black peppercorns
4 sprigs of - tarragon
3 - egg yolks
1 cup - butter (unsalted) clarified
2 teaspoons - lemon juice
1 pinch - salt and pepper


* Place the vinegar, wine, shallots and peppercorns into a shallow saute pan.
* Reduce this mixture until approximately 2 tablespoons are left. Add the sprigs of tarragon half way into the reduction time.
* Strain through a fine mesh strainer and set off to the side.
* Set up a water bath like the pictorial shows.
* Place your egg yolks into the bowl and slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of the reduction.
* Whisk the eggs rapidly over the water bath until frothy and then slowly pour in the clarified butter.
* Whisk quickly to emulsify the eggs and butter. Thicken it to the point that it falls from the whisk in ribbons.
* Once the sauce is thickened, remove it from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and season to taste with any salt or pepper (although you probably won't need much more than a pinch of salt).

Here's a neat trick--the sauce will break if you keep it exposed to direct heat, and it will thicken to the point of becoming rather unappetizing if you let it cool for too long. Instead, let it cool for just a minute or two in the bowl, and then store it in a thermos until you're ready to use it. It'll keep this way for close to an hour. The result, pure heaven:

If you refrain from adding the reduced vinegar mixture, you'll have a classic hollandaise sauce, which is a favorite over asparagus (or any number of other foods):

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Design Tip - Ocean Decor

In Florida, we suffer through a few cold days in the winter (you can literally count them on one hand), but pretty much divide our year between a humid summer and a beautiful spring-like winter. Here, sun, sand, and water are everywhere, which is why Florida is such a popular tourist destination. There's just something magical about the sound of the surf and the sand between your toes. If you want to bring that breezy, sun-soaked magic home with you, we recommend working shells and coral into your decor. To do it well, skip the jar of sand and shells on the coffee table. Instead, try arranging several nicely sized pieces (coral, shells, starfish, or whatever suits your fancy) in a cabinet, like this:

or this:
For the walls, let's also skip the tired seascape painting, and instead try a collection of coral or shell prints:

or a collection of like finds (although resist the temptation to clutter):

Finally, for another great way to bring the ocean home, we love the idea of planning a refined dinner party outdoors using large shells for bowls. If kept simple, the look is exquisite:

-images via pheoehoward.net, housebeautiful.com, myhomeideas.com.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Goods - Wooden Furniture

Below, you'll see several items from our line of hand-finished, hand-painted furniture which comes in a number of distressed finishes, including the cream color shown, a beautiful green, french blue, etc. In fact, for the first time ever, we're offering the public an option we've previously only offered our designer friends--bring us a paint chip in ANY color, and we'll have it matched and hand-distressed for you. These pieces have all the charm of their antique counterparts for a fraction (literally) of the price. Moreover, we've had more than one customer comment that these are the ultimate family friendly pieces--a scratch from your child or a pet only adds to the distressed charm. Don't see something you like? We have hundreds of options. Come see us. If you aren't local, we can arrange shipment at very reasonable rates. Call, email, or stop in for specific pricing.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lifestyle - The New Veranda

Kudos to Veranda, which recently gave us a proper website with which to admire its work. The magazine has always been a favorite, but the website was apathetic, at best--giving us no real content. That's changed. Check out the new website (http://www.veranda.com/), which shows real promise, with a number of great stories, and, as has always been the case with the magazine, some of the most beautiful images to be found.

-images via Veranda.com
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