Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In Progress

I went out to my workroom to check on some items in progress...

The depth on this headboard is better than anything you'd find in retail...
The lovliest vanity...
And delightful corresponding chair...
A detail shot of some draperies for a 30 year old bachelor's bedroom...

If they look this good in a warehouse, I can't wait to see them installed!

Custom is always better...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jonathan Adler for Kravet

I saw Jonathan Adler's new line for Kravet for the first time yesterday at the D&D, after Elle Decor's Michael Boodro gave a keynote for Market Week.  

Very colorful!  I imagine it will make its way into some rooms we'll see around the blogosphere... perhaps a nursery or playroom?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Big Ticket

It's been over a month since I've blogged!  I've been busy.  Getting all the details finished on the first stage of a HUGE project that has turned into a referral on another huge project.  On top of that, I was recently hired to decorate a six story townhouse on the Upper East Side, a home that made The New York Times' "Big Ticket" in the Real Estate section (the highest residential sale in New York City each week).  Overwhelming, in a good way.  It's hard to believe I've only been a full time designer, finally putting my Parsons degree to use, since April.

So, big things, great things happening, but not much to share, as these projects will take months and even years to complete.  I'll try to throw a few bones...

This Designer's Guild wallcovering has been a favorite of mine, and last week I actually had two different clients choose it for two very different projects.  

Should I feel bad about using the same product in two different designs?  I don't think so.  I've used Colfax & Fowler's Milton Leaf fabric, a WASPy favorite, in almost every project I've worked on, and they all stand out...

I was visiting my parents a couple of weekends ago and came up with a few ideas to refresh their home...

Some gold leaf wallpaper on the powder room ceiling.  Paired with some orange chinoiserie on the walls, we're aiming for a little something like this...

As my career has evolved in the last six months, so too will my blog.  When I was working on public policy campaigns, I needed to be a bit more anonymous about my design aspirations.  But now that I am {retired?!-- for now} from that field, I'll be making adaptations here with the hopes of getting some of my work published in the future.   More to come...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mexican Chicken & Lime Soup

Hot weather makes me hungry for spicy food, and the Mexican variety often tops my list of cravings.  We've had some delicious, fresh Mexican this summer at Empellon in the West Village and Suenos in Chelsea, you won't find canned refried beans in either restaurant!  But for cooking in, I've relied on this light, refreshing soup found on (where else) Pinterest.  Absolutely perfect on a summer night...

Mexican Lime Soup with Chicken 
adapted from Williams-Sonoma


  • 3 or 4 limes
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, each about 10 oz.(I use the shredded meat of an entire rotisserie chicken instead)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth  
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1 Haas avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 2 oz. queso fresco or mild feta cheese, crumbled (I omit this in my new, sadly dairy-free life)
  • 1 can drained black beans (my addition)

Cut 1 lime into 4 to 6 wedges; set aside for serving. Juice as many of the remaining limes as needed to measure 1/4 cup.
Season the chicken breasts with the 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.  (Or if you use my rotisserie chicken shortcut ignore this step) Add the onion to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth, water, lime juice and oregano, then return the chicken to the pan. (Here is where I throw in the shredded chicken)
Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife near the bone, about 40 minutes. (I still simmer for 30-40 minutes for flavor purposes even using cooked chicken)
Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let cool slightly.  Meanwhile, keep the soup at a simmer. Remove and discard the skin and bones, and shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken into the soup. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.  (This step is obviously unnecessary if using a rotisserie chicken, just leave it in the whole time)  
Put the avocado, cheese and lime wedges in separate small bowls. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Pass the avocado, cheese and lime wedges alongside. Serves 4 to 6.

So good, you won't regret making this easy dish.  A rotisserie chicken is my best friend for a weeknight meal!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blogging is NOT a Summer Sport

I just can't get into blogging in the summer heat!  I haven't been reading blogs, and I obviously haven't been writing mine.  I have, however, been doing a lot of Pinning!
I thought I saw a picture of my handsome husband floating around Pinterest... but no, it was JFK Jr.!  Proud to say this looks like the spitting image of my better half relaxing in Nantucket :)
I never get tired of Pinning images of Tory Burch's residences.  I love her style.  I finally went into her new flagship store on the Upper East Side, and they have replicated her living room, like above.  The whole store is beautiful, I could easily live in it.  On Madison around 68th, worth a trip.

Speaking of homes, one of my favorite homes ever in my hometown is up for grabs.  I went to an annual Christmas party at this home growing up and always remember imagining how I'd decorate it.  It needs significant work now, but the bones are great.  Even though it's 3000 miles away, I've spent hours in the last few weeks plotting my redesign... 
My mind is set on a stone exterior with black lanterns, french doors, and lots of green elements...
The house already has a central courtyard, one of my favorite features.  I'd add a second floor Master Suite as big as our current apartment.  His and hers bathrooms and dressing rooms, a sitting area, the works!  And Juliet balconies...
Maybe some black and white awnings?
A slate roof, and casement windows.  Plenty of boxwoods...
And those front doors... hey, you never know!  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Influential Design Duo Remembered

Waking up to the news of the Colorado movie theater massacre marked another event in what feels like a summer of tragedies.  Some of those tragedies have hit closer to home than others for me.

Last weekend, Peter and Mona Branagh were killed in a small plane crash on their way from California to Aspen.  Peter was a third-generation developer and Mona a complimentary interior designer in the Bay Area community where I grew up, and perhaps without consciencely knowing it, their projects had major impact on my own design aesthetic.
The home above, developed by Branagh, is typical of the traditional exteriors he is most well-known for.  In an area most typically known for more casual ranch style homes, the Branaghs brought a bit of East Coast-inspired gracious living to the West.  

As early as five years old, I envied the Branagh-built home of my Kindergarten best friend, with its formal entertaining rooms and extensive millwork and dental molding.  Ten years ago this summer, my parents moved into a Branagh-built home themselves, and it's a home I love visiting.  Built almost twenty-five years ago, it's a classic, with details like an all-white kitchen and curving staircase that will never go out of style.  
Classic, too, are the interiors designed by Mona, always understated and elegant...

I've been thinking about the extended Branagh family a lot this week and will remember their influence on the community every time I visit home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Breakfast with Kravet at House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year

This morning I went to a breakfast hosted by Kravet offering a private tour of House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year 2012 in Rockefeller Plaza.  It was a bright, refreshing space.  Totally functional, a modern farmhouse kitchen...
I was afraid they were trying to push electric stoves on us, but they just couldn't run gas into the space.  
The always-delightful Newell Turner chatted about the details of the space, pictured above with Publisher Kate Kelly Smith, a representative from Kravet, and the kitchen's designer, Mick De Giulio.
It's hard to see in this picture, but one of my favorite details was the fruit bowl recessed into the countertops.
And these silver-leafed glass subways tiles were gorgeous...
But the best detail was the bright blue ceiling in the butler's pantry...
Which was my favorite part of the entire kitchen!  In fact, I'd be happy if my tiny NYC kitchen was the size of this butler's pantry .  

Check out House Beautiful's professional pictures of the space, including the amazing accompanying outdoor kitchen with pizza oven... or wait until October to see it in the magazine...

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