A Space You’ll Love Forever…Seating for Two

Whether it be in your master bedroom, off your living room, or just a warm cozy spot next to a window with the sun shining through; a seating area for two is the perfect spot to take a deep breath and enjoy the simple moments. A place where you can drink your morning cup of coffee while sharing different sections of the newspaper. A place to relax and read a good book while sipping on afternoon tea. Play a game of scrabble on a snowy day on Sunday afternoon, or just relax and catch up on the day together (glass of wine in hand).

This 30″ Round South Hall Table from Currey and Company is the perfect size for two. Linen covered MacKenzie Side Chairs from Hooker keep the seating area elegant, yet casual for those morning cups of coffee.

Starting at the top left going clockwise – the finishing touches. Mixing styles with Global Views, Tubular Candlestick/Vases (I love this as a vase with the Cali Lilly sitting on the table top) and a touch of romance with the crystal, metal combination Pinto Pendant from Currey & Company. Keeping everything toned down with casual Massoud Fabric, Quartilla Spumoni for long wistful drapes all sitting on the perfect light blue Strata, Chandra Area Rug.

Simple, Elegant, yet perfectly Casual for all those simple moments in life just for the two of you to share! What do you want in your seating area for you and your sweetie? I would love to hear!

Invite: Ski Trip Landing Pad

If you, like us, live in Colorado, you have the perfect landing pad for a few skiing friends to spend a weekend.   So, cozy up your guest room, add a few thoughtful amenities for your guests, and make the offer to your friends!  You don’t even have to ski with your guests–just give them a cozy place to lay their heads after a busy day on the slopes!

LEFT: These pillows by Eastern Accents aren’t lacking a single detail–playful tassels, tailored roped welts, and craftsman motifs make them a great option for a Colorado
guest space!
RIGHT: This sleek lamp by Currey and Company keeps the space from feeling too stuffy or traditional.
Create a space that reflects rustic luxury.  Incorporate textiles like plush velvets, aged leathers, rich brocades, and soft wools to create a space that has layers of texture and interest.  Utilize rich velvet drapery panels on either side of your windows to provide a rich feel that doesn’t compromise your beautiful Colorado view.  Try this carved wood and leather bed by Lexington Furniture.  Even if you have carpet in your guest room, consider an area rug to create a cozy space and define the bed as a separate area.
If your space allows, include a small table and a couple of chairs comfortable enough to read a book in, but practical enough to squeeze in a quick conference call from the office at.  Include a selection of books by local authors or about the local sights, legends, or fare.  Place a basket nearby with a few ultra soft knitted throws and a couple of classic board games.  A basket or tray on the table top could be a filled with a couple of snacks, fresh fruit, and the makings for hot drinks to enjoy along with their snow covered view.

Your guests will appreciate your comfortable, well stocked guest room.  You might just have a houseful more often!

Invite: Morning Coffee with a Girlfriend

Image Courtesy: House Beautiful
When Starbucks came on the scene less than a decade ago, it created a wonderful atmosphere to grab an hour with a girlfriend you never get enough time with over a delicious, albeit overpriced, coffee drink.
Why not enjoy that at home?  As formal living and dining rooms phase out of modern floor plans, kitchens are becoming large enough for a seating area.  Don’t limit yourself to an eat-in kitchen set up.  Consider comfy, upholstered seating instead.  It will be a perfect place to catch up with a friend, or to page through cookbooks when you can’t decide what to make for dinner, or to catch a moment of silence while you simmer and don’t stir constantly.
You can create a space like one of these, right in your very own kitchen!

Image Courtesy: Daniels Design
Image Courtesy: Better Homes and Gardens
Image Courtesy: Food Network Television

Upgrade your standard drip coffee pot to an espresso machine.  Fill a clear glass jar with homemade biscotti.  It keeps well for a couple of weeks, and makes a delicious (and beautiful) accompaniment to a cup of coffee.

Invite: A Holiday Wrapping Party

This time of year, it’s easy to use busyness as an excuse not to have people over.  Why not do the opposite and use it as an excuse to invite people into your home?  Your friends and neighbors are probably longing for a few hours to finally get their holiday packages wrapped and their Christmas cards addressed.  Why not get together for cookies and warm drinks and tackle these tasks together?

Repurpose your chic leather umbrella holder to corral festive holiday papers, store shirt boxes in a magazine rack, or use special “Grinch” boxes (all by Global Views) to avoid wrapping all together!  A contemporary tiered tray is the perfect place for ribbons, bows, tape, and scissors and dozens of delicious whoopie pies!

The trendiest food going right now is most certainly the whoopie pie.  A hint of nostalgia, this cookie is sure to be perfect for this time of year–especially if it has a holiday twist to it!  Try this gingerbread one at your next get together (our installers just enjoyed these as a take away at their annual holiday breakfast last week):

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies:
from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell (the book is adorable–you must own it and display it–it’s a conversation starter every time!)

4 cups flour
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon

1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cloves

1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 T vegetable shortening
3/4 c (packed) brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 c molasses
3/4 c buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.  Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, whip butter, shortening, and brown sugar until fluffy and smooth (about 5 minutes).  Add egg and beat until combined, then add the molasses.  Add the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately until combined.  Portion dough using a heaping tablespoon, placing about 12 cookies per sheet.  Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before filling:

Maple Cream Filling

1/2 c butter (room temperature)

2 c confectioners sugar
1 T milk

2 T maple syrup
Beat the butt
er on low speed until creamy.  Slowly add remaining ingredients and whip 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl sides frequently.

Invite: Quit Being Embarassed of Your Home!

Continuing our series from last week

Think about the last time you entertained (if you can remember!).  When people came into your home, did you apologize that it wasn’t cleaner, more pulled together, that your design projects weren’t further along?  I often hear during my initial consult “I’m embarrassed of my home.”  Let me tell a little story that changed my mind forever about apologizing for your home.

I knew a woman in Romania who lived in a two bedroom apartment with her husband and six children.  They were involved with humanitarian projects shortly after the Communist regime fell.  The apartment was very sparsely furnished–a coffee table and a full mattress were the solitary furnishings in the main living area.  This woman had a group of Romanians for dinner.  She welcomed them into her home, ushered them in and seated them around her coffee table for a simple dinner she had prepared and there were no apologies made.

While this statement does little to provide job security for me, it is not the design of your home that makes it suitable to host in.  Anyone can host, regardless of your space!  So, let’s celebrate this woman’s simple entertaining style with a fun (albeit a bit out of season) meal you can share around a coffee table while watching your favorite holiday flick or keeping up with a weekly sitcom: Greek tapas!

Make a simple salad of cubed English cucumber, diced Roma tomato, Kalamata olives, crumbled feta, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and crisp red onion.  Dress it with the juice of half a lemon and a rich olive oil.  Spoon this, along with store bought hummus and olive tappenade into warmed pitas.  Yum!

You’ll love this meal around a sleek Tommy Bahama coffee table by Lexington furniture, sitting on playful, super feminine ottomans by Global Views.  Clean lined serving ware (also by Global Views) allows the colorful meal to take center stage while a beautiful Chandra rug recalls the palette of Greece’s landscape.