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May 24, 2018

A Year in the Life of Our Hutch


After living in our rebuilt home for two years, last summer I finally found the last piece of the puzzle for our big open kitchen, dining and hearth area.   I had a budget (that I thought was reasonable) and I was restricted by the size of the wall, so the hunt was a little harder than I had expected.  There was an option at a local antique store that I had had my eye on for 4 years.  It was the perfect size and patina, but it was too expensive (by twice as much as my budget).  As my Aunt advised - if no one else has bought it in 4 years, then it is priced too high.  Another friend thought that it seemed a little too fanciful for our home.  I wasn't so sure, but after looking around and finally finding this hutch that was perfectly in budget and exactly the size and finish that I was hoping for, now I see that the other was not the right one and this one was worth the wait.

Searching for the right furniture for a home can be a little exhausting and seem almost silly.  But we all know, that a well considered and beautiful space can be comforting and soothing for our crazy lives.  While the hutch hasn't changed our lives dramatically, it has become sort of the center of our home.  It is where Emma's artwork is displayed, where she props up found treasures, where we string holiday decorations and display seasonal accents.


This is what the wall looked like before the hutch.  It looks really obviously blank in the photo, but in person it was just sort of forgotten.  When we designed the room, I thought about having a built-in installed that would house china and flatware, but I thought that might feel a little too contrived.  Since everything was going to be brand-new, I thought a piece with a little character might warm up the space a little. 

This was the photo of the hutch on 1stdibs.com.  Because I know you are wondering, and it can be helpful to know what to expect to pay when shopping for antiques, this was $2,000 + $400 freight.  I had seen other similar versions for $4,800-12,000, so as you can imagine, I'm so glad I held out for this one.  I determined that it was a forever piece.  Wherever we end up living, in whatever house, I know I would always find a spot for it.


I love the little hooks - they've been fun to use for displaying and stringing decor.


The Summer Hutch

This is our hutch right now for summer, featuring the new Green Garden Leaf Plates from my Summer Garden Collection in my online store.  I also have Classic Handled Service Trays displayed and some of the platters from my Creamware Platters Set of 6.  My Classic Cream & Sugar Set is holding some little flower sprigs.



I love the hardware on the hutch.  It seems like original brass.



Sprint Hutch

I have the same platters and trays displayed, but this time, just creamware creamers instead of the green garden plates.  I love the mix of the silvery pewter tone with the cream and white.  In the bottom cubby, we have a Match Pewter footed bowl that was a wedding gift.



  
Early Autumn Hutch

In early Autumn, I took some photos of the hutch style for my fall collection.  I still have my Creamware Platters, but also feature my Spode Woodland China plates to bring in a warmer feel.





As we got further into Fall, I added a pumpkin in the bottom nook, took away the cream platters and added more of the Spode Woodland Plates.




I guess I didn't take any photos of the hutch at Christmas - I remember it being covered in homemade paper "Christmas Lights" and lots of decorations Emma made : )

The Valentine's Day Hutch

For Valentine's Day, Emma made more homemade valentine's and cut out hearts just for the hutch.


Bedazzled Love Bug



Her pride and joy of the season was the pop-out valentine in the center - you can see it best from this vantage.


My favorite part of the Valentine's Day hutch is the barricaded cabinet on the left.


Does it get any better than that?!  I know furniture doesn't make a house a Home, but goodness, this hutch has really been a treat for us this year.

May 17, 2018

The Pillow Guide | Sofa Design Boards

Since we've found our new textile manufacturing partners (Rightfully Sewn), I've been excited to expand my custom pillow options.  I'll continue to add more each season and I look forward to it being a big focus of each collection moving forward.  

I get a lot of questions about what size pillows to use and how to arrange them.  I put together three design boards based on three different color sofa that I think are pretty popular - Cream (like my hearth room), Beige/Oatmeal (like our formal living room) and Grey (which I don't have, but my sister does...).

The most important size for me is the Large 22" Squares that anchor each side of the sofa.  In my (humble, wink) opinion, a 20" squares are too small to be on a sofa by themselves.  They need the larger pillows to fill it out.  I use the 20" as accents with the 22", or use the 20" in a chair by itself.  

In the arrangement above, as seen below in real photos of our Hearth Room, I used two 22" Large Squares on each side, then a 20" Square + a Rectangle as an accent.  To simplify, you could also just do a 20" OR a Rectangle, you don't have to have both.


I use Ikea inserts for all of the Cushion Covers in my store.  So, you can invest in the inserts from Ikea (inexpensive!!) once, and then switch out covers from my store each season like I do.

Ikea 26" Insert  ($9.99) for my 22" Pillow Covers

Ikea 20" Insert ($5.99) for my 20" Pillow Covers

Ikea Rectangle 26x16" Insert ($6.99) for my Rectangle Pillow Cover











This design is based on a grey sofa.  I chose two large 22" to anchor the corners, then a Rectangle Spa Check Pillow in the center.  This arrangement is a more formal, neutral look perfect for those who have a streamlined style.


This sofa is like the one in our more formal living room.  It is an Oatmeal Linen sofa and the walls and trim are Ben Moore Carrington Beige.  It is a very warm feeling room, so adding the blues and touches of green feel country and charming for summer.  As you can see in the hearth room at the beginning of this post, the same colors look brighter and cleaner on the white/cream sofa.








Textile Swatch Collections

I've added a "Shop by Swatch" page to the online store to make it easier to see the textiles unclose and personal.  When you click on a swatch, you can see each item that is available in that print - pillow covers, tea towels, napkins and table runners.  We are also offering physical swatches of my designs.  I'll be adding those to the store next week.  They will include free shipping!

Shop by Swatch Page, here >









May 14, 2018

Summer Refrigerator Food | Pasta Salad, Lemon Chicken, Cucumber Salad


At some point over the last few weeks, Spring completely and abruptly merged into Summer.  It is hot here.  Hot!  There is nothing I detest more than super hot days than cooking in a hot kitchen on super hot days.

For this week, I'm planning to stock our refrigerator with cool, flavorful and simple things that we can easily turn into lunch or dinner.  Its our favorite way to eat during the summer.  I usually marinade something for the grill like chicken, steak or shrimp, then we make up the rest of the meal with refrigerator favorites.


Here are some of the recipes I'll be whipping up this week to keep in the fridge : 



Emma LOVES chicken salad, so I usually make a big at the beginning of the week for our lunches.  She takes it in a small kitchen container to eat with ritz crackers and I usually have mine with a half of an avocado or as a sandwich.  


Lemon & Squash Orzo Salad >


Roasted Lemon & Thyme Chicken

This works hot out of the oven as a comforting supper, or kept in the fridge for slicing and putting on top of or with anything.


Green Pasta Salad

Super flavorful, great with sliced grilled steak or shrimp.



OMG, this is so good.  Addicting!  And pretty healthy for you.



Cool, crunchy, fresh.  This is a family favorite and so good with anything from the grill.



I'll wait until the tomatoes are really good to make this, but OH MY, I'm ready for it.


Simple Chicken Salad

   


 You can buy or make Chicken Salad.  Emma LOVES chicken salad, so I usually make a big at the beginning of the week for our lunches.  She takes it in a small kitchen container to eat with ritz crackers and I usually have mine with a half of an avocado or as a sandwich.  

Our recipe is simple - roasted chicken, celery, red grapes, red onions and mayo.  I keep chicken breasts in the freezer (I usually buy an all natural version from Target or Costco), so I can whip it up anytime.  I roast the chicken on a sheet pan with parchment for about 20 minutes, then let it cool and chop it or shred it.



Chicken Salad Recipe

3-4 chicken breasts
olive oil
sea salt
....
1 cup of grapes, sliced
1-2 stalks of celery, minced
2 tablespoons of red onion, minced
mayo 
(I usually try to go pretty light on the mayo, but add as much as you like)


Roast chicken breasts on a sheet pan in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees until cooked all the way through.  Let rest.  Meanwhile, slice grapes and mince celery and red onion.  When the chicken has cooled, cut it into small chunks or shred it with two forks.  Mix it with grapes, celery, onion and mayo.  Keep refrigerated.  


I packed this picnic using my favorite Kitchen Essentials.

All of these items are part of my Kitchen Essentials Collection (shop here) - things that I use over and over, in all sorts of different ways.  In these posts, I try to show you different ways you can use the essentials to make life simpler.  I love having a small number of items in my kitchen that can be used for everything I need to do.


Light Blue Gingham PJs


Happy Mother's Day to you!
I hope everyone had a fabulous Mother's Day full of homemade gifts and special favors. My personal favorite was the spa treatment Emma set up for me in her room complete with cucumbers cut out of paper, 3 different scented lotions she rubbed on my feet while relaxing music played (on Mike's phone) in the background.
But today, go ahead and treat yourself with something you'll savor all summer long - these Light Blue Gingham PJs. Our summer mornings are very slow, so cute jams I can wear until about 10am (don't judge!) are necessary. Pajamas are definitely one area that I let my self splurge. There is nothing better than crawling into bed at the end of the day in soft, feel good, cute PJs.

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