Archive for the ‘house beautiful’ Category

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Longer days and warmer nights invite us to spend more time outdoors…breakfast in the garden, dinner on the veranda, cocktails under the stars, or perhaps a midnight dip in the pool…may these tranquil and beautiful outdoor rooms sweep you off your feet (and into a comfy hammock or chaise lounge!)

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photos from Elle Decor, Veranda, House Beautiful, Lonny and The Gifts of Life

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Having posted this magnificent Paris home back in December of 2010, I was thrilled to rediscover its beauty on the pages of the October 2012 House Beautiful! Designed by the virtuosic Robert Couturier, this interior is a masterclass in color! While the living room’s liquid blue walls draw inspiration from the sublime hue of a dutch delft tile, the overall use of this color somehow feels fresh and contemporary ~ boldly simple with an air of elegance and sophistication. Divine! And if that wasn’t enough to knock your socks off, check out the red lacquered dining room! The high gloss lipstick red breathes new life into the gold framed antique oil painting, upholstered banquette and modern brass and glass dining table. What a glorious setting for an intimate Parisian dinner party! Light the candles and pour the champagne!

photos from Robert Couturier and House Beautiful

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Is it possible to have a fabulous kitchen in a 400 square foot studio apartment? The answer is a resounding YES! House Beautiful’s 2012 July/August “Kitchen of the Month” is proof that small can be beautiful, functional and innovative…designers Fitzhugh Karol and Lyndsay Caleo of The Brooklyn Home Company paired timeless recessed-panel cabinetry and stainless appliances with a one-of-a-kind sculptural kitchen island crafted from fallen oak and a hand carved cherry log painted white…the island serves as an art piece, prep station, dining table, and desk all in one! Its slender form thoughtfully delineates the kitchen from the living room allowing open views from both spaces…brilliant! Another exceptional feature is the sleeping nest ~ talk about multi-tasking! The rough-hewn lathe walls, lined with white curtains, create a private cocoon while providing a decorative backdrop for art and a narrow console…inside the nook sits the “form and function” Ikea Brimnes bed…pristine white linens play off the rustic texture of the lathe while the deep drawers provide ample storage without taking up precious floor space…how wonderful!

photography by Tara Striano for House Beautiful

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Last week, my husband and I tried this recipe from the 2012 July/August issue of House Beautiful and I have to say, it was the BEST sandwich I’ve ever tasted! We did leave out one ingredient, the red pearl onions, but otherwise we followed the directions to the letter…it was absolutely incredible what the lemon zest and preserved lemon skin did to the flavor of the ricotta, avocado and tomatoes! Each and every ingredient was elevated to a new height (as if I was tasting them for the very first time!) I don’t usually post recipes, but this was so heavenly, I just had to share it with you! I hope you have a chance to try it sometime this summer…if you do, let me know what you think! (try with ice cold champagne/prosecco or your favorite white wine!) Ah, the tastes of summer!

Gabrielle Hamilton’s Avocado Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients ~ Serves 4

1 pound (scant 2 cups) fresh ricotta

Zest of 2 lemons

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 teaspoons for drizzling

2 pinches coarse kosher salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

4 long, even slices of very good bread

2 large, perfectly ripe avocados (approximately 18 ounces), at room temperature

1 pint mixed-color grape tomatoes, cut in half horizontally (you won’t use quite the entire pint)

8 red pearl onions equaling 2-3 ounces, thinly sliced into rounds (or equivalent in thinly sliced red onion)

4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Skin of 1 preserved lemon, flesh removed, finely diced

½ teaspoon toasted poppy seeds


1. Mix the ricotta with the lemon zest, ¼ cup olive oil, and salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Arrange slices of bread on a cutting board and divide the ricotta mixture evenly among the four slices. Spread into a generous even layer.

3. Split the avocados, remove the pits, and slice each half into even slices without cutting all the way through the leathery skin. Then, with a soup spoon or a flexible rubber spatula, release the flesh and arrange the slices neatly and evenly among the bread slices.

4. Artfully and attractively arrange the tomatoes by nesting them into the soft avocado. Then arrange the red onion slices over the tomatoes.

5. Garnish each sandwich with the sesame seeds, the preserved lemon skin, and finally, the poppy seeds. Transfer to plates and drizzle with olive oil.

To read Gabrielle Hamilton’s inspiring article from HB, click here

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Today’s post includes photos from The Stephen Shubel Design studio located in a modern loft building in the South of Market district near the San Francisco Design Center…you may recognize a few pieces from yesterday’s post ~ the four-foot-tall plaster bust of the goddess Juno and the antique Swedish painted chairs…it’s wonderful to see pieces from the Design studio in his own home! In both cases, antiquities blend seamlessly with classic and contemporary decor…his signature blank canvas allows aged textures and gilded finishes to take center stage…

FYI ~ keep an eye out for his new plaster and lighting line due out next year! In a recent interview with House Beautiful, the designer speaks of his passion for plaster ~ “I love the sculptural aspect. That may be one reason I love France, because there’s so much figurative stuff all over. Unlike stone, plaster is lightweight. It has a smoother finish, but it still achieves a wonderful patina over time. I also like that it’s chalky white. You’re not distracted by color. You look at the sculptural form, and that’s what you see throughout my house – the shapes.” ~ Stephen Shubel

photos from Stephen Shubel Design

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I was thrilled to discover designer Stephen Shubel‘s 1906 fisherman’s cottage in the 2012 July/August issue of House Beautiful! Having loved this home from its first HB photo shoot back in August of 1998, I found myself even more in love with its recent transformation! Striped wood floors are now a fresh solid white…upholstered pieces are slipcovered in a more restrained palette of white, black, and a touch of green…even his signature stripes find new inspiration ~ take for example the charming lampshade atop his kitchen counter or the graphic cups in his pilastered Edwardian china cabinet…my favorite design element is the four-foot-tall plaster bust of the goddess Juno! Talk about making a bold statement in a small space! Its grand scale plays with the humble architecture in a way that is both lighthearted and utterly sophisticated at the same time…bravo!

Please enjoy this sneak peek from HB (top two photos) along with a more in depth look at the “before” photos…I know for myself, I always love seeing how a designer’s eye evolves over time…it’s a visual gift to examine the constants and changes in their aesthetic…I hope this post elevates your HB experience!

top two photos from House Beautiful, all other photos from Stephen Shubel Design

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In the interest of highlighting new talent, House Beautiful publishes a one page monthly feature titled The Next Wave…for the June 2012 issue, HB selected New Hope, PA designer Michael Herold, who describes his idea of luxury as an easy comfortable room with a touch of the exotic…I was so impressed with the HB photo of his work, I decided to explore his online portfolio, which includes projects from New Hope, New York, Philadelphia, as well as a stylish room he designed for the 2012 Junior League of Greater Princeton Designer Showhouse (last four photos)…although he gravitates toward a more neutral palette (warm greys are a signature), he believes every room should have an element of surprise…whether it’s a pair of kelly green table lamps or a leopard print pillow, he discovers a creative way to incorporate a jolt of the unexpected…please enjoy!

below ~ 2012 Junior League of Greater Princeton Designer Showhouse (check out the incredible biomorphic console table by Tony Duquette for Baker! Wow!)

photos from Michael Herold

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This gorgeous interior was designed by Susan Ferrier and published by House Beautiful back in July of 2008…its timeless beauty feels as fresh today as it did four years ago…artful vignettes compare to that of an artist’s canvas while large gestures respect movement, contrast and cohesion…the result, a feeling of peace that would calm one’s nerves even on the most stressful day…take a deep breath and relax into this artful interior…

photos from House Beautiful, July 2008 via McAlpine Tankersley

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Happy day…cool morning breezes, a hot cup of tea and the September issue of House Beautiful…I have been crazed with rehearsals and performances lately so I relish my quiet time, especially when it comes on such a gorgeous day…the tag line for the September House Beautiful is “the Art of Color” and they deliver with bold, vibrant interiors but the stand out for me is Betsy Brown‘s “Tone on Tone” design for an 1855 Greek Revival plantation house in Possum Bend, Alabama…rich with texture, this neutral palette allows the art and furniture to take center stage…when asked why she loves neutrals so much, the designer replied, ” What I really love are objects, and neutrals offer a non-competing stage for them. For me, objects are the compelling drama in any house. But neutrals are also undemanding in a deep kind of way: a room that looks like it was effortless to create is so much easier to relax in, and neutrals look easy to pull off even if they’re not.”

The photos in today’s post feature this brilliantly designed Alabama home but interestingly they are not the images used for the House Beautiful spread…I discovered these photos on Betsy Brown’s website! I want you to have a chance to enjoy the article and interiors as I did this morning…my hope is that they enhance your experience and whet your appetite for more (plus, the styling and furniture placement for HB is very different!)…please enjoy!

photos from Betsy Brown

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With Thanksgiving just two days away, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite kitchens/dining rooms ~ Ina Gartens’ East Hampton barn! Her home had outgrown the film crews and mayhem associated with the production of Barefoot Contessa so a few years ago she decided to build a barn equipped with a dream kitchen fit for testing recipes, writing cookbooks, entertaining and of course filming the show. The newly constructed barn blends beautifully with her historic East Hampton home and gardens. In an interview with hamptons.com Ina explains, “This property used to be part of Mulford Farm so I’m literally the second owner, the Mulfords were the original owners from 1640 until I bought it 15 years ago. Historically there used to be a barn here, so when I built the second house two years ago I always knew that it had to be some kind of barn. I actually tried to find the original barn, but they had moved it to Bridgehampton, so by the time I found it – it had fallen down – so that was that.” Ina collaborated with architect Frank Greenwald and interior designer Robert Stilin to create a stunning Belgian country inspired barn. Ina describes the Belgian influences as earthy and elegant, just like her cooking ~ “If you start with really good-quality ingredients, you don’t need to do much to make food taste great. Funny, I always say this about food, but it applies to interiors as well. Start with good-quality furnishings, and you don’t need to do much to make a house look good.” ~ Ina Garten from an interview with House Beautiful

If I ever have the opportunity to design a home from scratch, this barn will most certainly be at the top of my inspiration list. Functional, beautiful, spacious and intimate, it has it all. I can just imagine it being the perfect space for cooking, entertaining, and enjoying the people you love.

above, the kitchen counter is almost 18 feet long divided by a sink in the middle ~ ample room for Ina and her assistant to work comfortably side by side

above, the candlesticks are by Ted Muehling and are available at E.R. Butler & Co. on Charles Street, Boston

above, the guest room/bedroom serves as a quiet retreat for Ina during filming

photos are from House Beautiful

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