Wednesday, May 25, 2011

sophisticateur: erin fetherstone

the recent edition of vogue's "APT with LSD" features designer erin is so lovely, in fact, that i am blatantly featuring it here. it's just that fabulous. the full post is available at the vogue website, but here are a few sneak peeks so you can take in the loveliness with me.

could she be any more adorable?

...happy sophisticating...

love the sheep!!!

omg. swoon.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

tidbit: sunny kitchen

i have a long week ahead, but this kitchen just puts a pep in my step.
don't you agree?

THE perfect blend of modern and vintage.
love the white paint and the absence of upper cabinets.
really makes those ceilings soar!
love the modern cabinetry and clean artwork juxtaposed against the classic stove and distressed farm table.
i think it adds a really human element to the modern aesthetic.
and i'm sorry--double farmhouse sinks? to die for.

...happy sophisticating...

photo courtesy of canadian house & home, may 2009.

Monday, May 23, 2011

sophistikitchen: elegant chicken

i come from a long line of entertainers. like, party planners, not clowns, or carnival people or something.
this is one of our "go to" family recipes for company.

simple. uncomplicated. but special and oh-so-sophisticated.

chicken in a white wine mushroom cream sauce---i am telling you: men, women, children...LOVE this sauce. it's addicting.

...happy sophisticating...

chicken élégant

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
butter (1-2 T)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 T good season italian dressing mix
4 oz. chive cream cheese
1/3 C white wine
1-2 jars of button mushrooms
slivered almonds

preheat oven to 325 degrees.

melt butter in a frying pan. quickly sear chicken breasts on both sides
(do not brown! make sure they stay white.)

in a separate bowl, mix mushroom soup, italian dressing mix, chive cream cheese and white wine until smooth.

in the bottom of a 9x13 glass casserole, pour just a little sauce.
lay chicken breasts side by side and pour remaining sauce over them.
drain button mushrooms from liquid. sprinkle mushrooms over the chicken.

bake for 60-90 minutes.
(just keep an eye on it. sauce should be pretty bubbly--but don't leave it too long or chicken will dry out!)

serve with lots of sauce and sprinkle with slivered almonds for garnish.

best with long grain & wild rice + peas or grilled asparagus!

Friday, May 20, 2011

tidbit: the country home

to send you off into the weekend with a little something special:
i think it's safe to say this is my dream, dream LIFE, really. heaven!

...happy sophisticating...

photos courtesy of country living.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

design obsession: foyers

ahhhhh the foyer.
[foi-er? foi-ey? fwa-yey? wuht-ev-er.]
it's so decadent, isn't it? the very concept that you'd dedicate an entire room to...entering.

our new home has the ittiest bittiest foyer (okay fine, it's an entryway), but i am trying my darndest to infuse it with some sophistication.

the way i see it, there are two ways to approach foyer decor:
1. the foyer sets the tone for the home. it creates a calming, welcoming space that is consistent with the rest of the home and gives you an idea of what to expect in the other rooms.
2. the foyer is the razzle dazzle. the dramatic "wow." a chance to be playful and zany. or, perhaps, a revved up, gilded version of the rest of the home.

in my mind, you can't go wrong either way, but whatever you do--be intentional. be thoughtful, tidy and strategic. it's such a fun space, because it is so practical, yet so superfluous at the same time. the same room that welcomes guests to fabulous, decadent dinner party is the room where you likely need to stash keys, mail, umbrellas and muddy shoes.

here are a PLETHORA of fab foyers. which is your favorite?
...happy sophisticating...

i love the light in this space, and the neutral color palate makes this homey and welcoming.
photo courtesy of house beautiful, december 2004.

love the sisal rug. love the convenient storage to the right of the door. LOVE the entry table with that custom skirt. fabulous!
photo courtesy of house beautiful, february 2007.

love the wall sconces. love the staircase (a risky choice with no railing), love the floors.
photo courtesy of design*sponge.

photo courtesy of elle decor, february 2011.

it may look simple, but that is JUST the right shade of white.
photo courtesy of elle decor, april 2011.

perfect symmetry, with the exception of the stools. so cheeky.
photo courtesy of house beautiful, august 2008.

i am utterly obsessed with that door hardware. and the floors. and the crooked topiary trees.
photo courtesy of elle decor, november 2010.

i don't tend to love accent walls, but this just works. highlights that fabulous railing.
photo courtesy of house beautiful, december 2007.

this would be meg ryan's home on martha's vineyard. seriously? amazing. don't even get me started on the barn door---i have a whole 'nother "design obsession" coming for those...
photo courtesy of elle decor, june 2010.

beach house meets modern sophistication. love the white, clean lines and glass accessories!
photo courtesy of elle decor, june 2008.

so simple, but so fun!
photo courtesy of elle decor, october 2010.

so classic, but with a touch of the unexpected! who doesn't love hot pink?
photo courtesy of house beautiful, march 2009.

the wall molding literally takes my breath away.
photo courtesy of elle decor, july 2010.

can't you see yourself stealing away here during a party? gorgeous.
photo courtesy of design*sponge.

classic and lovely.
photo courtesy of elle decor, february 2011.

look closely--that is a custom table skirt. and the carved sheep? shut up.
photo courtesy of elle decor, may 2011.

not for everyone, but i think the leopard stair runner is sassy.
photo courtesy of metropolitan home, october 2009.

i think i might have chosen this one as much for the puppy as for the decor. :) he matches!
photo courtesy of elle decor, may 2011.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

sophistikitchen: grilled vegetables

this recipe is from the always adorable and sophisticated, Giada De Laurentiis.

it's not fair, is it?

i stumbled upon this in the cookbook above. simple, but truly stellar. i make these ALL the time. don't let the long list of ingredients throw you. this recipe just gives you options, but you can adapt with just about any number of veggies--and that vinaigrette? yowza. serve these veggies alongside anything and you'll be shocked at how people go back for seconds...and thirds...and...

...happy sophisticating...


3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
12 cremini mushrooms (these might be my favorite)
1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
12 green onions, roots cut off
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves


place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). (i use my le creuset grill pan.)

brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly.

sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper.

working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over:

8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers

7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms

4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions

the key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they've been placed on the hot grill.

arrange the vegetables on a platter.

meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend.

add salt and pepper to taste. drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables.

serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature, you can't lose.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

tidbit: prune-y fingers

prune-y fingers...

...are what i'd get if this were my bathroom...because i'd NEVER get out of the tub.

love the tile. love the "real" rug. love the chandelier. love the wall tapestry.
love. the. light.

...happy sophisticating...

photo courtesy of canadian house & home

Monday, May 16, 2011

tidbit: architectural salvage finds

my husband and i recently made a trip to pasadena architectural salvage in search of unique accessories...what a treasure!

we scored these incredible vintage windows, which will be turned into fabulous "artwork" in our home. those sidelights even match the iron work on our 1934 heater grates!

check out these old street signs. LOVE them! an authentic version of the "vintage" subway signs circulating the big box design stores as of late!

subway sign art found at Restoration Hardware

if you are looking for unique home accessories, i highly recommend you check out your local architectural salvage store. shop with a discriminating eye, make sure all of the items you purchase are sturdy and can be cleaned--but you are sure to find more than you could ever imagine. and remember, the more you buy, the more you can bargain!

...happy sophisticating...

Friday, May 13, 2011

design obsession: neutrals

this is a hefty edition of "design obsession" - mostly because it's a design topic near and dear to my heart.
i. love. neutrals.

in my early post-collegiate living environments, i was all about the pop of color.


then orange.

then lime green.

always against those "latte" walls that were becoming the new white for apartment living.
then i discovered gray. such a welcome shift. so cool. so...sophisticated.

so now, my entire home is neutral for two reasons:
1. i LOVE mixing cool and warm neutrals. my house now is a plethora of black, charcoal and dove gray...mixed with chocolate, latte, white. i think it creates an almost metallic effect---it's neutral, but interesting. i just think it's so stinking chic.
2. the REASON i love a neutral environment is this: my life is chaotic. i know this is true for most in the u.s. life is just so, so busy and something about having this calm, neutral environment feels like such an escape for me. if i am ever blessed to have a vacation home (say mid-century modern spread in palm springs, or a cottage in vermont), you can be sure it will be colorful and sunny and bright. but for everyday, there is something balanced and lovely about a neutral environment, where i can really rest.

so, i give you LOTS of photos celebrating my design obsession with neutrals.
...happy sophisticating...

i think neutral design and reclaimed wood are soul mates.
photo courtesy of design sponge

love these muted, neutral colors for a truly chic nursery.
photo courtesy of design sponge

love the sparkly mirror with the more organic furniture and pillows. love the high/low contrast. so smart!
photo courtesy of design sponge

i would feel like marie antoinette if i got to sleep in this bed every night.
photo courtesy of house beautiful

photo courtesy of house beautiful

love. love. love.
photo courtesy of house beautiful

don't you want to sit here for hours shucking corn or peeling something?
photo courtesy of house beautiful

photo courtesy of house beautiful

love the fancy bergere chairs covered in a more casual fabric. genius. another example of high/low!
photo courtesy of house beautiful

photo courtesy of house beautiful

heaven. classic wall moldings with distressed hardwood floors. heaven.
photo courtesy of design sponge

photo courtesy of design sponge

i have been obsessed with this home forever. nina gotlieb. WOW.
love the vintage tolix chairs. love the floor to ceiling windows.
photo courtesy of design sponge

so calming!
photo courtesy of design sponge

and i leave you with the last two seasons of restoration hardware designs. neutral nirvana!