Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Just a little update on who won the last two big giveaways. The first winner Ariel, who writes the blog Loving Every Minute of It, won a custom drawing by Patricia Van Essche of PVE Designs. Ariel chose her darling bungalow as the subject of the drawing. I thought you might like to see the final results. As always, Patricia’s work is wonderful, warm, and personal. First – take a look at Ariel’s house she shares with her husband and three boys in the Texas Hill Country:
Ariel and her husband have updated their house, adding shutters, new paint, landscaping, porches, etc!!!!
And here is Patricia’s drawing. I love the angle she chose to capture it. It looks so inviting with the Adirondack chairs prominently figured, along with the trees and picket fence. If I was Ariel, I would order the note cards that Patricia sells with this drawing on them. It would be so cute !! To read Patricia’s story about the drawing, go HERE.
The next big giveaway was the fabulous lantern from BROWN. Here is the exact same lantern hanging in my client’s house that I worked on this year. I was so excited when Jill Brown offered to give the lantern for a giveaway. It was the largest contest I have ever had. The response was phenomenal – so many people entered!!!! I was only sorry I didn’t have more to hand out. It’s a truly gorgeous light fixture and Jill was so generous to sponsor the contest.
The blogger Brilliant Asylum from Atlanta was the lucky winner of the BROWN lantern. As you can read HERE, she had a choice of either having the four light bulb kit inside the lantern or just the one light bulb kit. She chose the one light bulb kit with the beautiful Edison bulb, shown below. Hopefully when she hangs the lantern Brilliant Asylum will send us a picture to see it! Be sure visit BROWN’s web site HERE to see all their wonderful things.
A huge thank you again to Patricia and Jill for the great giveaways.
Photograph of Christina Strutt’s house in Bath, England – taken from her latest book: At Home With Country HERE.
P.S. The newest Skirted Roundtable is now available with our guest Cabbages and Roses’ Christina Strutt. From England, Strutt is Martha Stewart and Rachel Ashwell rolled into one – with a dash of her mentor Laura Ashley. Beautiful fabrics and clothes. Listen HERE.
Next week we have a HUGE HUGE HUGE guest coming on the Skirted Roundtable: Robert McAlpine! I am so excited I could DIE!!! Wish me luck y’all. This one has me nervous. McAlpine is a major hero to me and I’m sure to you too!!! YIKES!!!!!!!!
1) Before guests arrive put the appetizers and munchies in the room you want people to congregate in. It never fails that people always want to hang in the kitchen. However, for the head chef (that’s me!) it can be a stressful to have too many people staring me down while I chop! Instead put out a little bowl of nuts (I’m personally obsessed with these honey roasted almonds), crackers and cheese (two thumbs up on Manchengo cheese, it’s a total crowd pleaser) and some drinks on the coffee table. People will naturally wander to where the food is and start talking. Fingers crossed, this should leave you with less of a crowd watching while you put the final touches on dinner.
2) If you’re preparing a more complicated main course why not do a dessert that is simple and can be made the day or morning before? This will mean less chaos for you, especially after a few glasses of vino. Also, its makes the whole evening more approachable and fun for guests. We all know what a whiz you are in the kitchen, so serving something like brownie sundaes or an apple pie lets everyone kick back and relax after a great meal. This ridiculously easy ice cream crispie cake is a summer hit and takes 10 minutes. Given its simplicity it makes me laugh as people devour it, but hey, whatever works!
3) Set your table the night before. If you’re having a seated dinner party you simply must trust me on this. I’ve failed on several occasions big time in this department. The morning of a party I’m always out running last minute errands (Whole Foods, liquor store, etc.) and then it’s off to the kitchen, so that the table is often the last thing to get my attention. By setting the table the night before, you guarantee that you won’t be handing out forks at the last minute.
Of course the last tip comes straight from good ol’ Bridget Jones and her blue soup. Have a great attitude! Pile the dishes to the side, grab a glass of vino and relax. After all they are friends for a reason, if the chicken is scorched and you have to order a pizza, laugh about it and no one will care. They are here to see you and have a fun evening, not judge you on your coco au vin!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
On the seaside from top to semiinterrato.
Only the balustrade around our tiny garden is not yet blue.
But then, after that: blue mission completed.
I forgot to post these pictures:
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I love Spanish architecture. It’s all so romantic and mysterious with the courtyards hidden behind wooden doors, the arches, the tiled roofs, the iron light fixtures. This farmhouse in Spain was recently published in a Spanish magazine and it caught my eye. It was built in the 18th century and only one family has ever inhabited it. The owners have spent considerable time in the United States and recently decided to return home and fix up the property. Who can blame them? Here, at the entrance, the heavy wood doors are open onto the central courtyard which most rooms look out onto. The family dog stands guard. I kept looking at this picture and it reminded me of something. It started to drive me a little crazy - it took me an entire day to figure it all out…….
There is a porch that runs parallel to the house.
Outdoor dining on the porch.
The dining room overlooks the porch through the iron gated window. The green door on the right leads to the porch through the curtained doorway. Native terracotta floor tiles run throughout the farmhouse.
The kitchen is all white tiles and terracotta floors.
The master bedroom overlooks the central courtyard. Here the floor is seagrass with scattered rugs over it. The decor is so different than French and English. Its more masculine than French, more colorful than English. Even though recently updated, the interiors leave a lot to be desired. But still, looking at this story reminded me of something which I finally remember what...
Is this Texas or Spain? The 18th century Spanish farmhouse reminded me of a ranch house that was built in south Texas by Michael Imber, a distinguished and highly honored architect living in San Antonio, Texas. The image of the Spanish farmhouse’s white stucco colonial architecture facade brought this Texas ranch to mind. Here, the courtyard is located to the front of the facade.
The ranch is located between San Antonia and Laredo – on the south Texas range. Named Rancho dos Vidas, Michael Imber has received many awards for this particular property. He says that he drew inspiration for his design from “Spanish Colonial archetypes of South Texas and Northern Mexico.” No wonder the 18th century farmhouse in Spain reminded me of this ranch! To reach the ranch house, you enter through protective walls which keep the harsh environment from encroaching on the property. The plans are beautifully illustrated here, where you can see the house is U-shaped around the front courtyard.
A view at dusk of the entry into the house through an arched doorway.
A view of the front overlooking the wild Texas scrub landscape. The Spanish styled facade can be seen in the middle of the compound.
A view of the lush courtyard. Notice the interesting shaped shutters and the ledge on which the windows are sited.
A pergola topped walkway off the swimming pool area. I love the lantern hanging down from the vines – so romantic!
Inside the ranch, strictly Texan decor. The ranch is used as a hunting property – the deer were probably shot here. This interior looks more fitting for a ranch than the original 18th century Spanish farm! This ranch was published in several magazines and books.
The beautiful kitchen with French chairs and table. Notice the island is made out of Spanish tiles, and also notice how the stove is placed inside a towering mantel. Beautiful. The windows overlook the front courtyard.
The master bedroom reminds me of a Ralph Lauren advertisement! The doors are so beautiful. Notice the shape of the fireplace, so graceful.
Another beautiful bedroom with a leather bed and French nightstands. All of the beamed ceilings throughout are so wonderful.
A closeup of the front entrance with its massive door and arched window.
The back of the house overlooks the swimming pool and the river. The main living area is to the right.
It’s interesting that the new ranch in Texas, modeled after Spanish architecture found in Mexico, looks as old and as authentic as the original 18th century Spanish farm which serves as the inspiration. Which is better, the new or the old? I think I might like the new myself!!!
To see Michael Imber’s beautiful portfolio, go HERE.