Beautiful Master Bedroom Decorating

Home By Design

april | may | 2018

his & hers

A Renovated Master Suite Features the Perfect Blend of Elements

WRITTEN BY JEANINE MATLOW

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SESHA SMITH, WITH CONVEY STUDIOS

For a traditional brick-and-stone house in Flower Mound, Texas that was due for a major update, innovative interior designer Ginger Curtis was happy to save the day. Working primarily with the wife on the master bedroom renovation, she let her client be her guide. “She wanted it to feel bright but warm,” says Curtis, president of Urbanology Designs in North Richland Hills, a suburb of Fort Worth. “The walls were a very deep beige, like the carpet, so there was no contrast or brightness.”

Now the room has plenty of both. “There’s a contrast of rustic and hard with soft purple and soft touches of elegance like the bench with tufting,” says the designer, whose rustic contemporary description of the master suite fits the bill for both husband and wife. “When you’re leaning toward modern, it starts to feel cold. But rustic instantly adds warmth to everything.”

Curtis has become close with her clients and also worked on other areas of the home. The designer says she has a great deal of respect for the wife after collaborating on this project that included the removal of carpet, installation of wood floors and roman shades, and new paint. “I was so impressed by how much she honored her husband during the process,” she says. “She was so considerate. She has a beautiful heart and she’s a wonderful person.”

When you’re leaning toward modern, it starts to feel cold. But rustic instantly adds warmth to everything.

The end result was a win-win for the couple. “He gets this really cool rustic headboard feature and she gets her purple pillows,” says Curtis. The wood accent wall/headboard made from knotty alder provides the perfect contrast against the soothing taupe-gray walls, while a custom bed is flanked by custom nightstands that are attached to the accent wall. “The upholstered headboard adds extra comfort. I love that upholstered bed balanced against all the wood,” she adds.

To make up for the lack of closet space in the first-floor master suite, they were able to take some square footage from the adjacent great room. “The original closet was a major challenge. It was really tight, like a bowling alley, and she and her husband were rubbing elbows if they were both in there at the same time,” says Curtis. “Removing the built-in from the great room was the best decision. We lost a couple of feet in there, but it had the flexibility for them to get a bigger closet and not squash each other.”

Another consideration was maintaining continuity with the rest of the home by merging the new floors with the existing ones. “The wood species had to be just right and not look like an add-on,” says the designer about the decision to go with hickory floors.

Perhaps it’s what you don’t see in the tranquil environment that matters most. “We didn’t stuff the room full. It’s breathable,” says Curtis. “A few well-chosen pieces leave enough space to maneuver around. This way you enjoy them more because they’re intentional things that are special and give you the flexibility to layer.” This was the case for the artwork she selected that is suited to her clients’ tastes and the space, like a large abstract that wasn’t overly bold. When it came to lighting, the designer wanted to deliver a special feature. “Something as simple as lights hanging directly over the nightstands gives that bespoke look,” she says. “With the clear-glass pendants, it’s not overwhelming. It’s really interesting.”

Rustic meets modern for the perfect match in this fully renovated master bedroom in Texas that is ideal for the husband and wife homeowners.

His and Hers

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Overall, there’s a fine balance among the design elements that doesn’t take away from the main focal point of the wood accent wall. “They complement each other,” she says. “We mixed the rustic farmhouse and transitional. When you mix it together, it really pulls together the look that’s beautiful.”

In the end, this well-blended master bedroom could win anyone over. “We didn’t want something that would be overly masculine or feminine,” says Curtis. “Any person can walk in and feel comfortable.”

Go Your Own Way

Curtis likes to blend a variety of elements to finish a master suite and she encourages others to do the same. “Pick a dresser that doesn’t match the nightstand or add a chair that’s rustic,” she says. “When you turn to big-box retailers for a bedroom set, the room falls very flat. Mix with different styles instead to create interesting looks.”

For subtle contrast, try wood against wood like the nightstands that are attached to the accent wall in this featured design. The larger rug in this bedroom is worth the extra expense, says Curtis, because a smaller style would make the entire space appear smaller.

Though Curtis likes chandeliers in the bedroom, function comes first. In this bedroom, the homeowners wanted a ceiling fan. Today’s fabulous designs make this practical feature more aesthetically pleasing than it once was.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on May 21, 2018 at 7:08 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Glitzy Decorating!

Home By Design

april | may | 2018

the gold standard

An Arkansas Penthouse Gets the VIP Treatment

WRITTEN BY KATHRYN O’SHEA-EVANS  PHOTOGRAPHY BY NANCY NOLAN

Putting the rock in Little Rock, Arkansas comes easy to local designer Tobi Fairley, who outfitted her young clients’ downtown penthouse with cinematic glitz at every turn. “They’re hip and fashionable, and they were willing to take risks with color and design,” says Fairley. “They wanted something edgy and glamorous that was also open and inviting.”

That’s perhaps most evident in the penthouse’s dreamy master bedroom, with its bird’s-eye views of the glimmering Arkansas River and the cityscape below. “It was an empty shell when we started,” says the designer. “I wanted to give them a unique space that would reflect their sense of style, and that would be unlike anything their guests had seen before.”

The biggest showstopper is one that’s too-often overlooked in interior spaces: the ceiling. Fairley had it painted in Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Navy, in a reflective high gloss, which she notes gives it the feeling of the night sky. “Although the ceilings are tall, that gorgeous navy lacquer makes the room seem cozy, particularly when the draperies are closed,” says Fairley. “It’s so sophisticated.” She amplified the starstruck mood by adding an antiqued brass and crystal Sputnik light fixture by midcentury-inspired designer Jonathan Adler. “It really adds to the idea of a night sky rather than just a ceiling, especially when the light bounces off all the crystals in the chandelier.”

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Fairley brought the room back down to earth with her choice of wallcovering—a subtle Osborne & Little snakeskin wallpaper. “I wanted to keep the palette calm and restful since this is a master bedroom, but also add texture and pattern to make it a fashion-forward statement,” she notes. The Maxime upholstered headboard by Bernhardt creates a bit of a cocoon, with button tufting for extra coziness; faux-fur throw pillows and a blanket from Fabulous Furs supply luxurious texture—and are a homey godsend to snuggle up with on cool nights. “The bed is incredibly comfortable for people who like to read in bed or watch television,” says Fairley. “It adds to that sense of a lush oasis for my clients. That’s really what a master bedroom should be—a place to forget the stress of your day.”

The designer also utilized expertly placed notes of symmetry—in everything from a pair of bedside table lamps to the seating area chairs overlooking the river below—to add to the aura of spa-like calm. “Symmetry is critical for creating balanced spaces that look pulled together and complete,” says Fairley. But a room must be functional for it to be truly beautiful, and Fairley delivers, with lined blackout curtains—de rigueur for blocking the sleepless city lights—and even a practical bench at the foot of the bed. “I love using benches like this one from Lee Industries at the end of a bed because they are so versatile,” she says. “You can use them for extra seating, as a place to perch while you put on your shoes, as another surface for books or clothing, and so much more.” Fairley is a stickler for operational nightstands, too. “I like for the bedside tables to be right at the height of the bed. That keeps bedside lamps at the correct height too, so they don’t shine light right into my clients’ eyes,” she notes. She prefers to keep bedside lamps—in this case, luxe, faux-sharkskin wrapped ones from Currey & Company—within easy reach, so the homeowners aren’t exerting themselves to turn the light on or off.

Shimmery upholstery and metallic finishes create an instantly cool vibe in the master bedroom; the addition of a faux-fur throw and pillows, button tufting, and quilting prevents it from feeling cold.

The Gold Standard

“It’s all about luxe details and creating a spa-like atmosphere in this room. A deep soaking tub like this is perfect for washing away all of your troubles!”

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Snakeskin-inspired wallpaper from Osborne & Little provides a neutral touch to balance the room’s more overtly glamorous touches. Brushed gold fixtures in the master bathroom are eye-catching and provide a warm foil to the marble’s cool tones.

In the en suite bathroom, which is bathed in neutral tones, Fairley truly exemplified her belief that design should make you feel amazing from the inside out. It’s like walking into a private, five-star spa: complete with a steam shower with multiple shower heads, Carrara marble subway tiles, and a soaking tub from Signature Hardware that would be the envy of any Hollywood starlet.

“It’s all about luxe details and creating a spa-like atmosphere in this room,” says Fairley. “A deep soaking tub like this is perfect for washing away all of your troubles! I positioned it so my clients could also take in the city views while they’re relaxing.” Dazzling brushed gold fixtures add a subtle glow to the room. “They’re the perfect ‘jewelry’ to finish this fashionable master bath,” she says. Fairley chose a floor that nods to the adjacent envelope-pushing bedroom: tiles from Walker Zanger called Helsinki in a Silver Dusk color, laid out in a chevron pattern. “It’s really the highlight of this bathroom,” she says.

Each choice, combined, creates a sumptuous hideaway lofted above the frenetic city streets. “I’m pleased with a space when we reach magazine-quality design,” says Fairley. “But I know I’ve been successful when a space I design helps improve relationships, free up time, and enables people to feel more relaxed, productive, and fulfilled. I believe interior design is about making your life better from the inside out.”

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on May 14, 2018 at 10:42 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Raised Bed Gardening

Home By Design

april | may | 2018

raising the bar

Getting Started with Raised Garden Beds

WRITTEN BY CATRIONA TUDOR ERLER

Raise gardening to a new level with raised beds—aboveground growing containers that are open to the ground underneath. The benefits are many.

If your property has adverse soil conditions such as poor drainage, low fertility, or poor soil structure, rise above the problem by building a raised bed filled with rich soil. Tired of weeding on your hands and knees? Build a bed with a wide rim that’s high enough to sit comfortably on the edge while you’re tending to the plants. Open the possibility of gardening to people in wheelchairs with beds build at an appropriate height.

A raised bed helps you concentrate and focus your water usage to exactly where it should be, thus reducing weeds. They also reduce the possibility of compacting the soil or damaging plants due to walking in the growing area. To provide access to the plants without the need to walk in the bed, make it narrow enough (about four feet) to reach at least halfway across from either side.

If you’re building a raised bed next to a garden living space, such as a patio or terrace, build it in a style and out of materials that complement the surrounding structures so the look is unified and harmonious. In more utilitarian areas, such as a remote vegetable or cutting garden, wood or composite plastic materials are the most common building materials.

Gardeners are spoilt for choice when it comes to materials for building raised beds. Review the following three main materials and the pros and cons of each before embarking on your new garden design.

WOOD

Rot-resistant woods such as cedar (Eastern White or Western Red), redwood, and cypress contain natural chemicals that make them resistant to decay. These woods are an attractive, natural material; however, even rot-resistant wood eventually will degrade. The lifespan will depend on the type of wood and climate. Wood lasts longer where the air is dry and rots quickly in rainy regions.

If you opt for wood, make sure it is old-growth or second growth. Sapwood (milky white outer wood) will quickly rot. Do not use chemically treated lumber, particularly if you plan to grow food. The toxic preservative materials leach out of the wood, potentially contaminating the soil and the plants growing in it.

RECYCLED PLASTIC (HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE)

HDPE (High-density polyethylene) is a long-lasting material typically guaranteed for a minimum of fifty years. It is a stable material so the chemicals do not leach, and it is resistant to cracking, chipping, and freeze-thaw cycles. The boards do not shrink, warp, or expand over time, although the linear strength is less than wood, so long lengths need more cross-bracing.

The recyclable material comes in a choice of fade-resistant colors. The major negative is the cost, which is high; however, if amortized over decades, it ultimately costs less than wood, which will need replacing much sooner.

Raising the Bar

Photography provided by ©iStockphoto.com/cjp.

COMPOSITE WOOD (BLEND OF WOOD FIBER AND UV-PROTECTED RECYCLED POLYPROPYLENE)

Because they are joined with screws, composite woods are easy to assemble. The printed wood grain pattern conveys a quasi-natural look; nothing in nature repeats so uniformly. The material is weather and rot resistant, and the joint system with straight and curved sections allows for enlarging beds and for shape flexibility, including circles and ovals.

The hollow boards can easily be damaged, and tall and long beds are likely to bow outward. In addition, the color is less stable than the HDPE material, fading in just a few years.

Whether built of wood, plastic, brick, stone, or other building materials, raised beds can add immeasurable value to your gardening pleasure and success.

Best Soil for Raised Beds

There is no one-size-fits-all soil for raised-bed gardening. Some plants, such as blueberries, require acidic soil; others prefer a neutral or alkaline base. In an arid climate you will want a mix that retains moisture; in wetter parts of the country, a good draining soil is best. The beauty of a raised bed is that you can custom-tailor your soil to the plants’ needs.

A good, all-purpose raised bed soil is a well-blended mix of 50 percent each topsoil and compost. Be sure of the quality of both ingredients. Some companies will deliver dirt taken from the top layer of the ground and call it topsoil. Do your research before you place an order.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

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Posted on May 10, 2018 at 6:35 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Canadian Gothic Revival

Home By Design

april | may | 2018

canadian gothic revival

OTTAWA, ONTARIO

TOP: The city of Ottawa at dusk. BELOW LEFT TO RIGHT: The buildings of Parliament Hill showcase the Gothic Revival architectural style prevalent within the city; a river boat cruise along the Ottawa River is an ideal way to appreciate the beauty of Ottawa; the Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the return of spring each May; Ottawa sits on the south bank of the Ottawa River.

Canadian Gothic Revival

Consistently rated the best place to live in Canada, Ottawa boasts the highest standard of living in the nation, Canada’s most educated residents, and a low unemployment rate. Canada’s capital city is in the province of Ontario and is situated near the US border, close to upstate New York. Sitting on the south bank of the Ottawa River, the city center revolves around Parliament Hill and its grand Gothic Revival architecture. The parklined Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is filled with boats in summer and ice-skaters in winter.

WRITTEN BY KIM A FUQUA

PHOTOGRAPHY BY OTTAWA TOURISM

Ottawa hosts some of the largest festivals in the world, including Canada’s largest blues festival and the world’s largest hockey tournament. Canadian culture enthusiasts will find no shortage of museums in Ottawa. The National Gallery of Canada boasts notable collections of indigenous and other Canadian art, including the memorably colossal bronze spider sculpture, Maman. The Canadian Museum of History showcases exhibits around Canadian heritage, and the Canadian War Museum features Canadian military history exhibits. The Canadian Museum of Nature is yet another recently expanded cultural destination for visitors and locals alike.

Parliament Hill is a must for both architecture and political buffs. It consists of three Gothic Revival-style buildings on a 170-foot bluff overlooking the Ottawa River, and houses the offices of the Parliament, House of Commons, and Senate. Take a free guided tour and explore Canadian history and the workings of the political system, and add a tour of Peace Tower for more history plus gorgeous views from the top. Don’t miss the changing of the guard! Stroll the scenic Rideau Canal, one of the oldest landmarks in Ottawa, and take a riverboat cruise along the Ottawa River. The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates spring in the month of May with over 1 million displays of tulips planted throughout Ottawa. Pedal through gardens blooming with more than 300,000 tulips on a two-hour guided bike tour bursting with color.

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For a whimsical meal in ByWard Market, a neighborhood featuring its own farmers’ market, head to Play Food & Wine for an array of delectable small plates. Sample gnocchi with spinach and mushrooms, hanger steak with frites and aioli, and pork belly with pickled sauerkraut, each expertly paired with staff recommended wines by the glass. Oyster lovers should not miss a visit to The Whalesbone Oyster House near the Canadian Museum of Nature. Dive into oysters from both coasts along with seductive seafood dishes like lobster risotto and a sublime clam chowder, all while engaging with the friendly bartenders and oyster shuckers. Don’t miss lunch at La Bottega Nicastro, an Italian market and local favorite, offering olive oils, chocolates, cheeses, and coffee for purchase. Head to the café in the back for a sit-down lunch featuring sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and desserts; definitely order a sandwich of heaping portions of prosciutto on focaccia with options like buffalo mozzarella, spicy marinated eggplant, and roasted red peppers.

The Albert at Bay Suite Hotel will provide a home away from home for the whole family during longer stays, offering spacious suites with full kitchens and underground parking, and is within walking distance to all of the attractions of the city center. For modern lodging in ByWard Market, stay at the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market, where you’ll receive a complimentary glass of wine at check-in. Enjoy it on the rooftop lounge along with sweeping views of downtown. For deluxe accommodations near all the sites, the luxury of the Fairmont Château Laurier cannot be beat. Steeped in history and highly regarded across the country, this gothic piece of architecture will surround you in breathtaking beauty. Opt for the Fairmont Gold level as it is well worth the upgrade.

Ottawa is easy to reach by train, plane, or automobile any time of year; just a two-hour drive from Montreal and approximately four-and-a-half hours from Toronto. The Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is just twenty minutes from downtown Ottawa, so getting here for the spring festivals—whether they be visual explosions of tulips or audio bursts of jazz music—will be a snap.

Upcoming Annual Events

May 11 to 13: Ottawa ComicCon

May 11 to 21: Canadian Tulip Festival

May 26 and 27: Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

May 31 to June 2: Gatineau Beerfest

June 2 and 3: Doors Open Ottawa

June 8 to 10: Westfest

June 21 to 24: Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

June 21 to July 1: TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

July 1: Canada Day

July 5 to 15: RBC Bluesfest

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on April 30, 2018 at 7:58 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Bake Your Day

 

Home By Design

april | may | 2018

bake your day

A Collection of Sweet and Savory Baked Goods

RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARISTA BENNETT

All it takes is the scent of something baking in the oven for my family to come running. It doesn’t matter if it is sweet treats like peanut butter cookies or savory morsels like beet tarts; they know it’s going to be the perfect shade of golden brown when it emerges from the oven. Sometimes baking evokes a sentimental memory. My recipe for carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting always makes me think of my mother, who would make these desserts on special occasions or when we all needed a special treat for the week. Whether it conjures memories from when you were growing up or helps enhance new memories, nothing says home like the smell of baking.

Bake Your Day

HAM AND CHEESE DANISH

This is such a fun and simple pastry to prepare for any occasion, be it a brunch, light dinner, or even a last-minute cocktail hour with friends. I think this pastry is best when prepared with a quality ham that you might get from your deli counter or local charcuterie shop. I often use an aged Irish or English cheddar for extra flavor.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 4 to 6 slices of ham (I like rosemary or honey ham)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water
  • Fresh chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degree F.

Open the thawed puff pastry and place it on a lightly floured work surface. In the center panel of the trifold pastry, spread the cream cheese. Then layer the slices of ham, tearing them into pieces if you like, and then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the ham.

With a knife, make 6 even slits on both sides (end panels) of the puff pastry. Starting at the top of the pastry, fold the flaps diagonally and alternating over the filling. When you get to the end, tuck the extra dough under the pastry.

Gently transfer the pastry to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and then place it in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

HAM AND CHEESE DANISHLet the pastry cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and garnish with fresh chopped chives.


RED AND GOLDEN BEET TART

This happens to be one of my favorite savory tarts. What could be more delicious than roasted beets over ricotta and goat cheese in a homemade crust? If you’re short on time and you need to use a store-bought crust, this tart will still be just as tasty. If you can’t find golden beets, use all red beets or maybe swap a few large roasted carrot slices to mix up the color. Consider serving this with a lightly dressed salad of spring greens and arugula.

Serves 6

  • 2 medium red beets, scrubbed clean
  • 2 medium golden beets, scrubbed clean
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces cold butter, diced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
  • 4 to 6 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped thyme or lightly dressed spring greens, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the beets on a large piece of aluminum foil and then rub them with the olive oil. Wrap the beets in the foil, tenting it so the beets can steam a bit.

Place the foil beet packet on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until done and can easily be pierced with a fork.

While the beets are roasting, mix together the pastry dough. In a food processor (or by hand with a pastry cutter) add the flour, salt, and cold butter and pulse until the flour resembles coarse crumbs. While the food processor is running, add the cold water. The mixture should form a dough. When the dough has formed and is not sticking to the sides, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough a few times and then form a disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

RED AND GOLDEN BEET TARTWhen the beets are done and cooled, peel the outer skin off the beets and then slice evenly making 6 to 8 slices per beet. Set aside until needed.

Whisk together the ricotta, goat cheese, egg, dried thyme, chives, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Set aside until needed.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out large enough to fit into the tart pan. Once the dough is in the tart pan, spread the cheese mixture into the bottom of the pan over the dough. Drizzle the cheese mixture with a little olive oil and then bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry edges are golden brown.

Place the roasted beet slices, alternating red and gold, on the cheese layer until all the slices have been used. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and salt and serve at room temperature. Garnish with fresh chopped thyme or lightly dressed spring greens.


SPRING ASPARAGUS AND SWISS CHARD DUTCH BABY

Dutch babies are large, light, and fluffy pancakes—much like a popover. They’re typically served sweet with a dusting of powdered sugar; however, they can be made savory. This Dutch baby is filled with spring asparagus and Swiss chard and makes a lovely brunch, lunch, or evening meal.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup chopped Swiss chard
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, Parmesan, flour, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Let the batter rest for about 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron pan or seasoned iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the asparagus and cook until crisp tender. Then add the Swiss chard and cook just until wilted. Sprinkle with the Gruyère cheese.

Next pour the batter over the vegetables and then place the skillet on the middle rack of the preheated oven.

SPRING ASPARAGUS AND SWISS CHARD DUTCH BABYBake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the Dutch baby is browned and puffed. With oven mitts, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and serve immediately. The Dutch baby will deflate after a few minutes, but it will still be tasty.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on April 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

These are the most hipster cities in the world

Sarah Berger | @sarahelizberger 10:40 AM ET Fri, 13 April 2018

Smith Collection/Gado | Getty Images
Just like the hit IFC show “Portlandia” suggests, the Pacific Northwest is a hipster haven, according to a new survey conducted by Movehub. However, globally, the top spot for hipsters actually goes to a city in the United Kingdom.

To determine its new International Hipster Index, Movehub, an international relocation company, combed through data for 446 cities across 20 countries, excluding cities with populations below 150,000. They looked at five data points, including the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques and record stores per 100,000 city residents.

While the United States might have dominated the list — with seven U.S. cities cracking the top 10 — the most hipster city in the world goes to Brighton and Hove in the United Kingdom. Located in the country’s southeast region, this coastal city is described by Lonely Planet as “without doubt Britain’s most colorful and outrageous city.” It ranked in the top four for three out of the five data points: Vegan eateries, coffee shops and record stores.

However, the U.S. still dominated the top 10 with seven hipster hubs, with many of them located in the Pacific Northwest region, as well as Florida.

The top 10 most hipster cities in the world, according to Movehub, are:

1. Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

2. Portland, Oregon, United States

3. Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

4. Seattle, Washington, United States

5. Lisbon, Portugal

6. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

7. Miami, Florida, United States

8. Orlando, Florida, United States

9. Helsinki, Finland

10. Spokane, Washington, United States

Brighton and Hove barely squeaked past Portland for the top spot; the U.K. city scored an 8.1632 on the Hipster Index while Portland scored 8.1631.

Overall, European cities seem to have more vintage threads and vinyl than Americans, according to Movehub. Brighton placed first in the category for record stores, with nine record stores per 100,000 people. As for vintage boutiques, Lisbon snagged the top spot, with 78 per 100,000 people.

However, American cities did dominate one data category: Tattoo shops. Movehub found that the top 22 cities for tattoos were all in the United States, with Las Vegas, Nevada ranking first with 29 studios per 100,000 people.

“You would struggle to find any other group that changes cities at the rate that hipsters do —once a city has been chosen as a trendy area, the hipsters bring in all sorts of new independent businesses and this injection of consumers can really transform these cities,” says Fred O’Brien, who headed up the research of the study study.

Movehub points out that none of the cities on the index’s top 40 had a population over one million. A similar study (with slightly different criteria) conducted by the site last year looked at the most hipster cities in the U.S., and found a similar result: In that study, every city in the top ten had a population under 500,000, and cities like New York and San Francisco didn’t even make the top 50.


Posted on April 20, 2018 at 6:41 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Pop Culture


Posted on January 24, 2018 at 6:53 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Contemporary Beach Front Design

Home By Design

december | january | 2018

it’s all in the details

Thoughtful Design Brings Harmony to This Beachfront Beauty

WRITTEN BY RONDA SWANEY  PHOTOGRAPHY BY BARRY CALHOUN

“Details distinguish a home from looking amateurish to looking like a professional did it,” says Kelly Deck, director of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kelly Deck Design and host of the HGTV series Take It Outside. With so much professional experience under her belt, Deck understands a thing or two about flawlessly executing details.

Her design skills captured the attention of the Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Every year, these organizations work together to create a house—the grand prize for their fundraiser, Vancouver’s Millionaire Designer Home Lottery. They asked Deck and her team to design and execute the interior of this spacious prize home located on Marine Drive in White Rock, British Columbia.

The goal of the lottery is to appeal to a wide audience to entice ticket purchases. Typically, the lottery home design follows traditional styles and tastes, but Deck wanted to go in a new direction. “We encouraged the foundation to look at something more modern. We introduced the idea of a contemporary home that felt a bit like a luxury hotel,” says Deck. “They trusted us and took the risk.” That risk paid off when the 116,000 lottery tickets available for the home sold quickly.

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big and bold.

A home with a large footprint, such as this featured design, can be intimidating. Here, Kelly Deck shares her secrets to making the most of big spaces.

Go big. “When you have that much volume, you need to take up space. Making big moves actually makes your space feel more cohesive and whole,” Deck explains. Large rooms can handle large pieces. Consider the eighteen-foot-long headboard in the master bedroom or fourteen-foot long island in the kitchen. Neither looks out of place because both are proportional to the dimensions of the rooms they are in.

Be bold. If you want your rooms to make a statement, choose materials that make you somewhat nervous. Designers shy away from marble because it can etch or stain. Deck says to look overseas to overcome that nervousness. “In Europe, marble floors and counters have been in buildings for centuries and they look spectacular,” she says. “They’re not in perfect condition, yet the forms and overall look is beautiful because those materials tell a story.”

Even without textiles, the master bath celebrates texture through wood grain, marble veining, and matte (versus iridescent) tile.

It's All in the Details

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Deck first focused on the atmosphere and mood that she wanted to create. “My approach to modern is about using materials that are sensuous and have strong texture,” she says. “I want people to want to touch them.” Natural materials appeal to the sense of touch, as does the variety of textures. The home is filled with wood, marble, and natural textiles like cotton, linen, velvet, and wool.

Learning to balance varied textures takes practice and a reliance on gut instinct. “There’s no prescriptive recipe. It’s more of a feeling,” says Deck. “You need to focus on framing, blocking, and sight lines.” The master bath provides an excellent illustration. Each material is used with precision, training the viewer’s eye where to look next. Dark stained quartersawn oak starts at the vanity cabinets and continues to wrap around the bathtub, drawing the eye to the beachfront view. Elongated marble slabs top the vanity and show up again in the shower seat and base footing. A wide swath of iridescent glass tile shimmers between the vanities and flows from the wall to the floor spanning the length of the room. A velvety ottoman sits beneath a sparkling chandelier that is reflected in both the mirrors and shower glass.

Even with varied materials and textures, the design feels harmonious. How does Deck create that harmony? She compares the process to smart entertaining. “If you plan a dinner party, you’re not going to invite twelve people with gigantic personalities. If you do, no one will get to say anything. When you design, you have to choose pieces that command attention and then support them with those that are quieter and more contemplative,” she explains. “If you want one thing to stand out as special, then other things need to be quieter and command less attention.”

Dramatic focal points command attention in each room, but it’s the smaller details that make the home feel cozy. “With accessorizing, there’s a fine balance between having just enough so that it looks collected, but not so much that it looks cluttered. Each vignette should tell a story,” she says. Books, photos, and plants accessorize each room and provide the narrative. “Books are a very critical component of any styling. They instantly soften a space and give you a sense of feeling at home,” Deck explains. For artwork, she relied on photos. “I like the subtle graphic quality of black-and-white photos. They capture a specific moment in time better than a painting does.”

From a room-spanning headboard to how books are arranged on a nightstand, nothing is overlooked. “When you walk into a home and the whole thing just feels good; that’s the magic of well-executed details.”

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on January 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Soup and Sandwich Specials

Home By Design

december | january | 2018

soup’s on

Elevated Soup and Sandwich Recipes That Delight

RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARISTA BENNETT

Wintertime calls for comfort food. The chilly temps drive me indoors and I crave the combo of warm soup and a hearty sandwich. A bowl of soup, a sandwich, and a soft blanket make the day feel a bit cozier. Soups and sandwiches have always been a family favorite, but I’ve elevated my recipe game with these distinctive and satisfying pairings. To maintain some childlike simplicity to these staples, I’ve also designed them for dunking. Whether you dunk artisan croutons into tomato bisque or dip the edge of a pita-wrapped curried chicken salad into a hot bowl of Mulligatawny, settle in. Soup’s on.

Soup's On

RED CURRY CAULIFLOWER

Pureed cauliflower and red curry paste come together to make a smooth, silky soup. It becomes a bit heartier when paired with an arugula, apple, and hummus wrap. This soup and sandwich makes a tasty combination for a quick and easy meal.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 to 2½ pounds) stemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)
  • 1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lime juice to taste
  • Sliced green onions or fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, chopped cauliflower, fresh ginger, ground coriander, and vegetable broth. Let the veggies and broth simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.

Next, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, and turmeric. Bring it back to a simmer. Let the soup simmer on low for another 5 to 10 minutes to bring all the flavors together. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or Vitamix and puree.

Then pour the soup back into the pot. If the soup feels too thick, add another ¼ cup veggie broth until you feel you have the right consistency.

RED CURRY CAULIFLOWER SOUPSeason with salt and pepper and then add a squeeze or two of lime juice to taste.

Garnish with sliced green onions or fresh cilantro.


ARUGULA, APPLE, AND HUMMUS WRAP

I like to use spinach wraps for this sandwich, but you can use any kind of tortilla wrap you like. When sliced into smaller pieces, this wrap also makes a festive nibble for guests or a delicious after-school snack.

Makes 1

  • 1 large tortilla or sandwich wrap, slightly warmed so it’s pliable
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 8 to 10 arugula leaves (or a good handful of baby arugula)
  • 4 to 5 slices of your favorite apple

Place the warmed tortilla on a flat surface and spread the hummus on the half closest to you. Layer with arugula leaves and then the sliced apples.

Fold in the sides of the tortilla and then roll away from you. Cut in half or in quarters and enjoy.

ARUGULA, APPLE, AND HUMMUS WRAP

MULLIGATAWNY

Mulligatawny soup originated in England and is inspired by Indian cuisine. You will find many different versions of this beautiful soup; however, this one is my favorite. I added coconut milk and diced apples to give just a hint of sweet, which deliciously complements the savory flavors.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, olive oil, or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups diced sweet potato
  • ¼ cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken, optional (I often make this soup vegetarian)
  • ½ diced fresh apple
  • 1 cup coconut milk (not light or low-fat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, add the oil and place over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook them for about 5 minutes or until soft. Then add the garlic and ginger, stirring for another minute.

Next stir in the flour and curry powder and when it’s nicely combined with the vegetables (about 30 seconds or so) slowly stir in the broth.

Bring the soup to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Add the diced sweet potato and rice. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

MULLIGATAWNYWhen the rice and sweet potato are soft, stir in the fresh thyme, diced apple, and chicken if using. Then stir in the coconut milk until combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the soup sit for about 30 minutes prior to serving.

This soup is excellent the next day and can be held in the refrigerator for approximately 3 days.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on December 27, 2017 at 11:06 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Vintage Post Stamps

Home By Design

december | january | 2018

signed, sealed, delivered

Sending Mail with Vintage Postage Stamps

WRITTEN BY MARESA GIOVANNINI

Communication in the modern age changes every day. New programs and apps for sharing information and images are constantly being developed, and they are changing historical forms of communication along the way. With the advent of the cell phone came the phrase landline. And with the advent of e-mail came the phrase snail mail. As archaic as snail mail sounds, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The art of letter writing, sending, and receiving is back in fashion, and as a result, postage stamps are too. New designs are always a thrill for philatelists, but vintage, never-been-used stamps are resurfacing and dressing up envelopes all over North America.

Vintage postage stamps are often maintained in curated hobby collections; however, they can still be used for practical purposes too. Editions that aren’t particularly rare offer a beautiful opportunity to honor social history and provide your friend or family member with a well-decorated piece of mail. Even though the cost of a single stamp is more today than it was sixty years ago, you can still use uncanceled stamps. As long as the face value totals the current cost of postage, you can use as many stamps as you’d like in the upper right hand corner of your envelope.

Create a mix of stamps you love or think the recipient would appreciate. You could also group them by color or theme. For example, animal postage stamps complement a jungle themed birthday party invitation, while stamps with love and flowers in pastel shades are a popular wedding invitation trend. A collection of vintage stamps is a particularly detailed and romantic gesture for brides and grooms to use when inviting guests. But whatever the occasion, postage stamps help communicate your message. “When I was in college I had a long-distance relationship, and we wrote letters constantly. Postcards, love letters, drawings—anything to stay connected,” says Liz Tannehill Cook, owner of online-based Vintage Postage Shop. “The envelope was as much a part of the correspondence as the letter itself. From the stamp that was chosen to any artwork that was drawn to any words used; it was very personal and intentional. I still have all of those letters. Each one gave me so much joy and is a story of that relationship.”

You can find usable stamps from Vintage Postage Shop and other vendors on Etsy. If you’d like someone else to curate a complete set and make sure it totals the amount you need per envelope, Etsy is a fantastic resource. Or if you’re simply on the hunt for sheets of a specific stamp, you can check out eBay or Amazon. There might also be local brick-and-mortar resources in your area.

Remember when you had to lick the stamps? Yes, there really was a time when the adhesive had to be activated with moisture. When applying vintage stamps, forgo the traditional method and instead use quality glue sticks to affix them to envelopes. Use a piece of scrap or construction paper to firmly press the stamp to the envelope and avoid getting glue everywhere.

Preserve the integrity of your vintage stamps by having them hand canceled. Today, most mail is machine sorted, which means it’s processed in a not-so-gentle way, and your pretty postage stamps might end up peeling or covered up completely. Take your mail directly to the postmaster for a hand cancellation. Not only is this a gentler and more traditional way to send mail, it can also add dimension to your envelope. (See the sidebar for more about specialty postmarks.)

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Photography provided by Vintage Postage Shop.

You can easily find vintage postage stamps from all over the world. Although you can’t use them to send mail within your country, you can turn foreign or canceled stamps into artwork so they will continue to be appreciated. Consider framing and matting your favorite finds, use them to create greeting cards, or arrange colorful stamps in the shape of a heart or letter. With postage stamp artwork on your walls, you can appreciate snail mail every day.

Specialty Postmarks

A beautifully decorated envelope is a treat for any recipient. But if you want to go the extra mile, have your mail hand canceled in a town that has a unique name or specialty postmark. The postmark is the part of the stamp that documents the date your mail was accepted and the cancelation renders the postage unusable for the future, although you can use both terms interchangeably with the postmaster. If you’re passing through one of these towns, bring some mail with you or pick up a postcard to document the visit. You might even be able to send invitations directly to a post office in a box and have the mail properly canceled and sent from there. Here are a few post offices worth visiting to put the finishing touch on your mail.
Bliss, New York
Bridal Veil, Oregon
Celebration, Florida
Dinosaur, Colorado
Happy Camp, California
Heart’s Content, Newfoundland and Labrador
Love, Arizona/Love, Illinois/Love, Saskatchewan
North Pole, Alaska
Paradise, Pennsylvania
Romance, Arkansas
Valentine, Texas
Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on December 20, 2017 at 7:34 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |