Friday, 22 August 2014

Project preview: The CafeSigrun cookbook

Yesterday I promised to reveal what I have been working on lately and I'm happy to tell you that I have been editing a cookbook for a dear friend of mine, Sigrun. She is the owner of CafeSigrun, a popular and award-winning Icelandic website with recipes free of e.g. refined sugar, white flour, butter and yeast (also available in English). This is her first cookbook. She creates all the recipes, prepares everything in her own kitchen, and takes all the photographs herself.

These days I'm pretty much thinking in recipes. I recently told a friend that if you ask me how I am I might as well answer with names of cooking or baking ingredients instead of saying I'm well. As much as I have been enjoying the project, I have to confess that it has involved some suffering as well, something I didn't take into account before agreeing to it: The photographs of all the delicious soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, chicken, fish, cakes, ice cream, confectionery, cold and warm drinks (I could go on and on) that I would find in my inbox almost every day! There I am sitting by the computer, all innocent editing a certain chapter, when I get a notification that I have mail. I open an email to maybe find 4 or 5 images of a slice of chocolate cake with the question: „Which one do you like best?“ I'm telling you, it can be agonising, especially when you don't have that slice of cake waiting for you in your own kitchen!

These images are a just a teeny tiny preview of the book (and my inbox suffering!).

The publishing date has not been decided but we are turning in the manuscript in the beginning of September (we are so excited!). Next week we will be busy polishing it so I'm taking a week-long break from blogging.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy these final days of August!

photo credit:
Sigrun Thorsteinsdottir of CafeSigrun (English website)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Outdoor living

Outdoor living is a temporary series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating the season of summer!

This shaded terrace in Girona, Spain, was in my files under the word happy. I think it's the colour combination of the sunflowers and the cushions. It belongs to Brazilian architect Edegar d’Avila, who also has a showroom at the house called La Scala, where you can buy vintage furniture and artwork. Speaking of furniture, it was the Moroccan table on the terrace that caught my attention; I only wish the tabletop could be seen more clearly.

How have you been? Lately I have been quite busy and tomorrow I'm going to tell you why and give you a preview of the project. Have a wonderful day!

photo credit:
Nuevo Estilo

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Summer living | Vive l'été

Almost every day when I'm out on my bicycle I see quite many gardens in our town that are filled with hydrangeas in various shades. This summer I'm drawn to the pink ones but these days, when I stop to admire them, I'm reminded that we are heading for autumn. Before we know it summer will be over. Today I feel the need to hold on to summer with various shades of pink flowers. How gorgeous are the 'Café au Lait' dahlias in the top photo? Or the foxgloves below? And just look at that dark pink shade of the carnations in the third! Then there is the vibrant pink colour of the valerian in the fourth that contrasts all the pink hydrangeas in the last photo. Do you have a favourite?

photo credit:
1: Floret Flowers | 2: stylist Amy Merrick via Floret Flowers | 3: Ngoc Minh Ngo, from the book Bringing Nature Home, published by Rizzoli via Sparks | 4: Philippa Stanton of 5ftinf | 5: Magical® Four Seasons on Pinterest

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Photographer Carter Smith's rustic Manhattan home

Initially I intended to use the above kitchen in my space series but the more I viewed photographer Carter Smith's rustic Manhattan home, the more I realised that it deserved a house tour on the blog. It's not often that I view house tours in interior magazines and like every single space. Smith's home, a Hottenroth & Joseph Architects design, was featured in House & Garden in 2007 and it was Martyn Thompson who lensed it.

In my mind I have a few dream kitchens and Smith's brick-walled one is identical to one of them. He even seems to have an item that has been on my wish list for three years: a yellow Le Creuset (I'm pretty sure it is one - I haven't found the colour in any European shop, and believe me, I have entered many in my search for it!). The cooker, not fully shown, is a La Cornue.

The wonderfully moody library or home office shows the rustic elements of the home even more clearly: exposed beams, floorboards, which are old ones, salvaged from another building, and a hand-carved door from circa the 18th century. The stylish striped rug did not escape me. I like that he uses a footstool as a table by placing a tray on top. It's an excellent solution when a coffee table doesn't quite fit or work (I do the same in our TV area).

As I said before, it's not often that I like every single space in a house tour, even the bathroom. That said I love Smith's bathroom design. Look at the antique wide-panel floors and the vintage apothecary cabinet with the old marble sink. And don't get me started on the gorgeous earthy tone of the gabbeh rug (above photo), also vintage. This is the type of an oriental rug I would like to have in my own home - I know exactly where I would put it.

I find it interesting to see how the master bedroom, with its contemporary wallpaper, contrasts the rest of Smith's home, yet doesn't look out of place by any means. In spite of the contemporary wallpaper, the room feels warm and has these important personal touches, vivid in the bedside table décor. The textiles, the blue coloured bedspreads and the patterned cushions, are beautiful.
A peek into the kitchen pantry with a copper bench and a vintage landscape from John Derian

Finally, we have the outdoor living area with a pergola with climbing plants, a vintage breakfast table, a weathered wooden bench and a table, decorated with an Iranian tribal rug and red and orange cushions. Did I already mention that I love this home?
photo credit:
Martyn Thompson for House & Garden via Architectural Digest

Monday, 18 August 2014

Traditional homes in The World of Interiors

Recently I was asked about my preferred interior style and I said interiors where a rustic style meets modern, with a hint of Scandinavian vibe. I added that I liked using 2-3 antique pieces to break things up; to make the home feel more settled. Only a few weeks later I was holding the September 2014 issue of The World of Interiors in my hands and found myself swooning over grand homes and farmhouses, especially old traditional rugs and spaces that feel heavier than the ones I'm usually drawn to. Well, there was a time when I was very much into traditional homes and perhaps part of me has never left that style. It reminds me of the home of my late paternal grandparents and the pieces my parents have collected through the years. Perhaps the textile books I have been reading are also to blame, or thank, depending how you look at it.

That said I would like to give you a sneak peek of some of the house tours in the issue, starting with an ancestral home in Castile, Spain. The house has 60 rooms! The owner said it was madness to restore it but he did it anyway, not caring that financially it was a bad investment. I have a crush on the curtain fabric shown in both the images, from the textile firm Bujosa in Mallorca. No wonder the red reception room was used on the cover!

The next sneak peek is an Italian farmhouse and monastery in Umbria. The owner continues her father's tradition and collects rare fruit trees and cultivates the fruits. The article made me ache for a walk in the countryside of Umbria but I had to settle for eating apples and grapes.

I have already shared a snapshot of the above image on my Instagram account. I cannot get enough of the ceramics. By the way, the curved wooden stool came from a local convent; one sat on it to grind coffee beans.

Finally, I'm showing you the Turkish room (a work in progress) in the Smedmore House, a 17th-century manor on the Dorset coast of England. A throw like the one on the chair has been on my wish list for ages. The pattern is perfect, and so are the colours! This is my idea of a flawless bohemian style.

photo credit:
The World of Interiors, September 2014 | 1-2: Pablo Zuloaga | 3-6: Tim Beddow (4-6: snapped by me)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

my Sunday moment

It was one those family oriented Sundays with baking, magazine reading and writing. As I type this, hubby is making dinner and in a minute I'll be taking the cornbread out of the oven.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Friday, 15 August 2014

notes à la mode 49

Vanity Fair: The International Best-Dressed List Portfolio
I couldn't care less about best-dressed lists, or worst-dressed lists for that matter, but I like the portfolio created by Vanity Fair with individuals that have made it to their international list through the years. These five images are my favourites and feature Dree Hemingway and Jeremy Irons (love that photo of them!), Grace Coddington, chef Marcus Samuelsson and Neil Patrick Harris, Cressida Bonas, and YSL's muse Betty Catroux. Mario Testino photographed them in New York City and London and Jessica Diehl was the stylist. Is it just I, or does actor Jeremy Irons look more and more handsome with age?
Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Mario Testino for Vanity Fair • Dree Hemingway, Jeremy Irons, Grace Coddington, Marcus Samuelsson, Neil Patrick Harris, Cressida Bonas, and Betty Catroux styled by Jessica Diehl

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Outdoor living

Outdoor living is a temporary series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating the season of summer!

What I love about this roof terrace in Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, is not just its design and the view over the old city, it's is also part of a love story. Art dealer Dorothea McKenna Elkon, a New Yorker, was a widow when she met designer Salem Grassi and after listening to his ideas for this 18th-century riad she had bought, hired him to oversee the renovation of it. It took two years and today Elkon and Grassi are a married couple who, as it says in the Architectural Digest feature from May 2012, spend "nearly two months a year in the house that brought them together." Don't you just love roof terraces with a happy ending?

I find this outdoor living area so stylish with its tiles and jars. And just imagine how wonderful it must be to enjoy al fresco lunches and dinners in the mahogany pavilion, which is also on the roof. Did the blue and white bowl-shaped plates on the table also catch your attention? By the way, it was Grassi himself who designed the iron furniture.

photo credit:
Simon Watson for Architectural Digest, May 2012

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

drawing with light 39

Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)

photo credit:
Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

drawing with light 38

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

photo credit:
Peter Hapak

Monday, 11 August 2014

space: Charles Moore's opium den

This is the "opium den" in the Moore House, the last home and studio of the American architect Charles Moore (1925-1993). The house, located in Austin, Texas, is preserved by The Charles Moore Foundation. The room is wonderfully bohemian, isn't it? I love how bright it is and I'm drawn to the textiles, especially the rug.

photo credit:
Martyn Thompson via Moon to Moon

Friday, 8 August 2014

K&A: spiced blueberry cobbler

Is anyone in the mood for blueberries? I am. Always! The last time I posted a recipe on my food blog was in January. Without going into much detail it was mainly because of the oven in our last home. None of my baking temperatures and baking times worked in it and I found myself reluctant to continue with the food blog until I had tried another UK kitchen; another oven. Then we moved here and now I have a new kitchen with two ovens, which I love, and I don't have to adjust anything. Well, this recipe of a spiced blueberry cobbler that I just posted on kitchen & aroma needs no baking. It's the dessert I start craving during the blueberry season, when I start spotting the stacks of large blueberry boxes in grocery stores. It's from Ani Phyo's book Ani's Raw Food Desserts. I have tried some wonderful recipes from the raw cuisine but I'm a gourmet, well, I'm a healthier version of one, and serve the dessert with whipped cream, organic or home-made ice cream, or Greek yoghurt. If you have a food processor you can easily make this one.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Outdoor living

Outdoor living is a temporary series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating the season of summer!

Today we are on the terrace of Victoria Skoglund outside of Stockholm. Victoria is a gardener and the owner of Zetas, a beautiful garden store in Segeltorp. I don't remember when I first stumbled upon her blog, probably a few years back, and since then it has been moved to the website of the Swedish magazine Lantiv. She blogs in Swedish but don't let it stop you from visiting because her photography of a relaxing life in the Swedish countryside can say more than thousand words. The style of the wooden terrace is rustic and it's decorated with various potted plants and freshly cut flowers. The scenery is sensational.

As can be expected from a gardener, her garden is filled with beautiful flowers, like these 'White Wings' peonies, and then there is her cat, Sigge, who sometimes appears in the photos.

photo credit:
Victoria Skoglund (01, 02, 03, 04)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Summer living | Vive l'été

I do not want to generalise but in summertime I think most of us keep the al fresco dining rather informal and don't worry much about the table setting when it's just the family members enjoying a meal. That said, I have been playing with an idea, that it could be wonderful to celebrate the summer season with a more elegant dining at home. What I have in mind is using one day to bring out the finer or finest plates and glasses (the ones usually hidden in cupboards) and decorate the table with the prettiest summery tablecloth, place mats, and napkins. The meal itself doesn't have to be fancy (I don't think anyone likes spending too much time in the kitchen on a warm summer day), but I would use the opportunity to open a bottle of a good wine. And don't forget to toast to summer!

These images that I have collected should give you some ideas; some fancier than others. Allow me to add that the beautiful top photo is from the book Lunch in Provence by Rachael McKenna and Jean-André Charial. I don't have the book but the images I have seen from it are very inspiring.

Don't have the space at home for this kind of al fresco dining? Just go to a restaurant with an outdoor seating area and make sure it has nice tablecloths!

photo credit:
1: from Lunch in Provence by Rachael McKenna + Jean-André Charial, published by Flammarion | 2: El Mueble | 3: Veranda | 4: Mi Casa | 5: El Mueble | 6: Christophe Rouffio for Campagne Décoration via Elle Maison | 7: Stefano Scatà | 8: La Bastide de Marie (discovered via Ada of Classiq)

Monday, 4 August 2014

my new ceramic vase

Let me introduce you to my ceramic Portuguese vase. I fell flat for it in Walkers Nurseries (close by). Now it's sitting on the coffee table with the books but it's intended for our entrance when the console table is ready. A is going to build it instead of us trying to find one that fits. The two long console tables in these spaces, see here and here, are my entrance inspiration. At Walkers they were so kind to give me the branches in the vase and then I bought the silk one you see in the foreground. I love its colours.

Have you bought something recently to make your home prettier?

Saturday, 2 August 2014

drawing with light 37

Recently I added an old book to my wish list, O'Keeffe and Me: A Treasured Friendship by Ralph Looney (newspaper writer, photographer, and editor). It's the author's memoir of artist Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) that contains personal photographs. Looney developed a friendship with the artist in 1962 when he visited her in New Mexico to interview her for a magazine. I have read many positive reviews about this book and seen many beautiful photographs. I would like to have this one framed on a wall.

photo credit:
Ralph Looney via ABQ Museum Photoarchives