Cold Peanut Noodles from Body + Soul

Friday, July 30, 2010

A couple weeks back, I made this Cold Peanut Noodles recipe from Body + Soul (now known as Whole Living). However, when I saw that the recipe called for a 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter, I thought it sounded like an awful lot, so I decided to halve the recipe for the sauce.

I'm glad I did: Making the sauce with only 1/4 cup of peanut butter and halve of the other ingredients rendered enough to dress the noodles nicely--and made the recipe even healthier than it was to begin with. I also didn't have any chili garlic paste, which the recipe calls for, so instead I threw in a dash of chili oil. I also loved the idea of slivering baby bok choy up to make a salad, and I'll definitely use it again.

Archivia Books, A Bibliophile's Dream

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I can't believe it's taken me nearly two months to post about an amazing discovery: Archivia Books. I had the chance to visit this lovely shop when they hosted a small reception for Christina Strutt, author of the recently published At Home With Country and founder of Cabbages and Roses. I went uptown to the shop to meet Christina and interview her for ShelterPop, and I was thrilled to discover Archivia on the journey.

This jewel box of a book store specializes in books that focus on architecture, design, decorative arts, interiors, furniture, gardens, fine arts and fashion. I honestly nearly swooned when I saw the wares laid out on the center table. On top of a well-edited and exhaustive collection of titles, the shop itself if beautiful, calm and perfect in just about every way. I almost wish I lived on the Upper East Side so that I could stop in and visit this little oasis more often.

Archivia Books

993 Lexington Avenue
(between 71st and 72nd Streets)
New York, NY 10021

IKEA's Sultan Alsarp Boxspring?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Does anyone own IKEA's Sultan Alsarp Boxspring? Is this storage box spring as wonderful as I imagine it might be? I made a mental note of the clever storage box spring when I spied it an article in The New York Times about a young designer's Brooklyn studio. Then, in this month's House Beautiful, there it was again: The same designer's Sultan Alsarp, a storage windfall for small apartments.

I currently have a wood captain's bed with useful storage drawers, which was actually my mother's when she lived in the Village in the 1970s. However, we're thinking about upgrading to a queen size mattress (as much as I love cuddling up to my boyfriend at night, two approximately 6-foot tall adults are a bit much for a double bed every night), and I'm researching various storage bed options. I'd be thrilled to hear what anyone has to say about Sultan Alsarp.

Photo: Robert Wright for The New York Times

Warning: Spicy Quinoa Salad Is a Bust

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remember that Spicy Quinoa Salad from The New York Times that I was so eager to make? Well, I made it, and it was disappointing, to say the least. First of all, after a long day at work, I was not prepared for the full hour it actually took to prepare. (Admittedly, there are a lot of steps I suspect you could skip like salting the cucumbers and soaking the onions, but I like to make a recipe to the letter the first time I make it). Secondly, it turned out soggy mess. I must admit, it makes me less-than-eager to try other recipes in the "Recipes for Health" column.

I thought it was just me, but my mother (an expert cook) also tried it and she had the same results. Says mom, "I made the quinoa salad last week and was somewhat disappointed with the results. I cannot get quinoa to come out "grainy," so it was kind of porridge-like in consistency," which sounds exactly like what I experienced.

Does anyone have any tips for achieving this allusive "grainy" quality? C'mon, there must me a quinoa expert out there.

West Elm Wallpaper Mystery Solved!

Earlier this week, I mentioned that I loved West Elm's new look and that I was curious about the wallpaper shown above. Lucky for me, one of my work contacts at West Elm noticed the post and emailed both me and the maker of the wallpaper. So, I now know that Madison and Grow is the maker of this gorgeous wallpaper. The pattern is Elizabeth in "Peacock on Shimmer," which is part of the Pasadena Collection.

The line of eco-friendly wallpapers in designed by Teresa Grow, who has a background in both fine art and color consulting. Apparently, I 'm not the only one to appreciates the beauty of Grow's work: Madison and Grow was a recipient of Interior Design's Merit Award for Best Residential Wallcovering of 2008.

I'm having serious thoughts about wallpapering the wall behind my bed in this pretty, blue and white pattern. It's subtle enough not to overwhelm the small room, but interesting enough to create a focal point. We'll just have to see if I'm still thinking about it a few weeks from now...

Hotel San Jose Bedroom Perfection

Monday, July 26, 2010

I just turned in a piece for ShelterPop last week about the Hotel San Jose in Austin, TX. I love the whole look and feel of the place, including this minimal bedroom. I love everything about its sweet simplicity. Someday, I will have a country house and my bedroom will be equally calm and spare -- oh yeah, and I'll be able to afford fancy-schmancy Frette sheets for the bed.

Photo: Allison V. Smith

West Elm's New Look

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Have you noticed that West Elm's sporting a bit of a new look? I am loving West Elm's new feel, with more organic elements and interior styling that looks like real places not catalog studio shoots. Case in point: This practically perfect entryway that appeared in a recent catalog. Does anyone know what that gorgeous wallpaper is? I'd be thrilled to know.

My Office Space

Friday, July 23, 2010

Even before my boyfriend moved in, it was clear that one of us needed to find an office space outside of the home, as neither of us has a 9 to 5 type of job. Since I spend more time at a desk than he does, I volunteered to be the one to hunt for a space and let him have the "office" in the bedroom.

I was extremely lucky to find a listing for an office share on Craigslist that turned out to have been posted by acquaintances of ours. At the beginning of June, I moved my computer, my files and my other office-like items into the new space, and I now happily commute four blocks to my shared office in a Brooklyn brownstone. Above is a quick snap of my desk, I didn't style it or Photoshop out the cords, so you're seeing it in all of its day-to-day glory.

And yes, I sit in that hard wood chair every day and most of the time, I'm perfectly comfortable. Perhaps one day a fancy Herman Miller chair will be in the budget.

Spicy Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm bookmarking this Spicy Quinoa, Cucumber and Tomato Salad from The New Your Times as one to try. It sounds delicious and healthy, and in this incredible heat, I've been trying to turn the stove on as little as possible. For example, last night's dinner was a Nicoise-esque salad with canned tuna, canned white beans and fresh lettuce and vegetables.

I picked up a recent issue of Real Simple because it promised "26 fresh, easy dishes," but when I opened it up I found more recipes for things like Roasted Pork Chop and Peaches than ones for the light, no-cook meals I envisioned. It find it hard enough to find affordable, healthy meat-free recipes (the staples of my weekday meals), when you add a desire not to use the stove, meal planning gets even harder. What about you? What do you cook when it's hot and humid out?

Live Wire Farm: Timber Napkin Rings

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I spotted these beautiful Timber Napkin Rings from Live Wire Farm on Remodelista and greatly admired them. At $20 a piece, they're not exactly wallet-friendly, but my, they are beautiful, aren't they?

Mismatched Dining Chairs

Friday, July 16, 2010

Spotted on i suwanee, this set of mismatched chairs from Decor Demon inspires me to stop fretting about finding the perfect set of dining chairs and start collecting a jumble of mismatched chairs to paint as a set.

Google's Josef Frank Tribute

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What a nice treat: To find a Josef Frank-ified logo when loading Google today. If you hover your mouse above the image, text will appear that reads: Happy 125th Birthday Josef Frank! Oh, the Googles, they are pretty neat sometimes.

Bright Idea: Linen on Windows

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I love this sweet and simple idea from photographer Victoria Pearson's house, which appeared in Martha Stewart Living: Linen attached directly to the window frame in lieu of curtains. Cute, right?

Also, I love, love, love all the details here: The basket of towels, the mid-century modern stool, the ceramic vase as wastebasket, but the clock on the sink's edge? I don't buy it. No one would keep an electronic that close to running water.

Photo: Victoria Pearson for Martha Stewart Living.

Recent Projects from Good Housekeeping

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Here are two recent projects that appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine. The side table above was embellished with short strips of decorative wood trim (it's kinda hard to see in the photo, but it was a neat effect). The second is a plain, white vinyl roller blind that's been given a grosgrain ribbon border. Both appeared in the 125th anniversary issue with Michelle Obama on the cover.

A Real Sofa for the Big 3-0

Friday, July 09, 2010

Some of you may recall the saga of the broken Ikea sofa earlier this year. At the time, I couldn't stomach spending nearly $2,000 on a new sofa, so we patched the old Ikea model up with some contact cement and supported the break in the frame with a stack of book. This jerry-rigged sofa has held up over the last six months, but it's not a permanent solution.

I'm turning 30 next month (gasp!), and I figure if I'm finally old enough to have a real couch. I think I'm going to take the plunge and buy the Jasper sofa from Room & Board. I'm leaning towards the Straw colored upholstery (above, $1,399) and a Danish Linen slipcover (below, $399). I need a slipcover that can be washed -- trust me. What do you think, dear readers, is this the right sofa for me? I'm having a hard time reconciling myself to spending all that money.

Thomas O'Brien's American Modern

I've long been a fan of Thomas O'Brien's work, from stunning interiors to his artfully selected wares at Aero to his line at Target. So, it's no surprise that I am a fan of his relatively new book American Modern. What is a surprise is just how good it is. I read and own many decorating books and most of them fall short of expectations. With a few notable exceptions, like the many books by Terence Conran, decorating books are often just beautiful picture books with text describing what you see in each photograph -- there's very little service for the reader.

Thomas O'Brien's book works harder than that: He explains the thinking behind the decisions he has made when decorating the homes featured in the book. O'Brien's own homes, both incarnations of his New York City apartment and his Long Island country home, are, in my opinion, much more interesting than his client's homes, but that's probably because he was able to do exactly what he wanted and they evolved over a lifetime.

If you have a chance, I highly recommend adding this book to your library. To give you an idea of how much I like it: I've been reading it before going to bed some nights as if it were a great novel.

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