Nov 16, 2010

Designing a Red Bedroom

A good friend is painting her master bedroom a deep red and asked me for some bedding ideas.  She knows that basic white will work, but is worried that it might look too plain.  Since she's expecting a baby this winter, I highly recommend that she stick with basic white bedding  - the easiest to throw in the wash and even oxy-clean if necessary.  But white doesn't have to be boring!

White bedding is like a little black dress- you can dress it up a million different ways with various accessories.   These beds all start with white sheets and a plain white coverlet or duvet cover - their character all comes from the "add ons."  They're anything but dull, and I think any one of them would look fabulous in a red bedroom...

Photo:  House Beautiful, July '08   Design:  Andrew Halliday & David Greer
 A faux fur throw and lush velvet bolsters in deep charcoal make up a sumptuous, sophisticated bed.

Photo:  House Beautiful, July '09    Design:  Jonathan Berger
LOVE THIS HEADBOARD.  But even without such a statement piece, a vintage suzani used as a bed scarf or coverlet is enough pattern to carry an entire room. 

Photo:  Lonny Magazine, Aug/Sept '10    Design:  Vincente Wolf
Your white sheets don't have to be plain - A nice border detail gives them a crisp, tidy look.  In a red room, I like tan, navy, or charcoal borders.  Bloomingdales Chelsea Sheets with a little red polka-dot border are fun too!
Photo:  House Beautiful, Nov '08   Design:  Peter Dunham
 Bring in more red!  Katie Ridder makes some fabulous prints like this paisley - you can mix them up to make accent pillows, a coverlet, and window treatments.

Photo:  Lonny Magazine, July '10     Design:  Lee Kleinheker
I love this photo because is shows just how gorgeous plain white bedding can be with a glam headboard.  If you're going for simple, go for height - you'll get a lot of drama if you make the headboard as tall as you are.

Hope this inspires you to dress up your bed!

Nov 6, 2010

Easy Entertaining with Beer Stew

After a long Indian Summer, it's finally beginning to feel like Fall...

This time of year, my favorite way to entertain is to make up a big pot of Beer Stew (My husband is a hunter, so I use venison, but it works just a well with beef.)  It's the perfect fall dish - delicious, hearty, and it fills our little house with the most heavenly, homey aroma all day.   I throw a pot in the oven around 3, have guests arrive at 6, and serve it up buffet style around 7.  It's an easy way to have a cozy, indoor day....
Beer Stew
This yummy recipe was given to me by a dear friend, Tracy Kraft Akram

3 lbs cubed chuck or venison                 1 1/2 cup beef stock
3 cups chopped onions                          1 1/2 cup beer
2 cloves of garlic, smashed                     3 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup butter                                        4-5 carrotts
1/2 cup flour                                          3-4 potatos
handful chopped parsley                        2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme (fresh is best)       Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300degrees while you chop up all ingredients.  Brown the meat in a dutch oven over medium heat on the stove top.  Stir in onions and cook until tender.  Then add all remaining ingredients, put pot into oven and cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve over cooked egg noodles or with big hunks of  crusty bread. (Tracy likes it best with biscuits.)

Stew Photo from Chez Jacques Jacques Pepin