Traditional Master Bedroom – Updated

This traditional bedroom by LA designer and decorator Lindsay Pennington makes me want to read a book in bed! The color of the walls is Crisp Romaine and as she says, “It’s moody and ambiguously blue, green and gray, and it changes depending upon the lighting and what you place next to it.” She used an eggshell patina so there is a slight sheen.
The antique chinoiserie cabinet on the carved parsons table conceals the TV giving the room a more romantic feel.
I love vignettes anywhere especially when they include fresh flowers by the bed. The headboard is  upholstered in a neutral linen with a polished nickel nailhead trim. The bedding consists of a quilted silk coverlet, cotton shams and a velvet bolster.

 

 

Investment – Real Estate vs Gold ?

Real estate ranks ahead of gold, stocks, bonds, or savings accounts as the best long-term investment today, according to a nationwide poll by the Gallup organization. It’s also a lot more enjoyable on a daily basis. It houses our family, envelopes our possessions, features our holidays, welcomes us home, cushions our falls and celebrates our joys! These are returns that are intangible and not financially measurable however they provide a wealth of return and solace to a family!

Thirty percent of Americans named real estate their best investment option in the poll, which was conducted earlier this month. Real estate has been rising steadily in Gallup’s annual investment polls since 2011, when only 19 percent of Americans viewed it favorably.

Rising home prices and growing stability in real estate markets are credited for much of the change in perception.

Gold was the No. 1 investment option in 2011, when 34 percent of poll respondents named it their favorite. Gold was at its highest market price at the time, but prices have dropped significantly since then.

In the latest poll, gold and stocks tied for second place behind real estate, at 24 percent, followed by savings accounts (14 percent) and bonds (6 percent).

Real estate has ranked first among investment options in previous years — 50 percent of poll respondents picked it as their top choice in 2002, as markets boomed — but it fell out of favor during the subprime mortgage crisis and recession.

Real estate’s recovery has been underway for more than a year, with Bay Area markets at the national forefront. The San Jose and San Francisco metropolitan areas were recently identified as having the highest home equity levels in the nation, and another report named the metro areas the No. 1 and 2 best markets for home sellers.

Pacific Union’s just-released Real Estate Report for the first quarter of 2014 provides detailed summaries of activity in each of our nine Northern California markets. In March, median single-family home prices reached yearly highs in most regions and topped $1 million in San Francisco and Marin County. Farther south in our Silicon Valley region, home prices surpassed the $2.5 million mark.

Photo Courtesty of Houzz & Traditional Living Room by Rockford Interior Designers & Decorators Gallery Interiors and Rockford Kitchen Design.  Excerpt from Pac Union.

Functional Attractive Fences

Privacy and light all in one linear design ~ clean, contemporary & efficient.
Fences have always served as a barrier to either keep people & animals in or out. With the constant and ever present focus on transparency in our private and business lives we as homeowners welcome the combination of architectural creativity in the garden with the need for privacy. Landscape designers are lending their talent to redefining fences by utilizing products that have previously not been explored in perimeter and decorative fencing. Visual fluidity, light, continuity, functional design all come together in these examples of Fencing Circa 2014.
Gateless privacy ~ allows easy access while still blocking the street view.
Protective and transparent ~ this pool fencing provides safety and a fluid visual aesthetic.

Windy city breezes vs Million $$ views ~ Everybody wins with this roof top patio fence.

 

 

Smart Quartz Countertops!

Activated by light and air movement, this super smart floor apparently can convert the toxins normally found in your home into harmless water and carbon dioxide. – See more at: http://furstmanproperties.com/?p=591#sthash.di4QWUKb.dpuf

A few weeks ago I wrote about a hardwood flooring that is reinventing the control of air quality in your home.  Activated by light and air movement, this super smart floor apparently can convert the toxins normally found in your home into harmless water vapor and cardon dioxide. Well I just found their counter part for the kitchen!

reinventing the control of air quality in your home.  Activated by light and air movement, this super smart floor apparently can convert the toxins normally found in your home into harmless water and carbon dioxide. – See more at: http://furstmanproperties.com/?p=591#sthash.JV8KikoA.dpuf

While I originally chose this kitchen to highlight because of the mixture of style and components, primarily the old reclaimed wood ceiling with the modern glass tiles and stainless appliances, once I began to read about the designer Sheryl Schey, a principal at White Picket Fence in Santa Monica, and her philosophies I became interested in her selection of the Silestone natural quartz counter-top she used on the island.

Silestone is composed of 94% natural quartz and is the only quartz product that provides Bacteriostatic protection. Developed by Cosentino, this protective formula incorporated into the quartz, uses the latest generation silver ions to prevent the propagation of bacteria on your counter-tops in the kitchen and bathroom. What a great idea! The product comes in a variety of colors as well as textures, polished, suede and volcano. Guaranteed, the quartz is stain, scratch, acid and impact resistant. Seems to cover all the concerns home owners have when considering what product to feature on their cabinetry in their kitchen and bathrooms.  With the cost of counter-tops being one of high ticket items in a kitchen or bath, to have the comfort of knowing your product is resistant to everyday use and doesn’t requiring regular sealing is a plus.
http://colors.cosentino.com/media/showroom/hd/kitchen/silestone-kitchen-cocina-silestone-quartz-cuarzo-tao-03.jpg

Photo courtesy of Silestone

 

In the Spirit of Mother’s Day!

How do you thank a woman for being your friend, protector, supervisor, guidance counselor, stylist, and above all overseer, aka, Mom….you make her a strawberry tart with a marzipan cake and a sugar cookie pastry….of course flowers are always welcome!

Strawberry Marzipan Tart

Ingredients

1/3 recipe sugar dough, recipe follow
1/2 pound unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon Cassis
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups ground almonds
1/4 cup currant jelly, melted
2 baskets strawberries, green tops cut off flat

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.On a floured surface, roll the pastry 3/8-inch thick and line a 10-inch flan ring with it. Place the ring on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and chill it until needed.Cream the butter and sugar lightly in an electric mixer; don’t let the butter get too soft. Add the eggs and mix lightly. Stir in the liqueur, and almond extract, then mix in the ground almonds. Pour into the chilled pastry shell and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Brush the top of the tart with the currant jelly. Arrange the strawberries cut side down on the tart. Remove the flan ring and transfer the tart to a flat serving platter. Cut into wedges.

Sugar Cookie Dough:

2 sticks butter, slightly softened
3 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 – 2 tablespoon heavy cream

Cut the butter into large pieces and place in the food processor with the flour, salt, and sugar. Mix until just incorporated.  Add the egg yolk and cream, continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough, flatten, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.