Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wexford: Project update

The spec house in Wexford is coming along quiet fast, which is great. We are fully framed, plumbed, heating installed, and all the electrical is complete. Now we are waiting...and waiting...and waiting for the windows. They are scheduled to be delivered next week (3 weeks behind schedule), once that happens they will be installed and then we can continue with the construction of the home. Exterior cladding and the insulation and drywall...then the fun stuff starts.

As you enter the front door you can see the Juliet balcony that is on the second level, once the curved railing and spindles get in place it will be a great focal point.

I think this is going to be one of my favourite areas of the home. It is a library that goes from the great room to the home office. I designed a built-in from floor to ceiling c/w shaker style post details that will hold beautiful sconces (I just need to find the perfect ones).

The kitchen may not look it, but it is quiet large and the 10' ceilings will only help the space feel roomy. I am really excited about the kitchen drawings I have done for this home, with all professional built-in appliances it is going to be the jewel of the home.

And check out that view from the back of the home. The kitchen, nook, and great room will all take advantage of the beautiful countryside.

I hope to be able to update you again in a couple of weeks with some of the color & material selections as well as new photos showing the windows and drywall in place, it will really change the look of the home. Until then have a great day and enjoy the view from where you are at! Mel xo

Monday, August 30, 2010

A desk or a day bed??

There is a spot in our new home that I am struggling with, should we do a built-in desk area where I can keep all of my samples, files, and magazines, something along the lines of this...

Image via Houzz

Or do we do another daybed similar to the one that we have on that we will have on the main level of the home, similar to this...

 Image my own

There are pros & cons to both, maybe I should just flip a coin. Until then, here is the area I am debating, it is located between the His & Hers closets off our master bedroom. The window faces the front of the home and will have a vaulted 14' ceiling...

Plans via Veranda Interiors
The cross section...

Plans via Veranda Interiors

So give it to me, what would you rather see?? Thanks in advance for your input and feedback! Have a great day. Mel xo

I also want to thank Remodelaholic for featuring one of my cabin projects again this week. Thanks!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Simply Stunning

Image via Cottage Living

Happy weekend! Mel xo

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fridays Favorite - Wild Berry Pavlova

I know, I know, I need to just rename this Foodie Friday or something, but food really is one of my favorite things, especially creating food. So while the heat is still on in some parts of the country give this yummy, wow factor desert a try, it will impress anyone that is lucky enough to sample it.

Wild Berry Pavlova
Serves 6
4 extra large egg white at room temperature
Dash of salt
1 C. sugar
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. white wine vinegar
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 250. Take a piece of parchment paper and trace a 9" cake pan circle with a pencil. Flip paper over so the pencil side is down. Place the egg white an salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high until firm, about 1 minute. While the mixer is still on high slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about another 2 -3 minutes. Sift in the cornstarch into the mixture, add the vinegar and vanilla and fold all the ingredients together. Pile the meringue onto the parchemnt paper, stay within the line but have fun with it, it is the canvas of this desert.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, until there is slight color on the exterior of the shell. Turn the oven off, open the door slightly and let the base cool completely in the oven.

Whipped Cream
1 C. heavy cream
1 T. sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in a bowl of an electric mixer. When it begins to thicken add in the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until there are firm peaks. Do not over mix. (This can be made up to 2 hours ahead of time)

Wild Berry Sauce
1/2 pint raspberries
1 C. blueberries
1 C. diced strawberries
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. water
1 C. seedless jam, such as one of the flavors of the fruit you are using
2 T. Chamboard (optional)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to serve. (This can be made the morning of)

When ready to serve pile the whipped cream on top of the base then the berries on top.

It may seem like a lot of effort, but really it isn't. Once you taste the light, airy sweetness of this Pavlova your heart may skip a beat, it is so worth it. Also, if you like to make individual deserts for dinner parties you can do so with this. Simply trace out a 3' cookie cutter (6 times) and use those as the templates for the base, voila, individual deserts.

May you have a wonderful weekend filled with lots of laughter, and possibly this desert?? Mel xo

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some pics to share...

While my parents were in town last week we had the opportunity to work with Maria Lang once again.

The boys are obsessed with my parents,  and since they are far away from us, all the way in Missouri, I wanted to capture the love and tenderness that we see when they are together.

While I wasn't keen on being in the pics (blame it on a bad hair day), we did end up sneaking in a few of Rob & me. Doesn't he look great with longer hair?!?!

All images property of Maria Lang Photography 

If you want to see a few more from the shoot along with more work by Maria check out her blog HERE. Thank you once again Maria, you are a true talent and are so great at capturing the special moments in our lives. I look forward to working with you again, and again, and again!! Mel xo

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Knock Knock - Laeside Retreat

This is one of my all time favorite homes featured in Southern Accents (RIP). It is architect Bill Ingram's lakeside home, I love it all, from the antique oak floors to the bleached cypress ceilings. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do... 

 All images via Southern Accents

Looking back at this article makes me miss Southern Accents so much, it was a great read full of inspiration, you are missed my friend! Mel xo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Have I mentioned...

Have I mentioned how busy I have been lately?? Between coming back form the cabin, having family come to visit the next day (the last of them just flew out this am), and numerous work projects taking off at full steam I find myself running like crazy. Yet this image, below, for some reason gives me a sigh of relief. Is it the rustic charm of the crates, the organized sense it has, or the soft lighting pouring in from the window?

Image via Houzz

I think this would be such a fun concept to utilize in an home to add character and charm with little expense.  It also reminded me of THIS post by the always wonderful Marianne from Haven & Home.

I also wanted to mention to all of my Calgary & area readers that the talented Maria Lang will be holding a 'Sessions for Love' with all proceeds going to the Ysa Melnyk Trust Fund. She is the 7 week old baby who's parents were tragically killed in a car accident on Friday. If you are interested in booking a mini session with Maria on September 2nd or 3rd please go to her BLOG HERE and contact her. It is a great way to help a beautiful baby girl and work with an amazing & talented woman.

Mel xo

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two tone windows, so tempting...

We did two tone windows in a home about 5 years ago, loved them then and I still do. Now that I am having to brainstorm and get some selections made for our own home I need to pin this down since the windows are one of the first things that we order.

 Image via My Home Ideas

The windows typically take 6 - 8 weeks for production and I will need to decide on screen & hardware color before production begins, we wouldn't want white screens and cranks on dark windows now would we?

Image my own

The more images that I see (and there are not that many) the more I think I want to incorporate it into the main level of the home.

 Image via Atlanta Home & Lifestyle

If we do go painted I wouldn't use such a harsh black; it would need to be a soft black, a color that would help soften the lines of the windows.

 Image via Atlanta Home & Lifestyle

Or it could be stained since the windows are hemlock fir on the interior, another option that would give it a less modern feel, a way to warm up the environment.

 Image via BHG

Oh decisions, decisions. Have I mentioned how much I do not enjoy doing this for myself??  I know, I could have worse things to consider, but with the options out there and loving everything it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what I want to do, so bare with me over the next few months...and my rambling. :) 

Image via Elle Decor

The weekend went by way too fast for my liking, hopefully this week will as well. Enjoy your day! Mel xo

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Simply Stunning

Image via Daisy Pink Cupcakes

xo Mel

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fridays Favorite - Red Velvet Cupcakes

Today is it about yummyness...Red Velvet Cupcakes. I adapted a recipe over the summer buy playing around with a few that I found (thank you Paula Deen) and let me tell you...they are a hit and oh so good!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
 2 C. sugar
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 T. good cocoa powder (I like Ghiradelli)
2 bottles red food coloring
2.5 C cake flour
1 t. salt
1 C. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
1 T. white vinegar

1/2 lb cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 jar marshmallow fluff
1.5 C. unsweetend shreeded coconut
1/2 t. vanilla
2 C. sifted confectioners sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350.

In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light & fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well, scraping down the sides as you go. Mix the food coloring and cocoa powder together and add to the sugar mixture; combine well. Sift the flour & salt together (I like to sift twice), add to the creamed mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Add in vanilla and mix well. In a small bowl combine the baking soda & vinegar (it will foam) and add that to mixture. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20 - 23 min. until the toothpick comes out clean. DO NOT OVER BAKE! Move to rack and let cool before icing.

To make the icing cream together the cream cheese & butter, whip for 5 min. on high. Add in marshmallow fluff, vanilla, and sifted sugar. Once it is well combined fold in coconut. To pipe onto cupcakes I put it in a large ziplock bag, nip one corner with a scissor and use as a pipping bag, simple and easy.

As you can see from this pic everyone loves them, especially my adorable nephew...

Have a fab weekend and enjoy the sweetness of your time with loved ones! Mel xo

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knock Knock: An Italian Getaway

After watching Eat Pray Love with some girlfriends the other night I was inspired by the first section of the movie that takes place in Italy. It is my fathers homeland and a place where I still have strong family roots. One day we will get there and I would love to stay here in this farmhouse that dates back to the 13th century...

All imaged via Doorways Ltd.

While I enjoyed Eat I could have skipped Pray and used a fast forward button through Love. I never read the book and after sitting and watching it for 3 hours I can move it down my list. While it left me wanting more it did get me excited & inspired about going to Italy one day. I hope you get inspired by something today! Mel xo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Too busy...

Too busy to do a great post right now so let me share this image with you, I would love to just lay in this bed today. But I have 3 kitchens I need to design, along with numerous built-ins and vanities.

I did want to wish you all a wonderful Wednesday, half way there my friends. Enjoy your day. Mel xo

Image unknown

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A blessed day for a dear friend...

One of my true loves is photography, and while I have yet to master any real skills I like to live through some amazing friends with phenomenal talent. When one of them, our family photographer MARIA LANG posted images from her daughters baptism I had to re-post some here. Besides being a beautiful & talented woman she is really one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and did I mention her talent??

To see the full post please head over to Maria's blog HERE. And if you are in the Calgary area might I suggest getting a date set for a photo shoot...it isn't too soon to think about Holiday cards! I am looking forward to the next time I get to see Maria on Thursday, she is meeting us out in the mountains for a little photo shoot and we can't wait! Mel xo

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kitchen concepts...

A couple of weeks ago I posted about one of my amazing clients with great style. She sent me some inspirational photos for her kitchen and I was beyond thrilled when I saw the images. Here is the one I picked as a starting point...

I sketched up 3 quick concepts to get the process started, it is a small kitchen so my space is limited but I wanted to make the most of what they have. Here is what I came up with for them...

The first is your basic as to be expected kitchen design. Blah if you ask me, nothing new & innovative, but I had to toss it out there. Fortunately they were not wowed by it either.

This was the second option. It does reduce the counter space a bit, but it also moves the microwave from the island to the perimeter. The detail in the center will be the corner pantry, instead of doing what most would do and just case the opening we are doing what is refereed to as a 'pantry wrap', the top cornice, freeze, and paneling detail will continue giving the entire area a built-in look and making the appearance of the kitchen larger.

Finally the last option, which is my favorite (theirs too). I used the detail of the open shelves on the right from the inspiration image as a concept for the area to the right of the pantry. Open shelving is all the rage right now in kitchen design and this will accommodate the requirements of the clients and look fab.

Our next step is plumbing selections and then we are off to finalize the drawings, selecting door & cornice detail, and start with the color selections. They did toss around the idea of a white perimeter and gray island, amazing. I really do have great clients! Hope your weekend was perfect and have a good week ahead. Mel xo
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