Bedroom Design: Bedrooms with a Parisian Feel

Post by Tracy Kaler.

If I can’t be in Paris, I can dream about it, can’t I? If you have any romantic notions and you’re any kind of dreamer, you’ve probably caught yourself wishing for a trip to Paris at some point or another. Have you never been before? I was in the ‘City of Light’ for a brief weekend more than 20 years ago, and I’ve planned to return but haven’t yet.

Wishes can come true, and if that statement is a fact, I’ll be in Paris very soon! Until then, I enjoy perusing Parisian-inspired interiors like these five beautiful bedrooms.

This French farmhouse bedroom uses chartreuse green in a bold way. Notice the old tile and the floor-to-ceiling casement window. What a stunning space!

Although this shabby chic bedroom is located in the US, it certainly oozes Parisian charm. From the ornate moldings to the chandelier and French bed, I feel as if I’ve been transported to Paris when I look at this photo.

More modern than the typical Paris home, this all-white minimalist attic bedroom still has a very French feel.

Miles away from Paris, this Vancouver bedroom borrows a few elements from the French style.

Paris or the US? Believe it or not, this fabulous country retreat by Frank de Biasi Interiors is in Upstate New York. The wall covering was custom colored and imported from France while the canopy bed, tall ceilings, and clever mix of pattern add a dash of Parisian charm.

Posted in Bedroom Design | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast in Bed – La Pavot (Poppy Baguette)

La Pavot 10

Post by Alison Hein.

Cold, dark, rainy days like we’ve been having lately aren’t good for either photographs or bread baking. L They are, however, wonderful for fresh-baked bread eating! I have been obsessed with these pavot (poppy baguettes) since first biting into one many years ago in France. I use about ¼ cup of poppy seeds to completely cover the tops of the loaves. If you’re not as obsessed as I am, feel free to minimize, or even skip (gasp!) the pavot entirely.

Baby your dough as it rises by finding a warm, non-drafty spot in your kitchen. (Sometimes a small distance away from a pre-heated oven is just the right spot.) Don’t bang any pots or slam any doors either, and at the end of your patient waiting period, you will be rewarded with the dreary day joy of slicing into a fresh, yeasty loaf of handmade and well-tended deliciousness. Try it like they do in Europe – slather a slice with some soft, unsalted butter, then sprinkle on salt to your liking for a breakfast in bed that will cheer you and warm your heart on a dreary day.

La Pavot 1

Ingredients

2 cups tepid water
1 tablespoon (2 packets) dry yeast
2 tablespoons oil
¼ cup sugar
1 egg, plus one egg white
1½ teaspoons fleur de sel (or sea salt)
5 cups white flour
1 tablespoon semolina flour
Oil for rising
Flour for kneading, shaping and dusting loaves
¼ cup poppy seeds

La Pavot 3

Preparation

Add water to large food processor, or large bowl. Gently sprinkle yeast on top to cover surface. Set aside until yeast begins to activate, about 10 minutes.

Add oil, sugar, egg, fleur de sel, and one cup flour to food processor or bowl. Gently pulse on food processor dough setting or stir until mixed in. Add remaining flour, about a cup at a time, until mixed in. If using food processor, gently pulse until dough is compressed and begins to pull away from side of bowl. Be careful not to over mix or dough will become tough. If making bread by hand, turn out onto floured board and knead gently for about five minutes. Add about ½ teaspoon oil to large bowl. Place dough in bowl. Turn and flip so oiled side faces up. Cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let dough rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.

La Pavot 4

Punch down dough. Turn onto floured board and shape into 3 equal-sized baguettes. Sprinkle large baking tray with semolina flour. Place loaves on tray, cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let loaves rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425° about 15 minutes before dough is finished rising. Lightly brush loaves with egg white, then sprinkle poppy seeds on top to cover. Carefully make a few diagonal slashes on each loaf, using a razor blade or very sharp knife (I keep a craft knife on hand for this purpose).

Place loaves in oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Makes 3 baguettes.

La Pavot 6

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bedroom Design: 4 Brilliant Bed Walls

Post by Tracy Kaler.

What components make up a typical bed well? A stylish headboard. A pair of bedside tables. Art above the bed. Window treatments. Accoutrements. But what about those bed walls that push the envelope, those that lack the obvious choices for a headboard but boast a custom backdrop instead? Some bed walls come adorned with built-in nightstands rather than the usual freestanding tables. Some designers think outside the box when they create a space for sIeep. I searched high and low for the most innovative bed walls I could find. Enjoy!

Industrial in design and feel, this Santa Barbara loft bedroom is like no other I’ve ever seen. A driftwood backdrop and platform feel primitive yet sophisticated. Matching nightstands blend in, and the art above the bed keeps the color palette neutral. A skateboard and guitar add a smidge of playfulness to the space.

Busy to some and inventive to others, this colorful, patterned bedside corner sets the tone for this unusual guest bedroom in Newport Beach. Notice the simplicity of the other elements in the room –– although the shag rug and ornamental dresser introduce texture and make up for the bedroom’s lack of accessories. A pouf acts as a bedside table.

No headboard is visible in this photo, so we have to assume that there isn’t one. The decorator of this Florida bedroom uses a crisp, Moroccan pattern on the pillow shams. Decorative molding creates architectural interest on the bed wall while the artwork resembles branches or coral and provides just the right amount of interest above the bed. This room is fantastic in many ways.

The feature wall in this charming East London bedroom dons black, and the headboard sports a zig-zag pattern. The silly sign as artwork somehow fits the mood, as do the light fixtures suspended by red cords.

Posted in Bedroom Design | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast in Bed – Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 8

Post by Alison Hein.

Many (many) years ago, I entered a Girl Scout cookie contest and won! The winner was a sugary, crisped-edge, frilly concoction called a lace cookie. A wispy memory of brown sugar and beaten egg whites returned to my mind recently, and I decided to hunt for the recipe and recreate the magic.

The faded cookbooks of my youth have titles like Cookie Cookbook and The Cookie Book, and I know exactly where to find them. I flipped confidently through the first one, and there it was – Lace Cookies.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 1

The recipe was different from my memory (where was the brown sugar? Where were the egg whites?), but that didn’t trouble me overmuch. I was puzzled when I was instructed to have on hand 2 cups oatmeal – surely that meant to cook the oats first? This didn’t seem right at all – should I make oatmeal? Use rolled oats? So I checked in with my sister, Janet. She agreed, the oats should be cooked. She also agreed that she did not remember oats in the original lace cookie recipe.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 3

Still, I forged ahead valiantly. Everything was coming together nicely, until the cookies came out of the oven.

They looked all right, but would not be removed from the pan without balling into a squidgly mess. They even tasted okay, but required eating with a spoon.

They were a real mess and I had to toss them. But by this time, I liked the idea of adding oats, even though they were lacking from my original memory. I changed the recipe up a bit more, using brown sugar instead of only white, adding vanilla extract and an extra egg. This time, they slid sweetly from the pan, and were adorned with a tiny crisp of lacy edge (aided by melted butter and no flour in the batter). The rolled oats turned to autumn gold – sweet breakfast in bed bites.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 4

P.S. If you have a great recipe for Lace Cookies, please send it to me.

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats
1 stick (½ cup) butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 6

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place rolled oats into large bowl. Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium low heat. When melted, stir into rolled oats until evenly mixed. Stir in brown sugar and white sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 1½ inches between cookies to allow for spreading. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown and crisped on the bottom. Let cool on cookie sheet for one to two minutes before removing to cool fully on a wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 7

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bedtime Stories: The House in the Night

house-in-nightThe House in the Night  by Susan Marie Swanson. Illustrated by Beth Krommes.

Carrying on with the themes of darkness and night we explored last week, today I bring you The House in the Night whose etched-looking black, white, and yellow illustrations won Beth Krommes a Caldecott Medal. This is possibly the hardest review I’ve ever written. I cannot begin to try and explain what this book is about. It begins with the “in the dark is a house, in the house is a light, in the light is a room, etc.” From there it kind of goes into this nonsensical trance and I’m not terribly clear what is going on anymore. The child picks up the book and then she’s flying through the darkness on a bird’s back. Maybe this is her imagination as she reads. Maybe it’s dream imagery. “On the moon’s face shines the sun/Sun in the moon/Moon in the dark”

That said, I do really like the illustrations. They remind me of those art projects where you cover a page with India ink and scratch away an image. It’s particularly impressive that Beth Krommes was able to make meaningful imagery from the fairly meaningless, or at least vague, text. A good story to read to a little kid, maybe two to four years old. They will appreciate the cadence of the words and appreciate the striking images.

house-in-night1

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment