Bedroom Design: Going Midcentury Modern in a Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

If you’ve observed design, furnishings, and graphics from the years 1933 to 1965, you’ve most likely seen the midcentury style. Characterized by the works of Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll, Charles and Ray Eames, and other tastemakers from the period, the style and pieces are still prevalent today and often essential components in classically modern spaces. Open most any shelter magazine and you’ll usually come across elements and details that originated during this time in history.

Typically mingled with other styles, mid-century modern can also be successful as the lone architectural style in a room, and avid fans of the aesthetic would agree. Sit back with a juicy season of Mad Men and flash back through these five fab rooms exhibiting mid-century design and flavor.

This open-air Los Angeles bedroom is a wonderful example of mid-century modern design. Without a doubt, the architecture is the star, and the rich wood creates warmth throughout the space.

Houston is the home of this gorgeous bedroom boasting mid-century furniture pieces and modern art. Notice how every item is precisely placed.

Orange paint on the door makes a splash in this California bedroom with mid-century accents. Sage green fabrics bring the outside into the room.

This bedroom is minimalist in design but showcases mid-century pieces. The modern wing chair creates a focal point, in an otherwise understated room.

Another Los Angeles bedroom features the best of mid-century architectural design. This bachelor pad doesn’t feel too masculine because the shag rug and splashes of yellow soften the space, giving it a slightly feminine touch.

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Breakfast in Bed – Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits with Brisket Gravy

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Post by Alison Hein.

At a recent McCafferty Family Reunion, we had the pleasure of having creative and talented Chef Michael Panza prepare a few meals for us. When asked if he would be willing to help with a breakfast post, Chef Michael readily complied, creating his spicy, southern-style take on biscuits and gravy.

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Chef Michael started preparing the night before, when he slow-cooked some extra barbecued beef brisket during our Friday night barbecue. Then, on Saturday morning, he used the smoky brisket as a base for the rich and creamy gravy. To balance out the dish, he decided to spice up some humble biscuits with some fiery jalapeños and a touch of garlic. A little extra kick from some sharp cheddar filled out the biscuits and turned them a deep golden hue.

Hot, tangy biscuits, covered with rich, smoky gravy and colored with sliced green onions were a sight to behold. We all tucked into our meal, relishing the southern, spicy and special flavors; relishing the gift of Chef Michael’s breakfast.

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Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

1 jalapeño pepper (or about 1 tablespoon chopped)
2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
⅓ cup butter, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for butter biscuit tops
1¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup grated cheddar cheese

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Preparation

Wash, trim and seed jalapeño pepper. Dice finely and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease baking sheet and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and mix with flour, using your hands, a pastry cutter, or two forks, until mixture resembles coarse sand. Pour buttermilk all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed. Lightly stir in jalapeño pepper and cheddar cheese.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat, and continue to cook until lightly browned. Set aside.

Drop batter onto prepared baking sheet using a greased ¼-cup measure. Bake until crispy and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Brush with browned butter.

Makes approximately 8 biscuits.

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Brisket Gravy

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ yellow onion, diced
1 pound cooked beef brisket, chopped into ¼-inch pieces (or substitute corned beef or sausage)
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds, for garnish

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Preparation

Add vegetable oil to a medium, heavy pan and heat over high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until onion is softened. Add chopped brisket, and stir on high for another minute or two. Pour in heavy cream, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer gravy for about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix corn starch with water to make a slurry. Pour corn starch slurry into gravy, whisking constantly, until gravy is thickened. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, arrange biscuits on plates and top with brisket gravy. Garnish with green onion and serve immediately.

Makes about 3 cups of gravy.

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Bedtime Stories: A Boy and His Tiger

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Post by Mark T. Locker.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.

I’m sure those who grew up in a different era would say theirs was a golden age of comic strips, but I really think growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s was an unspeakably wonderful time for daily comics. The Far Side treated us to a daily dose of nerdy single-panel comedy, while the recently (yay!) revived Bloom County tackled politics and penguins. But for me, the nearest and dearest, as a young boy and now, will always be Calvin and Hobbes. Made all the more enticing and yearned-for because of Watterson’s refusal to license the characters for toys, much less posters and cards, and for his abrupt and total removing of himself from the public eye, these strips were the beloved of kids and adults alike.

My son is about the same age as Calvin now. And there is hardly a waking moment that he isn’t buried one of the many Calvin and Hobbes books strewn about the house. It’s been great for me, as I haven’t visited these comics for a long time so I’m getting the chance to see them again while also enjoying them through his eyes, seeing them for the first time. Like Calvin, my son is a very imaginative only child. Unlike Calvin, he’s not a holy terror and, thankfully, he’s not getting any big ideas from Calvin.

The balance of wry humor, philosophy, cynicism about the human race, and the unconditional love of his best friend the tiger makes this easily the greatest comic ever. If you haven’t picked up a collection in a while, now is a great time to do so. Curl up in bed with a volume tonight.

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Movies in Bed: Harry Potter for Grown-Ups?

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Post by Mark T. Locker.

Way back in 2004, debut novelist Susanna Clarke introduced us to the world of 19th-century English magic in the wonderfully long and dense and fantastic novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. And now, 11 years later, the BBC has finally graced us with a series based very faithfully on the nearly 800-page novel.

The world of English magic in the 19th century is a magical world vastly different than the one we imagine. While magic indeed existed and had been practiced widely in the past, no proper gentleman would deign to do such a thing now. This did not mean, however, that there were no magicians’ societies. On the contrary many learned men were members of such societies. However, these were devoted to the study and appreciation of magic. Never for the practice!

There was one man who continued to practice in his deeply secluded and book-laden home. This man was Mr. Norrell. Once discovered, he became something of a celebrity, despite his rather unpleasant demeanor. When he takes on an apprentice, one Jonathan Strange, he is greatly troubled to realize this man’s intuitive skills far outmatch Mr. Norrell’s highly academic approach.

The BBC television series has released seven episodes. So far, they have remained very true to the story and the tone of the original book. Filled with awesome displays of magic, lots of repressed Victorian-style drama and strange, mysterious, dark forces, this series has quickly become my favorite bedtime watching. It’s captivating enough to keep me awake but not too flashy to keep me up past by bedtime trying to quiet my brain. Highly recommended for lovers of period pieces, miniseries, and awesomely unique approaches to magic.

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Bedroom Design: Tile Floors in a Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Tile might not be the most obvious choice for flooring material in a bedroom, but there are those rare interiors when it’s the ideal choice. Tile can be ceramic, porcelain, stone, or terra cotta, and is most suitable in warm-weather climates, keeping your feet cool as you wake each morning.

In the US, you’ll find tile floors mostly in Florida, the Southwest, and coastal communities. Homes in the Mediterranean also gravitate toward tile floors, adding texture and pattern to structures with history and charm.

Get inspired by these five beauteous bedrooms with tile flooring.

This Amsterdam bedroom boasts whitewashed walls and Provence-style terra cotta floors. The design is simple, earthy, and attractive.

Original to the house, the ceiling beams in this Rasteau, France bedroom are 800 years old. The large, square tile keeps the palette neutral in the renovated guest quarters.

Sleek and modern, this Chicago bedroom with a marble floor pulls out all the stops. It’s elegant, classic and has a view of the water! What more could you want in a master bedroom?

A Scottsdale home uses tile throughout the bed space and the sitting room. In this case, tile as a flooring material is an excellent choice, considering the desert-like conditions in Arizona.

For whatever reason, the designer of this London bedroom opted to extend the tile from the bathroom. If I’m honest, I would’ve rather seen hardwood floors or a flat-weave carpet here to designate the change of space. The beige color is a good choice –– it blends well and doesn’t detract from the rest of the décor.

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