Find your way...

November 30, 2011


Let's talk essenest.

I'm the Interior Designer for an up and coming property management company called essenest which is based off the moto "we create and manage properties that inspire".

This is one company that goes the extra mile to provide homes to people instead of just a place to live.  

There is much more to come regarding this company and the projects that we'll be working on together. For now, I'll introduce you to our first property, we'll call this town home the Ramsgate  Project.

Long story short, this home was evicted and left in pretty bad shape. But on the bright side it's giving us a chance to make it even better than before.... we've just started this renovation so I'll begin with some of the before photos...

Welcome to the Ramsgate Project

Working on the missing fixture & curb appeal.

 Broken Windows

Kitchen View


And yes, the walls look equally this bad through out.

Bar/Eating Area

Laundry Closet

Living Room

Railing has a little accident.
This area is also not to proper CODE and needs an additional handrail installed.


Looking down the stairwell.
Needs new flooring and new side railing.

Many of these around.

One of the bathrooms... eek!

Whatever fixture this used to be is not cute...

Well there you go!

I cannot wait to get further into this project and really transform this property. This will be the happiest home on the block when we're finished with it.

Make sure you check out essenest's tumblr page and website (currently under contruction).

Stay tuned for updates!!

Happy Designing!

November 29, 2011

Celebrity Homes...

Welcome to Vogue's Devon Radziwill's home.

                                                          Glasses by Dior Boutique

(photographed by Claiborne Swanson Frank)

Isn't it fabulous? I would love to be a part of whatever dinner party is taking place in those ghost chairs! And while we're wishing for things...I'll take that piece of art as well...


Happy Designing!

November 25, 2011

Picasso to Warhol...

I recently attended the High Museum in Atlanta's exhibit, 'Picasso to Warhol' and let me tell you, it was SO awesome.
Henri Matisse
Periwinkles/Moroccan Garden

This was made during Matisse's first trip to Morocco and shows the garden of the private estate called Villa Brooke. There's something about these colors that just made me smile :)

Dance I

Matisse originally started this painting with six people and ended with only five which makes some say you can see a ghost-like figure. It shows rhythm and fluidity beautifully. The break in the hands show signs of struggle within the movement.

Jasper Johns

Between the Clock and the Bed

Johns took the title from a 1943 self-portrait by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. This piece looks so incredibly modern for its time. I could see it hanging in our showroom today... I adore this.


Map refers to the concept that everyday objects or symbols can become art. He repurposed the familiar map of the United States as a work of art and helps you to see it in a different light.


Girl before a Mirror

This beauty portrays Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso's Mistress at the time. Notice how he shows her profile & entire face on the left side. It's funny how it actually makes you feel when you see something like this in person. Picasso is a master...UH-mazing!

The Kitchen

Think about it....

Painter and Model

Definitely on my list of top three at the exhibit. The more I look at it, the more sense I can make of the shapes I see. What a brilliantly abstract vision of a painter with paintbrush & easel (right hand side) vs. the model and her profile towards the left.

Jackson Pollock

This transitional painting was done two years before Pollock's first drip paintings, which he is most famous for. If you follow the thick black lines, references to the figure become visible. Brilliant.

Number 1A

Pollock's wife explained that by giving a painting a number name, they will see the painting for what it is-pure painting.  Some people thought he was not emotionally connected to his paintings because the number titles he would give them. By looking at his hand prints in the upper right hand portion, you know this simply was not true... He would lay the canvas' on the floor so that he could paint above & at every angle of the painting. I think museums should display these lying down, so we can see it as he saw them.

Andy Warhol

Before and After

Warhol began his career as a commercial artist. This painting is based on an advertisement for plastic surgery that regularly ran in The National Enquirer.

Campbell's Soup Cans

All thirty-two varieties available at the time. Hand painted.


"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface, of my paintings and my films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it."
Andy Warhol

Wow, I could go on for days. I loved every minute of it...

Which one is your favorite?


November 24, 2011

Gobble Gobble...

I just wanted to quickly wish everyone a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I am so very thankful for my amazing husband, family, and friends on this day and every day. Make sure you tell someone how appreciative you are of them, because you never know when it might be the last chance you get.

All I know is that I plan on eating too much and drinking plenty of vino!

And it looks like my glass is empty :)

Have a fantastic day enjoying whatever company you may be keeping!


November 23, 2011

Fashion designers favorite recipes...

In the spirit of Thanksgiving rapidly approaching (tomorrow), I wanted to share this weeks recipes today instead of Friday. Here are some world renouned fashion designers signature dishes (as featured on! I think I would take just about any advice from Tory Burch, and if it's something I can eat, bring it on!


Tory Burch's
Pumpkin Mousse

“Nothing is better than pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving,” Burch says. “This year we are making pumpkin mousse with gingersnaps — a modern take on a classic recipe.”

15 oz. pumpkin puree (recipe follows)
1/4 cup Myers Original Dark Rum
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large egg whites
a few pinches of salt
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
Additional sweetened whipped cream for serving
gingersnaps (recipe follows)

Place the rum into a stainless steel bowl and rain the gelatin over the rum. Set the bowl aside and allow the gelatin to bloom for 10 minutes.
Whisk the brown sugar into the pumpkin puree.
Heat 1/2 cup of the puree in a saucepan.  Add the gelatin to the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the gelatin has dissolved. Blend the warm pumpkin/ gelatin mixture into the remaining pumpkin puree.
Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer with the salt and sugar. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 145 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Transfer to the stand mixer and whip on high until stiff peaks form and until the meringue has cooled.
Whip heavy cream to medium peaks.
Gently fold one-third of the meringue mixture into the pumpkin mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining meringue, thoroughly incorporating it. Fold in the whipped cream. Pipe or spoon the mousse into serving glasses and cover with plastic until the mixture has set.
Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and gingersnaps.

For the pumpkin puree:
1 large cheese pumpkin (You may substitute hubbard squash or butternut squash if you cannot find cheese pumpkin.)
1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. orange zest
1/4 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.   
Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds.  Place the halves, cut side up, on a lined baking sheet and bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. You should be able to insert a sharp knife into the pumpkin and feel no resistance when the pumpkin is done.
When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh and puree in a food processor until it is very smooth.  Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and rest it over a clean bowl. Place the puree into the sieve and allow it to drain in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, place 15 oz. of the puree into a clean food processor (you can reserve the drained pumpkin liquid to use in place of stock or water for a very flavorful squash or pumpkin soup and the remaining puree can be used for other pumpkin desserts).
Using a sharp knife, score the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the vanilla pulp into the food processor with the pumpkin puree.  Add the cinnamon, orange zest, ginger, and cardamom. Puree the mixture again. Pass the puree through a fine sieve and set aside for use in the above pumpkin mousse recipe.

For the gingersnaps:
(Yields 6 dozen cookies)

1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 T ground ginger
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
2 T turbinado sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, egg, fresh ginger, and lemon zest and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, white pepper and allspice. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until well combined.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a very small ice cream scoop or a teaspoon, scoop one piece at a time and roll it in the palm of your hands to form a ball and place each ball on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press down each ball with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in flour to flatten each cookie. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with some of the turbinado sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes or until crisp, rotating the tray about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack and serve with pumpkin mousse.

Rachel Roy's
 Grandma's Apple Pie

“My grandma’s apple pie is legendary in my family,” says Rachel Roy. “She truly believed each apple pie she made was a craft of love. She loved serving her pies with vanilla ice cream or sharp cheddar cheese. My grandfather always used to say before his first bite of pie, ‘Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a sneeze.’ ” 

For the filling:
a variety of crispy apples: mix tart and sweet varieties (enough to mound into a deep dish)
1/4 - 1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose white flour
3/4 cup cold butter
1/2 tsp. salt if butter is unsalted
5 T cold water, more or less as needed

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

To make the filling:
Begin by peeling and slicing apples to about 1/8-inch thickness (my grandma used a mandolin).
Mix sugar and spices together. Taste apples to determine the amount of sugar and lemon juice needed to adjust sweetness and tartness. Toss sliced apples with sugar mixture. Add lemon juice if needed. Set aside to allow apples and sugar to mingle and create juice while making crust.

To make the crust:
Mix flour and salt.
Cut 1/2 cup of the cold butter into the flour with a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add 1/4 cup of cold butter and cut in until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle cold water on the mixture one tablespoon at a time and toss with a fork. Add enough water until the mixture just holds together. Shape the pastry into two balls and flatten each.

To assemble:
Roll one portion of the pastry on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Roll to a size to fit the bottom of the pan and up the sides plus about an inch for sealing. Roll the remaining portion of the pastry to a size to cover the pie pan plus enough to cover a mound of apples, with room to seal. Pile apples into the pastrylined pie pan. Cover with pastry. Moisten edges of bottom pastry with water. Seal top and bottom pastry by pressing, folding under, and crimping with a floured fork. 
Make vent holes or slices in an interesting pattern.

Bake on the middle rack of a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake until a sharp knife inserted into a vent determines that the apples are tender.
Check after a 1/2 hour and then in 5-minute increments. 
If crust browns too quickly, cover loosely with foil for the last minutes of cooking.

Peter Som's
Pumpkin Panettone Bread Pudding

“This is a relatively new recipe in my family’s Thanksgiving repertoire, an adaptation of a regular bread pudding that my mom makes." says Som. "Now we have both traditional pumpkin pie AND pumpkin bread pudding because why not add more delicious food to the menu? That’s what Thanksgiving’s all about!”

10 cups cubed panettone
 2 cups half and half
1 15 oz.-can pure pumpkin
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 extra-large eggs
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, and seeds scraped out
1/2 cups golden raisins.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Trim crust of panettone, cut into 1-inch cubes and place on sheet pan in single layer. Place in oven for 10 minutes until slightly browned. Place in buttered baking dish.
Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, spices, and vanilla bean in large bowl. Mix in raisins. Pour entire mixture over bread cubes and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown and—voilĂ ! you’re ready to eat, preferably with sweetened whipped cream. Or ice cream. (And yes, this makes good morning-after leftovers!)

If you'd love to see what fashion
 is cookin' up next...

American Fashion Cookbook with receipes from your favorite designers...available HERE. Makes a great gift for the upcoming season!

What's your signature dish?


November 22, 2011

Feng Shui 101...

Get your Qi on!

An interesting topic came up today at work today with the other designers...Feng Shui. I've had a couple of clients over the years ask me to incorporate this concept into their own homes but I've never truly studied it. I figured I could take this opportunity to start a Feng Shui section of the blog and help you and myself learn a little more about this ancient system. 
For the purpose of Feng Shui in Interior Design I'll try to focus on Modern Feng Shui as it relates to us.

Feng Shui (fung- shway) is a Chinese system of geomency believed to use the laws of both Heaven  and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The term feng shui literally translates as "wind-water" in English. Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity.

Qi (chee) is a movable positive or negative life force which plays an essential role in feng shui. In Chinese martial arts or other activities such as yoga, Qi refers to energy.

In pre-modern China, Yin feng shui (for tombs) had as much importance as Yang feng shui (for homes). For both types one had to determine direction by observing the skies and to determine the Yin and Yang of the land.

Many believe it is important and very helpful in living a prosperous and healthy life by either avoiding or blocking negative energies that might otherwise have bad effects. Many of the higher-level forms of feng shui are not so easily practiced without either connections, or a certain amount of wealth because the hiring of an expert, the great altering of architecture or design, and the moving from place to place that is sometimes necessary requires a lot of money. Because of this, some people believe it is only a game for the wealthy. Others, however, practice less expensive forms of feng shui, including hanging special inexpensive mirrors, forks, or woks in doorways to deflect negative energy and create a positive atmosphere in their homes.

For now, I think I'll just end with the basics. However, I promise I'll definitely be going more in depth with this topic (such as what in the world the diagram I started with means!) and how to incorporate into our own homes & designs!
I would like to thank Wikipedia for being much more knowledgeable than I on this subject :)

Happy Designing!

November 21, 2011

Kettering Project...

Happy Monday!

That's right, I said it...happy Monday. You have to claim it or it might just not happen.

I'm just beginning a new project for a really fun lady! For the first room, we'll be emptying out everything in the keeping room and taking her from heavy and traditional to colorful with a contemporary flair!

Okay, so we're starting with about 252 square feet of living space. Large TV mounted on the left wall (not moving), fire place & built in's directly in center, and a wall of windows to the right. Her only real requirements (besides budget) are that she would like a sectional with a chaise option and two swivel chairs incorporated.

She also really loves this Shutter Sideboard by IO Metro.

This stock photo really doesn't do it justice, it's a beautiful and unique

Some before pictures:

This is a small ceramic piece she found that has the blues & greens she loves and wants to incorporate.

A photo of her kitchen that shows her new Light Rattan Chandelier's from IO Metro. Aren't they pretty? They look great here & I think it was just the update she needed. (She replaced three small red pendants).

I jumped the gun & took this snap shot before the third one was hung. But I promise I'll take much better photos of the entire place once everything is complete.

Let's hear your thoughts and ideas!

Happy Designing!