Monthly Archives: October 2011

Fighting ghoulish sugar crashes

We all love Halloween, but after your 18th Butterfinger you may want a little break. But what else can you do with all of that candy? What if there was a way to use that candy create other dessert over the next few months? It could cut down on your cooking time but still produce some yummy treats for your home.

Sounds good, right? Lucky for us, Real Simple magazine has had this idea, too, and has come up with some great ideas. Listed (and linked) below are 10 of their great desserts that use popular Halloween candies. You could even look at them as tools to make the most of those post-Halloween candy sales.

Frozen Reese’s Banana Pops

York Miniatures Peppermint Patties Brownies

Candy Corn and Pretzel Bark

Skittle Meringues

SweeTarts milk shake

Dulce De Leche and Snickers Terrine

Twizzlers-Popcorn Snack Mix

Twix Cheesecake Pie

Peanut M&M’s and Jelly Cookies

Kit Kat-Filled Angel Food Cake

All of the very tempting images in today’s post are courtesy of Real Simple magazine. Want more recipes that use Halloween candy? You can find a lot more of them in Real Simple’s recipe archive, which I’ve linked for you right here.

What kind of treats do you like to give out for Halloween? Do you have a favorite Halloween candy? Do you sneak candy from your kids or slyly take a few extra pieces at work? How long does Halloween candy last in your home? Leave a comment!

And, hey! Did you see the latest giveaway? You can still enter to win it until 1o pm tonight, Eastern time. It could make you feel better about scarfing down all that candy! It also makes a great gift. Enter to win right here, right now!

Better brown-bagging: free giveaway

***************This contest is now closed.***************

The old saying goes:

There is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’.”

And this may be true, but there are lots of ways to make your lunch very affordable and healthy. More money and better living? Yes, please! We talked about one of my favorite methods for saving lunch money in this post earlier this week. We also talked about carrying drinking water in a responsible way in this post last week.

I’ve combined both of these concepts to create a handy giveaway. I’m hoping this giveaway can make being frugal and having a healthy lunch easier for you and your significant other or friend. Why not share a great lunch and a great lunch solution?

First, there are two large water bottles, one each in grey and blue.

These BPA-free plastic water bottles hold 32 ounces of water or your favorite beverage. They are very sturdy and are dishwasher safe.

Next, we have two sturdy lunch bags, also in shades of grey and blue.

These bags are deep enough to hold a freezer feast from your home or a sandwich, some fruit or veg and a little sweet treat.

They have a zipper to keep your lunch safely contained. They also have a nice lining that helps keep your lunch cool or warm until your ready to eat.

Put these items together and you may have a recipe for a seriously upgraded lunchtime. And this great giveaway set could be yours by early next week!

To Enter:  Leave a comment that begins with “I Brown Bag!” and tell me what your absolute favorite lunch is. Do you have a favorite sandwich? Is there a certain “leftover” that smell delicious as you re-heat it? What makes your mouth water around lunchtime?

Enter By:  Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10pm EST

Number of winners: Only 1!  And only one entry per email address will be allowed, so that everyone gets a fair chance of winning. I’ll ship this giveaway to anywhere in the world, so international entries are welcome!

The Winner:  Will be selected at random from the total number of comments by using random.org and will be announced in a post next Tuesday.

Enter today! How about now? Or on your lunch break? Hmm…what are you having for lunch today?

Less, a lot less, can be more

I love designing small spaces. LOVE it. I think it is the combination of designing über-organization, space planning and essential style/personality that make it fun for me.

As I have shared with you before, I also love to browse house plans. Space planning is one of my favorite things to do and having a blank space like an empty floor plan is my recipe for lots of lovely daydreaming. You can readmore about some of my favorite sources for house plans right hereright here and also here.

So, it is with great delight that I show you the very tiniest house plans that I adore. All of these plans (and all of the house images in this post) are from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

Come on! How cute is that tiny house?!

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company has a great variety of truly tiny and stylish homes. Some of you may recognize the model pictured below. It is called the “Beavan” and was featured in one of the final episodes of this past season of HGTV’s Design Star.

Tumbleweed offers three types of tiny homes. The first type is the “Box Bungalow”, like the “Beavan” model shown above. These very tiny homes are designed to be built on your own location. They make great getaway cabins and could also make a little hobby space or home office behind your regular home.

Did you know that George Bernard Shaw did a lot of his writing in a tiny little house behind his larger home? Here it is:

Image courtesy of wikipedia.com

He just needed a quiet little space away from the main house to focus and do his writing. Shaw was on of the founders of the London School of Economics and here is more proof that he recognized a great economical solution when he found one.

Image courtesy of newstalk.ie

This is also proof that the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is really on to something timeless and useful.

(Did that last sentence sound like this post is a giant advertisement? Well, it isn’t. I only ever talk about products and companies I actually really like and/or use myself. I like to keep it real so I never get paid for mentioning anything. You can read all about it right here.)

The next type of Tumbleweed Tiny House is the “House To Go”, which have slightly larger floor plans and are portable houses. Like this one:

This is the “Fencl” model and, as you can see, it is designed to be moved to wherever you need it. You can see all of the detailed floor plans (yay!) and more photos for each of their tiny houses on Tumbleweed’s website, such as the “Fencl” floor plan right here:

I think this is a very flexible, creative living space. You can buy the plans and build it yourself or order it ready-made. Think of how wonderful this house could be for victims of terrible disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the huge earthquake in Japan earlier this year. Have house, will travel to safety as needed.

Okay, the last category of houses form Tumbleweed is my very favorite. They are actually “Cottages”, designed to be build on site (non-portable) as guest houses or small homes. They have some great character detailing.

My personal favorite of these cottages is the “B53” model, which is pictured below. This two bedroom home has 777 square feet on two floors.

Could you live in a house that small? Isn’t it amazing how when you hear of people downsizing to small homes that they never miss the extra “stuff” they had filling up their previous home. There is something to be said for living small and having only the things you really love filling your home. (Insider info: We live this way in a historic city neighborhood, which always surprises my clients with larger homes. It might not be for everyone, but we love it.)

Here’s the “B53”:

How great is that curb appeal?!  Don’t you love the porch?

In addition to regular floor plans, you can also see the floor plans for some of these small homes in 3D floor plans. Here is the first floor of the “B53”:

I particularly love the second floor on this plan because of the walk-closet off of the second bedroom. It has a nice window, so you could also use this room as a nursery or a well-lit home office.

What would you do with that bright walk-in closet?

The “B53” comes with a second option for its floor plans, which includes and extra bedroom at the back of the house and takes the square footage up to 874 square feet. You can see it here:

Three bedrooms is very nice for a small house. Did I mention how affordable these homes are? The “B53″model I’ve shown you is one of the largest houses that Tumbleweed Tiny Houses Company offers and its extra-bedroom floor plan has estimated building costs of only $58,000. There are a lot more to choose from in their catalog and you can see all of them on their website.

Could you see yourself in one of these tiny homes? Where would you put one as a vacation home? What is the smallest home you’ve ever lived in so far? How do you feel about the idea of “living small”? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Freezer feasts

This is a recipe post. And it isn’t.

There are no food ingredients specified in this post, but it is a recipe for saving money and improving your health. It can also help you organize your kitchen to be more functional at mealtimes. Whether you live alone, have roommates, a spouse or even a large family, this post can help you improve your meals.

It starts here:

Tools

We’re at the grocery store, picking up the three, very affordable tools we need for this project. They are:

Generic grocery-store-brand plastic food storage tubs in a small size. Generic is always better because they are easy to replace as needed at the least amount of cost. Look for good sales, like you see in the picture above, and stock up on them. (Always recycle these responsibly when you need to buy new ones!)

Freezer-proof masking tape. It looks like regular masking tape but this tape’s adhesive is designed to stand up to cold temperatures. Most grocery stores have this if you look for it, as does Target and Wal-mart. One roll will last you a long time.

A fine-tip black Sharpie or other permanent marker. This works great on the freezer tape and is easy to write with and read clearly later.

Have you figured out what we are doing with these items?  We are our upgrading “leftovers” to the 21st century. They must be practical to store, easy to create and enjoyable to use. Based on conversations I’ve had with clients, many people have not been taught how to manage leftovers to work for them. This is my method and it has saved us THOUSANDS of dollars every year.

“Leftovers”

The most important thing strategy for using leftovers well is your attitude. It is easy to thing of them as “leftover food”. It is a meal that you are repeating, but have little surprise to look forward to regarding how it will taste.

Here’s how you change that: think of leftovers as “leftover money”. According to MSN.com:

$9 will generally cover a decent lunch most workdays. If you buy, rather than pack, a lunch five days a week for one year, you shell out about $2,340 a year.”

Let me just reiterate that for you: $2, 340 A YEAR!

Would you mind having another serving of last week’s casserole if it meant that you would use  one day’s worth of your ” leftover lunch money” to see a movie this weekend? What larger purchase could you afford faster if you were willing to put some daily  “leftover money” toward it? How much could you build your savings? This is a tried-and-true method of saving money.

Image courtesy of wikipedia.com

Assembly

We only have two people in our household, but we never cook for quantities less than 4 servings. This mean automatic leftovers get created with no additional planning required from us.

Here are my tools:

We use the “snack size” containers for our leftovers, for several reasons. We never waste a small part of a meal in the back of the fridge because we forgot to use it up. Snack-sized tubs help our leftovers go farther. More leftovers mean less work later and bigger savings now.

This size also gives us automatic portion control, which is a real health concern in most American restaurants and homes. We supplement the small portions of our leftover lunches with one or two servings of fresh fruits or vegetables. For example, Mr. CARO will take one of these tubs and some carrot sticks for lunch and an apple for a later snack in his workday.

Here is an example of how we do this in our home. In the picture below, you can see some leftover rice and cranberry pilaf. I have also cut up and mixed in the leftover herbed chicken breasts to make re-heating the meal easy.

This one pot of leftovers yielded 5 yummy freezer feasts to be used for lunches days or weeks later.

All we have to do is label these tubbies using the freezer tape and fine-tip Sharpie. Each tubbie gets the name of the dish and the date it was put in the freezer.

Just a side note: We NEVER re-heat these freezer feasts in their plastic tubs. We always pop the frozen meals out of the plastic ware and heat them in a microwave-safe dish. This way we avoid risking any unhealthy heated-plastic toxins becoming part of our meal.

Supplementing

We also supplement our automatic leftovers. Once or twice a month, we make one easy and/or favorite meal for direct storage in the freezer. Pictured below is 1 pound of beef mixed with 1 pound of fusilli pasta, leftover homemade marinara sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese. The dish only took about 20 minutes to make and made 8 lunches.

Storage

All of these feasts stack nicely in our freezer.  This is another reason to always buy square shaped food tubs, so you maximize your freezer space and your freezer’s energy efficiency.

We fill a whole shelf of our freezer with these feasts and every day we can choose exactly what we are in the mood to eat. All these feast are ready to go at a moment’s notice, which makes it that much more easy to get out of the door in the morning or make an easy dinner after a long day of work.

Do you use your leftovers effectively as later meals? A little organization goes a long way! What is the yummiest dish you would like to have as “leftovers”? Do you have a “freezer feast” that makes your co-workers hungry when you re-heat it for lunch? Leave a comment and dish!

Hint Hint: There is a free giveaway related to this very post coming later this week! You don’t want to miss it so be sure to check back and enter to win!

Waterworld

Adam’s ale, voda, amanzi, nero, agua, wai, l’eau, shouei, das wasser, el-ma, ama.

We all need these words in our lives, no matter where we live in the world. They represent one of the most important elements in our lives.

Image courtesy of coolcalifornia.org

H20.

It may be our most universal connection to other cultures. Sadly, we may all also be ruining our shared planet with it. That looks a little something like this:

Image courtesy of cleanwaterflorida.com

Problem

This problem may not seem like big news to you, but when you look at the numbers…it certainly bears repeating. Bottled water is a $50-100 billion per year industry. It is handy to have water right when you need it. Plus it makes you feel healthier when you drink it. Nobody gets this better than the bottled water companies.

So you’ve drunk your water and you are feeling good about yourself. What do you do with that empty bottle. Do you recycle it? Odds are, you don’t. Studies tell us that only around 30% of people recycle their plastic water bottles.

The other 70% of people just toss their water bottles in the garbage, which creates 1.4 million tons of trash every year. (And we’re not talking about the estimated 47 million gallons of oil needed to make those bottles to begin with.) Feeling a little less healthy now, isn’t it?

Image courtesy of planetgreen.discovery.com

And this isn’t just hurting the planet, either. It is killing household budgets. If the average single-serving water bottle costs between $1.50 – $2.00, roughly three of those bottles equal a gallon of water. You are spending $6 a gallon on water…that you already pay a separate water bill for at your home. Think about that the next time you complain about gasoline prices…

Solutions

If you feel you have no other choice but to use store-bought water, please try to buy bottles that can be recycled (and not all of them can be). It is estimated that  the energy conserved from recycling a single plastic bottle can light a 60-watt light bulb for six hours.

A more affordable solution is a re-useable water bottle. There are so many options out there today that you can choose between many style and price options to fit your budget. One of the most popular styles today are these types of aluminum water bottles:

5 pack of aluminum water bottles, with fridge stand, for only $22 on Amazon. Just click the picture for the link!

Although, you can find many healthy plastic re-usable water bottles on the market, too. Some people prefer these to be able to see into their water level easier. Just be sure to avoid any re-usable plastic bottle that does’t read “BPA-free”. If we are trying to be healthy, why add more health risks with our water bottles?

Many people choose store-bottled water because they don’t like the taste of their tap water. An easy and cheap solution to this is a water pitcher with a carbon filter, like this one from Brita:

"Brita Slim Pitcher" for only $15 on Amazon. Click the picture to link to the item!

I like to recommend these to all my clients for a reason beyond taste and handiness. It has been suggested that people who don’t ever drink their tap water (a whopping 28% of Americans, by some estimates) tend to be less concerned with funding the infrastructures that provide good water to our homes. The thinking for this goes: “If you ignore a drinking water problem in your own home, you’ll hardly choose to upgrade it for everyone with your vote and tax dollars.” Something to think about, isn’t it?

Do you use a re-useable water bottle or water filter pitcher? They make great Christmas gifts and keep on giving back to the planet all year round. What do you use as a good drinking water solution in your home? Leave a comment and share your solutions. Also, stay tuned for a related free giveaway coming next week!

Want to see more Greener Living ideas? You can see more right here!

Geek check:  The words at the top of the post are the base words for water in English slang, Croatian, Zulu, Greek, Spanish, Hawaiian, French, Chinese, German, Arabic and Cherokee.

Savoring Home: Bistro fries

Is there anyone who doesn’t like French fries, chips, pomme frites or whatever they call them where you live? We had stopped eating frozen grocery store fries because they tasted too chemical-ly to us and we could not identify all of the ingredients on the labels. We had also stopped ordering them out because they were always so huge and heavy to eat.

But, every now and then, like when we are having a nice steak for dinner, we craved some crispy potatoes. When I saw this recipe on Rachael Ray, I knew we had found the solution. I really love this recipe because it has only four ingredients. Just 4!

Ingredients

  • 6 medium Russet potatoes (you must use very starch potatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt (we use ground sea salt)
  • Dried Parsley

Preparation

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit, 200 degrees Celsius or Gas mark 6. Then, arrange cooling/wire racks on two baking sheets, like this:

The air that will circulate around your potatoes is what will make sure your fries are cooked evenly and with crispy edges.

Next, wash your potatoes thoroughly and peel them lengthwise, leaving the tips un-peeled, like this:

Cut the potatoes lengthwise, then slice them into fries on 1/4 inch (or just over 1/2 cm) thickness on each side.

When you are done cutting all of your potatoes, you should have a large bowl of fries like this:

Using the large bowl, toss all of the potatoes in a light layer of olive oil and ground sea salt.

If you are a parent, this recipe has a few steps your kids can help out with, like this tossing-with-oil-and-salt step. Letting your children taste what homemade fries taste like is a natural deterrent from fast food restaurants. This also works for adults, as we can attest.

Arrange the fires in a single layer on the wire racks/baking sheets, and try to avoid crowding.

Bake the fries in the oven for 30 minutes. You can put both baking sheets in the oven at the same time without any worries.

Now here is the secret tip that makes these fries different from all of the rest. After 30 minutes, remove the fries from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees Farenheit, 220 degrees Celsius or Gas mark 7.

While you are waiting for the oven to reach its higher temperature, remove the fries from the baking sheet back into the big bowl. I recommend using kitchen tongs for this because the fries are hot.

Then toss the fries with more coarsely ground salt and parsley. You choose the quantity of parsley. Or you can use any other flavor combo you love in this step, like Herbes de Provence, garlic & rosemary, etc. (I forgot to take a picture of this step in progress because I was workin’ the tongs.)

Next, put the fries back on the wire racks/baking sheets and when your oven has reached the higher temperature put them back in the oven. Bake the fries for another 15-20 minutes, until the fries look crispy and brown.

When you are done, you’ll have a lovely bowl of delicious fries. They will be crispy on the outside and nice and fluffy on the inside. Be sure to test these fries before serving them (as if I have to tell you this) to make sure you are happy with the salt quantity.

By using the ground sea salt, as opposed to table salt, you can use less and get the same balanced flavor, without a heavy sodium intake. That’s right, these fries are healthier for you because you control the ingredients!

And here is our delicious dinner of marinated, grilled steak and bistro fries:

We serve this with a cool green salad and it is a fabulous dinner at home. (See my cloth napkin? You can read all about my habit with these in this post.)

Do you have a weakness for french fries? How do you like your steak prepared?Does anyone want the steak marinade recipe we used in the picture above? It is delicious and I could put it in a future post. Leave a comment and let me know!

No braces required

We’re talking today about dental molds.

Image courtesy of prowhiteteeth.com

Wait. That’s not quite right.

Same root word, but rather different meanings.

We’re talking today about “dentil molding”, which looks like this:

Image courtesy of invitinghome.com

Can you see the similarities between those two pictures? They both have orderly rows of square (or square-like) silhouettes that stand out from the backing they are attached to, giving them some depth.

Like the decorative molding we discussed last week, you can find dentil molding in all sorts of places that need a decorative trim or detail. Here’s a great example of dentil molding dressing up an architectural facade:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Here’s an example of dentil molding dressing up some cabinetry:

Image courtesy of cardellkitchens.com

Here it is again, combined with some egg and dart molding, decorating an elaborate mantle:

Image courtesy of andythornton.com

Can you see the dentil line right up at the top of the carved rows? Dentil molding is a very popular motif because it can be used with very traditional styles, like the mantle above, and more modern decor. You can find it in some rather prominent places that you may not have even noticed before now, like on this famous residence:

Image courtesy of whitehousemuseum.org

Think you can spot dentil molding when you see it now? Do you have some dentil molding in your home? What other motifs are in your home that you need to identify? Leave a comment describing them for me and we’ll discuss them in a future post!

Want more Design Vocabulary? You can see everything we’ve talked about so far right here.

5 Things: Coat closet edition

Whenever I design a room for a client, I include any closets in that room in the design. After all, is a room really functional if the closet doesn’t work properly? No one likes a closet that is heaped with belongings, even if it is in a beautiful room. Organizing a closet can even be the finishing touch on a room that really makes the client feel like they have a fresh start in their new room.

How is your coat closet looking these days? Do your hangers come in and out easily? Can you find your gloves when you need them? Do you have to stand on your head to get something out of the dark corners in the back? These are the same questions I ask my clients, because so many people wrestle with this part of their home.

Image courtesy or realsimple.com/noah webb

With that in mind, I’m going to give you the top 5 things I like to put in clients’ coat closets. They are simple, very affordable things that can make your life and your closet space easier to manage. Home owners and renters alike should make full use of closet spaces in their home and these 5 things can upgrade your coat closet in just a day.

Paint

Most people don’t think of painting the insides of their closets, but it can make a huge different in how the closet space is used. When you look in your closet, the paint reminds you that this space is important, too, and that can inspire you, and your family, to keep it more organized on a daily basis. This really does work! Plus the closet then feels part of a finished room, not just the place you don’t want your guests to look when they are visiting.

I love this line of paints. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore

The key to using paint is to choose a semi-gloss paint finish of a light color that you like. You can use leftover paint from another home project or choose a new color that picks up on a color in the larger room outside the closet. The semi-gloss paint is easy to wipe down when the walls get shoe/boot marks on them. The light color helps fight the darkness of far corners and the back of the floor.

Light

I have lived in a lot of homes with oddly shaped closets. I seem to have a knack for living in older homes with closets featuring dark corners and dark floors. In my own quest for a practical light addition, I stumbled upon a great product. (You can click on the picture below to go directly to the Amazon retail page for this product.) Remember, I don’t get paid or perked for any product I mention or recommend on this blog.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

I have this LED light in my own home and install it in almost every client’s home that I work in. It is that good. It has four directional lights that you can focus to hit on areas where you need the most light. The light has a two levels of brightness. It mounts easily to the wall and runs on 2 batteries. Because it is an LED light, the batteries last for a long time. All of this for only $13.

Wooden hangers

Coats are heavier than most of the rest of our clothes, yet many people try to use rather lightweight hangers to store them. This can actually cause some bad wear on your coats in the shoulders. Using thinner hangers can also be less space compatible for moving coats in and out from other hanging coats. I always buy these hangers for my clients. (The picture below is linked.)

Image courtesy of ikea.com

I love these hangers because they are made out of sturdy wood and have a natural curve to mimic your shoulders, which helps keep any coat on the hanger. They are strong enough to hold long heavy coats, light enough to lift easily from the closet rod and are very difficult to tangle together. The 8-pack you see pictured above is only $4.

Over-the-door organizer

We all have little things we need to keep in our coat closets and it is often these little items that can drive us crazy when we are searching for them. Whether it is your child’s lost gloves, your car keys or any imaginable sports gear, when you need those items, you need them NOW. Ever been stared down by your dog while you do the digging for their leash? You know what I mean.

Image courtesy of containerstore.com

Enter the $13 solution (now on sale and linked to the above picture). This mesh fabric overdoor storage rack is designed to hold 24 pairs of shoes. But you and I can already see that it can also hold scarves, action figures, bike gloves, sunglasses, spare house keys, pet toys, flashlights, umbrellas… Well, I’m sure you can make your own list.

The fact that you can see into these pockets means less time digging into them individually. The mesh is easily washed and line-dried. You can also assign lower pockets to smaller children so they can…wait for it…practice putting away their own things. If that isn’t worth $13, I don’t know what is.

Storage cubes

This last item is something I use in conjunction with the overdoor hangers. Sometimes you need a good container to hold things together on a closet shelf or stack neatly on the closet floor. The plastic cubes (linked to the picture below) are great for off-season outdoor clothing and you can see through them easily to find what you are looking for when you need it.

Image courtesy of containerstore.com

I love that these cubes can be zipped closed to keep out dust and keep them from overflowing, spilling items onto the floor. They have great handles and a soft, flexible form, making them easy to pack. They come in 5 different sizes, and they start at just $8 each. Are they durable? I have had all of mine since the ’90’s and they are still going strong.

Could your closet use some of my favorite 5 things for a quick weekend make-over? What do you find you are tripping over when you open your coat closet door? What are other areas of the home you would like to see featured in this “5 Things” post series? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list of areas to cover in future posts.

Would you like to see more of my tips for organizing your home? You can see all of them so far by clicking right here.

Hollywood Open House

It’s a rainy Friday here and I thought we could use some extra fun, so let’s go gawking at some movie star homes. We’re going to use the fabulous Architectural Digest as our tour guide today. All of the house images in this post come directly from them and the very talented photographers they work with for each month’s issue.

I “discovered” AD when I was in college and they did this amazing spread of old home decor photos from movies stars of the ’30’s and ’40’s. Some of these pictures were so old that they must have been pulled from the archives of those infamous Hollywood studio publicity offices. I have been hooked on Architectural Digest ever since then.

Image courtesy of wiki.brown.edu

Have I ever told you that I’m an old movie fan? I am. HUGE fan. I took film classes in college and I even own dvds of some important silent films. There are few activities I love in this world like curling up with some fresh popcorn and a great old film.

Anyway, Architectural Digest takes amazing, timeless photographs, as you will see. Today I’ve gathered together some of the AD photo galleries of the homes of real Hollywood movie stars, both old and current, and linked them directly below. Let’s go knock on a few doors and see who’s home. You can visit as many or as few as you like, just be sure to wipe your feet!

Bermuda Home of Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Malibu Home

10 Silver Screen Leading Ladies at Home

Jennifer Aniston’s former Beverly Hills Home

Carole Lombard and Clark Gable’s Ranch Home

Elvis & Priscilla Presley’s multiple homes

Elizabeth Taylor’s Bel Air Estate

Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace

Helen Mirren’s New Orleans Bungalow

The Luxury Resort Birthplace of James Bond

Are you a fan of Architectural Digest? Did you enjoy seeing all of those glamorous homes? Do you have a favorite old movie star that you would love to have visited at home? Who’s home of today’s movie stars who you like to get an invite to see? Leave a comment and share your favorites!

Egg-cellent design motif

How do you like your eggs? Sunny side up, over easy, scrambled, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, poached, coddled? I like them just about every way except hard-boiled. Unless the hard-boiled eggs are part of something larger, like a salad or a sandwich.

I especially like them over easy or poached. I love the runny yolk that can be sopped up with toast. One of  Mr. CARO’s kitchen specialties is Eggs Benedict, just like you see in the picture below. He makes this breakfast so well that I never order it out anymore because I know his is better. (Is anyone else craving breakfast foods now?)

Image courtesy of thekitchn.com

Okay, back to my real subject. We’re going to look at an entirely different type of eggs today and add to our Design Vocabulary. In fact, if you bite into these eggs, I can almost guarantee that you’ll require some serious dental surgery.

We’re talking today about the design motif called “egg and dart”. This decorative pattern dates back to ancient times, as in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, and is still produced today on everything from architecture to housewares. Here is a close-up example:

Image courtesy of buffaloah.com

Can you see where the motif gets its name? Here is the “egg”:

And here is the “dart”:

(My graphics are dazzling, I know. Try not to swoon.) The “dart” often looks like more of an arrow. You may even, occasionally, hear this motif referred to as “egg and arrow”, but the more common term is “egg and dart”.

You can find the egg and dart motif in many places that need some sort of decorative border or edge. Such as this historic cornice molding on the ceiling at Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia:

Image courtesy of monticello.org

Or mixed in with other popular design motifs on this mantle piece:

Image courtesy of andythornton.com

Or these two products…

..both of which are available now at Home Depot. (Yep, Home Depot!) This motif is still in demand, especially if you are restoring an older property. Great examples of egg and dart on housewares include this clock:

Image courtesy of woodlandsclocks.com

And the edging around this antique tray:

Image courtesy of dargate.com

Some talented artist even used the egg and dart motif as a focal point decoration on this modern custom park bench:

Image courtesy of eastmontproductions.com

I love this example! It just goes to show you how a great ancient design can still be versatile and modern with a new application. Nowadays, you can even find new items being made to look older by just applying older motifs. This lovely cornice box looks like it has some very fine carving of the egg and dart motif, but is actually just painted on by a talents artist in the UK.

Image courtesy of titianstudios.co.uk

That is beautiful work, isn’t it?!

Is there an egg and dart motif on something in your home? Are there older buildings in your area that sport the egg and dart pattern as part of their architecture? While we’re at it, how do you like your eggs? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!

Like to learn more Design Vocabulary terms like this? You can click right here to see all of the terms we’ve covered so far. Happy reading!

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