Thursday, May 19, 2016

Before/After :: A Refreshed Living Room

We've collaborated with this client to create a fully functional living room, to be shared by everyone in the family, including the couple's three young children!  Just a few simple changes really made a difference.  New rug, new wall color, and a custom bay window seat cushion with a few extra throw pillows.   We also used a chair from another room in the house.
Here's a few "before" photos.


And now, some of the "after" pictures.
We added a new lamp, and switched out the lamp shade in the existing floor lamp for a crisp white drum shade.  We also mixed metals and whimsical art for an interesting grouping over the sofa.  And we swapped out an old toy storage rack for a modern bookcase with storage cubes.  The overall effect is fresh and family-friendly, in a stylish way, of course!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Moroccan Spiced Chicken and Apricot Stew

This is a new favorite of mine from the people at Cooks Illustrated :: and done in a slow cooker - bonus!


12 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs - I use a couple of bone-in breast pieces too. About 4.5 pounds total
salt and pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions chopped fine
6 medium garlic cloves - minced
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp hot paprika
8 ounces/ 1 cup dried apricots -  cut in half
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 TBS flour
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 TBS lemon juice
1 lemon cut into wedges

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet until almost smoking. Lay chicken in one layer skin side down. Cook until golden - about 6 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes until golden. Transfer chicken to slow cooker - remove skin. Pour off all but 2 tsp of fat and add rest of chicken. Repeat process and add chicken to slow cooker.
Pour off all but 2 tsp of fat and return to medium heat. Add onions and 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook until onions are translucent and soft. Scrap brown bits off the bottom of skillet. About 4 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, cardamon, and paprika. Cook 30 seconds. Add apricots and 2 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW until the chicken is almost tender, 3-4 hours. Quickly stir in the chickpeas and cook until the chicken is tender but not falling apart - about 1 more hour.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board and tent loosely with foil. Discard the cinnamon stick. Set the cooker on HIGH and whisk the flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth until smooth then stir into the slow cooker. Continue to cook on high until the sauce is thickened and no longer tastes of flour - 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the slow cooker to heat through. Serve with lemon wedges. So yum!
I found that with this recipe you have a great chicken and sauce that tastes good wrapped in a burrito too!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Before/After :: A Beautiful Family Room

Our client recently finished a massive refresh project in her family room.  New paint and carpet, plus all new furniture, and the window valances were removed to allow more light into the room from the private backyard.  The client chose grey with pops of teal, and she is delighted with the results.

Here are some "before" photos.

The addition of a window seat offers additional seating for this family.  Plus, we specified different fabrics on the top and bottom of the long cushion to give the homeowner options!


The addition of lamps makes a huge impact in the ambiance of the room.  We love this teal design.  The large wall offers a great opportunity to showcase favorite art and photos.