Friday, August 30, 2013

Learn How to make Buttermilk Biscuits

Fresh and fluffy homemade Buttermilk Biscuits are a great way to start the day.

On-the-go Buttermilk Biscuits are hot, fluffy and ready to eat when you’re running out the door. Eat them warm from the oven with butter and honey or jam, or stack scrambled eggs, sausage patties or bacon in between for an on-the-go breakfast sandwich.
Buttermilk Biscuits

Serves 10
Prep time: 20 minutes • Cook time: 12 minutes

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons butter, cold and cubed into smaller pieces
1 cup buttermilk or buttermilk substitute (recipe follows)
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
Flour for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. In a medium bowl and using a wooden spoon, combine all dry ingredients.
3. Add butter cubes to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or fork, combine butter into the dry ingredients, without over-blending, until it resembles coarse meal.
4. Add the buttermilk slowly then stir until the mixture is just combined. It will still be a bit dry, but should hold together when pressed.
5. Dump dough mixture out onto a lightly floured board. Using your hands, gently pat the dough until it is approximately ½-inch thick. Do not over-handle the dough and do not use a rolling pin; simply flatten the disc out with your hands.
6. Starting at the very edge, cut dough into circles using a round cutter.
7. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet with the sides of each biscuit touching one another.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly brown on the top.
9. Remove from the oven, brush with the 1 tablespoon of melted butter and serve warm.

Buttermilk Substitute

Most people don’t keep buttermilk on hand but a substitute is easy to make. Combine 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar for each cup of nonfat or 2% milk. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes or until you notice the milk curdling. Stir together and use as a substitute for buttermilk in any recipe.

Source: Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

French Twist

A distant cousin to the roasted, plastic-encased chicken you find in the supermarket, home-cooked poultry is superior thanks to your quality control: the poultry you select, seasonings that have less sodium and homemade care. Imagine adding the convenience and healthful benefits of rotisserie cooking in your own kitchen.

La Cornue, the French artisan company that’s produced handmade ranges for more than 100 years, has designed the first built-in gas rotisserie approved for use inside the home. A striking addition to the kitchen and a showpiece for entertaining, the Flamberge measures only 32 square inches and 15 inches deep and cooks meat, poultry or fish to moist, self-basted perfection. It can roast three small chickens at a time, or two larger ones, and up to a 12-pound turkey. You control the speed, so if guests are running late, slow it down and dinner won’t be affected. When they arrive, your guests will be drawn to the sight and aroma of an anticipated feast. An added touch: an ID plate can be engraved with a family name or a special inscription for display on your new investment.

By Hillary Black

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

From Dated to Divine

How to you redecorate rooms that are architecturally flawed? Play up scale and add eye-catching elements, recommends designer Marlaina Teich. That way, you refocus the design away from the room’s flaws and instead draw the eye to its best assets.

Part of a c. 1915 Italian Renaissance-style mansion, a bedroom suite by Marlaina was plagued by design dilemmas, including peeling paint, old fixtures, odd architectural angles and limited space. Equally daunting were the restrictions placed on how the rooms could be altered. To preserve historic integrity, nothing was allowed to be structurally removed from the rooms.

So how could she accomplish a complete transformation without gutting the rooms? “Always start with a plan,” Marlaina says. Her plan for the space was to “trick the eye” with the use of unusual materials and dramatic furnishings.

In the bedroom, Marlaina hid the fireplace’s odd angle and placement by embellishing it with unusual, light-reflecting wall tiles made from mother-of-pearl Capiz shells, thereby drawing attention to its scale instead of its position. To add more drama, she replaced the lighting fixture with a platinum and crystal chandelier. A custom-made etched glass fireplace screen is one more light-reflecting detail.

Turning to the problematic window wall, Marlaina continued to use the luminescence theme on the oversized headboard by upholstering it in pearlized leather.

The custom-made silk drapery that flanks the outer corners of both windows was specifically designed to pull the eye away from the fact that the queen-sized bed covers a portion of each window. For bold contrast, Marlaina used a deep, henna-colored paint on the walls.

By Bonnie Joy Flam

Monday, March 25, 2013

Inspiration for a Cottage-Style Bedroom

Photo: Thinkstock

The quest for shelter is one of the strongest human drives. When we imagine a place to keep the rain out and the warmth in, most of us picture the quintessential cottage, a small abode lit with a crackling fire, a soft place to sit and, at the end of the day, a comforting place to lay our heads down in easy slumber.

Cottages are scattered about in our collective consciousness, filled with memories of summer twilights, simmering soups on the old stove, cats curled on the window-seat and perhaps a tiny bedroom in the attic. Whether it was Grandma's house every Fourth of July or that memorable weekend house in the Hamptons, the cottages in our memories provide a benchmark for how we want our own everyday lives to feel.

Over the centuries, painters have been captivated by the unsung nobility of peasants and their way of life. Using their amazing talent to convey color and light, the masters, particularly the Dutch and the Flemish, depicted a highly idealized vision of the country life, showing thatched cottages with small windows and an entryway brimming with flowers and animals. Even today, modern painters attempt to capture the allure of a cottage in pastoral settings at various times of the day, with the ancient peasant-dwelling as their inspiration. And in these shared images and memories, you too can find inspiration for cottage style decor in your bedroom.

By Erika Kotite

Source: Well Styled Home Magazine

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How To Create a Comfortable Cottage Full of Personal Style

From his tiny beach cottage to his clients’ expansive ocean-side estates, designer Randy Boyd knows how to build a comfortable home full of personal style. Follow his tips to get his signature look:

home cottages

Pick what pleases your eye
Regardless of the trends or expectations, only things that appeal to your aesthetic will help you create the perfect home.

Always be aware of scale
Don’t force a purchase if it’s not the right size and scale. Even if you love a piece in the store, if it’s not the right fit, chances are you won’t love it at home.

Invest in antiques when you can
Buy antique items when you can and when it’s practical for you. Not only will they last longer than most new furniture, but they will add an unmatched element of warmth and style.

If you can splurge on something, splurge on upholstery
Cutting corners on fabric often leads to having to redo the project sooner. Buy the best upholstery you can afford because it will save you money in the end.

Don’t rely on matching
For fabrics and accessories, blending is much more interesting than matching. Consider a palette to stick with, but don’t get too hung up on matching colors and patterns precisely, which can be boring and predictable.

By Jickie Torres
Photography by Mark Tanner
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel

Source: Cottages and Bungalows

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Finished Masterpiece - Home Decoration

Le moulinsur la Couleuvre à Pontoise(1881) by Paul Cézanne
“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.” –Paul Cézanne

Like artists, homeowners often experience the terror of the blank canvas. What furniture is appropriate? What wallpaper should we hang? What tile should we install? There are so many choices—sometimes even the best of us freeze up. Instead of moving forward, we stop, as if waiting for divine revelation.

Or inspiration.

While it may not solve every design dilemma, I’ve always believed that having the right color palette in hand is the best first step. Once you’ve chosen your primary, secondary and tertiary colors, the rest of the battle (and yes, sometimes renovation feels like winning a war) is just so much easier. Surprisingly, these colors often coexist in one item—like they were best friends all along—and this item can provide inspiration throughout the rest of the project. Whether it’s a rug, a vase or a swatch of wallpaper, this one piece acts as a trustworthy guide, a la Lewis and Clark, as you venture forward through uncharted territory.

Fortunately, I think this is where the Victorian enthusiast draws more comfort than other homeowners. We have an abundance of reference material available, from period-inspired wallpapers to historically accurate paint palettes to professional color experts. There are historical societies and other experienced homeowners. There are a plethora of books and, if you live in the right neighborhood, a bounty of local turn-of-the-century homes that have already been lovingly restored.

And, of course, there is our magazine—Victorian Homes.

For the Victorian homeowner, a blank canvas doesn’t have to be feared. It can—and should—be the onset of an exciting adventure. Brushstroke after brushstroke should exhilarate and stimulate and motivate you on to the next.

Because the bottom line is, more than any other homeowner, color, paint and wallpaper truly are our friends.

By MerrieDestefano

Friday, March 15, 2013

Keys to Crafting the Perfect Home

Cynthia Tuverson shares her experience with home redecorating, remodeling and discovering the keys to crafting a perfect cottage or bungalow.

home collectible
home collectibles

  • Follow your heart. Evaluate what is just another trend or expectation and what is something that you truly love.
  • Experiment with different styles until you find one that makes sense for you. With this house I just looked around, and the moment I knew I could grow old in this environment I knew this was the right setting for me. 
  • You don’t have to do anything in an overly expensive way. Spend on the things that really matter to you.
  • Have the right people helping you. Everyone from Tumbleweed & Dandelion really understood my style and ideas, and they helped me with all the things I couldn’t do myself, like painting my dining room wall, executing vintage treatment and French glazes, and all the touches that make the design work.

home renovation
Home Renovation
By Jickie Torres
Photography by Mark Tanner
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel

Posted by Cottages and Bungalows

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fresh Ideas for Vintage Linens

flea market decor
Flea Market Collection

Has your spring cleaning left you with a load of old fabric you don’t know what do with? Expert collector of international textiles Pandora de Balthazar has shared with us her top tips for decorating with linens:

FMD: What are some of your favorite unexpected ways to decorate with vintage linens?

Pandora: I love to create a white background and apply textiles of color to recreate my favorite moods or seasons. Another is to take antique shams and make slipcovers—instant gratification! Napkins make wonderful TV-tray covers. I use hand towels to make slipcovers, bed skirts, window treatments, and as floor cloths next to my bed and as hand towels. Now, that’s recycling!

FMD: Care to offer inspirations for using textiles in a home?

Pandora: There aren’t any “wrongs” when it comes to making your home beautiful. But it is terribly wrong in my opinion to neglect the comfort and rejuvenation of body needs. Vintage textiles provide the texture, color, beauty and art you need to create a restful sanctuary in your home; they can also absorb noise, create comfortable surfaces and provide tactile beauty that a rested body can enjoy. Make sure the beauty within matches the beauty on the outside.

What are you doing with your vintage linens this spring? Share with us in the comments below!

By Jickie Torres

Post Shared By Flea Market 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Decorating with Flea Market Finds

Tour these stylish rooms, filled with flea market finds, for great ideas on how to display your own vintage treasures.

Changing lampshades is an easy way to update a favorite lamp. And in long rooms, old doors can be used to divide living areas to create nooks.

An 1870s weathervane takes folk art to high style on an antique table still sporting its original paint. Don’t be afraid to mix high- and low-style items. Mixing things up will keep your rooms interesting.

To add character to the dining room, Susan simply propped two vintage doors against the wall. Their rustic charm provides texture and interest. When working with architectural salvage pieces, take a cue from Susan and think outside of the box.

home collectibles
Create vignettes with your favorite finds to infuse spaces with warmth and style.

Stacking this collection of 1800s-1920s blankets helps keep clutter at bay and makes a colorful display.

The weathered texture on this country table mixes well with modern chairs made from reclaimed wood.

If you prefer uncluttered spaces, keep your collections organized behind doors. This 1870s cupboard holds antique stoneware and glassware.

Timeworn pieces like the stool and oars mix beautifully with new linens. Make thoughtful choices when blending old and new, keeping in mind the overall look of the room you wish to create.

The blue hue of this vintage mirror is the result of natural copper aging. To age a new metal-framed mirror, use a patina gel, available at craft stores.

By Hillary Black
Photography by Mark Tanner
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel

Shared by - Flea Market

Friday, March 8, 2013

Art and Architecture: America’s Gothic Revival

Descending from medieval Gothic cathedrals and England’s Gothic Revival, “Carpenter Gothic” is a visually playful American architectural style. In her book Storybook Cottages, Gladys Montgomery explores the history, people and technology behind this picturesque style still beloved today.

home cottages
{Credit in caption: Photograph by Brian Vanden Brink, from Storybook Cottages by Gladys Montgomery, © Rizzoli 2011.}

In beautiful photographs, architectural renderings and illustrations from pattern books of the time, Montgomery showcases the style’s hallmarks: steep gables, pointed arches, windows and doors, and elaborate gingerbread trim. From the tiny cottages at Oak Bluff, Massachusetts, that began as a Methodist retreat to the lavish Lyndhurst high-style Gothic Revival residence in Tarrytown, New York, Montgomery offers a lot both to readers who know and love Carpenter Gothic and to those who are learning of it for the first time.

Montgomery includes a section on the Carpenter Gothic garden as well as a few ideas on incorporating the style into your home, such as imitating its architectural elements—for example, make a headboard, door frame, or window with a pointed wooden arch. For more ideas, check out Montgomery’s book: Storybook Cottages: America’s Carpenter Gothic Style, published by Rizzoli New York, © 2011. Visit

By Hillary Black

Source: Victorian Home

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bathroom Textiles and Linens

You may have spotted our Q&A on with Pandora de Balthazar, a master collector and textile expert who’s been sharing with us her expert tips for creating a luxurious bedroom. Curious about her advice for a lavish bathroom? Read on!

B&B: In the bathroom, where people don’t often think of textiles and linens, what are some of your favorite ways to use fabric?

Pandora: Hand towels are in residence daily. They are softer [than paper towels], have many uses and are much more genteel.

B&B: Also much more practical and healthful for the environment.

Pandora: Yes. And in my home, café curtains are de riguer; I can recycle those for use in the bedrooms and as door treatments when necessary. I also make shower curtains or drapes from antique sheets or bedcovers that are too small for today’s large beds. It’s a beautiful and simple look.

By Jickie Torres

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We Love: Flour Power

Reuse what you have in romantic ways. Pick up home decorating ideas from items you may already have around the house. Today, we shine a little light on vintage flour sifters for many purposes they fulfill. 

Not only do we love vintage flour sifters for their nostalgic and practical appeal, but they also make colorful utensil holders.

You can find them in an array of designs at antique shops and flea markets.

Display them on your kitchen counter or atop the cabinets and fridge for instant country charm. Then place your cooking utensils inside for a look that will serve you a smile as you reach for the spatula.

Photography by Jacqueline deMontravel

Monday, March 4, 2013

Tips to Take a Look from Work to Home

As a shopkeeper for an antiques store, Sally McNellis employs a few tricks of the trade in her own home. Here are a few of her tried-and-true secrets:


• Start with the simplicity of white furniture and build from there.

• Use lots of fabric with basic white as the background, then bring in
floral prints to add pop to a room.

• Artwork adds personality to a space. Sally pulls anything from originals to antiques to fill her store.

• Be reasonable about how the item fits in with your lifestyle. Your
furniture and accessories should work for you, not against you.

home collectibles

flea market

By Regan-Elyse Elder
Photography by Jaimee Itagaki
Styled by Jacqueline de Montravel

Shared by Cottages and Bunglaows

Friday, March 1, 2013

How to Enhance a Historic Home

The right architect and contractor will enhance a historic home’s aesthetic integrity.

The true value of the renovation of an old house is not being able to tell that any alterations were made. Architect Carol Tink-Fox chose to put the addition on Kara Kosinski’s garage instead of on the main house to maintain what she calls the “cute cottage character” of the historic home. “By making a separate small building, we kept the new space historically in context,” she says.

home cottages
Home Cottages

Here is what she did to link the past and the present:

  • A steep-pitched roof and attic were added to the flat-roofed garage, which also has a historic designation.
  • The home’s exterior color scheme was repeated on the addition and garage.
  • Heavy-timber beams along the breezeway with diagonal braces evoke the feel of those of the main house.
  • Windows and French doors open the guest room to the beautifully landscaped backyard. Because the garage is on a slab, unlike the house, there are no steps to go down to enter the garden.
  • The old swing-style garage doors, which looked like barn doors, were replicated. Contractor Scot Lewis custom built the fully weather-proofed doors using tongue and grove pine with solid brass oil-rubbed bronze hinges.
By Nancy A. Ruhling
Photography by Jaimee Itagaki
Styled by Molly Kosinski and Hillary Black

Shared By Cottages And Bungalows

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to Get Chic Style in a Country Home

Designer Nancy Toon has lived in palaces, estates and posh townhouses but found a way to make her big style shine in a small country house. She shares her tips for getting chic style no matter where you are.

  • I like starting out with large-scale furniture. In a large room, it is substantial and provides a good foundation; in small spaces, it creates warmth and coziness.
  • Then I like to add textures in the fabrics. I use a lot of linens and white denim because it’s very practical, and neutral backgrounds allow you to change and update your look. I add patterns in pillows, and textures are found in the woods I use and peeling-paint patinas in accessories.
  • Working with today’s much simpler palettes, you have to layer, otherwise the look can easily fall flat and feel cold. Use a variety of textures and subtle patterns.
  • If you mix new with old you get comfort of newly designed items with the depth of antiques.
  • Accessories are what really pull your look together. I like to use metals with great textures. Antique mercury, hand-blown glass candlesticks, natural corals from the beach— these are elements that add unique style and personality.

Working at Home

Nancy uses her home as a testing ground for her new projects and merchandise.  “I use my house as a workshop,” she says. “It is very important to me that I only offer my customers things that I would want.”

This rotating array of items also helps to keep her design stimulated and evolving. As things make their way in and out, it helps to keep Nancy in touch with how her clients live and what they would want.

“Being based in the Hamptons, our clients come to their weekend homes to relax with friends and family and so our design is based on their requirements for casual but sophisticated rooms for elegant living and entertaining,” she says.

By Jickie Torres
Photography by Jacqueline deMontravel

Victorian Home Office

In the 19th century, there was no such thing as a home office. Or at least there was no single room that bore that name. In the humblest households, all the work of running the home was done by the woman, and her workspaces were scattered about, often carved out of spare space. She had separate areas for her main tasks—cooking, cleaning, ironing and sewing—but the nerve center of her operations was the Victorian version of the computer: the chatelaine, that brass or silver ornament that held pencil and paper, penknife and scissors, needle and thread handily at her waist.

victorian home
{Image courtesy of}

Her well-heeled sisters didn’t have it much better. They might have a writing desk or escritoire in the bedroom or—later in the century as posh gentlemen’s clubs reared their vainglorious heads—a place to work in the library while the husband of the house was out on the town.

The Victorian library, which sometimes also functioned as a schoolroom, office or study, tended to be decorated in a somber manner befitting its function. Furniture was simple, colors were dark and the prime focus was on the artful and efficient display of books, whether they be rare and beautifully bound collector’s volumes or the popular tomes penned by novelists like Twain and Dickens.

home collectibles
Photo by Jaimee Itagaki

When designing her home office, Marcia Sola wanted, like the Victorians, to balance the artful and the efficient. Two ways she did were selecting the perfect drapes and desk.

The drapes in Marcia Sola’s home office are high on looks and low in cost. For about $300-$430 for the discount fabric and $130 for rods and tiebacks—she turned two plain windows into elegant and opulent focal points.

The drapes get their good looks from the combination of three fabrics that play off the wall colors: a burgundy undercurtain made of shimmering taffeta, a pink-and-white toile and a brown and blush floral.
“I layered the fabrics to get a fuller effect,” she says. “They do actually close, but I never draw them. I use the shades to provide privacy.”

Gathered gracefully in a pocket rod and looped back over rosette-style tiebacks, the draperies look like vintage ballgowns.

The library table remains one of the better choices for an office desk because it is so versatile. Simple and stylish, it is perfect for a laptop or computer because it has a spacious flat top. When it is not being used for office work, it can be used for other more leisure purposes: It makes a great dining table, baking or food prep table (buy a heavy pad to protect its surface) or a buffet sideboard.

Then again, you may actually want to use it for what it was intended: a place to read a book or two—hardback, paperback or even electronic.

by Nancy A. Ruhling
Photography by Jaimee Itagaki

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I Love Flea Market Decor

I visited a flea market for the first time when I was eighteen years old.

I was eager to feather my first nest, and the deals couldn’t be beat. If my finds weren’t perfect, fixing them up was the fun part.

Even know, all these years later, giving a new home to a cool cast-off is my decorating style of choice. The office in which I write is filled with furniture and accessories from flea markets, antique malls and thrift stores, including a $30 wooden desk and a $45 buffet that were both transformed with paint and elbow grease. Among the mix you also will find an old brass lamp, a collection of cool vintage frames, original flower paintings….the list goes on. So, working on the Flea Market Décor website and print issues is always a labor of love.

Let us introduce you to spaces decorated in a variety of styles—from eclectic, romantic and farmhouse to mid-century modern, French, or a blend of two or more. Peruse our extensive directory of the best flea markets across the country and the world. Check our list of hot collectibles before you head out to search for your next big find. Follow our how-to guide to upcycling the next vintage piece you bring home with a horrid finish and beautiful bones.

Whatever you need, if you love flea market décor like me, we’ve got you covered.


By Rebecca Ittner

Source : Flea Market Decor

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Design Tips for Dramatic Landings and Terraces

While some may wish for a one-level garden, designers like Jill Benshoof and Gary Baker of Plân-aire, a Laguna Beach, California-based landscape architecture and planning firm, are grateful for a many-tiered one. Follow these tips for creating drama in your own yard.

  • Designers use changing grades and levels to create intimate, private areas in the garden. (Think about the mood created by a sunken living room and employ the same idea outdoors.)
  • Steps and staircases allow for gentle transitions between each distinct space.
  • Use each level to showcase a collection of objects, pottery or plants.
  • A small bridge or employing a variety of path paving materials—crushed shells, pebbles, wood chips, stepping stones—in different areas will add interest.
  • Enclose patios or terraces with vegetation to softly screen the space and create a sense of mystery. Rather than a dense hedge, plant a mixture of evergreen and deciduous shrubs. Light can flow through the openings; niches and gaps offer glimpses of the interior views.

  • Landings and thresholds are small but useful “stages” for displaying your favorite plants in containers.
  • Provide a place to sit and enjoy the quiet setting. A low chaise, a built-in bench or ledge, or even a cushion placed on the steps invite lingering.
  • A free-standing arbor, a gazing ball on a pedestal, and fruit and ornamental trees can serve as focal points and delineate areas with color and height.
  • Add sensory details. Make your garden a place for inhaling sweet fragrances, hearing sounds of water and wildlife, touching the appealing textures of leaves, and more. A birdbath or fountain can serve as a focal point as well as invite a variety of songbirds to hear and watch. Cultivate flowering plants that have alternate blooming seasons to provide a constant fragrance. Temporarily place books, pillows, blankets or baskets to invigorate sitting areas.
By Debra Prinzing
Photography by Jaimee Itagaki
Styled by Hillary Black and Jacqueline deMontravel

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tips I have Learned from Flea Marketing

•    Those wheeled carts are not just for grannies who buy their groceries wearing slippers. They allow you to shop freely, and there’s enough room for bags of apples and fresh produce on top.
•    Ask the seller questions. If a piece is of worth, a good knowledgeable seller can share the piece’s provenance and tips for care. Phones are also handy if you want to search the Internet on a particular collectible.
flea market
•    Bring cash. Even though many vendors accept credit cards, money is the best currency if you want to make a deal. The asking price does not have to be the same as the selling price.
•    Take measuring tape if you are shopping for a larger item, such as a piece of furniture. Additionally, many sellers in city flea markets work with movers who can transport such pieces, as transportation is not as accessible.
•    Investigate. Read the bottom of china, silver and crystal to see where the item was made and if it is attached to a noted designer.
•    Bad weather days could mean more chances for a better bargain, as there is less competition from more shoppers.
•    Go early for the best selection. Closer to closing time, vendors are more likely to strike a deal.
•    If a piece speaks to you react to your emotion. The luxury of putting something on hold with a day to think about it does not apply.
•    For more information on the Upper Westside Green Flea visit

By Jacqueline deMontravel

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Victorian Garden Inspiration for Spring

Here’s how landscape designer CJ Forray of California-based Cottage Garden Design
softeneda medieval-style garden’s geometry by using rounded shapes and strategic plantings. 

victorian garden

• A curved walkway along the back portion created two halves of the garden. The curved path uses 12-inch stone pavers.

• Thyme, chamomile, blue star creeper and dwarf strawberries knit together the stepping stones with their tiny leaves and surprising scents.

• Interlocking half-circles of silvery-gray santolina and glossy green germander (Teucrium sp.) form the parterre.

• Planted inside each of the three crescent-shaped sections is a tapestry of edible and ornamental herbs and perennials.

For more landscape ideas and expert advice from CJ Forray, visit

By Debra Prinzing
Photography by JaimeeItagaki

Posted by : Victorian homes

Monday, February 11, 2013

5 Steampunk Events You Won’t Want to Miss in 2013

Discover the fun side of Neo-Victorian design style by checking out these upcoming exhibitions and events.

victorian style clock
Image(Credit in caption: Photo courtesy of

April 26-28, 2013
Cincinnati, Ohio
The Steampunk Empire Symposium will gather musicians, fashion designers and writers to discuss ideas and share their work on the ultimate Steampunk website. Visit

March 8-10, 2013
Tuscon, Arizona
Also produced by The Steampunk Empire, the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention promises more “high adventure and exploration.” Visit and click “Events.”

May 17-19, 2013
Piscataway, New Jersey
Last year, the world’s largest Steampunk festival welcomed more than 4,000 guests. Join in the fun this spring by visiting

July 26-28, 2013
Salt Lake City, Utah
With music, art and expert panels, the Salt City Steamfest is the place to delve deeper into Neo-Victorian ideas and design. Learn more and register for the convention at

October 12-13, 2013
Waltham, Massachusetts
The International Steampunk City will submerge Waltham in a tidal wave of a whimsy: five stages, two city streets, three Victorian mansions, two Industrial Revolution museums, and more than 15 other venues for live music, art galleries, storytellers, scholarly lectures, workshops and theatrical performances. Visit

By Elaine K. Phillips

Save Money on a Custom Home

Architect Steve Giannetti shares his tips on saving money on building your own home.

French doors - We used standard T.M. Cobb French doors, which are about half the cost of custom doors.

Pine floors - We used 10-inch pine shelving boards, nailed and glued to the plywood subfloor, for the look of old floors.

– There are 2 by 4s for the eaves’ overhangs. They are inexpensive and old-fashioned looking.

Interior doors - The interior doors are standard French doors with sandblasted glass in them for an inexpensive, unique look that lets the light in.

Patios - The front porch is concrete with some beach shells cast into the surface and lightly sandblasted for an Old World look.

Paving - All the paving and site walls around the home are broken concrete reused from the old driveway.

Insulation - Denim insulation was installed in all the walls and ceilings, and a foil liner under the roof to keep the attic cool.

Skylights - An operable skylight in the middle of the house provides natural light and, when open, natural ventilation that keeps the house cool all summer.

Tile - We used only one kind of white 3- by 6-inch tile in the house and Carrera marble to keep costs down and maintain consistency.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tips for Owning a Cabin Home

Secret Garden

Hilde Leiaghat shares her tips as the homeowner of a vacation cabin in the mountains.

• We kept the kitchen as it was but changed the cabinet hardware and painted the walls, which had been a faux-wood color, immediately. We painted them a historic green color that we bought at the hardware store.

• Make sure your home is insulated really well. We replaced the aluminum windows with weatherproof windows to keep the cold out.

• We threw out the furniture and redecorated. It had ugly brown carpeting and ugly reclining chairs from the 1980s. We built a new deck around the cabin; due to the amount of snow, the old one gave way.

• A cabin could be a good moneymaker if you rent it out when you know you won’t be using it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookie Recipe

Take the time to bake delicious cookies as a sweet gift for Valentine’s Day this year. They are quick and easy to make and, most importantly, from the heart!

Sugar Cookie
Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours. Roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Leave one inch of space between cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool for one hour before frosting.
Valentines Day Sugar Cookie

Icing Glaze

4 cups of powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoons of milk
Stir until smooth (the icing should not be too runny)
Add more powdered sugar if necessary to thicken the glaze
Tint with food coloring
Use a separate bowl for each color needed

Frost the cookie with the icing. Smooth the top with a spatula dipped in water. Use the edge of the spatula to scrape off any icing that has run over the edge of the cookie. 

The icing glaze hardens in a couple of hours.

Written and photographed by Jacqueline deMontravel
Produced by Diane Sedo