How One Uninteresting Wall Became a Whole Lot Cooler!

I see it all the time in my interior design work.  Homes with these quirky little wall insets in halls, foyers or transition spaces.  I’m guessing it’s the builder’s attempt to add “character” to the house but, inevitably, the homeowner is left scratching their head as to what to do with the dang things!  In most cases, the easy “go-to” is to lean family photos or artwork or place a floral arrangement inside but, many times, those choices leave the homeowner feeling underwhelmed and bored.  I, too, was faced with this problem in my own home.  However, my problem was two-fold.  (A)… I didn’t enjoy the look of the inset and (B)…I needed more storage space.  In my case, the inset was placed on an angled wall and angled walls usually house unused space behind them.  Now…those of you that know my work know that I am never opposed to busting through walls if I think there is hidden storage behind and that’s exactly what I did!  Check it out!  See the pretty antique door?  That used to be an unimaginative wall inset!  How’s that for “turning it up a notch?”

Foyer with Built-In China Cabinet
View of foyer from the front door.  A Built-In China Cabinet with Vintage Doors replaces, what used to be, a boring wall inset.

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Living Room Aspirations ~ Calm, Cool & Collected

Colorful and Contemporary Living Room Makeover

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “I just don’t know what to do with my mantel,” I could at least take a couple friends to cocktails with my earnings!  (Wait! My friends really, really like cocktails!  I could probably only invite one friend!).  I digress…but yes…mantel styling can be a pesky enterprise.  But sometimes a mantel’s problem is not only the mantel itself, but the entire fireplace wall.

I present to you to you a calm, cool and collected living room and fireplace feature wall that is stylish but also comfortable and livable!!!  Can you say gorgeous??  Alas, it was not always the case.  When I came on the scene, the homeowners yearned for a much more contemporary space and the fireplace and mantel that came with the house was anything but!  It was nice…if you like uber traditional fireplace walls without much personality.  So…I fixed it (wink, wink)!

Glass Tiled Fireplace takes Center Stage Continue reading

“Snap, Crackle, Pop!” That one time the Breakfast Nook came to life with KID ART and POPS OF COLOR!

Breakfast Nook filled with Color

I don’t know about you guys, but just looking at this breakfast nook makes me instantly HAPPY!!!  So imagine getting to eat your Cheerios in the midst of all this happiness every morning or your mac n’ cheese at night?!  And then further imagine that you’re the kid(s) that created these modern art masterpieces!  I mean…wouldn’t you feel super duper proud of  yourself and want to go out into the world and drink up every ounce of it’s goodness; maybe cure some rare diseases or write the next Great American Novel???!!!! Continue reading

Make Your Fireplace Wall a FEATURE! Before and After

One of the most frequently asked decorating questions I get from clients is what to do with a fireplace wall, how to style the mantel and how to make them both become a “feature” and not a “flop.”   Continue reading

A “Coastal Cool” Kitchen Reno that feels right at home in Tennessee

New Hood and Backsplash

When you think “coastal interiors” what comes to mind?  If it’s paint hues of  white, blue, grey and silver, soft weather-worn wood, clean lines, and light cotton fabrics, you and I are on the same page.  And if you’re like me, your blood pressure just dropped and you exhaled a peaceful sigh just thinking about it. Continue reading

Peach Carrot Cake – Carrot Cake with a Delightful New Twist!

Peach Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Blackberry Garnish

Oh how I love Carrot Cake! I think not so much for the carrot part, but more for that decadent, fail proof cream cheese frosting part. For me, the cake is a medium just to get to the frosting! Is that awful??? SNS? Same goes for Hummingbird Cake…but I digress…just look at this beautiful Carrot Cake!

Peach Carrot Cake...slice of heaven

Easter is a little over a week away and millions of folks around the world will celebrate this holy holiday by “brunching and lunching” with family and friends.  My hunch is that Carrot Cake will make its share of appearances at dessert tables far and wide.  If Carrot Cake is one of your favorites like it is mine,  then you will definitely want to add this new twist on a traditional dessert to your Pinterest board.  It just so happens that my blog’s namesake, the glorious peach,  is the added ingredient that creates such a delightful new riff on a classic cake.  The peach notes in the cake are subtle…the perfect balance of fruit and spice.  I decorate my Peach Carrot Cake in the naked fashion, not to overwhelm the cake with too much of that beautiful cream cheese frosting.  Believe me… it’s hard for an icing addict like myself to admit, but this cake is so good it doesn’t need frosting!!!  Trust me on this one and keep the frosting layers thin.  I also love the rustic elegance the cake renders…especially with the addition of peaches and blackberries.  So earthy and beautiful…like spring and summer wrapped into one!  Peach Carrot Cake

PEACH CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING & CARAMELIZED PEACHES

Makes one 6-inch cake; Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients for the Cake:

  1.  3/4 cup salted butter
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar, firmly packed
  5. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  7. 2 tsp baking powder
  8. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  10. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  11. 1 3/4 cups grated carrots
  12. 1 can of peach halves in juice (2/3 cup of peach pure will be used in the cake, save the rest for the filling)

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1.  3/4 cup softened butter
  2. 7 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  3. 3/4 – 1 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  1.  Remaining Peach Puree Peach Carrot Cake with Peach Glaze and Blackberries

Caramelized Peaches:

  1.  3 – 4 fresh peaches (you may also use frozen peaches, thawed)
  2. 3 tbsp butter
  3. 3 tbsp light brown sugar, loosely packed
  4. Fresh Blackberries

Cake Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line with parchment and butter sides of two 6-inch cake pans
  • Melt the butter and leave to cool.
  • Beat eggs and sugars until fluffy and lighter in color and texture, about 3 minutes.  Add melted butter and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl, then stir into the batter until just smooth.
  • Peel and grate the carrots.  Put the peaches (without the juice) in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add grated carrots and 2/3 cup of the peach puree to the batter and stir until combined.  Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
  • Bake for about 40 – 43 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Beat butter until pale and fluffy.  Add cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until just smooth.
  • Put the bowl in the fridge while you cut the cake.

Assembly:

  • Cut both cake layers in half with a serrated knife so you end up with four cake layers.
  • Put the first cake layer on a cake board or directly onto a plate or cake stand.  Spread a layer of frosting on the first layer, then spread a layer of peach puree over. Repeat this until you’ve used up all layers.
  • Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake and put in the fridge while you prepare the topping.

Caramelized Peaches:

  • Slice the fresh peaches.  Heat the butter over medium heat in a non-reactive skillet. Add brown sugar and swirl with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts.
  • Add the peach slices and caramelize for 2 -3 minutes.  Let cool completely, then put them on top of the cake with the blackberries.

***Cake recipe credit:  Award winning baker, writer and blogger, Linda Lomelino               ***Peach Carrot Cake Photo Credits:  Robyn Rodehaver

Looking for other great cake ideas for Easter (or anytime!)???  Try this one from Peach and the Willow!  Click HERE for recipe!Mandarin Orange Pound Cake

Everyone Enjoy and Happy Easter! He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Love ~ Sabrina

 

A Light and Airy Kitchen Renovation – Just in time for Spring!

Peachy Keen Kitchen Renovation

The kitchen…the heart of the home…the very hub of life’s “hubbub,” wants to be loved too!  If our kitchens could talk, I sometimes think that they would say they felt neglected.  Not just neglected from a “wear and tear” standpoint, but aesthetically, as well.  Don’t you agree?  The kitchen performs on the daily for us…first in the morning over pots of coffee, bowls of cereal and trails of toast crumbs…then into the evening where it takes the heat, the sauce splatters, the wine spills, the ice cream plops, the oil slicks and performs like a champ through it all.  But shouldn’t our kitchens be more than just our work horse?  Doesn’t most of LIFE happen in the kitchen?…from social gatherings to family meals to homework to bill paying?  And since everyone ALWAYS ends up in the kitchen, shouldn’t your kitchen not just function but look really awesome too???  I think yes! Continue reading

Lemon Ricotta Cake with Strawberry Frosting and Balsamic Strawberries

Balsamic Strawberries and Pomgranates.jpgAre you feeling it like I’m feeling it…seeing it like I’m seeing it???   The warmth of the sun, the pop of greens, the new melodies of the song birds???  Spring, albeit too early, is bursting all around us!  From tree blossoms to grass weeds…the signs are everywhere!  Soon…crates of Strawberries will be showing up from Plant City, Florida to satisfy our strawberry indulgences and vices.  And although a nasty freeze will surely make an unwelcome appearance before it’s all said and done…we can still be excited about Spring’s beautiful, life renewing arrival.  Continue reading

Tea (or Champagne!) Party 101 and 3 Must Have Tea Cookie Recipes

 

hearts-and-kyss

Tea  Champagne Party 101.  Start with three really good cookie recipes, a few bottles of champagne and some of your best girlies!  Done!  It’s that easy!  You’ve made a party.

But seriously…with a little pre-planning, you can throw the most heavenly tea champagne party that’s ever been.  The pay off is so worth the effort!   Like with any party, once you’ve determined what you’re celebrating…birthday, engagement, baby shower, etc…you can then settle into some details.  My planning/brainstorming looked something like this:

Tea Party…Around Valentines Day…A “Gal”entines Day Affair…Marie Antoinette Style…One Year Blog Anniversary…around 8 – 10 ladies…all in shades of blush Continue reading

“That Calls for a Celebration!” A Modern Day Tea Party

CHEERS!.jpg

So your kid went pee-pee in the potty for the first time?  Let’s Celebrate!  Your pups got a clean bill of health at the vet?  Let’s Celebrate!  Your rude co-worker didn’t give you the stink eye in the hall today?  Let’s Totally Celebrate!  Point is, it really doesn’t take much to whip me into a frenzy and pop a cork in celebration.  But with the one year anniversary of my blog approaching, I knew I wanted to do something a little over the top to commemorate the occasion.   Soooo… (pronounced long and drawn out…very southern-like), being the self proclaimed prissy pants that I am and having never shied away from anything girly or glamorous, I decided to throw a tea party…but not just any garden variety tea party.  A modern day Marie Antoinette style tea party where there is, in fact, no tea, only champagne, and plenty of delectable treats on which to feast your eyes and tickle your taste buds.  Since the party was to occur just before Valentines Day, I made it a “Galentines Day” affair and invited a few girlfriends, making it the most fabulous, frolicky, gorgeous party I’ve thrown in a very long time!  Friends came dressed to the hilt and we spent Friday afternoon laughing, loving, sharing, being a little serious and a tad silly!  I’m guessing Marie Antoinette would have felt right at home! Continue reading