Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Break

Dave and I went to Indianapolis for the Christmas holiday.  We spent three wonderful days visiting with my family, and celebrating the best parts of life.  My pregnant sister and her husband flew in from Florida, and my grandmother and aunt flew in from Southern California.  It was a full house!  We spent many late nights chatting around the kitchen island, and sipping mulled wine.  We played games, and watched movies (It's A Wonderful Life-- the best Christmas movie ever made, in my opinion).

Mom had the house completely decked out for the holiday...

my mother's library, complete with a golfing Santa
(and Ava Bamboo Table Lamp from our store)

(a classically retro Yule Log cake, complete with meringue mushrooms)

(Belgian waffles for brunch)

Then, on December 27th, we woke up to snow...   

It was the perfect Christmas break.

I hope you all had a peaceful and restful holiday.  I'll be back with regular blog posts next week, as we eagerly welcome the start of 2012!



Monday, December 19, 2011

Mulled Wine

Have I talked about mulled wine on this blog before?  It's one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  I first made it for a Christmas party that I co-hosted (during my single years) living in Santa Monica.  My co-host (and foodie friend) Karen, suggested that we make it... and incidentally, it was a huge hit.  I've been hooked ever since.  There's just something about this warm, spicy wine that makes Christmas even more festive.  I've decided that I will make it every year. :)

There are a bunch of different ways to make mulled wine (and I'm sure that most versions are delicious-- it's pretty simple), but I like to make my Christmas mulled wine with brandy.  The brandy just makes it a little more interesting.  So, here's my recipe:

Robson Family Mulled Wine

1 bottle of red wine
1/3 - 1/2 cup of brandy
1 whole orange, zested and sliced
1/2 cup of sugar
7-10 whole cloves
a few cinnamon sticks
allspice, ginger, or nutmeg to taste

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker or a large pot.  Heat on low until the mixture is steaming (do not boil!  This is bad).  I like to let it simmer for about 30 minutes, if not longer.  The sugar should be dissolved at this point, and all of the ingredients should have enough time to "mull" together.  Ladle into mugs or glasses and garnish with an orange slice and/or a cinnamon stick.  Listen to Christmas Carols, visit with friends and family, and then go back for a second glass! Enjoy Holiday Cheer all evening.


image from The Cooking Channel


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Jet Set House

Do you guys read the website, Curbed?  It's a site that focuses on real estate... with a celebrity/interior design twist.   It's great.   Highly recommend it for the factual, yet sensational articles.   This week, they posted a bit of interesting news.   If you're a Mad Men fan (and I most certainly am), you might remember that amazing mid-century gem of a house in Season 2.   The episode was appropriately called "The Jet Set".   Remember?   Don travels to LA, goes off the rails and escapes with those gypsies?   They stay at this STUNNER of a home and the scene appears to be taken right out of a Slim Aarons photograph...

Anyway, that place is for sale. And, if you have a cool $12 million to spare, it might be a great investment for you:

This home has some serious Hollywood history:
(taken from the Curbed LA article)

"The Fox Residence in Chatsworth is up for sale. The 1951 Pereira & Luckman house has an incredibly star-studded history from its early days all the way to today. It was built for Chase Manhattan Bank heiress Dora Hutchinson, who, according to Forbes, threw "massive who’s who parties for Hollywood, hosting the A-list likes of Lucille Ball and Ava Gardner, and shooting off fireworks to signal Happy Hour to her neighbors." The listing says that Judy Garland and Vicente Minnelli were married on the property. After Hutchinson moved to New York, she rented the Fox (also known as the Farralone) to Frank Sinatra for almost a decade, who in turn sublet the guesthouse (which has its own pool) to Marilyn Monroe. She had her last, famous photoshoot in one of the pools and supposedly spent time there with John F. Kennedy. More recently, it made Mad Men viewers drool playing a Palm Springs house in the episode "The Jet Set." Dreamgirls, Ali, and Californication also filmed there."

What a remarkable life this house has lived!  And, this gorgeous piece of architectural history also EARNS money.  It brings in about $2 million a year in filming fees.

And, I'd say it's worth it. Talk about picturesque.

(isn't Jon Hamm so handsome?)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Before & After: Diamond Tufted Side Chairs


Earlier this year, I stumbled upon these AMAZING little side chairs on an antiquing trip.  Even though they were missing some buttons and the yellow velvet upholstery had seen better days, I knew they had great potential.  So, we bought them and hoarded them away for a future makeover.

And finally, their time has come! 

When choosing an upholstery fabric, I wanted something simple and sleek.  So, I stayed away from patterns and prints (although, I was tempted to pick a pinstripe), and I landed on a luxurious chocolate linen with a subtle grey undertone.  I wanted the fabric to almost blend with the color of the wood frame, so all the focus was directed at the gorgeous diamond tufting. 

I picked up the two chairs from our upholsterer this week, and I'm beyond thrilled with the result...

Here are the chairs BEFORE:

And, this is what they look like today:

In addition to the new upholstery, we had them completely re-stuffed.  They now have brand new springs, and they're SO comfortable.  For the finishing touch, we picked an antique brass nailhead to trim out the legs.  Just a little bit of sparkle goes a long way.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dear House Beautiful "Bathroom Of The Month"...

Please clone yourself and move into my upstairs bathroom space.

Please don't forget to bring your historic fixtures, subway tile, marble floors, and interior shutters. 

I look forward to your arrival.  Thanks.

all images from House Beautiful


The Carson Tray

We introduced a new product to the store this week.  Dave (my business partner husband) designed it and had a local Philadelphia craftsman fabricate it.  I'm in LOVE with the way it turned out:

The "Carson" tray is made of solid American walnut, and fabricated right here in Philadelphia!  This piece is completely food safe and makes a fantastic serving tray, as well as a cutting board.  It was designed to resist warping-- just wipe it clean (and occasionally condition with mineral oil!).  I love the modern design and gorgeous natural walnut finish.

I thought that one of my Philadelphia clients would enjoy it, so I wrapped it up (along with fresh baked bread from our local bakery) and made a little Christmas gift basket.  Here's a sneak peek of it in her kitchen:

*To celebrate the debut of the Carson tray, we're offering it at a discounted price!  For a limited time only.  Click HERE for more info.


Monday, December 5, 2011


Yesterday was my birthday aaaaaaand...  now I'm 30.  It feels good to be thirty. 

Dave brought me my favorite cake (carrot cake with walnuts, raisins, and coconut-- delish!) and he even added the cheesy 3-0 candles.  I loved it so much, I made him hold it out for me so I could take a quick picture.  :)  Birthday cake for lunch is the best thing.

On Friday, there was a surprise visit from Kate Spade:

there's a yellow "Stevie" bag under that adorable wrapping paper.
(thank you, Brooke!)

On Saturday night, Dave and I went out to a fancy dinner to celebrate the milestone.  I ordered the chocolate peppermint souffle for dessert, and Dave ordered the apple fig tart...

On Sunday, I took a few hours to myself and did a little shopping at the King of Prussia Mall (a mall that rivals all others).  A quick browse through Ralph Lauren was required after I spotted this stunning leather trunk:

(with brass hardware-- love this!)

I did not leave the mall empty handed:

Happy Birthday to me.


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