Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creating a Focal Point

A focal point in any room is where the eye rests as it explores the space, sometimes an architectural feature is the natural focal point, a fireplace or a great window and view. Sometimes there is no focal point and that is where we need to create one, this can be challenging.

The first choice for focal point in a living room would be a wood burning fireplace, the thought of  relaxing on snowy evenings sitting on a stylish but comfy high backed wing chair with a glass of wine would be anyone's first choice!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please welcome my guest blogger

The Mr is the chef in the house, he is renowned in our circle for great Italian food, I begged him to write about my favorite dish ~ Lasagna.
Here goes....

I like to cook.  I find it relaxing and I enjoy creating.  My love for cooking stemmed from Alton Brown’s show “Good Eats”.  The show was directed toward over analytical people like me who don’t want to know just what to put into a good meal, but WHY to put it in.  I have written this as an ode to people who need more than instructions, people who need an understanding of what and why they are adding certain ingredients, oh,  and for people who love lasagna of course.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Back splashes, what are my options?

This is possibly one of the most common questions asked by my clients, this eye catching element is a feature of utmost importance. It is sometimes the first introduction to 'a real color' and requires a huge commitment, unlike paint or soft furnishings which can easily be changed up.

When choosing a back splash there are many things that need to be considered, it is not simply a single choice of material. There may be multiple materials chosen with varied heights required at installation, and because of this the floor plan needs to be studied carefully and lighting needs to be installed accordingly.


In this London home, it was paramount to take advantage of the windows (and the building was protected) so I created a 2" upstand in the same honed black granite as the countertops, mainly to stop items from falling into the recess.
(Photo courtesy of House & Garden UK)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank you Thanksgiving, I am thankful!

 I wish I had some sort of plan as I entered the florist, but I didn't, I guess it left me open to all options. I steered clear of the ready made arrangements. I admit they were lovely but I wanted to do it myself, it was an unconscious decision I made a while ago. 
I skipped over roses and lilies, carnations and sunflowers, then I found the tulips, it was love at first sight :)
I opted for Fall colors, the yellows, oranges and reds were EXACTLY what I was looking for.

I used a simple glazed earthenware pot to hold the flowers.

Do you like my Pear name tag holders?
Such an easy idea, cut a little circle and tie with natural twine.

In this vignette I used another glazed earthenware jug, in a apple green color that picks up the similar color of the pears.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make apple sauce, my mom-in-law is a pro.. her tip is to always use Green Macon Apples (Qty 5)
1/3 cup sugar and cook until soft and smushy.

The cranberry sauce was just as simple:
1 bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
Cook until soft and all liquid is reduced.

Not for the fainthearted, this all American sweet potato dish is SWEEET! A baked combination of canned sweet potatos (yes, you heard right), maple syrup, brown sugar and marshmallows.
Don't dish it till you try it! Not surprisingly it is the kids favorite side dish!

The message above the mantle says it all IMAGINE & INSPIRE!

Hope you enjoyed a tiny peek into Thanksgiving with our family.


(All pictures taken by yours truly.
 Location ~ Mom-in-law's house)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Camp

A small tribute to Pucky Huddle.

"Discovering this idyllic place, we find ourselves filled with a
     yearning to linger here, where time stands still and beauty

Our hunting cabin in Upstate New York that our family was blessed with for many years. This special place will live on in our hearts forever. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Styling for a Quintessentially British Tea Party

This post was inspired by our favorite Brit Lisa Vanderbilt who is quite the Hostess! Her Tea Party  was just as pleasing to the design senses, as it was I am sure to the taste buds! 

(Photo credit Bravo TV)

The reflective quality of the mirrored table is key to the success of this Styling. An easy way to recreate this look is to use a framed mirror as a tray, and place it on your coffee table or footstool. Use one that you have at home or purchase one which can do double duty. The one shown below is a Venetian Beaded Mirror from Restoration Hardware, this particularly deep frame works well to avoid items slipping off the 'tray'. There are various sizes to choose from.

(Photo credit Restoration Hardware website)


Fuscia Pink happens to be my favorite color and maybe why I was attracted to this ensemble, however any color works and with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up I would exchange pink for burnt orange. White and pale blue for the Winter Holidays.

Glass Vase of Fall color Flowers & Berries

Fall Flower Arrangement

Narcissus Winter Flower

White Winter Flowers


Silverware invokes a feeling of wealth and well being, we all love shiny treasures and I love to find an excuse to use my objets! Some items used in this Styling and that feature most prominently are the cake stand, champagne bucket and the statue flower holder, or maybe its a candle holder? 
Layer silverware and crystal on the mirror tray for amazing effect.
Most towns have a silver shop of some sort, in my town there are curio/silver shops that hold undiscovered treasures and apart from being unique, the actual shopping experience is fun (yes, get off the couch) and its great to support your local vendors too!

Here are some alternative Silver & Glassware Styling items ~

Antique Cake Basket

Antique Lemon Dish

Trellis Cut Glass Plates

Lalique Single Flower Vase

Cut Glass Basket
(All items above courtesy of

I admit to being a little impartial to Silverware with my parents owning a wonderful Silver Shop full of  interesting and one of a kind gifts.

CELLINI ~ Tower Rd, Sliema, Malta Europe
A little way out of town.... ;)


Using unscented candles is probably a better idea, the scent of the flowers and the baked scones should be enough. The candles shown above are from Restoration hardware, they have a good selection of odorless and slow burning, non drip candles which would be the best option. I would recommend keeping the candles a neutral color and use either a single candle or a group of three.


This Book is a must have for anyone who intends to host Tea Parties or is generally a tea lover!
Visit the website for more books and information on anything TEA

For me, preparing for an event like this is the fun part, I tend not to stress out and plan ahead of time to  make sure that during the Tea Party I am not running around crazy but enjoying myself with my guests.
Keep the menu simple and if you are not a baker order in advance from your local bakery and maybe they are even nice enough to deliver!

All that is left is to get to the kitchen and start preparing cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, dip the strawberries in dark chocolate, chill the Champagne and wait for your lucky guests to arrive!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Discovering Downtown Princeton

Princeton is not 'just' a university town, it is a busy hub of families, children, academics and designers.
I took a leisurely stroll with the Mr and my camera to give a small taste of what my downtown has to offer.
My Blog is predominantly a design Blog, but I could not resist plugging my new home town, Princeton.

Located in the heart of Palmer Square, the Nassau Inn is a landmark of downtown Princeton with its old world charm and good food.

We were greeted warmly by the owner of The Corkscrew Wine Shop who's french accent made me feel a little nostalgia, for my maman et ma grandmere who are french.
The wine selection is fantastic and the staff welcoming.

Mediterra Restaurant & Taverna is run by the lovely Julie Acuff, this upscale eatery offers delights from the 21 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. 
Now through December 1, 2001 Mediterra is inviting locals and visitors alike to the TAPAS FOR TOYS event where you are treated to tapas in exchange for unwrapped toys in support of the ROWAN TOWERS 10TH ANNIVERSARY HOLIDAY EVENT.
For more information and directions go to:

No town is complete without SHOPPING! Palmer Square is alive with great designer stores and Kate Spade NY leads the pack!
For the shopaholics and Tweeps alike follow @katespadeny on Twitter for the latest fashion insights.
For the chocolate lover Thomas Sweet at 29 Palmer Square  is you definitive choice and for the best ice cream for miles visit The Bent Spoon also on Palmer Square but be ready to stand in line!

Until next time, Dionne x

 All photography in this post was taken by yours truly :)

Please follow me on Twitter @dionnetrifiro!

Oh, and don't forget to post a comment! A nice one if possible ;)