Monday, March 31, 2014

Fresh Ideas // Modern + Collected Kitchen

There are so many things I love about this Danish kitchen, but most of all it's the way it balances what could be perceived on the surface as two different aesthetics. Here, there is both a 'just the essentials' modern and collected boho vibe and for me, it works perfectly. The sleek white backdrop is offset nicely by a collection of vintage rugs, seating and accessories. Mixed materials - metals, wood, polished veneer and an unexpected wallpaper treatment all play together nicely in this space. One of my favorite elements though is the makeshift wood counter taken out from the primary galley counter to create not only an extra workspace (that faces out onto a large dining room seen in other images), but a place to sit as well. While the kitchen floors are left bare, the use of multiple smaller kilim rugs of different patterns just steps away keeps it warm and inviting. 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY Wire Patio Table

Yesterday I revealed my infatuation for all the colorful wire patio tables that have arrived in stores this season. I even nearly bought a mis-matched pair I spotted at Home Goods. Fast forward to a couple of days cleaning up the garden and wouldn't you know it, I found myself holding two very sturdy tomato cages that were in good enough condition to eventually become the base for my wire patio table.

I figured I'd ride this idea to its eventual conclusion and either I'd have an inexpensive project that went awry or I'd end up with a custom side table to pair up with our deep patio bench out by the fire bowl. As it turned out, this little table came together just like I wanted it to, with very little effort or money spent. 

One of the things that made this attempt so appealing was that I already had most of the items I needed on hand. My only out of pocket costs were for the table round and mending plates. While I opted for a warm wood stain and a black base, you could just as easily make yours colorful like those I highlighted in yesterday's post by either using a color-coated tomato cage (easily available at most nurseries now) or by changing up the spray paint. Consider painting the table top itself as well and you'll have almost any color combo you want (how 'bout a white top and a mint base or a black top and neon base... so many options!).

Painted or stained, you'll want to give the top a good seal before putting it to use. Wax the top or paint on a good poly to keep water and cup rings at bay. We'll be leaving ours outside year round so I'm planning to seal ours good with a marine grade finish to protect it. 

I'm loving how this little table that came together so quickly plays off all of the black, gray and other wood elements we have going on outdoors. I'm planning on making at least one more to ensure there's always an extra place to set our cocktail down while sitting around the fire. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Fling // Outdoor Wire Tables

For the past couple of weeks, I've been having a quiet love affair with the many shapes, sizes and colors of wire outdoor tables hitting store shelves this season. Every Spring, I wait for it - you know, the one thing that captivates me and will help set our outdoor scene for the next 6 months by the pool. There were a couple of  options that caught my eye last year, but truth be told, I was still pining away for the fire bowl we eventually built out the side patio for. This year, I've been daydreaming about the carefully crafted wire mesh and colorfully powder coated metals in these footstools cum occasional tables. They would add just the right dose of modern whimsy to our deck. We don't have a lot of color out there right now and I guess I've been looking at these guys as sort of the rebel, bad boy to our plays it safe good girl patio scheme.

I actually spotted a mismatched pair at my local Home Goods recently and almost snatched them up.  I drove away from the store, still convinced they were the ones for me and proceeded to fixate on them for the next week until I had a change of heart. You see, I'm fickle like that.

But the truth is, I had an idea for a custom job that in the end, was a little more conservative and just might make this an all-year round affair. Stay tuned for the DIY in tomorrow's post.

.01 /  .02  / .03 / .04 / .05 / .06


Monday, March 24, 2014

The Hip List // 03.24.14

Among the things that make my little heart go pitter patter, I'd have to say that wood and gilded home accessories rank pretty high up there. Throughout the house, we've used them liberally to add warmth to what is largely a black, white and gray backdrop. But truth be told, these details are also making their way outdoors this coming season in some surprising ways- both around the pool and in the garden as well. Today, I'm spotlighting a few of my most recent favorite finds that will add instant warmth and a little glamour to your own abode.

one // two // three // four // five

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In the Works // Banded Shower Curtain

Our master bath will probably be one of the last rooms to be renovated. It's one of the rooms I've probably spent the most time standing in, planning and plotting out the en suite shower room of my dreams. But doing it right has potential impacts to the footprint of our house, as well as ducting and electrical. In the end, it will be a big, costly endeavor.  But we are like many who buy an older home and want to upgrade it - even temporarily until the real fix can be sorted. I know there are a lot of perspectives out there about investing in temporary upgrades, but in the end, this is a space we will likely live with for at least the next couple of years and we have to make it work for us. So for now, I'm looking at inexpensive ways to make a space we spend a lot of time in everyday a little more satisfying with paint and accessories. One of those solutions involves a pair of drapery panels to help conceal our unsightly shower. 

I've always been a fan of banding and have pulled together a few versions of black and white banded drapery styles that are in the running. Luckily, we have a set of shower doors so without the threat of water, we are free to use a more polished set of panels versus the typical vinyl shower curtain.

I'm thinking this will be a big impact, low investment project that will make the only room I currently dread in the house a little more appealing. The version created by Maxwell House Interiors via Remodelaholic uses grosgrain ribbon and introduced me to a no-sew tape product that will help make this project a snap.  


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Signature Dish

I experiment a lot in the kitchen. I'm often lured to try my hand at something I've never attempted to cook before based on a unique combination of ingredients or because Ina or Giada swore it might be the best they've ever had. But for as much as my collection of bookmarked recipes and cookbooks has grown, I have never really had a signature dish to pull from my back pocket- a recipe who's measurements and ingredients I know inside and out without reference, a tried and true dish I feel so confident about making for a table of family and friends that I wouldn't even think twice about it.

So it's been that I've been on a mission to find "the one". I suspect as my cooking acumen grows, I may eventually have one or two, but for the moment, I am focused on putting aside all my experimentation and perfecting a single recipe. Saturday night, I made one that I think may be it. I borrowed Bobby Flay's recipe for Pappardelle with Short Rib Ragu and while it's probably perfection made as is, I made a few tweaks to it based on our household's tastes (taking it more tomato based). In the end, I think it came fairly close to something I could make over and over again.  I threw on some music, poured myself a drink and patiently took my time with each and every step - something I rarely do and I found it truly made a difference, both in the eventual outcome and in my cooking experience. There is really an art to understanding how to achieve depth in seasoning a dish and as I sat at the table that night with my plate in front of me, I made some notes on where I thought I could do better on my next attempt. A little more heat perhaps to compliment the tomato I added, a little less cooking time so the sauce is not as concentrated, finish with fresh parsley... 

It got rave reviews around the table, but I know I can do better. By nature, expertise in anything comes with time. I'll try again soon, without occasion on a day when I can again take all the time I need to get it just right.


Friday, March 14, 2014

This Week // Spotted, Noted + Accomplished

I'm writing up this post with my favorite coffee cup in hand (do you have a favorite too?) and looking forward to a pretty full weekend - one that will bring some long awaited changes around the house and some family dinners around our table. I've spent the last couple of evenings planning out meals and grocery lists. It's always fun to design a dinner party - even those that are informal like the two we'll be hosting in the coming days. 

The past week was full and productive as well, with a bit of leisure woven in amongst the work nights - just like it should be. We beat the Monday blues by taking a trip to Disneyland that night and it was there that I saw the most amazing vertical garden overlooking the patio of the new 5,600sf Starbucks that opened (just that morning!) up at Downtown Disney. I must've taken a dozen pictures of it with the hope of recreating something similar back home. Starbucks and Disney - when superpowers unite.

Here are a few of the other things I spotted, took note of and got accomplished over the last 7 days.
  • Sam's post had me re-thinking some of my bad habits. 
  • I've also been thinking about committing to learn another language. This post was a good reminder.
  • You guys, Home Goods has just been killing it lately. I've even been lucky enough to score some Jonathan Adler goodies on my last couple of trips.
  • I finally completed the concrete countertop for our dining area bar. I'll be sure to share the (exciting!) results next week.
  • I've made a note to shake up this cocktail at said dining room bar.
So that's it for this week! Those two long awaited days off are finally upon us! Here's wishing you the very best for yours...  


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Striking Matches

I've been on the hunt for some fun matchbook covers to add about the house. It's funny that such a seemingly ordinary household item is nary to be found when we need it around here and (along with batteries) is always last to make the shopping list. We had some monogrammed books made up when we were married, but we've since gone through the last of our stash. 

Today, I've rounded up a few of my fun, favorite and affordable finds to share with you. Trouble is, I'm having a hard time choosing between them! Which one is your favorite?


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Current Fixation // Pendant Lighting by Ay Illuminate

Home of Kajsa Cramer / Photographed by Frida Ramstedt from Trendenser
My fascination with Ay Illuminate actually started with the ethereal Koushi Pendant, designed by American Photographer and artist Mark Eden Schooley. I kept coming across interiors featuring a simple wire framed pendant encased in a thin, gauze like cotton and I was just entranced. But then seemingly other versions, featuring a bamboo frame and various organic cloth-like materials also started to catch my eye. Were these one in the same or made by the same artist? I had to know.

Home of Andrea Faulkner-Campi // Designed by Paola Navone and photographed by Wichman + Bendtsen for Dwell
Some research into my new fixation lead me to Ay Illuminate - an artist collective based in The Netherlands, featuring the work of Mark Eden Schooley and Nelson Sepulveda, along with Ay Lin Heinen and Casper Heinen. I've since learned that Schooley is responsible for creating the wire framed and famed Koushi Pendant, that captured the curiosity and fixation of many while hanging on display in favorite Paris store Merci. Nelson Sepulveda created a similar pendant featuring the bamboo frame.

While perusing the Ay Illuminate website, I also came upon various netted options in different colors, shapes and sizes. Above are just few of my new obsessions. 

Home of Marius Haverkamp and Emily Gray // Photographed by L. Desrosiers for Milk

Monday, March 10, 2014

Planted, Rediscovered + Built

We haven't had much of a winter to say the least here in Southern California. Honestly, temperatures have been so mild that it has even been a little shocking for us.  But it is because of this, that we were able to get an early start on our garden re-boot this year. We've spent the past few weekends planting and building out some more structure - including some new screens for the raised beds, a work table and even a bench. 

While it's far from finished, today I thought I'd give you a sneak peek into how things are shaping up out there. While we are still prepping the raised beds, we did get a few things planted over the weekend - including some herbs, peppers and tomatoes. There was a big tomato event at one of our local specialty nurseries and we picked up some San Marzano and Sungold plants, among four other heirloom varieties. Can't wait for summer salads! We're also planning lots of salsa making with a full fledged pepper garden this year. 

I was digging around for some supplies in the garden shed and came upon a brand new box of copper garden markers that I can't wait to use once we have everything laid out. The bench and table both came together rather nicely. I'll be sure to show you both projects just as soon as we complete the layout and get all of our spring plantings in the ground. 

Friday, March 7, 2014


Hallelujah! The weekend has arrived. Over the next few days, we'll be celebrating my husband's upcoming birthday. He's been on the fence about how he wants to spend it. I'm sure it will involve music, some time with friends and a few cocktails - all antidotes to what seemed like a very long work week. 

As we close out the week here on Holtwood Hipster, I thought I'd share a bit about what I've been up to lately - things I'm really enjoying and at least one thing I'm trying to become more disciplined at (do any of you have this same problem?). Perhaps there will be time to work some of this in over the coming weekend as well. We will see how it plays out in between cocktails + celebration festivities...
Whatever you are up to, here's wishing you all the best for your weekend as well.

photo/graphic: holtwood hipster

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Best of Etsy // March Round-up

You guys, there are so many good finds and off the charts talent to be found in the land of Etsy. I'm a big fan and supporter of this collective and often turn to it when looking for just the right gift or a unique object for the house. I recently purchased a set of bracelets from this artist and am in the process of having some custom table legs welded by this shop

Today, I'm rounding up some of my favorite recent finds in the March Round-Up below.  Be sure to scroll through the shop catalogs to see even more treasures handmade by the artists I'm spotlighting this month.

Hammered brass colar necklace by Young Frankk // Coozies for your plants by RaisCase1 // A clutch sculpted completely from rosewood (I die!) by Tesler + Mendelovich // A handira style pillow by Boho Pillow // Leather and brass colar necklace by Liza JewelryArtist // This colorful zebra print by JazzBerry Blue // Finally, a subtle reminder in wire to hang on your wall  by Gauge NYC


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Houseplant to Love // Sanseviera Cylandrica

It happens all the time. I'm out and about in this place or that and spot something I can't get out of my crazy little head. Sometimes I don't know what it's called or who makes it and for the life of me, I never know where I can pick one up myself. So comes a lot of time searching the interwebs, googling phrases that might produce some sort of means to an end for my infatuation. It was just like that with this - a houseplant rarely if ever seen (at least in my part of the world) in the aisle of any bigbox home improvement store, a houseplant I've since learned is called Sanseviera Cylandrica or most commonly - African Snake Plant.

Home of Igor Josifovic, Happy Interior Blog

I actually first spotted it in the entryway of the home where we picked up Valentino. Here we were picking up our sweet new dog and I am getting all obsessed with the plant in the entryway... figures.  But there's good reason to get excited over this strangely structural variety. Like the more common Sanseviera Trifasciata I waxed poetic about in this post, it is hardy and will even thrive under the poorest of conditions.  You say you have poor light quality or a black thumb? This plant is just for you.

Vogue Cafe // Photo by Herve Goluza via Small Shop Studio
Vogue Cafe // Photo by Herve Goluza via Small Shop Studio

Anthropologie July 2011 Lookbook
I think that my excitement over this new to me plant is rooted in the fact that now I have a solution to our own entryway landscape issue. It's relatively light deficient and for the life of me, anything I've wanted to place there to greet incoming guests has decided it's not a good place to grow. I'm going to try a row of Sanseviera Cylandrica and see how it goes. I think the tall, vertical composition of these plants will be the perfect compliment to an otherwise barren backdrop along the front walkway. 

For those of you reading in Southern California, I'll be sure to update this post with some local sources once discovered.

Intro Image: (edited by Holtwood Hipster)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On Rotation // Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Warmed Champagne Dressing

It may not look like anything more than your average green salad in the photo above, but trust me when I tell you this salad is anything but ordinary. I've made it twice in the last week alone, even adding in some chopped chicken to make it a more substantial meal. It has so many good for you veggies and requires very little prep time. It's tossed in a warm champagne vinaigrette that takes the bite out of some of the crunch in the uncooked veggies, making it seem more indulgent than what you figure a health food salad should be. The good news is that you probably have half of the ingredients in your fridge like I did, making this an easy to throw together meal one night this week.

If you have a Trader Joe's nearby: I suggest buying a pre-packaged mixture of shaved kale, brussel sprouts and broccoli like I did (find it right alongside the other pre-packaged mixtures). It makes prep a snap! 

If not: You can always use a mandolin to shave down a couple of sprouts and a large spear of broccoli as well. Roll and chop your Tuscan Kale leaves down to make sure they are bite size.


In a bowl toss together:

Kale/Brussel Sprout/Broccoli mixture (I fill a large serving bowl 3/4 full)
Handful of sliced pearl tomatoes (sub in dried cranberries if you don't like tomato)
1/2 a small red onion sliced thin
1 chopped avocado
1 diced green apple
1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives (warmed in microwave)
1 fresh, uncooked corn on the cob - kernels sliced right off the cob and into your bowl
1/4 cup of feta cheese (I used non-fat feta) 
1 diced chicken breast

1/2 cup prepared champagne vinaigrette

Warm a 1/2 c. of the champagne vinaigrette and drizzle on top of greens. I always start with a 1/4 cup and let the greens wilt down and see if I want to add the additional reserved 1/4 cup. You want to leave a little crunch!  Trader Joe's also has a really nice champagne vinaigrette, but you can easily whip one up yourself

Serves: 2 for a full meal / 4 as a side dish


Monday, March 3, 2014

The Hip List // 03.03.14

Organic materials like wool, wood, terracotta and cork are really appealing to me right now, especially when paired with warm corals, simple whites and metallic details. For example, I am having a mad love affair with that abstract kilim rug from West Elm- I mean off the charts passion. I don't know that I have quite the right place for it in our home, but if I did... The same for the two-toned flatware from Anthopologie, with their dipped enamel tips (they come in a variety of colors). I mean, c'mon. That's some sexy, understated design for your dinner table. 

Here are the links to all my hip picks:
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