Emotional Energy: How to Reclaim Your Space After a Major Life Event

Mina Fies is all about making the shift. Over the last twenty years, the remodeling expert has watched hundreds of clients stay in their houses unchanged even though it desperately needs a makeover. “People are simply afraid of the remodeling process,” she says. So Fies has made it her purpose in life to not only show clients the possibilities with renovations but also explain why it’s important for the health of their mind, body, and spirit. “Our spaces have an emotional effect on us,” says the entrepreneur and public speaker. “We spend so much time thinking about the environment around us such as what restaurant we want to eat at or what school our kids go to. But when it comes to where we live and where we spend the majority of our time, we don’t think about it much.”

Fies is especially keen on changing up your home after a major life change such as becoming empty nesters, going through a divorce, or even the loss of a loved one such as a parent you may have been caring for in your home. “It’s really about making the home yours again,” she explains. This can mean different things for different people, but the premise, says Fies, is the same: you’re shifting the energy to focus on the new moment in your life rather than relishing in the old.

For empty nesters, Fies recommends repurposing a child’s room into a place where you can relax, take advantage of a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, or simply convert it to the home office you never had. “People get so stuck on the idea that they have to keep things the same, especially with a child’s bedroom,” she says. “You first need to give yourself the permission to repurpose the room. Once you recreate the room, you’ll subconsciously shift the energy in a positive direction. The important thing is that it doesn’t have to be the space it once was. Just by repurposing that room by repainting it or changing a bed into a daybed for seating reclaims the space and makes it yours. This process makes the transition easier.”

New parents are in the same boat, says Fies. “When you’re a new parent, your home doesn’t feel like it’s yours anymore. There are toys everywhere [and] baby accessories. Kids can literally take over your entire living space.” Fies recommends thinking ahead by incorporating storage and ways to “clean up the mess” seamlessly to keep your living areas an adult space. “Your whole house doesn’t have to be about your kids. In fact, you need a space that’s totally yours, free of kids’ stuff,” she says. Fies suggests creating a toy storage system where it hides everything such as using furniture like ottomans or benches that open and serve as toy boxes. And as kids get older, consider a drop zone where they can hang their book bags, put away their shoes, and leave their jackets. “Containing your kids’ stuff relieves the stress off of you because you don’t have to see it each day,” says Fies.

But when it comes to a life change such as a death or divorce, sometimes repurposing a space isn’t enough. When this happens, Fies recommends her clients do a space clearing. “If a parent passes or a divorce occurs, or something has happened and you want to turn over a new leaf, a space clearing is a fantastic place to start,” she says. Space clearing is simply shifting the energy of a space by releasing the existing energy, which can be accomplished in a few different ways. “Sometimes we stand at the front door with the homeowner and they say a prayer or, depending on the client’s comfort level, we’ll burn sage or ring a bell to vibrate and clear the energy. It’s a practice or ritual of saying this moment in our lives happened, we were brought together for a reason, it didn’t work out, and I’m ready to release this relationship and bring whatever is good to me.”

Fies says clients are amazed at how simple changes in their homes can impact their energy and emotions so much after transitioning through a major life experience. “It doesn’t take much to create a space that energetically fits where you want to be in your life today and ten years from now,” she says.

Collected Cottage: From a Dated Renovation to an Updated Cottage

The project was right in Jamie Keskin’s wheelhouse. The Boston-based interior designer’s style can best be described as a modern take on cottage chic. Which is exactly why when her clients reached out to her about updating their cedar-shingle, Nantucket-style home she was excited about the opportunity. “There was beautiful craftsmanship everywhere,” she says of the remodeled stunner. “They didn’t skimp on any details during the remodel.”

The architectural details laid the foundation for Keskin’s redesign, which aimed to brighten the space by taking advantage of the home’s ample natural light as well as modernizing it with playful fabrics and finishes. Having known the clients for several years—they met at a local antique marketplace—Keskin was in tune with their personal style. “They love a good mix of traditional with a cottage feel,” she says. “I’d say they were traditional but in a casual, comfortable way so I knew that was the direction I would go in. Nothing midcentury or contemporary or over the top. We just really wanted to stay true to the style of the home.” 

The homeowners enlisted Keskin to help rework their master bedroom, living room, dining room, and mudroom as the adjacent kitchen had recently been updated with the renovation. But Keskin wasn’t starting with a blank slate. Like many of her clients, they wanted to utilize existing pieces—namely furniture and antiques they’d collected over the years—into the home’s interior design while also incorporating furniture, fabrics, and textures to infuse new life into the space. “I love when clients have existing pieces that they want to include in the home’s design, especially heirloom pieces because they make the home feel more personal, it tells a story,” she explains.

Keskin drew inspiration from the kitchen, which boasts shiplap walls, exposed reclaimed wood beams, mahogany, and honed granite countertops, Carrara-marble subway tiles, and a touch of color via a light gray blue for the base of the island. “It’s such a welcoming space and we wanted to capture that in the living areas,” she says.

The living room is where the homeowners do the bulk of their day-to-day living and entertaining, so it was important that it be comfortable and inviting. A coffee table—a small antique boat outfitted with a glass top—along with the area rug were two of the clients’ existing pieces that Keskin built her design around. The rug with its pops of tomato red and celadon blue served as color inspiration and led Keskin to keep the furniture and walls simple and neutral. She layered throw pillows and draperies to bring color and texture into the room.

The draperies by GP & J Baker set the stage with the same hues as the rug, while a pair of adjacent chairs swathed in a playful but more neutral ocelot-print fabric by Cowtan & Tout offset the colorful draperies and custom throw pillows by Jane Churchill, Scalamandre, and Kerry Joyce Textiles. “It was all about balance in this space. So, mixing tiny, bold fabrics with neutrals really allows everything to blend together,” says Keskin. The ample natural light also played a role in the interior design as it highlights the organic texture of the existing coffee table while also brightening the colorful prints and patterns.

In the dining room, Keskin applied the same tactic of using the homeowners’ existing pieces as the base—the dining room table and chairs, for example, were the clients’ own prior to enlisting Keskin—as a base. A stunning blue grass cloth wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries in the room immediately adds a dose of modernity amongst the ultra-traditional furniture. Likewise, draperies also by Phillip Jeffries in a geometric pattern feel playful yet sophisticated in the traditional setting.

While Keskin loved reworking the living and dining areas for her clients, she is especially fond of the mudroom. “It was a fun, small space [where] we could really push the envelope a little bit,” she says. With minimal wall space to add color to, Keskin suggested a fun wallpaper in lieu of paint. “There wasn’t a ton of wall with the wainscoting, so I convinced her to go bold with the wallpaper,” says Keskin of the Galbraith & Paul paper, which complemented the bluestone flooring. “It made the room feel bigger. Some clients are afraid to commit to wallpaper but it’s easier to commit to it in a smaller space. She wanted something different in that room and this hit the mark.” To add more pattern to the space, Keskin also added a custom cushion for the bench swathed in Thibaut fabric, which Keskin had vinylized to prevent staining.

Though the clients are still tweaking rooms here and there, Keskin knows her clients love the final product. “It feels like you stepped out to a farm on acres of land,” she says. “It’s gorgeous.”

Family Style

The family table is known as a place of nourishment, comfort, and happy palates. Family meals can help make holidays special, celebrations memorable, and every day delicious. The following family-style dishes are designed to share. Some are filled with simple, fresh ingredients and others feature playful flair. Pull up a chair and get ready to eat.


Caesar salad was first created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, who was an Italian restauranteur in Tijuana, Mexico. The original recipe was quite a production that was always prepared table side and mixed by hand. I’ve simplified the original version, making it a bit more fuss-free for home kitchens and family dinner. This is a salad that pairs well with most any main course and can be topped with salmon, chicken, or shrimp to make it a standalone meal.

Serves 4
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and dried
2 cloves garlic
6 anchovy filets
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 egg yolks for large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups of your favorite croutons
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded for garnish
Chop the romaine into 1½-inch pieces. Refrigerate the lettuce while you prepare the dressing.

Place the garlic cloves, anchovies, Worcestershire, dry mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and egg yolks in a blender or food processor and pulse until blended. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until a creamy mayonnaise type dressing forms. Taste the dressing and salt to taste.

Add the lettuce and grated Parmesan to a large bowl and toss with half the dressing, adding more as needed. Then transfer the salad to a serving bowl or plater and top with croutons and shaved or shredded Parmesan.

I first made this broccoli recipe fifteen years ago when I was trying to get my family to eat more vegetables. The broccoli is laced with olive oil, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese, which gives it a slightly crisp texture. It’s so tasty, sometimes it doesn’t make it from the baking sheet to the serving bowl.

Serves 4 to 6
1½ to 2 pounds broccoli, trimmed into florets
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the broccoli in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, black pepper, and Parmesan. Transfer the broccoli to a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.

Place it in the oven and let it roast for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese has begun to crisp and the broccoli is crisp tender or to taste.

Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes and then serve warm. Season to taste with salt. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, if desired.

This is definitely not my mother’s meatloaf recipe. It’s an updated version that always has my family running to the table for dinner. This recipe is filled with two different ground meats along with fresh Italian flavors and mozzarella cheese. I’ve added warm milk and bread crumbs to keep the meatloaf moist and tender and serve it with our favorite pasta sauce. Tutto bene!

Serves 6
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
2 teaspoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
½ red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup warmed milk
½ cup bread crumbs
1 cup chopped wilted spinach, squeezed, either fresh or previously frozen
½ cup diced whole-milk mozzarella
1 to 2 cups of your favorite tomato pasta sauce
Fresh chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, add the ground beef, ground Italian sausage, salt, pepper, dried herbs, Italian parsley, diced onion, and garlic. Gently combine the ingredients, not being too heavy handed or your meatloaf will be tough. I usually use my hands to do this.

Next mix together the warmed milk and bread crumbs. Once the bread crumbs have soaked up the milk, mix lightly and then gently combine with the ground meat mixture.

Then add the spinach and mozzarella and gently combine. Once all the ingredients are nicely incorporated into the ground meat, form a loaf with the ground meat on a rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet. I use a baking sheet rather than loaf pan so the meat loaf cooks evenly on all sides.

Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the meatloaf is done and reads 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Ladle about ½ to 1 cup of tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf. Let it sit for another 5 minutes. Slice the meatloaf and then place it on a platter and serve with additional sauce. Garnish the meatloaf with fresh chopped Italian parsley.

over our heads

As little as ten years ago, the living-roof concept was a mystery to many. Materials, how-tos, and builders were hard to come by. But today, information and resources for small-scale green or living roofs on sheds and studio spaces abound, making it easy and affordable for homeowners to enjoy the benefits of a living roof in their own backyard. Or rather, over their heads.


The benefits of green roofs, while not innumerable, are many. For starters, they contribute to biodiversity by attracting butterflies, birds, and pollinators. The insulation they provide can reduce energy costs—a fact that will save significantly on heating and cooling this extra space.

While they are saving energy, the plants also are cleaning the air as they gather and absorb carbon dioxide, work their chemical magic, and release it back into the air as oxygen. Meanwhile, the plant roots are filtering air pollution particles and sponging up rainwater. Thus, they perform storm water management, reducing the demand on sewer systems. All that water the plants absorb also creates a natural fire-resistant layer on the roof, a boon for areas prone to wildfires.

In highly paved urban and suburban areas, living roofs reduce the heat-island effect caused by hard surfaces such as roofs and pavements that absorb heat and reradiate it. The surface of a planted rooftop can be cooler than the air temperature, while the surface of a traditional rooftop may be as much as 80 degrees F hotter.

Finally, while more expensive up front to build than a traditional hard-surface roof, a green roof will last longer because the materials that sun and weather degrade are underground. A traditional roof will last about twenty years, but a green roof is expected to last two to three times longer.


If you’re convinced it’s time to replace your roof, you have two types of living roofs to choose from: extensive systems and intensive. Extensive systems typically have a six-inch deep growing medium that can support a range of shallow-rooted plants such as sedum, chives, and meadow grasses. This is the type that most homeowners would choose for a garden structure or the roof of their house. The installation and maintenance costs are relatively low, and the prices are dropping as more people are building them.

Intensive green roofs are deeper and can sustain a complex landscape of small trees, shrubs, ponds, and fountains. These roofs can be either modular, where the vegetation and planting medium are contained in special trays covering all or most of the roof, or nonmodular where, the planting medium is a continuous layer over the entire space.


There are books and manuals on the market with detailed instructions for building a living roof. Briefly, the roof is built with a series of layers that insures the system performs properly. The layers will vary slightly depending on the builder but are typically similar.

Start with the roof platform. Be sure the structure can support the added weight, including the roof structure itself. Next is the roofing membrane seal. A seamless pond liner made of heavy-duty EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber) works well. Then, the root barrier membrane keeps the underneath layers from being penetrated by roots. The insulation barrier is required by most building codes, even though insulation is provided by plants. Add a water retention mat to reduce the effects of drought cycles. Water drainage and aeration comes next, which helps water flow off the building. The filter allows water to flow without washing away the planting medium. Then, add ultralight-weight planting medium. Generally, this is a synthetically produced expanded clay that is less dense and more absorbent than natural minerals. Finally, plant the plants; ground covers thrive in shallow soils with little to no maintenance.

Article by Home By Design magazine.
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luxury in the making

For his clients’ new home in the heart of Chelsea, London, just minutes away from the ultra-hip King’s Road, the mission was clear: “To create an elegant and young environment for the couple starting their new life together,” says Maurizio Pellizzoni, founder of London-based interior architecture and design firm Maurizio Pellizzoni Ltd. “This celebrity couple wanted a calm and understated home. They were also looking to recreate the Ralph Lauren lifestyle as seen in the [company’s] Mayfair Collection.”

At the time, his clients were moving out of a contemporary flat, which was too cold and impersonal for their tastes. “They wanted a more mature look in their first home as a married couple,” says Pellizzoni. “They wanted something classic and stylish . . . glamorous and feminine.”

Another request was for a fast turnaround with minimal disruption. Due to the short time frame, structural work was kept to a minimum. All the rooms were redecorated with a new color scheme, window treatments, and furniture, including custom pieces made to work within the allotted space.

The designer created many bespoke pieces for this home, including the desk in the bay window. Designed to complement the iconic, mahogany Duke Bar by Ralph Lauren that’s nearby, the consistency of the desk helps unite the three different sections in the living room. The desk chair was discovered at the Portobello Road Market, while the two casual chairs and side table facing the fireplace are from Ralph Lauren Home. A framed photograph of the client’s horse hangs above the bar, which conceals a collection of spirits and cocktail accessories.

Pellizzoni’s impressive blend of past and present and influences near and far can be seen in the details, like the chinoiserie, crystal, and nail-head trim. “My aesthetic is inspired by the glamour of Lake Como, cosmopolitan New York, and daily life in London where I live,” he says. “Fashion-based industries such as ours change frequently, making it imperative for us to keep ahead of the game in terms of new trends. For me, the best way to evolve and keep up with new trends is taking inspiration from fashion, movies, and whatever is happening around us.”

The fact that comfort also inspires the designer can be seen in the seating, such as the custom sofa in the main part of the seating area that provides the perfect place for the homeowners to watch TV. “I think style is very important, but a comfortable sofa is very important,” says Pellizzoni, who believes this element is essential in any living room. The arrangement is completed with a side table and leather chairs from Ralph Lauren Home.

Although the furniture is dark and substantial, Pellizzoni says the soft color scheme and careful assortment of accessories lighten the overall impact of the room, as do the walls that wear Skimming Stone by Farrow and Ball. “The room has a colonial feel to it, with stained floorboards, plantation shutters, and campaign style chairs,” he says. The Venetian mirror and the glamourous chandelier bring a feminine touch to the design. “My interest for novelty and trends is always counterbalanced by my roots in classical Italian design, and this is the skill and the eye I like to teach to my staff,” he says. “The timelessness of our work lays in this classicism, while the trendy touches will make it current. Finding the balance is a difficult craft.”

For a successful project such as this, communication is key. “My philosophy is to create unique interiors for my clients, listen to them, and understand their lifestyle,” says Pellizzoni. “How they want to use the interior is very important to me.” These clients were so happy with the way their home turned out that they returned for help with the nursery after the birth of their first child. Now they all get to live the luxurious lifestyle.

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palm and piroutte

When design consultant and blogger Nicolette Mason, her wife Ali, and their pug Frankie made the move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, they traded hot pink for blush, stripes for palms, and brick walls for beachy floors.

Mason had a vision for what their new home should look like: less like her and more like them. The newlyweds needed someone to help merge their styles seamlessly, fashionably, and with an homage to lighter, brighter Southern California—Old Hollywood meets contemporary.

Enter Target and their home spokesperson Emily Henderson. The stylist, designer, and New York Times best-selling author heads Emily Henderson Design—an LA-based company that specializes in mixing eclectic styles on moderate budgets. “My job is to take what my clients think they want and do the best version of that possible,” says Henderson. So, she worked with Mason’s mood board, which included the iconic Martinique wallpaper from the Beverly Hills Hotel, to create an interpretation of Old Hollywood meets contemporary that fit the couple and their new condo.

Henderson and her team got to work on a weekend makeover of the open living room and dining room that would complement the design Mason was already working on in the rest of their home. There was next to nothing in the spaces from the start: blank white walls, a coffee table, a side table, a fiddle-leaf fig plant, and a button-tufted Cococo sofa. “The wallpaper was our big moment, and the jumping-off point for everything else in the room,” says Henderson, who opted for a soft palm pattern by Cole & Son. “It brought in the graphic element that allowed everything else to stay neutral and calm.”

Pink was another one of Mason’s must-haves. “Instead of adding in a ton of pink, we brought in the metallic du jour—rose golds and coppers,” says Henderson. “I think that with that wallpaper, had we added a lot of pink, it could have looked really silly and young. The addition of the pink metallic kept things quiet but still super feminine.” Metallics complement the palette of mint, blush, black, and white throughout the living space. Subtle accent patterns in pillows, throws, and artwork were introduced for contrast.

Many of Henderson’s designs feature a combination of splurges, saves, and a bit of history. “I believe a room is soulless without something that is vintage or antique,” says the designer. Because a fair amount of the decor was provided by Target, there wasn’t an overwhelming demand for secondhand pieces. Here, the soul of the space came in the form of the high-quality, oval, wood dining table by Baker Furniture. The thrifted table originally had a dark-cherry finish, which was updated with a low-sheen, white lacquer and finished with a set of new, black, Windsor-inspired chairs. “We kept the foundational pieces totally simple and clean, then layered on the glam with the chandelier and the tableware,” says Henderson. The brass-and-wood bar cart and Jonathan Adler Sputnik chandelier gave the dining room a heavy dose of Old Hollywood.

A variety of neutral colors and midcentury shapes were sure to keep the space looking modern, but Mason still longed for pink on a larger scale. So, they painted the gallery wall in the dining room a sweet shade of blush—Pirouette by Devine Color (a Target-exclusive by Valspar). It was neutral enough to let the artwork pop, but pink enough to make Mason feel right at home.

“It feels just so happy and it looks so pulled together,” says Henderson of the weekend install. “I think that if I had two goals for every single project it would be that—happy and ‘pulled together.’Not perfect. Not safe. But where the room, no matter what style, exudes a happy feeling and at the same time, looks and feels like someone cared enough to make it work.”

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the whole harvest

This is the glorious season of fresh ingredients. It’s the time of year when my family enjoys countless vegetables and herbs from our garden and berries and stone fruit from the farmers’ markets. This season of fresh ingredients ripened by the summer sun and ready to be enjoyed during the warm days of harvest makes for a plethora of meal options. Here are a handful of my favorite ways to utilize the fruits (and veggies) of summer’s labor.


Juicy, ripe plums are an enjoyable treat when eaten fresh during the peak harvest season, but they’re equally as delicious when roasted. Roasting intensifies the sweetness of plums and makes them a delightful bookend to a summer meal. I like to dress up the roasted plums with a dollop of creamy goat cheese and then drizzle with honey. A garnish of sea salt or toasted hazelnuts is a lovely finish to this beautiful recipe.

Serves 4
4 medium plums, halved and seeds removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces goat cheese
3 tablespoons honey
Course sea salt, for garnish (optional)






Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the plums cut-side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each plum half with olive oil.

Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake until the plums are soft and juices running, about 15 to 20 minutes.

When the plums are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer the plums to a platter and then dollop each half with goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. Garnish with course sea salt if desired. Serve slightly warm.


Makes 8 shortcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced
¾ cup heavy cream
2 pints assorted berries, strawberries stemmed and sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half and seeds scraped out
1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually stir in the heavy cream until a soft dough forms.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly shape into a rectangle about 1½ inches deep. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut 8 squares.

Place the shortcakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the tablespoon of whipping cream. Sprinkle each shortcake with sugar.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool. In a large bowl, mix together the berries with the brown sugar and set aside.

In an electric mixing bowl, add the whipping cream and begin to whisk on medium. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and then the vanilla-bean seeds. Whisk until the whipping cream forms stiff peaks.

To serve, place a shortcake on a plate and slice in half. Layer a spoonful of berries onto the bottom half of the shortcake and then top with the top half of the shortcake. Dollop with whipped cream and serve.

Note: Shortcakes can be held for up to 3 days in a plastic bag or container. Berries can be held for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Prepare the whipped cream right before serving.

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Article by Home by Design.

newcastle reflections

Merewether, a suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, is an area brimming with funky cafés, fashion stores, and creative artisans. It’s also home to some of the region’s most famous beaches, beautiful national parks, and dramatic cliff top walks according to Louise Walsh, an interior designer located in Lennox Head, NSW. “This 4,300-square-foot home was built in 2015 by a couple who bought the original land and existing house twenty years ago,” explains Walsh. “The original home was demolished in 2014 to make way for new construction designed by EJE Architecture [with offices in Sydney, Newcastle, and the Gold Coast] and my company, Louise Walsh Interior Design [with additional studios in Brisbane and Sydney, and current projects in Aspen and San Francisco]. Construction was completed by Newcastle’s Malman Constructions.”

“From the outset, it was clear that the clients were passionate about this project and had spent many years planning their dream home,” says Walsh. “For this reason, it was very important to us that the interior not only reflected their environment but was also a true reflection of their personality and lifestyle.” One partner particularly loved splashes of color and tribal patterns, while the other preferred calmer blues and greens. “We developed an interior palette that responded to each person, but also married their individual preferences together,” she adds.

The kitchen is white with a backsplash of gray-hued glass mosaic tiles. “The Di Lorenzo tiles were the starting point for our overall color palette,” says Walsh, who custom designed the white cabinets. Countertops are Caesarstone quartz surface for durability. Lighting pendants, with a white ceramic frame and walnut base, tie together the wood and white tones.

Continuing the neutrals into the living space are walls in Dulux Natural White paint and a stained hardwood floor made from native Australian blackbutt. Walsh says that she dappled color and texture in accent items such as cushions and decor while keeping the base palette of larger items, like sofas, in neutral tones. She then layered textural items throughout with occasional chairs, lighting, and decor. “We added touches of blues and greens to reflect a beachside environment,” explains Walsh. “This further complemented the many natural textures we used, such as hardwood timber, wicker, aged oak, metal, and weighty fabrics like Belgium linen, natural hemp, and cotton.” The textures and patterns play into the use of color, each becoming a tone in itself.

A coffee table offers practicality with a unique use of a conservative American oak top and modern, white tubular metal legs. The pale-white sofa is accented by colorful cushions that were custom designed by Louise Walsh Interior Design using Australian fabric patterns. The floor covering is a custom woven jute rug. “The rug is a key element that anchors the furniture and pulls the space together,” says Walsh.

Adjacent to the living space is an area that can function separately or join with the interior when the owners are entertaining a large group. Walsh kept the palette in this room complementary to the interior palette, maintaining a real connectivity between the areas. Walls of windows have shutters that can be closed to protect against rain and wind or provide privacy from neighbors. The floor is a neutral ceramic tile laid in a brick pattern. The lovely Manutti dining table, made in Belgium, has a steel base and a timber slatted tabletop. Dining chairs are rich, dark wicker. “Occasional seating allows the space to open to the internal living space so when entertaining, the two areas can become one,” says Walsh.

The four bedrooms in this home have individual interpretations. The master suite looks to the beach, so Walsh picked up muted grays and greens from the landscape to create an elegant aesthetic. Two of the guest bedrooms have brighter color play. One, overlooking an inner courtyard, has pops of yellow and sage green in tribal textures. Another guest room is in a secluded area of the house and, according to Walsh, it has become a sanctuary for guests. There, she used muted greens, blues, and tribal prints to enhance the serene ambience.

“The clients wanted an interior that reflected their natural environment. They wanted a house that was relaxed, interesting, and fun,” says Walsh. “Entertaining was important to them, as was practicality of finishes to ensure selections made were durable and timeless.” Walsh combined subtle and strong neutrals, accenting them with interesting textures and patterns, and an occasional dash of bright color. The result is a lovely space that relates to the beach landscape and succeeds as a livable, comfortable, yet refined home.

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the whole harvest

This is the glorious season of fresh ingredients. It’s the time of year when my family enjoys countless vegetables and herbs from our garden and berries and stone fruit from the farmers’ markets. This season of fresh ingredients ripened by the summer sun and ready to be enjoyed during the warm days of harvest makes for a plethora of meal options. Here are a handful of my favorite ways to utilize the fruits (and veggies) of summer’s labor.


During the summer months, I find myself with a kitchen counter full of vegetables from my garden; I adore roasting them and using the vegetables for various recipes throughout the week. One of my favorite recipes is this simple roasted vegetable Panzanella salad. The flavors of the harvest are complemented by toasted bread cubes, creamy mozzarella, and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a delightful low-fuss meal for a summer evening.

Serves 6
1 baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
⅓ cup plus 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch rounds
1 medium yellow squash, cut into ½-inch rounds
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 orange or yellow pepper, sliced
6 cloves garlic smashed
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (white or red)
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, diced into bite-size pieces
1 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped or torn
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the baguette cubes with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Transfer them to the parchment-lined sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool. Then transfer them to a bowl.

Next, toss the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, red onion, peppers, and smashed garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Transfer the vegetables to a parchment-lined baking sheet and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through. I like a crisp-tender vegetable, so I usually remove them at 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooling, prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk together the ⅓ cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss together the baguette cubes, roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, half of the fresh basil, and the vinaigrette. Pour the salad into a large serving bowl or a platter and then garnish with the remaining fresh basil. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.


Although this dish is quite impressive—in presentation and in flavor—it’s also simple to prepare. The pork tenderloin lends well to oven roasting. When cooked to 145 degrees F, it will remain moist and tender. The Romesco sauce is the perfect complement to the pork roast with just the right balance of sweet, smoky, and spicy.

Serves 3 to 4
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ to 2 pounds pork tenderloin
2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 large ripe tomato
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Meat thermometer
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix together the dried herbs, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and olive oil.

Score the top of the pork tenderloin in a diamond pattern, about ¼-inch deep. Rub the herb and oil mixture on the pork and then place it in a shallow baking dish. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the pork reaches 145 degrees F internal temperature. Remove from the oven and let it rest about 5 minutes before slicing.

To make the Romesco sauce, add roasted peppers, tomato, walnuts, parsley, garlic, smoked paprika, and vinegar to a blender. Blend until all the ingredients are smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the pork tenderloin and place the slices on a platter. Ladle the sauce over the top and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve warm.


Fair warning: when you make this for your guests, they will be green with envy. The vibrant color is enough to garner anyone’s attention, but what makes it even better is the flavor that follows. This exquisite minted pea soup combines a slightly sweet pea flavor with spicy aromatics and fragrant herbs, finished with a contrasting dollop of crème fraîche.

Serves 4
2 tablespoons ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups of sweet peas (petite)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Crème fraîche, chopped fresh chives, or mint, for garnish
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons ghee or extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onions. Sauté the onions until they are wilted and translucent but not caramelized. Then stir in the garlic, parsley, chives, and dried oregano and sauté for 1 minute longer.

Next, stir in the peas and vegetable broth. Simmer stove top for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the peas are soft. Take the pot off the heat and add the fresh mint. Using an emulsion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If using a countertop blender, cool the soup and then puree in the blender and pour the pureed soup back into the pot.

Place the soup pot back over low heat and stir in the heavy cream. Heat the soup but do not bring it to a boil. Stir in the white wine vinegar and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm in bowls with a dollop of crème fraîche and chopped chives or mint.

Note: Thin the soup with additional vegetable broth if it’s too thick.

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Article by Home by Design.

Smart Start

Getting Started with Elementary Education 


As a parent, it’s natural to want what’s best for your child—especially where his or her educational enrollment is concerned. When it comes to the classroom, selecting the best learning environment can be a challenge. Before you determine which type of schooling best suits your student and your family, it’s important to educate yourself on the options.

First, it helps to weigh the pros and cons of each classroom style. Although there are countless different styles around the globe and across cultures, there are a handful of traditional options in the West. Get started with this simplified roundup of everything from public schools to Reggio Emilia to get you started on the process that puts your child on the road to success.

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