Frank Fontana, host of HGTV's "Design on a Dime" comes clean with the realities of TV, and must-have decorating tips in his new book, "Dirty Little Secrets of Design."
On TV, he and his cohorts knock on the door with a "surprise" makeover that the owners accept with nary a word about expectations. Before you know it, they've hit a home-room; the homeowners love the new look Fontana's created!
The reality, he confesses, is that he and his team meet with the owners in advance, devise a game plan (which he suggests we all do for ourselves), identifies their style (he defines everything from Global Eclectic to Hollywood Regency and Tudor to Tuscan -- plus numerous others -- in the book), and determines a budget. They then transform it all -- by the book, applying his three-point formula:
1. Function. "Your room needs a very clear, very functional purpose." If it's a sewing room, then furnishings and accessories should reflect that purpose.
2. Ambiance. He shares advice on how "to listen what the room tells on its own" and how to build from there.
3. Cohesion. How do you pull it all together -- the new with the old? And how can you tell if you've nailed it? It's all in the book.
He shares his own blueprint for "high style, low-cost decorating." He also talks about:
*When does it always pay to "go green?" (He tells the truth about TV decisions.)
*The three staple design styles for kitchens (modern, rustic European and Traditional).
*A room-by-room guide "to infusing your home with style." (And, he includes what he really thought when homeowners wanted their work space in the dining room.)
*The Dos and Don'ts of a Home Office.
*The Thousand Dollar Kitchen Countertop -- for Less.
* Lots of DIY projects with instructions.
This book is packed full of information and covers decorating advice for a variety of spaces, from outdoor areas to kitchens, bedrooms and entryways. The U.S. price for the book: $24.95. At Amazon, it's $16.47!
A FEW TAKE AWAYS:
* When changing the color of a wall, white or tinted primer is essential to achieving the color you selected.
* Drop a few squirts of vanilla extract into your paint can to eliminate overwhelming smells. (Fumes are masked not eliminated. Use low-VOC paints to reduce toxins.)
* Use the 60-30-10 designer rule for color: 60% of the color in a space comes from the walls. 30% comes from the upholstery, window coverings and rugs. Ten percent comes from accessories and artwork.
* Three decorative pillows are all you need for your bed. Two with matching shams and one funky one as a statement piece.
* The most essential piece of furniture for the entryway: a chair!
I haven't met a recipe that I didn't want to change -- even a little bit. This one is no exception. My aim is to make it healthier, using less sugar, for example . . . . So, to begin, let me tell you how I altered the recipe below with good results.
First off, I used fat-free organic milk. I also opted to go a bit lighter by using 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg -- not the 4 whole eggs, as dictated in the recipe below. Additionally, I used 1/2 cup real organic maple syrup rather than 3/4. I didn't have the crystallized ginger, so I chopped up some pecans and added a small dollop of yogurt. I love this dessert.
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
4 large eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whipped cream
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Line a roasting pan with a folded kitchen towel.
2. Heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan until barely steaming but not boiling.
3. Whisk eggs and syrup in a large bowl until smooth. Gently whisk in the warm milk (a little bit at a time so the eggs don't cook). Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk until blended.
4. Divide the mixture among six 6-ounce (3/4-cup) custard cups. Skim foam from the surface. Place custard cups in the prepared roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, until custards are just set but still quiver in the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer custards to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled.
5. To serve, top each custard with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of crystallized ginger. (Again, since I didn't have the cystallized ginger, I topped it with chopped pecans -- that I did have. Plus a little yogurt.)
HERE'S ANOTHER RECIPE -- WITH MY HEALTHIER TIP! It's a Scarlet Quinoa Salad. YUM!
This quinoa (keen-wah) salad is a favorite! Everytime I prepare it, someone asks for the recipe. If you're interested in reading about the nutritional benefits of this grain-like crop, go here.
I plan to share all the ingredients of this recipe, which I found on a bag of Eden Red Quinoa. However, *instead of the plum vinegar, I use apple-cider vinegar. Why? Well, the plum vinegar has a whopping 1,050 grams of sodium per teaspoon!! (yikes.) The apple-cider vinegar contains zero (0)!
Ingredients: 1 medium beet, peeled and diced (2 small)** 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp. plum vinegar (*I use apple-cider vinegar) 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 6 red radishes (optional) 2 tbsp. finely minced red onion 1/4 cup chopped scallions or chives (optional) 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cranraisins) 1 cup red quinoa
Preparation: Rinse quinoa in cold water. Add 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cup boiling water. Add chopped beet(s).Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff. When cool, toss with remaining ingredients and serve. Or place in fridge, as it works as a cold salad. Serves 4.
**Cut off the beet leaves, rinse to add to a green salad or in cut up into small pieces for a pasta salad.
The Scarlet Quinoa Salad, is a pretty red dish, as you might imagine. Think holidays? or anytime, like I do . . . .
Water ensures skin health and weight management/loss.
So, drink up. Consider adding to your daily diet the veggies above and the following foods that contain at least 75 percent water by weight: apples, limes, lemons, cantaloupes, watermelons, strawberries, plums, pears, kiwis and grapes.
Foods that Keep Your Skin Healthy and Young.
Click the bowl of tomatoes for the article and recommendations.
Newly Posted Interior Design, and Homes & Gardens: Click photo below:
Home in San Miguel de Allende
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Love Where You Live
To know me is to know something about my experiences.
It seems important that I first thank the many photographers and editors I've met while working with such publications as Traditional Home, Better Homes and Garden, Remodel, Renovation Style, Decor, Tuscan Style, French County, Beautiful Homes and others. Each project that I worked on helped hone my own design eye. And in each home that I scouted -- and then shared with editors -- I also met some very welcoming homeowners and talented professionals. Again, through those experiences, I remodeled and decorated my own homes with a greater level of confidence. As a result, I do indeed love where I live. And I wish the same for all those who visit this blog. By sharing ideas, techniques and inspirational photos, I hope you will always find happiness at home. And your own individual style. Recently, it occurred to me that Love Where You Live embodies so much more than interior design. That's when I established sections that share recipes, favorite gifts, travel ideas and more. I hope you enjoy your visit here. I love hearing from you. And do hope you'll return again and again. My very best, -susan