Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Recipe: The Most Beautiful Easter Cake that can be adapted for Mother's Day

My son's dessert of choice is cake, so when I recently saw this Easter-themed recipe from Country Living with three layers of fluffy white cake covered in coconut buttercream frosting, store-bought robin's egg candies, and charming edible phyllo nest, I decided to make it over Spring break, and couldn't resist sharing it with you.   For Mother's Day use pink or yellow food coloring instead of the blue, and add fresh roses around the base.  If you have a Spring Baby Shower coming up, change out the eggs for rattles and/or teething rings for the new baby.  However you choose to serve this gorgeous cake, it will be a show stopper that looks too good to eat ... but you and your guest will.

Have a lovely weekend!

*Photos by Michelle Profis

Monday, March 14, 2016

Welcome to Patina Farm - Brooke & Steve Giannetti of Velvet and Linen's New Book

Welcome to Patina Farm a beautiful, inspiring new book by Brooke and Steve Giannetti of the blog Velvet and Linen.  When Brooke and Steve decided to leave their suburban Santa Monica home to build a new life on a idyllic farm, they bought 5 acres in the heart of the beautiful Ojai Valley, California, a lovely wooded area with rolling hills and pink sunsets.  Hidden from view by an abundance of white roses, lavender, and citrus, Patina Farm is the vision of rustic elegance with an unerring eye for quality and of course, a gorgeous time-loved patina that takes a typical brick and mortar home into a life well lived.  I am pleased to say that in Patina Farm, we see every corner of the family home, as well as the guesthouse, gardens, greenhouse and a charming chicken coop.  Steve is a classically trained architect, who also had training in his family's ornamental plaster studio, which was a natural extension for inspiration for their home.  Brooke is an interior decorator, making the two of them a full service design team.  They also own Giannetti Home, a curated shop in Brentwood, CA that sells furniture, lighting, and accessories for the home in their signature patina style.

In love with Belgian design, the Giannetti's decided to take a trip to Belgium and Paris seeking information and inspiration from designers such as Greet Lefèvre of Belgian Pearls, (one of my favorite blogs) and visually absorbing the patina of cooper pots, tattered books, paneled doors in flea markets and the Marché aux Puces.  The take away? A refined European sense of a home that became the blueprint for their design.  Ideally the home would be situated entirely based on the sunlight, aware that the direction of the sun affects the quality of light in the home, while keeping the two very large oak trees into consideration. Through careful attention to details they brought their vision of Patina Farm to life.  It is truly a gorgeous, timeless, inspirational home that will forever have you coming back to study... learn ... see ... plant ...  do. 

Patina Farm is the must buy book of the season.  Here is your Sneak Peak, you will thank me later...


"The design of Patina Farm mixes classical and modern architectural details.  In our entry hall, an elegant series of vaults appear as if they were sculpted out of white plaster.  Having no baseboard or moldings around the doors or on the ceiling gives the space a more modern aesthetic."

"We fill the rooms at Patina Farm with antique pieces that we love.  Swedish antiques tend to have perfect proportions and just the right amount of detailing.  Because we are always filling vases with freshly cut flowers from the garden, we chose to plant flowers that would complement the interiors of Patina Farm."

 "Steel doors frame the view of the garden and provide access to the porch.  Wood screens pocket into the walls adjacent to the doors, while a small operable panel allows for night-time ventilation."

"A composition of antique paper and vellum books become artwork on the plaster shelves in my office.  Natural linen curtains hide the dog and rabbit supplies."

"We fitted the prefabricated greenhouse with two rows of shelves for protecting delicate plants during the winter and starting seedlings in early spring.  An allée of Fuji apple trees planted in vintage barrels adds some mid-level height elements to the garden."

Purchase Patina Farm here

A personal thank you to the lovely Brooke for the opportunity to celebrate her gorgeous new book in writing this post.  Thank you for being an inspiration.

Thank you to Elizabeth Cohen at Jill Cohen Associates Where Beautiful Books Begin for the kind consideration and photos.

And to Gibbs Smith, Publisher for sending me Patina Farm.

Here at Portobello Design it is our hope that we inspire you to ...


 *All photos and quotes from the book, Patina Farm
To view more with Brooke & Steve Giannetti see the post: At Home with Velvet & Linen Jan. 2015

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Cook's Atelier: Cooking School, Vintage French Finds, & Pied-à-terre in Beaune, France

As spring is just around the corner, many have already begun making vacation plans.  With everyone's eye on France and the love of vintage French finds and food, what could be better then an all inclusive trip to The Cook's Atelier which is the kind of place American cookbook author James Beard would visit on the pretense of relaxing and taking a few classes.  Nestled in a small town in the Burgundy region of France, The Cook's Atelier in Beaune (with a population of 25,000) is an epicurean center: cooking school, culinary boutique, wine shop, and pied-à-terre rental.  Perfect for your upcoming vacation.

The Cook's Atelier was founded in 2008 by mother and daughter team Marjorie and Kendall, when Kendall fell in love with France and moved to Beaune in her twenties to study Viticulture.  Her mother Marjorie had a little restaurant and cooking school in the U.S. but travelled frequently to France to visit Kendell, deciding one day not to return home. (Oh, let that happen to me...)  They combined their passions of food and wine and The Cook's Atelier was born. They are also the new face and inspiration of Williams and Sonoma's Open Kitchen.

The Cook's Atelier offers market tours, cooking classes, seasonal suppers, and workshops throughout the year.  Home cooks come from all over the world to experience Burgundy, and spend the day gathering fresh produce at the markets, cooking simple yet delicious meals while surrounded by new friends in Beaune, giving their guest a true french lifestyle experience.   Since Cook's is a family affair, Kendall's husband, who runs the wine shop, and their two children, can be seen daily having a long French lunch together with a dedicated kids table in back of the wine shop where they can eat, color, and play.  (So charming)

Making your stay in historic Beaune even easier,  The Cook's Atelier Pied-A-Terre is available for rent.  This beautiful light filled apartment with a small, but well-stocked kitchen, is centrally located to the market and restaurants.  Included is everything you need from WiFi, a washer and dryer, linens and household amenities.  How easy is that!  Let me know if you book a stay, I want to see pictures!

Bon Appetit  

"The Cook's Atelier is a very magical place. When we decided to create the epicurean center we wanted to create a place where home cooks could come from all over the world to learn about Burgundy through a cook's view.  The training and techniques are all French of course, and it's very market inspired."

"We're very lucky also to be able to share our vision with people who come to visit us.  The whole idea is to get everyone involved and really loving the process of shopping and cooking so they will be inspired to take that feeling home with them."

Cabinet shown stocked with Williams and Sonoma Open Kitchen, cook tools and tabletop items .

**Photos courtesy of Williams Somona TASTE video (captured by Portobello Design), and The Cook's Atelier website

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