Friday, March 28, 2014

RE-CEIVING GUESTS: A Graceful Dinner

JUST THE RIGHT MIX.  My friend Grace hosted our book club for dinner at her house on Wednesday night.  We were all especially looking forward to the evening because Grace recently completed a major renovation to her house.  We all were treated to a home tour, a delicious meal and lots of great conversation.  Grace's home mixes traditional, mid-century modern and farm house elements and her table likewise combined several different styles to set a colorful and casual backdrop for our evening.  The menu was salmon appetizers, goat cheese and olive tray, Chicken Marsala, mixed green salad, quinoa and rice casserole and fruit sorbet. Everything was yummy, but the salad dressing especially stood out so my friend, Martha and I asked for the recipe.  Grace pulled out a recipe notebook she keeps in her kitchen with plastic sheet covers to slip in any good recipes she finds in newspapers and magazines.  Sidenote: I thought this was a much handier way to organize recipes than the recipe boxes I've seen other cooks maintain.  I snapped a pic of the recipe on my iphone and I've included it at the bottom of this entry if you're interested.  After dinner, we stood around the kitchen island talking and eating the salad and goat cheese/olive tray leftovers until the dishes were clean.   I mean not a morsel was left.  If we had stayed any later, there might have been licking of the bowls.  Seriously scrumptious.

RETRO COLORS.  In her dining room, Grace has a collection of vintage glass containers in amber, cobalt, orange and jade green displayed in a tray on her mid-century sideboard.  Her plates, place mats, napkins and glassware are similar colors and carried this color scheme onto her table and over to her kitchen.  If you visit the Houzz house tour of her home linked below, you'll notice that whether it comes from a piece of artwork or a throw pillow, there are pops of one or more of these same bright, fun colors in all the other rooms of the house.  The walls are generally neutrals so these accessories give the house a vibrant and fun vibe which reflects the owners' personalities.

The vintage glassware caught my eye because I'd like to find glasses in similar colors for my living room bar.  Grace volunteered that her blue decanter was from Crate and Barrel which you can find online HERE

I thought Grace's renovation was flawless.  She and her husband had an older home and they made tons of  thoughtful, green choices to renovate it but keep a strong connection to its origins. Some of their first floor bedroom was given over to create a larger bathroom so they recycled the removed original hardwood flooring over to the new staircase leading up to their second story addition.  This allowed all their first level flooring to match exactly.  They also recycled clapboard which was removed from their living room walls into other parts of their house so many of their new additions were done with original materials.  Additionally, my friends and I noticed that the small mosaic tiles Grace and her husband chose for the bathrooms could easily pass for original tile work which made all the new bathrooms seem like they had always been there. 

The nice four photos above are from a feature about Grace's renovation on Houzz called "Playing with Good Tension in Austin,"  You may see many lovely before and after pictures provided by the architect firm and more details about her renovation by clicking HERE.   I included a few pics above to tease the feature and to give you the gist of her dining room space which is in a pass through room between the living room and kitchen.   I like the flow created by this layout.  I remember Reba had a similar layout in her first house.  I know you'll enjoy all the other pics on Houzz.  I'm only sorry there isn't a picture of a new balcony that Grace and her husband included in their second floor addition.  Grace's backyard has gorgeous mature trees and one grows near the house beside the new balcony making it  feel like a tree house.  Additionally, the second floor balcony gave the house a view to the downtown area of Austin so when you are standing on the balcony it is like you're looking at the city nightscape from your tree house hideaway. Very cool and so very Austin. 

Thanks to Grace for giving me permission to share the pics I took of her dining room.  I have a bunch of other posts that I need to edit photos and copy to post so hopefully I'll have another update soon.  Hope you are having a great week.  And last, as promised, the awesome dressing recipe.

This is the salad dressing recipe which Grace used for our dinner.   I've had many salads with this exact combination before, as you may have as well.  But trust me, this one did taste different so I have to believe Martha's deduction that it was the honey that gave Grace's salad the extra flavor is correct.  Good going Diane Rossen, whoever you are.

No comments:

Post a Comment