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5 Reasons the Tray is the Ultimate Home Accessory

Trays, although seemingly simple, are not to be overlooked in a well-appointed home. They are equal parts function and style and cover storage as well as serving needs. I’ve styled up a few fabulous spaces to show you why the tray is the ultimate home accessory! xoxo Roxy of Society Social

Word-Numbers_02Who doesn’t love an indulgent breakfast in bed? Dinner al fresco with friends and family? An impromptu picnic in the living room with the kiddos? Transport your meals beyond the kitchen with ease and eliminate the need to go back and forth.

Word-Numbers_04 Serving up cocktails in bulk? Load up a tray and make one quick swoop. Your guests won’t have to wait for their beverage, and you won’t either!

Word-Numbers_06 Transform a piece of furniture like an ottoman or a stool into a functional tabletop.

Word-Numbers_18Protect a surface that that may be delicate or hard to clean.

Word-Numbers_12 Organize random objects whether it’s booze, books, remote controls, or decorative accessories. Instead of a clutter, your design efforts will look intentional and chic.

For more tray chic inspiration and to shop all the trays featured above, head to Society Social!

Photography: Society Social | Design And Styling: Society Social

Roxy Te

Decorating and Entertaining
A Dining Room Makeover

A few simple changes can completely transform a space. Things like fresh paint and moulding plus the addition of a few wow moments can make all the difference. See how Diane + Emily of Rehabitat started with this dining room and made it into a space that truly shines. And one that boasts a mighty fine chandelier might we add. See even more here plus where it all started right here.

Leah’s dining room was a totally fun project and she’s been a dream client. The biggest hurdle in her dining room was turning the existing usual corner cabinets into something more unique to her style as well as blend them into the room. What started as a least favorite aspect of the space became a favorite. A little wall paneling created a more dramatic feel and painting everything the same shade of mint to clean up the lines totally transformed the room. We switched the existing chandelier to a modern brass one for an edgier vibe and installed a ceiling medallion for a strong focal point.  The combo of classic background and modern appointments makes this room a stunner.

Click here to see the before pictures

Design: Diane + Emily | Rehabitat | Custom Dining Table: Vermont Farm Table | Larisa Bar Cart : One Kings Lane | Wishbone Chair: Rove Concepts | Ziyi Large Chandelier : Circa Lighting

Vanilla Bean Cake with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting

Psst… want to know the secret for the most mouthwatering cake? Double up the vanilla flavor in the cake with both pure vanilla extract and vanilla beans, and then slather on layers of creamy frosting made with fresh blackberries. Thanks to A Happy Food Dance, your summer just got made.

“Three layers of vanilla bean white cake with homemade blackberry buttercream frosting slathered in between and then topped with fresh blackberries – well, now this is how you do cake!” says Jessica of A Happy Food Dance.

For the full post and more delicious recipes, check out A Happy Food Dance!

Vanilla Bean Cake with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
prep time
30 Minute/s
cook time
30 Minute/s
total time
1 Hour/s
Serves 6Ingredients
  • For vanilla bean white cake:
  • 2¼ cup cake flour
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and seeds scraped out
  • 1¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • For the blackberry buttercream frosting:
  • ½ cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2-4 teaspoons milk
Instructions
  1. To make the vanilla bean white cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 5-inch pans or two 8-inch pans by spraying with cooking spray, coating with flour and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg whites, almond and vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds and mix until blended.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and start mixing on slow. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, and beat on low for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add all but ½ cup of the milk mixture to the stand mixer bowl and continue to beat for another 90 seconds. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional minute.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean, between 27-35 minutes depending on the cake pan you used.
  7. Allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. To make the blackberry buttercream frosting: In a small bowl combine blackberries, sugar and lemon juice. Mash with the back of a fork or a muddler until the blackberries are all broken down.
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Slowly add the vanilla and beat to combine.
  10. Add half of the confectioner's sugar and continue beating until combine.
  11. Slowly add the blackberry mixture and then add the additional confectioner's sugar.
  12. If the consistency is too thick, add a few teaspoons of milk to smooth out.
  13. To assemble: To frost cake, place a dab of frosting on your desired surface. Level the cakes if they are uneven.
  14. Stack one layer of cake and add a good amount of frosting to the top. Smooth across the top and then add the next layer. Continue for each layer.
  15. For the top of the cake, add a good amount frosting and frosting the top. Slowly bring the frosting down around the edges and slightly frosting the sides. You're going for a naked cake look, or just a crumb coating.
  16. Smooth out the top and refrigerate for 30 minutes (cake is easier to cut when chilled).

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these recipes:

Blueberry Meringue Cookies | Individual Strawberry Crumbles |Chocolate-Dipped Iced Coffee Pops

Photography: A Happy Food Dance | Recipe: A Happy Food Dance

West Elm Hack: DIY Ottoman Coffee Table

Taking an already gorgeous piece and molding it into something that is functional and fits into your lifestyle perfectly – that is what this West Elm hack is all about. Part ottoman, part coffee table, it wears many hats and can be used in so many different ways. Whether your resting your feet, your cocktail or using as extra seating, this gem is a winner. Grab the steps below and get ready to hack!

Room Sources: Couch: Jordan’s furniture | Leather pillows: DIY | Navy pillow: Target | Brass studded pillows: Target | Navy spotted pillows: DIY | Rug: Vintage from Brimfield Antique Fair | Brass tray: Jayson Home

From Jess… I fell in love with the detailing on this beautiful carved wood table at West Elm as soon as I laid eyes on it. The downside? The table is only 12” high- so I went after a way to make this table a little taller, and do double duty as an ottoman! 

I extended the legs a pinch by adding extra wood where they connect to the table, well hidden from sight. Then I topped the table with a velvet cushion made from thick foam for a cushy seat. You can use this tutorial to make a cushion for any round table, just adjust the measurements to match your table!

Materials
West Elm carved wood coffee table

For the cushion:

2 ½ yards navy velvet fabric
6 yards 12/32″ piping cord
2” thick, 22″ foam square
Spray adhesive
Double sided fusible tape
Scissors
Pins
Navy thread
Sewing machine
Yardstick
Bread knife
Sharpie
Tack
String

For extending the legs:

2” diameter wood dowel
Walnut wood stain
Foam brush
Hand saw (for wood dowel)
Drill
⅜” drill bit
⅜” threaded rod
Hacksaw (for metal threaded rod)
Wood glue

directions
Step 1

Saw (4) 2” chunks off the wood dowel and drill a hole ½” deep in the center of each, on both ends. Paint the sides with wood stain and let dry 30 minutes.

Step 2

Cut 1” chunks off the threaded rod. Drop a little glue into one of the holes of each dowel and screw in the threaded rod. Let dry 30 minutes.

Step 3

Drop a little glue into the holes on the underside of each dowel and screw a West Elm leg into each. Screw the extended legs into the table.

Step 4

You need a 28” circle of foam to form the cushion. To do this, use the yardstick, sharpie, and bread knife to cut a 8” section off the long side of your foam block. Place the 8” wide block next to the 22” side of the original foam block so it is now 28” x 30” long (there will be a corner missing).

Step 5

Mark out a 28×28 square and then find the center of that square. Place a tack in the center, tie a string to it and tie a sharpie to the other end of the string, 14” away. Trace a circle shape on the foam.

Step 6

Cut off the excess foam where there’s a corner shape, and place it in the empty corner of the circle shape. Then trace the missing arc of the circle on it.

Step 7

Place the pieces of the foam circle on a large piece of cardboard or trash bag, and spray the inside of each piece with spray adhesive and press together. Let dry 10 minutes. Cut around the circle shape, keeping the knife as straight as you can (up and down) as you go.

Step 8

Cut (2) 2” wide strips down the long side of the velvet fabric. Fold a strip around the piping cord and loosely pin in place. Sew along the cord (as close as you can without sewing on the cord). Continue covering the cord and sewing in place until all the strips are used.

Step 9

Fold the remaining velvet in half and lay flat. Measure a 29” square and place the tack with the string in the center. Loosen the string so the pen hits 14.5” from the center and trace a circle on the velvet. Cut out two 29” circles from the two layers of velvet.

Step 10

Cut a 90” x 5” strip from the remaining velvet.

Step 11

Pin a 1” border around each velvet circle. Add the piping cord around each circle, so that the cord faces into the front of the velvet and the tail of the piping will be with the edge of the border. When you need to join the cord, trim the cord length to match the other side but leave the velvet a bit longer so it can overlap the other side. Tuck into the other cord and cover.

Step 12

Sew around each circle, as close as you can to the piping cord without actually sewing into the cord.

Step 13

Sew the 90”x5” strip onto the piping cord of one of the circles, so that the fronts of the velvet face each other and the edges of the fabric line up. Sew as close as you can to the piping cord without actually sewing into the cord.

Step 14

Flip the velvet inside out and cover the cushion with it. Turn the cushion over and pin the excess fabric from the side strip on the bottom of the cushion.

Step 15

Place the fabric tape around the edge of the excess fabric and lay the velvet circle on top, replacing the pins as you go. Iron the fabric tape in place, removing pins as you go.

Step 16

Place the cushion on the table, and top with a brass tray if desired.

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: SMP Living

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S’mores Pudding Pie

We’re self-professed s’more addicts here at SMP, and we’ve found a kindred spirit in Mara of M Loves M who came up this mouthwatering take on s’mores a la pie form! Buttery graham cracker crust, silky smooth homemade chocolate pudding and mounds of mini ‘mallows toasted before serving—dare we say it’s even better than the original campfire treat?

“I love that it’s reminiscent of a classic campfire s’more with a graham cracker crust, but it has a decadent chocolate pudding base. Homemade chocolate pudding is another nostalgic childhood favorite, so it totally works with that s’mores flavor,” says Mara of M Love M. “Another favorite thing about this dessert? It’s incredibly easy and so impressive!”

For the full post and more delicious inspiration, check out M Loves M!

S'mores Pudding Pie
prep time
2 Hour/s 10 Minute/s
cook time
20 Minute/s
total time
2 Hour/s 30 Minute/s
Serves 8Ingredients
  • For the graham cracker crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers, about 10 crackers
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • For the chocolate pudding:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of mini marshmallows
Instructions
  1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Break up the graham crackers by hand and add to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process the crackers until ground. Add the melted butter and sugar, pulsing until the mixture looks like wet sand.
  3. Transfer the graham crackers to a 9-inch pie plate and, using your hands, press to form a crust. You want the crust to be even thickness around the pie plate. Bake until crisp and the crust beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
  4. To make the pudding: Add the milk, cream and sugar to a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch, followed by the cocoa powder and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking until the pudding thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the semisweet chocolate and vanilla.
  5. Pour into the cooled pie shell and chill, covering pudding surface with plastic wrap or wax paper to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow the pudding to set.
  6. Just before serving, preheat your broiler. Top the pudding pie with the marshmallows, covering the entire pie surface. Broil the marshmallows 4 inches under the broiler until the tops are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch closely because they burn quickly! You could also use a kitchen torch to brown the marshmallow topping. Serve immediately.

More recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth below!

15 Ways to Eat a S’more | We All Scream for Boozy Ice Cream | Best Chocolate Brownies Ever

Photography: M Loves M | Recipe: M Loves M