Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tuscany - La dolce vita

Tuscany, the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, Dante Alighieri, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, Chianti and olive oil…

Tuscan homes are usually of stucco and natural stone in light colors, dark hardwood furniture, and wrought iron accessories, open, airy, with many arched windows and gorgeous gardens. In other words, we can’ help but admire the peaceful, yet festive feeling that those Mediterranean dwellings exude.

We can’t get enough inspiration from that old world charm, simplicity and beauty. Infuse your life with some Tuscan appeal – comfort, warmth and style!
Use fabrics that are warm and close to nature, yet sophisticated and luxurious, calming, inviting colors: terracotta, olive greens, brick, yellows, blues, gold. Venetian or stucco plaster effects are used on new walls to add some texture and create that worn, aged Tuscan feel. Bring into play plenty of terracotta pots in the garden (different shapes), outdoor iron chandeliers and pillows, stone firepits, stone ovens (for those unforgettable homemade pizzas! Mama mia!) and you could easily recreate a Tuscan getaway.

A Tuscan villa



Tuscan dreams...

A Tuscan feel bathroom

I wouldn't mind a similar wine storage in my house...

A Tuscan-style water garden
HGTV designer Scott Cohen

A traditional winding staircase reminiscent of a Tuscan villa
HGTV designer Zina Samek

Stone and dark wood, a typical Tuscan dining room
by designer David Stimmel

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mediterranean Spain

The Spanish mainland is bordered to the south and east almost entirely by the Mediterranean Sea. Spanish style is influenced by many cultures: Christian, Jewish, Moorish, but basically is a combination of Spanish and Arabic styles. The result is a quite unique mixture in decorative design. Simply splendid!


Spanish hacienda


An olive tree, Cordoba

Impressive wall decor: Castile Chargers/Trays (
One of my fav websites for Mediterranean theme furniture, wall hangings, iron wall decor, kitchen, bath and wine accessories for a Tuscun, Mediterranean Old World casual home decor is Accents of Salado. If you are fond of the bold, sophisticated, yet simple Mediterranean style of living, you should definitely check it out!

Romantic Alhambra Iron Candle Holder,

Spectacular Malaga Tall Glazed Earthenware Vases

Beautiful Hacienda Decorative Chest on Stand

Spanish Mediterranean Hardwood Occasional Cocktail Table with rustic, yet rich, and timeless flair

A sense of color and pattern

Reminiscent of the Spanish sunflower fields

An inviting Spanish Mediterranean living room by HGTV host/designer David Bromstad

Another authentic Spanish Mediterranean living room by HGTV designer Lauren Jacobsen

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In love with Mediterranean style of living: homes, gardens, food, wine…

Growing up in a country which is almost Mediterranean, (a couple of hours to Turkey and Greece by car) this feel of simplicity and warmth had been installed in me since birth. I’ll always vividly remember the wood-beam ceilings, the verandas, the terracotta roof tiles, the big round ceramic containers, the copper pots and pans. I’ll always long for those inviting, peaceful homes endured time and space, unfazed by history, still standing solid and quaint. No charade, no pretense. Just this Southern European charm and peace. If you’ve experience this overwhelming serenity once, you simply won’t let go. Nature plays a critical part in the Mediterranean style of living: striking gardens, garden paths set with stone, endless sunflower and lavender fields, infinite vineyards, and…the best wine …no kidding. So, no surprise that the Mediterranean homes are profoundly infused with vibrant colors, warm stone, wood, textures and lots of light. It’s all about feeling relaxed. Comfortable. Peaceful. Celebrating life.

Chianti wine region

Breathtaking haciendas

Endless lavender fields...

Magnificent Spain

Sunny Greece

So Old World...

A fun and relaxing Mediterranean living room...pretty neat!

Sizzling Mediterranean kitchen!

Spectacular Mediterranean bathroom/spa

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My fav Moroccan dish

Morocco, the culinary star of North Africa, is the doorway between Europe and Africa.
Much imperial and trade influence has been filtered through her and blended into her culture. Unlike the herb-based cooking across the sea to the north, Moroccan cooking is characterized by rich spices. Cumin, coriander, saffron, chiles, dried ginger, cinnamon, and paprika are on the cook's shelf, and in her mortar.

So, if you decide to try something exotic and different try the following recipe (it was a big hit at my party!):


-about 6 lbs of chicken pieces
-2 large yellow onions
-2 sticks of butter
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-1 tsp black pepper
-2 cinnamon sticks
-1 lb dried apricots or prunes (less if you're not too fond of the fruits).
-8 tbsp honey 
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 peeled almonds
-1 tbsp sesame seeds
In a large pot, melt the butter. Fry the chopped onions until soft, and
add the chicken, salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon sticks. Add enough
water to cover the chicken, about two cups. Bring to boil, reduce heat,
and simmer until the chicken is done, adding water if necessary. Remove
the chicken pieces.
Add the prunes or apricots and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Add the
ground cinnamon and the honey, stir and cook until the sauce has a
honey-like consistency. Add more honey if necessary.
When the sauce is almost ready, sautee the almonds in oil. Drain most of
the oil from the pan, and toast the sesame seeds.
Return the chicken to the pot and re-heat. Place chicken in a serving
sheet, pour sauce on top of it and top with almonds and sesame seeds.
This dish goes great with couscus.

Serve food on colorful, vibrant dishes, use lots of copper plates, pillows, cushions, place floral bouquets around the room, pour some Moroccan wine, play some exotic music (my suggestion is Buddha-Bar), light a bunch of candles and you are ready to fly on a magic carpet to enchanting Morocco.