July 25, 2020

coastal table decor

It’s finally the weekend, and I hope you’re having a great day! I’m back today with another peek at the current issue of Cottages & Bungalows. There’s SO MUCH to share this month, since I have three projects in this issue. 

Today we’re visiting Blue Door Cottage, the quaint little Balboa Island home built in 1928, and lovingly updated by my friends Angi and Pete. The dining table is such a focal point in this home, as you see it right when you walk into the front door. It’s situated to the far left of the space, past the living room. 

We styled this table two ways. One as a “general” styling and one as an inviting coastal tablescape. As you can see in the picture above, it’s simply decorated to enhance the already fun blue and white beachy room. 

We simply add a blue and white embroidered table runner and my favorite caned and glass vase with white stock flowers for a casual look.  

Lemons are my favorite way to add a pop of color, and here in southern California, we can’t get enough of them. There are so many lemon trees that seem to be producing all year long, it's a shame not to put these little beauties to work!   

Here's look number two.

A striped table runner grounds the table and draws your eye to the center. Three different types of colored blue glass highlight this look. Turquoise mason jars hold our hydrangeas, and two sets of goblets are used for beverages.  

Believe it or not, the tall goblets are actually vintage Avon with little embossed portraits of Martha and George Washington on one side! I just love them for their color and fun pattern, but what a fun little surprise to include the Washingtons. 

I just love this whole look. The placemats with the seashell border are my personal favorites, and I use them on so many different tables. 

White scallop-shaped dishes serve as salad plates, and a cute little starfish finishes off the look. The fabric at the bottom of the photo is the cushion on the seating bench. Isn’t it perfect with the table? 

Here’s a straight-on shot that Jickie shared on her Instagram stories. The blue hydrangeas remind me of Cape Cod, and so does this cottage, so it’s a perfect match in my book. 

I just love a good birds eye view of a tablescape. It’s such an intimate look at the table from the diner’s perspective, and you can see my favorite detail of all...  

These little Message in a Bottle party favors. You can fill them with compliments for each of your guests and also use them as name cards for each place setting. Angi thought of a brilliant plan, and used them for a sort of icebreaker party game! 

In the kitchen, Jickie was in charge of the styling, but we all contributed a little... The checked tablecloth is vintage from my collection and is originally from Ikea.  

It’s perfect in here on the drop-down vintage table original to the house from 1928. And the little arrangement of chamomile flowers is just so endearing. 

So as I said in a previous post, this was a long day of shooting photos, mostly because of the cuteness of everything, but also because Kelly and I can get pretty scrappy with things. 

We set up this Scrabble board as part of the living room shot, so here’s an up-close and personal look at how we spend our time, and energy, lol. This snapshot didn't make it in the magazine, but if you look closely on page 32 you can see it on the coffee table.

ciao! fabiana

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July 24, 2020

it's all about those summer tomatoes!

Happy Friday! Today I’m sharing another peek at the current issue of Cottages & Bungalows. This article called “The Right Stuff” features my good friend Laura’s beautifully updated kitchen. 

This kitchen was brightened to fit in with 21st century living, and I just fell in love with it the moment I walked into her house. 

Styling this kitchen was just as easy as pie, and we chose to follow the theme of preparing a casual meal with fresh veggies and herbs from the garden. 

Laura’s an enthusiastic cook, and we share so many recipes with each other. We both love fresh garden tomatoes, and as you can see, there are beautiful heirloom tomatoes in just about every shot, except the one with the bar cart, haha. 

A basket full of tomatoes here, and a cute green pie plate filled with summer’s bounty there... in my mind, it’s all about the tomatoes when styling this adorable kitchen, as you can see from my behind-the-scenes photos! 

And, why not!? It’s such a natural fit for this kitchen. So, included in today’s post I’m sharing three of Laura’s favorite tomato recipes. 

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta 

Serves 6-8

6 ounces good feta, crumbled 
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 
2/3 cup good olive oil, divided 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots) 
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves) 
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar 
2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, ½-inch-diced 
3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving 
20 to 25 (½-inch-thick) diagonal baguette slices, toasted 
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts 

For the whipped feta, place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.

For the tomatoes, up to an hour before you’re serving, combine the shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings. 

To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Put the crostini on plates and scatter with the pine nuts. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve. 

Copyright 2012, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten 

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup 

6 servings

4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes 
1 chopped medium onion  
3 cloves of garlic 
2 cups chicken stock 
2 tablespoons butter 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon pepper 

In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and run the mixture through a food mill into a large bowl, or pan. Discard any stuff left over in the food mill. 

In the now empty stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is a medium brown. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust to taste. 

© Copyright 2020 allrecipes.com. 

Chicken with Herb-Roasted Tomatoes and Pan Sauce 

4 servings - Cooking time: 40 minutes 

1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes or other small tomatoes on the vine 
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence 
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
1 small shallot, minced 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves 
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves 

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine tomatoes, 2 Tbsp. oil, and herbes de Provence in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet until oil shimmers. Carefully add tomatoes to pan (oil may spatter). Transfer skillet to oven and roast, turning once, until tomatoes burst and give up some of their juices, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with Worcestershire sauce. 

Meanwhile, season chicken all over with 1 tsp. salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer pan to oven and roast chicken until cooked through, 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes. 

Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to same skillet; heat over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze pan with vinegar, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan; add tomatoes and their juices and simmer until sauce is just beginning to thicken, about 1 minute. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. 

Slice chicken; divide among plates. Spoon tomatoes and sauce over; garnish with herbs. 

Recipe by Soa Davies for Bon Appetit, photo by Romulo Yanes 

We photographed Laura’s entire home last August, and the backyard entertaining spaces were featured in the last issue of Cottages & Bungalows. Make sure you pick up a copy so you can read the whole article, and you can also check out the other two projects I styled. 

The editors ended up spreading the love of this photo shoot into three issues, with the upcoming Fall issue featuring the fun backyard fire pit area. I can’t wait to see it! 

Enjoy the weekend... 


 ciao! fabiana 

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