Month: March 2016

7 Eclectic Rooms that Celebrate Fortuny Fabrics

Even if the words “Fortuny fabrics” don’t ring a bell, chances are that you’ve seen and admired them before.  Watery jewel tones combine with understated metallics to form intricate patterns–often damask-inspired.  This signature look is achieved by multi-step, printing processes especially developed by company’s wildly talented founder, Mariano Fortuny.  Today, the company is still headed in Venice, Italy by Mickey and Maury Riad who remain true to Fortuny’s original techniques and designs.  These gorgeous textiles are sold only to the trade, but even in second hand markets, fetch hundreds of dollars per yard.

Here are some stunning, eclectic interiors featuring Fortuny fabrics…

7 Eclectic Rooms Featuring Fortuny Fabrics

Alessandra Branca often uses Fortuny fabrics in her designs and her Manhattan home is no exception.  In the living room above, a pair of 18th-century armchairs is adorned in the coveted cloth.  The red and white damask pattern is fitting in space with so many other red accents and global influences: a chinoiserie cabinet, an African feather headdress, paisley lampshades, and porcelain vases.

7 Eclectic Rooms that Feature Fortuny Textiles

In a more relaxed setting, like this living room, a pair of Fortuny cushions are no less spectacular.  The towering gilded mirror and carved mantel echo the glamour of the sky blue and silver pillows.  However, the other elements in the room are muted–save the edgy, python-wrapped, Parsons style coffee table.

7 Eclectic Room with Fortuny Fabric

Designer Veere Grenney chose a Fortuny wall treatment to offset the homeowners’ art collection in this London home.  The scarlet textile was a daring choice, but the risk paid off, creating an arresting sense of grandeur.  Although patterned, the traditional-leaning print doesn’t detract from the modern art pieces.  Rather, it’s an equally matched foil that partners masterfully with the art.

7 Eclectic Rooms that Showcase Fortuny Fabrics

Like Mariano Fortuny (who was also a fashion designer and inventor), Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti is a jack of all trades and master of several.  Her home speaks to her creative talents with covetable furnishings that are artfully curated.  One such object of desire is that Tiplady Knole sofa, upholstered in (you guessed it) Fortuny fabric.

7 Eclectic Interiors that Celebrate Fortuny Fabrics

In this bedroom, a motley of marquis letters spell out “lover” in playful contrast to the opulently upholstered Fortuny headboard.

7 Eclectic Interiors that Showcase Fortuny Fabrics

A vision in plum, Alex Papachristidis’ enchanting dining room owes at least part of its allure to its Fortuny-clad dining chairs.

7 Eclectic Rooms that Celebrate Fortuny Fabrics


In this Steven Gambrel decorated living room, a  Cecily Brown painting, boldly bordered drapes, and a pair of Fortuny-covered club chairs combine to create a tantalizing trinity that draws your eyes to the farthest corner of the generously proportioned room.

All of these 7 spaces would be beautiful without the use of Fortuny fabrics.  However, I hope you’ll agree that the addition of this storied textile elevates each room.  Would you splurge on this fabric?  Would you try this Fortuny-inspired DIY hack?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas

This Easter, serve a unique Mimosa that tastes great and celebrates the Easter Bunny’s favorite vegetable, the carrot.  Orange and carrot juice combine to create an interesting and tangy nectar that’s elevated by the spicy addition of caraway.  And the little carrot garnishes look so cute!  Here’s how to make ’em…

Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas, The Perfect Drink for Easter Brunch via Motley Decor


1/2 bottle orange juice

1/2 bottle carrot juice

1 bottle dry or brut sparkling white wine

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

6 small carrots with the tops in tact


The night before, combine the two juices in a carafe that fits in your fridge.  Using a mortar and pestle, grind the the caraway seeds into a fine dust.  Add them to the juice mixture, shaking or stirring thoroughly.  Cover and set in the fridge.  This will allow the flavors to really mix and intensify.  The next morning, rinse your carrots and trim away any brown or wilted parts of the tops.  With a vegetable peeler, remove the outer skin of the carrots, being careful not to take off the tops.  Place a skinned, trimmed carrot in each champagne flute.  Arrange them next to the chilled sparkling wine and carafe of spiced juice, advising your guests to mix the two 50-50.

Enjoy!  Happy  Easter!

The Perfect Drink for Easter: Orange Carrot Caraway Mimosas

P. S. If you like that art work, check out my DIY pop art tutorial and learn how to make your own.

How to Host a Stress-Free Easter Brunch

If you’re not a “morning person”, hosting brunch can be a task of Herculean proportions. But Spring (and especially Easter) beg for a late morning get together with eggs, pastries, and those few cocktails you can drink before noon without being judged. So if you’re going to brave hosting an Easter brunch this year, here are some tips for prepping the night before and saving yourself enough time in the morning to put on makeup before your guests arrive.

Plan your menu

Sometimes this the hardest part: deciding what to serve. Examine your guest list. Consider the occasion. And, most importantly, don’t make too much work for yourself. For my early Easter brunch, I had about 10 close friends, a handful of whom are U.K. ex-pats and one “sometimes vegan”. To be honest, I was stymied. Luckily, my husband had the idea to do our own version of a full English breakfast, which seemed both hearty and low maintenance. Here’s what we settled on…

Scrambled eggs (whipped up at the last minute in the microwave)
Baked eggs (in convenient ramekins)
Heinz beans (an authentic side that comes in a can)
Olive oil-brushed, grilled: tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, sourdough bread, and sausages (sharing the workload with my husband who never turns down a chance to man the grill)
Roasted mushrooms and bacon (I just popped them in the oven with the eggs)

To round out the menu, I added a few extras…

Deviled eggs (because it’s Easter and it’s pretty much expected)
Fruit and pastries (which I purchased at the grocery store and simply arranged on platters)
A mixed herb, citrus vinaigrette (optional for the veggies)
Apricot jam & butter (for the grilled toast)

Easy peasy. Right?

How to Throw a Stress-Free Easter Brunch

Then there were cocktails. I mentioned earlier that there are really only a few you can get away with for brunch, most notably mimosas and Bloody Marys. But how could I make them a little more interesting?

For the mimosa, I took my cue from Peter Cottontail and decided to use carrot juice–in concert with the traditional choice of orange juice. To take it a step further, I decided to spruce up the juice with caraway, since it compliments carrots so nicely. I was also adamant that little carrots with their tops still intact be used as garnish. This proved a little difficult as most of the tops get mangled. However, I found a few in decent shape and then skinned the carrots to remove their less appealing skins.

For Bloody Mary inspiration, I thought about micheladas and decided that the most important compliment to a tomato-based cocktail is lime. What goes well with lime? Cumin. What else? I settled on celery for it’s fresh taste and ability to be used as a garnish.

2 Brunch Cocktails to Serve for Easter Brunch

With my menu and cocktail plan settled, it was time to think through the logistics. My strategy was this:

Do as much as you can the night before

So, I sliced up the mushrooms, zucchini, and bread. (I held off on the potatoes so that they wouldn’t turn brown and the tomatoes so that they wouldn’t release too much liquid.) For the deviled eggs–which were a mayonnaise-free, cheesy, lemony, herb-forward variety–I did everything BUT squeeze the filling into the egg white halves. I also blended up dill, parsley, chives, basil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt for the vinaigrette. In short, anything that didn’t need to be cooked was ready to serve and anything that needed to be cooked was prepped and ready.

The only thing left to do was:

Style the space

How to Throw a Stress-Free Easter Brunch

Thankfully, this too can be done in advance. Since I was expecting to feed 10 people with a dining table that only sits 6, a more casual set up was in order. So, I dragged my dining table across the room and sat it in front of the fireplace to hold the food. This way, the spread became part of the room’s focal point. Then I arranged every chair I had into intimate clusters, using stools as side tables. I even placed a few cocktail napkins on each one so that folks had a place to set their cocktails.

Then, I turned to the serveware, arranging the platters and chafers I wanted to use for each dish on the table in a logical sequence. Hot items went on one side and cold on the other and I used sticky notes to remind myself which dish would go where in the morning. Next, I chose my glassware: water goblets, champagne flutes, and rocks glasses. Plates, napkins, and utensils were similarly laid out.

And last, but certainly not least, I created a few flower arrangements. One near the entry, another on the buffet table, and a few blooms in the empty vessels on my mantel.

Long story short, the morning was a breeze and brunch was a hit. I hope your Easter Brunch goes just as well and that one or two of these tips help in some way.

Cumin Lime Celery Bloody Marys

Bloody Marys are one of the few libations that are socially acceptable to drink before noon.  So, when it comes to brunch–especially Easter brunch–they are an obvious choice.  They also lend themselves beautifully to variation upon variation.  Here’s a version to try this Easter: Cumin Lime Celery Bloody Marys.  And they’re easy to make.  Here’s how…


64 oz bottle of V8 Spicy Hot Vegetable Juice

Juice of 2 limes

2-3 limes, cut into wedges

2 stalks of celery, washed & chopped

4-6 celery tops for garnish

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, ground

Vodka, chilled

Ice cubes



Open the bottle of V8 juice and pour a little out to make room.  Add the lime juice, chopped celery, and cumin.  Shake well and let rest in the fridge over night.  In the morning, transfer the juice to a pitcher and stir.  Select your glassware and cut the remaining celery stalks to be 2-3 inches taller than your glasses are deep.  Place the trimmed stalks in the glasses.  Place everything in the area that you’ve designated for your guests to mix their drinks.

I also highly recommend having some kind of Mexican beer available.  (I like Tecate or Dos Equis.)  Bloody beers (or micheladas) are a great lower-alcohol-alternative to Bloody Marys that are easy to drink.  I made this option available at my last brunch and–surprisingly–the beer was a more popular choice than the vodka.


If you’re hosting this Easter, don’t miss my tips for hosting a stress-free brunch.



Cheesy Lemon Herb Deviled Eggs

I was a teenager when my mom stumbled across a deviled eggs recipe that skipped the mayo in exchange for cheese and sour cream.  My family loved it.  And we never used mayo again.  Even now that I’m…older, I still rely on the cheese substitution.  However, after having lived in Los Angeles for going on 7 years now, I’ve also come to substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream.  Still, I never make deviled eggs exactly the same way twice, but cheese and Greek yogurt are the two constants.  Parsley too, if I’m being honest.

For Easter this year, this is how I made my cheesy lemon herb deviled eggs…


1 dozen eggs

2 heaping tablespoons of Greek yogurt

4 ounces of sharp white cheddar, grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

zest of 1 small lemon

1 handful of parsley, dill, chives, basil; finely chopped

splash of milk

salt & pepper to taste


Boil the eggs in water for at least 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set in fridge to cool.  Once cool, peel the shells away and cut each egg in half, lengthwise, removing the yolks and collecting them in a large bowl.  Set aside the halved egg whites.  In the bowl with the yolks, add all of the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Place the mixture in a plastic bag, concentrating the mass to one of the bottom corners.  Arrange the egg whites on a serving dish.  Snip the corner of the bag with scissors and squeeze the filling through through the hole and into the egg white halves.  The first couple of eggs may turn out ugly until you get used to squeezing out the mixture.  Go ahead and eat any ugly eggs.  You’ve earned it.  Finish with fresh herbs or cracked pepper and serve cold or at room temperature.

For additional menu ideas, check out my early Easter brunch.




The Best Stouts on Instagram

Before your order a Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day, consider an alternative stout. Don’t get me wrong; Guinness is a classic choice, but if you’re looking for a beer with a bit more bite, more spice, more…character, give one of these a try…

Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout.  The name says it all: spicy chipotle and rich coffee flavors elevate this dark beer without being too overwhelming.

Give Guinness a Rest & Try These Stouts Instead

via Firestone Walker on Instagram

File this one under “Damn Near Perfect”.  That’s the only way I know how to describe this smooth, oatmeal stout.

Jackie Tar & Other Stouts to Try Today

via MacLeod Ale on Instagram

Served on cask, which means it’s a little warmer and slightly less carbonated, this brown ale is smooth and easy to drink with an interesting, nuanced finish.

The Best Stouts on Instagram

via North Coast Brewing on Instagram

With a motley of dark and intense flavors, this stout will put hair on your chest, which is why–as I woman–I only enjoy it in very small quantities.

Gwen's Favorite Stouts

via Motley_Decor…are you following yet?

And last but  not least, a beer from my home state of New Mexico, Santa Fe Brewing‘s Java Stout.  This one will help you stay awake into the wee hours.

Wishing you a happy & safe St. Patrick’s Day filled with yummy stouts!  Cheers!

3.14 Pie Recipes for Pie Day

Happy Pie Day!  I’m not much of a baker, but pie is perhaps my favorite dessert.  Here are 3 of my favorite pies with links to their recipes.

1. Pinwheel Cherry Pie

Pinwheel Cherry Pie | Pie Day | Via Motley Decor

Leave it to Martha Stewart to put a pretty twist (or spiral, rather) on the cherry pie.  Still sweet and tangy, the flavor we all know and love remains true to its roots in the pinwheel cherry pie.

2. Almond Pear Pie

Almond Pear Pie | Pie Day 2016 | Motley Decor

Both almonds and pears impart their delicate yet decadent flavors to this round masterpiece of a pie.  It’s pretty too.  Isn’t it?  Find the recipe at My Recipes.

3. Mixed Berry Pie

Mixed Berry Pie | Pie Day 2016

Can’t commit to a single berry?  I’m with you!  Luckily, the mixed berry pie doesn’t make you choose.  Thanks to Taste of Home for the recipe!

0.14 Add Brie

If you were wondering how I was going to give you 0.14 of a recipe and really commit to the Pie Day theme, it’s the same answer to how I do most things–with cheese!  Do yourself a favor a melt a little brie over your next slice of pie (particularly if it’s a berry pie).  You won’t be sorry.

Piece out!

Decorating with Green as a Neutral

Recently, I informed my husband that I wanted to paint our bedroom entirely green–even the ceiling.

“What kind of green?” he asked.

“The color of wild tobacco.” I replied.

He frowned, still not knowing what color I had in mind.  Gently, I reminded him of the waxy-green plants with little, yellow trumpet flowers that we often come across while hiking.

“It’ll be like sleeping in mother nature’s womb.” I assured him.  “What could be more peaceful than that?”

“OK.” he agreed, still frowning and unconvinced.  And so it was settled.  He had given me the green light, so to speak.

Since then, I’ve tested nearly a dozen different paint shades and countless fabric samples.  Weeks later, the only thing I know for certain is that green is a color that begs to be layered.  Emerald longs for peridot.  Chartreuse yearns for sage.  Olive craves verdigris.

In essence, green is a neutral.  What’s more, green is mother nature’s go-to neutral and she has dozens of shades up her mossy sleeves.

Decorating with green as a neutral | Motley Decor

Decorator Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami expressed a similar sentiment to Architectural Digest, saying, “I was always frustrated working with green, and I couldn’t really figure out why. One day I had an epiphany that the human eye is accustomed to seeing the nuanced variation of green in nature, so a single shade can look unnatural and jarring. I began to use many shades of green together, and the effect is very restful and beautiful.”

Judging by the room he designed above, I’d say he finally nailed it.

Decorating with Green as a Neutral | Kelly Wearstler, The Viceroy Miami | Motley Decor

Kelly Wearstler took the same approach when decorating the Viceroy in Miami.  As you can see in the picture above, Wearstler employed green shades: lime, jade, and celadon in generous quantities that dominate the room and act as a neutral.

Decorating with Green as a Neutral | Benjamin Dhong, House Beautiful | Motley Decor

This library by Benjamin Dhong (featured by House Beautiful) is another excellent example of decorating with green as a neutral.  Kelly green, kiwi, and citron bounce around the room, creating a harmonious rhythm of steady often-found-in-nature greens.  The result is both beautiful and soothing.

Decorating with Green as a Neutral | Mint & Malachite | Motley Decor

This powder room (found on Veranda) runs the green gamut from mint to malachite.  With such dense greenery, it’s the blue and white Chinese vases that add the “pop of color” to this space.

Decorating with Green | Green as a Neutral | Motley Decor

Anouska Hempel’s dining room of her English manor (via Architectural Digest) is an ode to decorating with green.  It resembles a moss-covered meadow in the middle of the jungle.  Nearly every possible hue between blue and yellow is represented.  The walls are a deep sea green.  The drapes are emerald.  The tablecloth is a grassy velvet.  Cabbages and artichokes abound.  Leayf botanical prints are hung with care.  In short, it’s a green dream come true.  Mother nature would be proud.

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, green is my favorite color and I’m anxious to transform my bedroom into a verdant paradise.  Or, to quote Florence Welch, “I can’t help but pull the earth around me to make my bed.”

Thus far, the only thing I’ve nailed down is the wall color, Benjamin Moore’s Palm Trees.

Decorating with Green | Motley Decor

It looks a bit dull in this photo, but it’s magical in the sunlight and, at night, it reflects lamplight with equal grace.  I chose it using my fool-proof system.  Learn how to choose the right paint color in my previous post.

Trending: Architectural Photography

It keeps rearing it’s head in über stylish interiors: architectural photography. From cylindrical subway tunnels to elaborate Gothic churches, architectural photography is quickly becoming “a thing”. Here are 7 gorgeous examples to prove it.

Trending: Architectural Photography

Exhibit A: the Christian Liaigre London store with chic black furnishings and an oversize photograph of a gilded enfilade.  Photo by Paul Robida.

Trending: Architectural Photography

And check out this enviable living room of Ron Marvin’s (via Domino).  Above a sea of inviting textures and masculine neutrals, is a stunning photograph of a (considerably more formal) interior.

Trending: Architectural Photography

With a creamy palette and brass light fixtures, this living room (featured on Nuevo Estilo) feels feminine and serene.  However, the art choice–a stormy photograph of a building’s facade–adds a little drama and contrast.

Trending: Architectural Photography

This bedroom styled by Megan Morton (who also makes the bed pictured above) is an inky black cocoon of R&R, in which, an architectural photograph of hanging chandeliers sheds a little light.

Trending: Architectural Photography

The exquisite Alessandra Branca designed this dining room (photographed by Veranda) and quite possibly drew her jewel-toned palette from the photograph that hangs above the sofa.

Trending: Architectural PhotographyTrending: Architectural Photography

Both of these last two examples are courtesy of Raji RM + Associates and–as far as I can tell–Raji Rahhakrishnan doesn’t put anything in a room that isn’t to-die-for chic.  In the first example, an architectural photograph towers above a mantel, kept company by a quirky little red side table.  In the second, a floor-to-ceiling piece dominates the corner of a living room surrounded by wooded views.  However, in both examples–or rather all of these examples–architectural photography acts as a design counterpoint that elevates each room.  No wonder we keep seeing them.

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