art Posts

Charcuterie Boards: Edible Masterpieces

By: Shelby Adamson Pawlak and Danielle Clockel

The holidays are upon us! Now is the time to be with friends and family, and for many of us that means hosting holiday parties. So what’s a surefire way to impress your guests? Food, of course! We were so inspired by Lady and Larder’s artful charcuterie creations that we tried our hand at our own.

Choose your base.
Rustic wooden cutting boards, stone slabs, vintage plates, trays turned upside down for added elevation — any kind of larger surface is fair game to lay out your spread. Feel free to layer surfaces and add in small bowls for dips and sauces. The sky’s the limit!

Select your meats.
We made sure to include a varied selection of aged/cured meats: prosciutto (always a crowd pleaser), soppressata, salami, pepperoni, and a softer meat like a pate are classic components to a charcuterie board. (We chose a vegetarian mushroom and artichoke pate — no one gets left out of this taste fest!) At least two meats are recommended, but you could have as many as you want. Extra points if you can create your meats to look like ribbons or rosettes!

Compliment with cheese.
You just can’t have a charcuterie board without cheese, am I right? Include hard, creamy, and crumbly cheese to represent all the textures, and cut them into small triangles or morsels for the ease of serving. Hard cheeses are those like cheddar, parmesan, manchego, gouda. Creamy cheeses like brie and camembert are perfect for spreading on crackers. A crumbly goat cheese, blue cheese, or gorgonzola rounds out both the flavor and texture palette.

Chop up the crudités and adorn with fruit.
Chopped veggies add color and crispness to a spread, and provide a light and refreshing palette cleanser between the richer meats and cheeses. Persian cucumber spears, rainbow carrots, cherry or grape tomatoes, and watermelon radishes are all delicious solo or as vessels for tasty hummus. Adding fresh or dried fruit also opens up a world of possibilities! Tried and true favorites like grape clusters, blackberries, and raspberries are sure to please. Or broaden your guests’ horizons with the surprising flavors of pomegranate seeds, figs, persimmon, or dragon fruit. Whatever your heart desires!

Make room for side bites and finish off with foraged accents.
You can really elevate your charcuterie board by including an assortment of olives, cornichons, hummus, nuts, grain mustard, and honey (just to name a few!). But what to eat these with? French or Italian bread, crackers, bread sticks, pita — it’s good to have an assortment (and maybe some tasty gluten free options as well). So now you’ve got your beautiful assortment of meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, and other nibbles. How do you finish it off? We suggest petite local flowers and/or fresh cut herbs, but the possibilities are practically endless. Get creative!

Have fun arranging all of these incredible components! Think of the board like a canvas, and the delectable treats are your paint. Consider color groupings as you place your fruits and veggies — imagine a swath of deep purples and vibrant oranges sweeping across a canvas, framing the textural earth tones of crisp crackers. And when in doubt, sprinkle some tiny blossoms across the board!

Sophisticated Style: The Sitting Room

By: Stephanie Andrews

The interior designer/client relationship is a very special one, and we absolutely fell in love when these recent empty nesters approached us about redesigning their home. Their inspiration included pictures from the New York Times style section, their personal art collection, photos from their travels, and a cherished turn of the century family quilt.

Photo courtesy of Christina Wedge for Balance Design.

This couple wanted a home that reflected their personalities and sense of humor in a beautiful and comfortable way. Our favorite space to design was this front room, featuring the framed family quilt over a show stopping emerald velvet sofa. We revamped the fireplace, found this awesome mid century chair, and pulled it all together with the perfect wool/silk rug. The cherry on top? Beautiful brass accents.

The Expressive Line: Moroccan Rug

By: Danielle Clockel

Renowned American abstract artist Cy Twombly described his work as “childlike, but not childish.” This assertion referred largely to the freeform, organic lines in his paintings, but we also like this as a mantra for personal style.

Photo courtesy of Eye Likey.

Far from having a negative connotation, the word “childlike” evokes a sense of wonder, free spiritedness, and glee. And who doesn’t want a little bit of that in their home? We see these attributes (both conceptually and graphically) in Moroccan rugs like this one.

Photo courtesy of Nazmiyal Collection.

A rejection of perfection, this rug (and ones like it) embraces playfulness in design while still showing a mastery of craft. Moroccan rugs are a classic design staple, and it’s not hard to see why! Such a rug elevates any space while remaining fun and fresh.

Transitions with Color and Subtle Connectivity

By: Loren H. Pratt

Photo courtesy of Hygge & West.

 

Recently the talented team at Balance Design helped me select and install this Hygge & West wallpaper in the top stair landing of my home. The inky blue color and quirky copper design reflects the mood of my home: cheerful and playful, yet sophisticated and relaxed. It invigorates the landing by adding movement, and the metallic details reflect light, making the area seem larger. This wallpaper inspired me to make the most of my transitional spaces.

In the past, I viewed these spaces (front entryway, hallway, and staircase) as simply a means to an end — get me to the next real space. However, they don’t have to simply be placeholders for connecting the main living areas; they can communicate something about you and reinforce the mood of your home as well.

Color

Color is an easy way to create mood and connect spaces. Blue is the primary color unifying the rooms in my open-concept home.

Photo courtesy of Loren H. Pratt.

Various shades of blue help the oversize photograph flow into the almost indigo color of the upstairs wallpaper. I love how the copper frame of the Brittany Kidd photograph (another Balance Design purchase!) complements—both in movement and color—the model’s hair color in the image and the underwater sea creatures in the landing wallpaper. Color unifies all of these spaces and helps you move naturally from one to the next.

Subtle Connectivity

I love a subtle theme. We’re not talking about your grandparents’ “Santa Fe room.” (I hope I’m not the only one with grandparents who had a Western themed room.) One or more subtle themes can tie multiple areas together. An implicit theme of water flows (couldn’t help myself) through the transition spaces in my home.

An abstract painting in the downstairs hallway was created at the beach, where the artist, Candace Greer, incorporated sand into the paint. The different blue shades symbolize the ocean and sky, and the hallway rug below the painting is reminiscent of coral. In the racy laundromat scene, the circular washing machines remind me of submarine windows.

Painting by Candace Greer.

Photo courtesy of Loren H. Pratt.

As I mentioned, the wallpaper contains whimsical underwater creatures perfectly in keeping with the water theme.

Photo courtesy of Loren H. Pratt.

Perhaps few will notice the subtle connections between these transitional spaces, but they really bring a sense of passage and evolution to otherwise mundane areas in our home. Take a second look at your “in between” spaces. Let them connect to each other and communicate something interesting.

Loren Pratt is a lawyer and legal writing professor who loves interior design. Her legal writing background influences her affinity for juxtaposing order and symmetry with personality and flair in decorating. Loren loves working with the Balance Design team when she’s stumped with a design challenge or when she needs a second opinion. Follow Loren to see what inspires her as she decorates her new Atlanta home. 

Abstraction and Color: Stonewashed Indigo Linens

By: Danielle Clockel

Abstract expressionism divides people like no other art genre — you either love it or you hate it. I personally love any art that moves me when I see it, and makes an impact on the space it inhabits. Let’s consider Mark Rothko’s color field paintings.

rothko

Mark Rothko “Green on Blue.

A key player in the abstract expressionist movement (right alongside Jackson Pollack), Mark Rothko’s massive canvases of color are meant to be viewed up close and personal. They are so big that they surround you and engulf your peripheral vision, transforming the act of viewing into a complete experience. I can only imagine immersing myself in the cool blue and distressed texture of “Green on Blue” here.

rothkobedding

Photo courtesy of House of Baltic Linen.

The beauty of abstraction is that it’s up to the viewer to decide what they see. For me, Rothko’s painting evokes soft, stonewashed linen bedding. The deep indigo hues intermeshed with worn-yet-bright whites make me want to float off into a cool, calming dreamland.