design 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!

Design Insight: Inspired by the Environment

By: The Balance Design Team

Nature is the true origin of inspiration. Everyone at some point in their life has stopped in their tracks at the sight of something magnificent in nature. We are no exception. Find out what truly takes our breath away, and ways to incorporate that beauty into a nature inspired haven.

Stephanie’s Pick: Icelandic Texture

Sheep

Photo by Christina Wedge

This ever aware sheep in Iceland is set amongst the beautiful and rugged Icelandic landscape. For me this photo evokes an independent spirit and a nod to simplicity.

Sheepskin

Photo courtesy of Domino

This Scandinavian home employs the natural texture of the sheepskin rug, and its fresh simplicity inspires me to not only relax in this room, but also get to know the beautiful Icelandic landscape as well!

Elisabeth’s Pick: Punchy Poppy

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Photo by Elisabeth Paulson

The Botanical Gardens is an enduring source of inspiration for me and this paper-fragile zinger of a poppy is one of my all time faves. The pod itself stands on its own but then surprises us with gorgeousness every spring.

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Rubylite Side Table by Resource Decor

This “Rubylite” side table is punchy yet perfectly refined. Made with stainless steel in satin brass finish, pearlized Damson Mica shelf, beech solids with clear or smoked glass, I can’t wait to see this poppy-inspired piece installed.

Shelby’s Pick: Ocean Crests

Teal Ocean

Photo by The Poetry of Material Things Tumblr

If I were to choose a ‘spirit color’ it would be deep ocean teal. I have a similar painting in my living room to this picture, something about the varying shades of deep blue cut with the crisp white of the wave is perfection to me.

Teal Kitchen

Photo by Mercury Mosaics

The depth of teal surrounded by crisp white is a nod to nature’s use of a deep color surrounded by a crisp neutral. This space evokes the ocean in a sophisticated way, punching up the bar with a beautiful hue but continuing to stay classic with white tile and a white countertop. Serene and beautiful!

Danielle’s Pick: Bird of Prey

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Photo by Ray Barlow photography

I’m a total bird lover, and not just colorful, tropical, pretty birds. I like the fierce ones that have an intensity in their eyes.

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Photo by Marco Matarese Photography

This golden yellow sofa against a textured grey and white wall mimics the yellow of the beak and eyes of the peregrine falcon against its layered feathers. In both cases, the boldness of the color is amplified by the neutrality surrounding it. Truly fearless design.

Melody’s Pick: Deep Sea Dive

Dark Jellyfish

Photo by Alexander Semenov

The depths of the ocean are largely uncharted territory. I have always had a deep love and curiosity for the ocean and its creatures of the deep.

Blue and Orange room

Photo by Rue Magazine

So, when I see a space with rich dark bold colors like these, I cant help but be in awe. These hues create an immense calm that washes over you, and you feel as though you can conquer the deep.

Use whatever inspires you to create a space that brings you back to nature, and speaks directly to you.

Kidspiration! For the Young and Young At Heart.

By: Melody Richardson

Room Envy

Having one of our kids’ room designs featured in Atlanta Magazine this month really inspired us to take another look at these rooms. One of our favorite projects of this kind was for two young ladies in Midtown. They surprised us with the sophisticated taste they showed on their Pinterest boards, and we were able to bring their vision to life. 

Bedroom2crop Blog

Photo courtesy of Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

Light, airy, textural pieces give this teenage room stylistic maturity without sacrificing fun. The whole family has great taste in rugs, and for this older sister we layered a Moroccan with a sheepskin for ultimate plush comfort. She loves to read, and what better spot than in her whimsical hanging chair, layered with colorful pillows? The vanity is a great spot for dressing, playing with makeup, and feeling beautiful. The window panels add a little edge with aged brass studs, and pops of her favorite color teal are brought in through pillows and artwork. (Not shown here, her entire closet is painted the same color!) 

pinkroom2 Blog

Photo courtesy of Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

The younger sister knew exactly which shade of coral she wanted in her room: Benjamin Moore’s Summer Sun Pink channelled a fun, youthful vibe that carries over into the furnishings. Inspired by her dad’s love of kilim rugs, we chose one with a fun, feminine feel. The pops of turquoise on the turned nightstands modernize these more traditional pieces, and tie in the lovely accents on the window panels and bedding trim. The gallery wall displays her personal artwork, creating a light and playful overall effect. 

Let us know what channels your inner child, and gives you serious kidspiration!

Tihar: Nepal’s Festival of Lights

By: Stephanie Andrews

The end of October marks an incredible festival in Nepal called Tihar. Five years ago I got to witness this beautiful celebration in person in Katmandu, and it was truly an amazing experience. Dogs, cows, and homes were adorned with marigold garlands and lit up at night with candles, creating a breathtaking atmosphere.

One day of the festival is dedicated to cows, who are venerated with garlands and the best grasses because they signify wealth and prosperity.

nepal4

Photo courtesy of Mashable.

Colorful earthen lamps are used to decorate the home during this festival of lights.

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Photo courtesy of Avax News.

Cows aren’t the only animals celebrating Tihar. Dogs are also honored during the festival with flower garlands and vermillion (and food!).

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Photo courtesy of Life With Dogs.

The festivities during Tihar are truly a one of a kind sight. Just another reason visiting Nepal should be on your bucket list!

Metropolitan Home Magazine

By: Stephanie Andrews

During the depths of the recession two incredible magazines perished: Domino and Metropolitan Home. To tell you the truth, we mourned their demise (we’re addicted to magazines and these two topped our personal list of favorites). Domino came back as a quarterly magazine two years ago and we just learned that MetHome is back at select bookstores (like Barnes and Noble). Joy!

THE NEW METROPOLITAN HOME

It’s back and better than ever! Metropolitan Home is returning with an exciting, innovative look at the best in city living…

MetroMag Cover

Metro Mag Inside 2

Metropolitan Home was launched in 1974 by the Meredith Corporation as a decorating magazine targeted at city-dwelling baby boomers. The reason for the recent revival is that the children of the original baby boomer audience (millennials) are now buying homes, and Metropolitan Home is one of the few magazines that targets city dwellers with modern style. Plus, not only do millennials care about interior style, they’re also interested in the personalities behind the process.

Metro Mag Inside

What we love most about Metropolitan Home is that it’s not a shelter magazine — it’s a lifestyle magazine. Once you crack the cover you’ll be pulled in and as crazy about this publication as we are!