food 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 Folio: 3 Summer Design Must-Reads.

By: The Balance Design Team

Stephanie’s pick: “Nomad Deluxe” by Herbert Ypma


Photo courtesy of Assouline.

Nomad Deluxe is my dream book. I keep it on my coffee table and open it up every morning to see the location of a new place in the world, read the the well written creative description, and then look at the luscious pictures. I am the consummate traveler and lately I have been making my bucket list of places to go from this beautiful book! Today I read about Bali, Indonesia. I saw a huge stone statue of the Hindu god Ganesh overgrown with lush greenery. I also read about the Hindu nurturing culture, the Dutch colonization, and the different vibes of Ubud versus Uluwatu. Bali is definitely on the bucket list.

Shelby’s pick: “Smoke & Fire” by Holly Peterson


Photo courtesy of Assouline.

In a world of Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram it is so easy to become overwhelmed and somewhat intimidated by technology. It seems that the days of cookbooks and recipe cards are all but gone. But then there is this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK! The recipes are simple, delicious, and completely easy to tackle (I can even pronounce the ingredients). The entire book is an aesthetic dream. Beautiful photos, typewriter font reminiscent of old fashioned cookbooks, and the recipes are reinvented favorites from every region.  

I love that I can turn the TV off, go outside with friends or family, and make dinner an event. Not only are we cooking delicious food, but we are having fun creating together. I will continue to use this book over and over throughout the year. It is definitely a new staple on my bookcase.

Danielle’s pick: “A Touch of Style” by Carlos Mota


Photo courtesy of Assouline.

As a former student of photography (and subsequently a major photo snob), Touch of Style is pure eye candy. Full page and double page spreads of incredibly styled environments boast Carlos Mota’s highly enviable skills. From a critical standpoint, the photos are flawless; Mota expertly plays with scale, visual weight/balance, and color impact in unexpected and exciting ways. But also, the spaces are just plain beautiful — I would love to live in any of them! This book is double threat: it’s a beautiful coffee table book that will look great and add interest, but it’s also a fantastic reference for any time you need a jolt of inspiration. 

The Colors of Mexico

By: Verena Dalati Salmé

My recent trip to Mexico City was as inspiring as it was relaxing. The locals were friendly, the food was delicious, and the history was rich. Among the art, museums, and regional traditions I experienced, there was one overarching theme I couldn’t ignore: COLOR! From painted buildings to artisan creations, unique color palettes were created by ordinary items in brilliant hues.

Mexico 1

Cayenne | Emerald | Blush

1. Door detail by architect Luis Barragan, Casa de Luis Barragan, photo courtesy of Guy Salmé.
2. “Frida on White Bench” by Nickolas Muray, Fenimore Art Museum.
3. Traditional dress detail, photo courtesy of Guy Salmé.

Mexico 2

Aqua | Terracotta | Yellow

1. Mexican ceramic tile detail, Puebla, Mexico, photo courtesy of Guy Salmé.
2. Amor graffiti, Puebla, Mexico, photo courtesy of Guy Salmé.
3. Acapulco chair, Replica Furniture.

Mexico 3

Bubblegum | Seafoam | Caramel

1. Seafoam door with bubblegum accents, Mexico City, photographer unknown.
2. Brooklyn brownstone, Brooklyn, NY, photo courtesy of Andrew Cammarano.
3. Cacti needles, Luis Barragan building, Mexico City, photographer unknown.

Mexico 4

Royal Blue | Ivory | Oatmeal

1. Standing bear sculpture, painted wood, Oaxaca, Mexico.
2. Talavera tile detail, House of Tiles, Mexico City, photo courtesy of Guy Salmé.
3. Talavera salsa bowl,

Mexico 5

Goldenrod | Chili Red | Pepper Black

1. Traditional Mexican corn on the cob, photographer unknown.
2. “Do Not Throw Trash” Ciudadela Market, Mexico City, photo courtesy of Guy Salmé.
3. Prickly pear chair, designed by Valentina Gonzalez Wohlers, traditional Mexican Otomi fabric.

From market streets to boutique gems, the colors of Mexico are bold, rich, and spicy — how can you not be inspired?

Party Time, Balance Design Style!

By: Stephanie Andrews

Our grand opening party was last Thursday, and it was a hit! We had an amazing turnout of friends, clients, neighbors, and colleagues. Ashley Hizer and Michael Bryant, two of our featured artists, were on the scene to mingle and talk about their artwork. We even had a raffle with special prizes to benefit our friends in Nepal, a cause very dear to my family and I.

In addition to our amazing team, comprised of myself, Elisabeth Paulson, Verena Salmé, Danielle Cornely, and Samantha Henning, we had some additional (and much appreciated) support. Guy Salmé provided music and on-site photography, and Drew Gillespie was our star bartender. Let’s not forget my daughter, Allie, and nephew from Nepal, Kush, who handmade hundreds of (delicious!) truffles for the hors d’oeuvres table.

It was wonderful to see clients from years past as well as curious neighbors and colleagues come out to support us. I feel so incredibly blessed for such an amazing network. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


Photography by Guy Salmé for Balance Design

merch shelf

Photography by Guy Salmé for Balance Design


Photography by Guy Salmé for Balance Design

food table

Photography by Guy Salmé for Balance Design

BD team

Photography by Guy Salmé for Balance Design

Design Takeout: Restaurant Style Comes Home

By: Danielle Cornely

We love when commercial spaces go beyond being a blank canvas and become environments. These local Atlanta restaurant interiors really caught our eye — we would love to bring home some of their decor! If we did, here’s what it might look like:


Leon’s Full Service. Image:


Tracy Cox Photography for Balance Design

We love the bright, bold red seating at Leon’s Full Service in Decatur (top). This bathroom in a client’s home (bottom) features similar metallic accents, dark wood, and a neutral palette to highlight an intense red chair.


Cakes & Ale. Image:



Wood + metal = awesome. Cakes & Ale in Decatur (top) features industrial metal seating and lighting with farm tables. Mixing these two materials creates visual interest in the stark, neutral color palette of the bottom photo.


Bhojanic. Image:



Bhojanic in Buckhead (top) has a fun, eclectic feel with rich colors and graphic elements. Play up that bohemian feel with a varied color palette and lots of great textures, like in this Toronto loft (bottom).