A Good Recipe

Frosting on the Cake

Frosting on the Cake

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and set the timer for 25 minutes. Then I stirred the dry ingredients, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups flour, and 1 tsp. salt, together in my mixing bowl. I was craving the food of the gods, chocolate cake, and nothing would stop me from having it. I filled a saucepan on the stove with 1cup water, one stick butter, ½ cup oil, and three heaping Tbsps. of Coco powder. While I waited for it to come to a rolling boil, I prepared the mixer. I poured the boiling mixture over the dry ingredients and watched while the blender combined them into a thick consistency. The last step in the process was to add a blend of ½-cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp baking soda into the thick chocolate base. The cold combined with the hot as the mixer whipped the base into rich cake batter, otherwise known as liquid perfection. The aroma of chocolate and vanilla permeated the air around me and I thought of recipes, rooms, and the common bond they share. We use different ingredients to achieve a fabulous flavor when baking a cake, but what about the recipe for a room. When it comes to decorating, should we mix it up?

Yes, a well-put together room is not all sugar or flour but may different ingredients to achieve a flavor-filled goal. Here are a few tips to help you whip up a room and a cake!

• Establish a base, then paint

The base for the room will be your inspiration piece, like a rug, pillow, or fabric. I choose the more neutral color from my inspiration piece such as gold, tan, or green to paint the walls of the room. I like to keep the walls a neutral color that will add warmth. For example, I see many sofas with floral patterns that are blue, pink, and yellow. Instead of painting the walls pink or blue, I would choose the more neutral color yellow like Ivoire 6127, from the fundamentally neutral line from Sherwin Williams. I often use this color because it has a yellow base, which is the most neutral color from the fabric, but the brightness is neutralized with an application of gray making it a yellowish gold. The pink and blue will be my accents throughout the room.

• Furniture is the heart of the mix

Often, people toil and trouble over furniture selection but it is not that tough. I would think about adding into my mix a sofa that is a solid color but has a great texture. My favorite texture and I know it is not for everyone, is chenille. I also have warmed up to some of the better micro fibers. If we keep the sofa a solid, this will add a saturation of color without a ton of busy print. Now for the chairs, I would introduce print. The chairs are a much smaller piece so the print will not eat up the oxygen in the room. Tie the sofa to the chairs with pillows made from the chair fabric and feel free to introduce other pillows that have a relationship based on color.

• Texture makes the mix

If you don’t like printed fabric at all, throw in some leather. A great-upholstered sofa with two leather chairs is a great mix. Place a few pillows around the room to tie it all together. What about all leather? Is a question I am often asked. IF you like all leather you can do it, it is your house, but I think all leather gets flat and monotonous. We rely on fabric to provide softness and warmth.

• More texture through finishes

We must add coffee tables, side tables and cabinets to the mix and this is a great place to be unique. They can be a collection of pieces that you have acquired through the years or, buy all new. The main thing to remember is, not everything has to match, but everything has to coordinate. I often run into the question can I use wood and metal together. It is fine to have two wooden side tables and a coffee table made of metal or iron. If you add and combine textures and pieces based on color relationships, your room will become more interesting.

• A dash of lighting gives it more flavor

Lighting is extremely important and often forgotten. It doesn’t cost a lot to replace old lamps that are dated. However, lamps that are classic or vintage should stay. I bought an antique pineapple lamp from the sixties and I love it. It is not possible to get something like it today so hold onto the good stuff!

• Add in art to spice it up

So many times, I have clients trying to buy art with all the exact colors that are in the room. It gets to the point that if the art introduces one color that is not currently in the room they will not buy the picture. Don’t think like this! It is fine to tie in some colors in the room, to the picture but it does not have to be exact. It is perfectly o. k. to add in another color or two, in a work of art. Buy things that speak to you and that give you pleasure to look at. That solitary appreciation of art is what makes art subjective, and therefore art. So express yourself with art you love.

• Accents round out the flavor

Vanilla added to chocolate, makes the chocolate flavor more full bodied, likewise accents added to a room round out and complete the base mixture. I generally get the POW factor in my accents. I use the colors that are not neutral for my accents, I found in my inspiration piece.

• Window treatments are the frosting on the cake

The windows need to be dressed for the room to be complete. Clients often get excited when they see what we can do with fabrics on the windows because it ties everything in the room together. Often if you have kept the print down in the furniture, you can introduce another print on the window treatment or just a simple dupioni silk does the trick every time.So, like a good finish to any room, I prepared the frosting. I placed a small saucepan on low and combined 1 stick butter, 6Tbls. Carnation Hazelnut Creamer, 1 tsp. vanilla, 3 Tbsps coco powder, and let the heat melt them into a blend. Once the butter melted, I use my hand blender to mix in one sixteen-ounce box of confectioner’s sugar. The hand blender helps to smooth out any lumps and gives the frosting a rich thick consistency. The timer buzzed and the smell of chocolate, vanilla, and hazelnut hung in the air like a fragrant comforting haze that filled me with expectation for the first bite. I took the cake from the oven and while it was hot, I covered it with the thick frosting. Safe in the knowledge that my recipe for my home was complete, I dug into my recipe for fun, and enjoyed a big piece of chocolate heaven.

P.S. –Attention, club presidents! We give free decorating seminars. It is lots of fun and very informative. Call and schedule your club today or call Ruth your full service decorator in the heart of The Villages of Florida – 352-804-2056