A Good Recipe

I love to bake and my newest temptation is banana bread but not just any banana bread; it is mind blowing banana bread with cream cheese hazelnut frosting. This recipe is simple! I put one cup of sugar, one cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and one teaspoon of vanilla into the mixing bowl. I add one stick of softened butter and two eggs; then I blend it all together. Finally, I add two to three mashed over-ripened bananas to the mixture and blend everything until smooth. I place the mixture into jumbo cupcake molds and put them in the oven to bake for approximately forty-five minutes. While they bake I mix the frosting. I put one stick of butter and one-half block of cream cheese in a saucepan on low and let them melt. After the butter and crème cheese are melted, I add one teaspoon of vanilla and six tablespoons of hazelnut creamer. Finally, I add one sixteen-ounce bag of powdered sugar and mix it with the hand mixer until smooth. As I layered the frosting on the cupcakes, the aroma of hazelnut, crème cheese 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 cupcakes, but what about the recipe for a room. When it comes to decorating, should we mix it up? Yes! Let’s take a peek into the dining room, kitchen and foyer of the Begonia model from last week to see a well-put together room made up of many different ingredients somewhere in the heart of The Villages.

• Dining roomNew Furniture Big Color and Lots of Light.
We chose to use a round table in this Begonia Model dining room and it looks amazing! The homeowner did not want a china cabinet anymore, so we chose a buffet. The buffet is deep charcoal gray that coordinates nicely with the gray washed tan table. The art over the buffet provides a huge navy color splash. The homeowner had four candle sconces that complemented the art and room nicely. We chose to use two runners creating an x on the round table. The centerpiece is an antique bread bowl with a small pot of lavender inside. Of course, we used the large arched mirror in both the dining room and kitchenette. In a Begonia, the mirrors reflect into each other creating the illusion of a window and more light.

• Kitchen
We decorated above the staggered cabinets because it is a great place to show off items and create interest. We placed a large woven basket filled with heather above the pantry. I like the height and the texture that a heather basket adds to the space. The large flat run of cabinetry above the microwave is a great display space for art. We chose another abstract canvas that pulls the navy around into the kitchen. Lanterns nestle close to the canvas and fill in the extra space nicely. Another touch of shimmery navy can be seen atop the tall stack of cabinets with small fern pots on each side to complete the look. Don’t be afraid to place decorative items on the counters. They make the kitchen look homey and inviting.

• Foyer
We used some traditional items that were very important to the homeowners in the foyer such as the entry way piece, art and lamps. However, we introduced a modern touch by hanging a new foyer light. The light looks like a golden starburst. Though we have a traditional foyer table and a modern light the look works because both styles are unified through by the color gold.

• Photo gallery
The large foyer wall of Begonias and Gardenias are a great place to hang a family photo gallery. We hung one large 60-inch shelf low on the wall and staggered two smaller shelves on the wall above. We hung some pictures and leaned some pictures on the shelves. The shelves have a lip that allows for some decorative items to be added into the photo gallery and some photos to just lean without fear of falling. We did not have the photos in the frames yet but that did not stop us from hanging them. Half the battle of getting a photo wall finished is waiting for the pictures. It is much easier to just hang everything and fill it later.