Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

When we bought this house 9 months ago, the guest bath left a lot to be desired. The sink cabinet was painted a horrid shade of brown, that in my opinion, never should be used in a bathroom. The walls and the ceiling were painted a dark shade of wheat, a big boring mirror hung over the sink and a useless wall cabinet painted in the same horrid brown hung above the toilet.

This small little bathroom will someday be gutted and enlarged by imposing upon the large walk in closet behind one of the walls, but until then, something had to be done with this little nightmare.

Having already painted the walls a soft gray and the ceiling white, during the summer when I painted the rest of the house, the only thing to do was paint the cabinet a couple of coats in the same shade of gray that I used on the bookcase in the study... simple enough, shouldn't take more than an after noon, right?

Well,  that was the plan before I started looking online for some inspiration. Somehow my search for painted bathroom cabinets, (boring by the way) turned into a French furniture search.
So out came the sand paper, glaze, stencils, Rub 'n Buff and all kinds of enthusiasm.

After painting over the hideous brown paint with Sherwin Williams Requisite Gray, I lightly sanded it and then applied a few applications of glaze mixed with SW Porpoise.

On the doors, I lightly dabbed Rub 'n buff over an old stencil made for raised plaster.

I used small sections of the stencil across the top panel of the cabinet, over lapping the sections to make one continuous pattern.

And to give it the look of French furniture, I highlighted all the edges by lightly painting on more Rub 'n buff

I found these classic glass door pulls at Hobby Lobby, I think they add to the vintage French look.

I plan on replacing the chrome faucet with this champagne finish faucet from Delta.

The mirror above the sink, belonged to my Grandmother, it has lots of silver 'age spots' that you find in vintage and antique mirrors. The ruched shower curtain is from Target, and so far all I have on the counter is a simple bouquet of dried lavender in a Val St. Lambert crystal vase that belonged to my Mother.

This little make over did take longer than an afternoon, it took several, and even though it might not be the quintessential  French style bathroom cabinet that we all dream of , it's certainly not the nightmare that it was before.

I think when the time comes, I might actually use it in the remodel.

 I will be joining sharing at the following parties.
Cedar Hill Ranch Cowgirl Up
The Dedicated House Make it Pretty Monday
Stylish Once Again Restyled Sundays
Shabby Art Boutiques Shabbilicious Friday
French Country Cottage Feathered Nest Friday
Common Ground Be Inspired Friday
Delightful Order Inspiring Thursday
Katherines Corner Thursday Favorite Things
Shabby Creek Cottage Transformation Thursday
Savvy Southern Style Wow Us Wednesday
DIY by Design Winter Blues Wednesday
Ivy and Elephants What's It Wednesday

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lemon & Crouton Topped Halibut

Ever come across a recipe and know without even preparing it yet, that it will become a treasured favorite?
That's what happened to me when I first read and then later cooked Jacques Pepin's Halibut Steaks Grenoble-Style, which is best described as Lemon & Crouton Topped Halibut.
I've made this recipe 4 times in at least as many weeks, and I just can't get enough, I actually get sad when the seafood counter in my favorite grocery store is out of halibut.
The recipe is from my newest cookbook, Essential Pipan and I have to say, it's become my favorite cookbook to just sit and read, Jacques has such a wonderful writing style that it's just like he's having a conversation with you, telling you how to cook in the same way that your Mother would tell you, giving you directions, but inspiring you to make it your own.
Which is exactly what I do each time I try this recipe, and have discovered that for my own liking, I prefer the halibut to be cut in to fillets, rather than steaks.

Not only is this a great tasting dish, but it's easy enough for a weeknight and certainly attractive enough for company.

Halibut Steaks Grenoble-Style
serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil
2 slices firm white bread, crusts trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 large lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 halibut steaks about 6 ounces each and 3/4 inch thick (I prefer fillets)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet until hot. Add the bread cubes and cook, turning them with a spoon, until uniformly browned on all sides. Drain in a sieve and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, remove the rind and white pith from the lemon, cut the flesh into 1/2 cubes, removing the seeds as you go.
Sprinkle the salt and pepper on both sides of the fish and dip the steaks in the flour to coat on all sides; shake off any excess flour.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet. When the mixture is foaming, add the fish and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. With a wide spatula, turn the fish and cook for another 3 minutes, or until browned and crusty on both sides.

Arrange the fish on a serving platter with the nicest side showing. Sprinkle the croutons, lemon and capers on top and set in a warm place (such as a 150 degree oven).
Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a skillet and cook until it takes on a hazelnut color.

 Pour the hot butter on top of the fish, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

Serve with a lemon slice and a fresh vegetable, for larger appetites, serve the fish on a bed of orzo pasta. 
This recipe is also recommend to try with "other fish, from trout and sole to cod and catfish."

In the words of Jacques Pepin... HAPPY COOKING!

I will be sharing this recipe at...
The Best Blog Recipes Weekend re-Treat

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The tragic and mysterious death of Monsieur Pussycat

It's a sad day here at the HOUSE, we mourn the untimely death of Monsieur Pussycat.

Dear Monsieur, was purchased in 1998 at a quaint little home decor shop in Grapevine Texas.
He was specifically chosen to sit in the art niche above our gianormous TV.
(remember this was the late 90's before there was such a thing as flat screens, and just look at those dark glazed walls, what was I thinking?)

After moving, (probably to escape those hideous walls) Monsieur Pussycat sat in the art niche at our next house.

These photos were taken for a post I did featuring our lounge area before we moved. (a much better choice of paint color I might add)

Just look at how majestic and proud he looks. He was the first piece of real 'art' that I ever bought, and paid a pretty penny for him too.

But sadly, tragically and mysteriously, this is what befell the great Monsieur Pussycat...

CAUTION, photos of carnage are to follow!

What could have caused this tragedy?

My first thought was that the frame that I recently bought and had resting on the console table in the entry, just behind Monsieur must have slipped, knocking him to his death... the frame was laying on top of the victim, thus being the obvious suspect.

However when my husband, shortly after arriving home from the airport,  heard the crash, suspected Tessa, thinking she must have knocked Monsieur off the console table when she came running through the house looking for her 'daddy'.

Being the defender of all things four legged, I quickly dismissed her as a suspect. Besides, she ran through the entry hall hundreds of time with no incident, so it couldn't have been our precious Tessa.

So how did this happen, who was to blame? The mystery of Monsieur's death had to be solved, his tragic ending vindicated!

But, since this is real life and we have real lives to live, this tragedy would have to be addressed later, as we had to hurry to leave the house in order make a previously scheduled event, poor Monsieur would have to be attended to later.
So we left the carnage, and the house behind, including Tessa who had an arranged play date at Petsmart.

Is this the face of genuine grief and concern, or the look of guilt?

After our return, and the sad removal of Monsieur, I began to start a little detective work...

Fact #1. The rug that is usually flush with the threshold was askew.

Fact #2. The console table in the entry hall where Monsieur proudly perched, was several inches away from the wall, instead of being flush.

All this evidence points to the likely possibility of a running dog (Tessa) causing the rug to slip, causing the console to slide away from the wall, causing the propped up frame to slide, causing it to push poor Monsieur Pussycat to fall to his death!
I feel just like Hercule Poirot on Masterpiece Theater!

And besides, the suspect ALWAYS returns to the scene of the crime!

I think we can safely say that we have the guilty party in custody.

And Pussycats everywhere can sleep safely tonight.

I will be joining
French Country Cottage

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mission Accomplished!

Well... almost.
I have the two slip-covers in the bird of paradise print completed, and the two with stripes are waiting in the wings.

I love the colors in the fabric with the gray slate tile, gray in one shade or another is the constant color scheme through out the house and I'm certainly using more than "Fifty Shades". (not sure that came out right, but you get the point)
Yes, I know that I need a rug in this room...
I'm looking, but can't decide between seagrass, or a traditional wool with a pattern.

I took these next two photos last night after I finished up the second chair... sorry for the glare in the windows.
This is the view of the Sun Room from the Great Room and this view is the reason I chose a large size print for the chairs, since we would be seeing a lot of the back of the chairs, I thought it should be something worth looking at.

For those of you who didn't see yesterday's post, this is what the chairs looked like before the slip-covers.

You must admit that I turned these ugly duckling into swans, and after I stop patting myself on the back, I plan to get started on to the other two.

Here's a sneak peak!

I will post tips and "how to's" while I'm making the striped slip-covers for those who would like a behind the scenes tutorial.
Hope everyone is having a super week!