A decadent crab bisque is the way to anyone’s heart this holiday season! This recipe, a classic from my mother’s archives, is meant to inspire merriment and grateful palates amongst family and friends. It is rich enough to stand alone—we have always enjoyed it as a main course—but it also works brilliantly as a first or second course when served in petit portions.
Serves 4-6 as a main course, serves 6-8 as a soup course
3/4 cup of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 medium onions, minced
1 medium carrot, finely minced
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp seafood seasoning
1/4 tbsp celery salt
1/8 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
4 cups of milk, heated
3 tbsp white wine
1/2 lb lump crab meat
salt to taste
fresh mint for garnish
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add vegetables and sauté until soft. Reduce heat to medium and add flour, whisking constantly until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently while stirring in parsley and seasonings. Gradually add heated milk, stirring constantly. Slowly add the wine, then crab, and salt to taste. Let simmer 15 to 20 minutes (do not boil!). Serve hot and garnish with lump crab and fresh mint. It pairs beautifully with a baguette!
Bon appetit dears, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
‘Tis the season! Last week, I had the pleasure of touring the 10th annual Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse orchestrated by Atlanta Homes & Lifestylesand I’m thrilled to report that it is dreamy. The home, built by Harrison Design architects in partnership with Blackstone Custom Homes, is a brand new English country house nestled in Buckhead’s Chastain Park neighborhood. Inspired by 19th century architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, British features such as a sweeping roof, gables, and symmetrical design are masterfully incorporated. For the interiors, 18 local talents were selected to deck the halls with spectacular design. I hope these images will whet your appetite to visit as the Showhouse doors are officially open! Ready for a sneak peek?
Lovely Living Room
Living room design by Lauren DeLoach.
Designer Lauren DeLoach does it again! DeLoach always delivers feminine, layered spaces that feel sophisticated and classic. While wholeheartedly Southern, I find her designs to also have a timeless New England sensibility about them. The room, peppered with rich textiles, fine art and French antiques, is ensconced in curtains done in Peter Fasano, Ltd. fabric, lending a comfortable air to the first-floor area.
Dining Room Delight
Dining Room design by Carole Weaks of C. Weaks Design.
Showhouse Honorary Chair Carole Weaks transformed the dining room into an emerald oasis. The painting, by Ukrainian artist Serhiy Hai, is so striking in person and the perfect piece to admire during dinner. Gathered around a glass top table are Frances Elkins chairs painted black just for the space. Everything feels intentional and effortless at the same time!
Ground Floor Powder Design by Susan Brady Interiors.
Decorator Susan Brady created the most delightful jewel box using my favorite color combination—pink and green. The paper, a Clarke & Clarke confection, climbs to the ceiling where it’s met with light green trim and a pink ceiling. Lovely touches like framed art and intaglios tie it all together for a formal welcome into the home.
Ravishing Laundry Room
Butler’s Pantry design by Lauren Elaine Interiors.
When given a canvas of contemporary grey finishes, Lauren Lowe of Lauren Elaine Interiors knew just what would imbue her traditional aesthetic into the laundry room and butler’s pantry. She chose Schumacher’s iconic Hollyhock wallpaper in charcoal to dress up the space and spared no small details. Monogrammed towels, art, books, and a small bar set-up add charm in spades.
Laundry room design by Lauren Elaine Interiors.
Kitchen design by Liz Godwin and Kingdom Woodworks cabinetry.
While the kitchen is a decidedly transitional space complete with a modern hood and grey cabinetry, it also feels quite classic thanks to designer Liz Godwin. Slipcovered barstools in a timeless fabric complete with tassel trim detail play beautifully off the large marble island perfect for today’s busy family. An heirloom quality is added with an equestrian painting and her mother’s china mixed with other beautiful porcelain pieces.
Master bedroom design by Jessica Bradley.
Jessica Bradley wanted to go the unexpected route with her master bedroom design and rightfully so. Contemporary accents like a velvet and nailhead bed are tempered with aged antiques. Dotting the Designers Guild wallpaper are framed botanicals and perfectly placed mirrors flanking the bed. The generous view into the backyard through double doors is complimented by flora and fauna adorned curtains.
Master bathroom design by C. Socci Interiors.
Walking into Chris Socci’s master bath and closet design is like exhaling and leaving all the day’s stresses at the door. Inspired by nature, Socci kept all the incorporated elements organic, down to the mirror shapes and lily pad side table. Cole & Son Hummingbird in Viridian wallpaper and blue and green curtains mimicking watery ripples accentuate the serene scheme. In the master closet, chic ensembles by Danielle Rollins are ready to take off the hanger and wear.
Master closet design by C. Socci Interiors featuring ensembles by Danielle Rollins.
Mud room design by Gordon Dunning.
No strangers to a Showhouse, the ladies of Gordon Dunning have created yet another delightful space. The thoughtful design starts in the mudroom that leads into a vibrant baker’s passage with an adjoining pantry and pool powder at the end. The hallway, covered in an ethereal blue and white Anna French fabric is pure magic. Sentimental elements such as vintage spoons hung in an arched doorway and framed recipes in the pantry hint at familial history.
Hall design by Gordon Dunning.
Upstairs Bedroom Design by Montgomery Gratch Interiors.
Montgomery Gratch Interiors created a chic retreat any teenage girl would be happy to call hers. Their design, created for a young lady about to leave for college, is filled with unique elements such as tribal textures and antique furniture like the bedside chests. The pièce de résistance is a hand-painted wall by Kari Fisher Designs based off of a pillow pattern by the same artisan.
Breakfast Room Bliss
Breakfast room design by Margaret Kirkland.
Designer Margaret Kirkland’s signature classic style is in every last detail of this charming dining alcove. Baskets, fine art and topiaries galore lend a collected flair while a bamboo lantern and chairs are teeming with timelessness. Verdant tones are carried throughout from the curtains to the rug and even the green stemmed wine glasses. With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the backyard pool, Kirkland paid special mind to making the room flow seamlessly with the superb view of nature.
I hope you enjoyed this sampling of some of the gorgeous design represented at the Showhouse, there are many more breathtaking rooms to see and admire! If you will be in Atlanta between now and December 9th, I encourage you to visit Home for the Holidays. In addition to regular tour hours and a marketplace, there is a stellar lineup of events with something for everyone—I will most likely be back on November 29th for an evening candlelight tour. Proceeds from the ticket sales will directly benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a very worthy cause and essential resource for families in the Southeast. Interested in purchasing the property? It is listed with Dorsey Altson realtors.
While I am not one to pine for a turkey feast all year, I do enjoy the all-American feeling of Thanksgiving and the gathering of lots of family and friends around the table. I like any Thanksgiving celebration I’m invited to whether it’s a casual midday lunch complete with a fried turkey (I’ve never tried it and I very much want to!), or a formal candlelit dinner with pancetta chestnut stuffing. One thing I am partial to? Canned cranberry. My mom and mother-in-law both make lovely, fresh cranberry relishes but I just prefer good old-fashioned Ocean Spray jelly.
This year, I’m zhushing up my penchant for canned cranberry with a more formal tablescape. My muse? Richard Ginori’s Oriente Italiano china, an original 1926 design by architect and decorator, Gio Ponti. A couple of years ago, fashion house Gucci invested in the esteemed porcelain manufacturer and resurrected classic patterns such as this one for a new generation of old world admirers. Now you can find Oriente Italiano at Richard Ginori showrooms and china shops like my local favorite, Charles Willis.
Does anyone have a great tip for getting lipstick out of linens? Thinking ahead!
To make the cranberry-hued chinoiserie carnations on the plates really pop, I kept the linens simple with a white hemstitch tablecloth and napkins. The traditional two-letter napkin monogram was done locally at South of Hampton—they always deliver with pretty personalization and helpful input in thread color selection. The buttercup patterned silver is my mom’s and lends nicely to the floral motif.
Is there anything more delicious than just-polished silver?
In keeping with the theme of classic designs, Moser “royal” crystal glasses are at the ready for water and wine. This particular style, a diamond cut pattern with a 24-karat gold rim, was commissioned by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of England in 1907. They are quite special in person as you’re able to get a sense of just how much time went into the hand-cut diamond design. If it’s starting to sound like I’m finding the dining accoutrements more delicious than the impending dinner… guilty as charged!
If you love a clever brand, you’ll be as besotted as I am with The Punctilious Mr. P’s Place Card Co. A few months ago, I found them on Instagram and I’ve been waiting for an occasion to give them a place at the table (pun intended!). These magnolia lovebird illustrated place cards are a way to plan your seating arrangement and provide a piece of art for your guests to enjoy throughout the meal. Mr. P’s will add digital calligraphy to any set you purchase and the shipping is lightning fast!
Each name goes on the back of the card and the silver holder is also a Mr. P’s delight.
Flowers do so much for a table!
The centerpiece is my mainstay Scalamandre Baldwin Bamboo planter that I use for everything—sometimes it’s a wine chiller and often times it’s a flower container. Here’s a tip I learned unexpectedly—if you don’t have any floral tape to make a grid for your flower arrangement, use your husband’s electrical tape! It works just as well. All the autumnal blooms are from Whole Foods, they have a lovely, varied selection right now. I chose an assortment of brass candlesticks with lit cream tapers to make everyone at the table look well-rested and glow-y come evening. Just a little something else to be thankful for!
From our table to yours, wishing you a most wonderful Thanksgiving! xo
If Herend porcelain pieces could talk, they would regale us with tales of dinners at Queen Elizabeth’s table, Rothschild family festivities and which figurine, tucked into Princess Diana’s Christmas stocking each year, was her favorite. The European porcelain emporium to the royals since 1839 has continued to delight collectors for nearly two centuries and today, many of us remain completely enchanted by Herend.
If you’re a collector or admirer, you’ll be pleased to know that Charles Willis, the premier shop for all things fine china in Atlanta, is hosting a Herend trunk show through Christmas. An Atlanta tradition since 1948, Charles Willis caters to couples registering for their weddings and clients wanting special occasion items such as crystal and silver. Now on display are hundreds of hand-painted Herend pieces, from plates to figurines, to marvel at and help you check names off your Christmas list. If you’re a Herend connoisseur, you’ll be treated to rarely displayed platinum, copper, lavender, and turquoise collections as well as limited edition porcelains. Let’s take a gander at the goods, shall we?
For the Table
Serve in style on Herend’s fine china and don’t forget the fabulous foo dogs too! Shown here is the ever-classic Rothschild Bird pattern.
An elegant cake stand available only during Herend trunk shows! Aren’t the confections splendid? The three-tiered cake would make a lovely wedding gift.
More exquisite china—the green striped butterfly motif is hard to come by.
Add some charm to your Thanksgiving table with a little bunny pilgrim and beautifully detailed turkeys, seen here in Herend’s rich copper hue.
A true work of art, this limited edition nativity set is one of only thirty in the world! You’ll enjoy displaying it year after year.
Deck the halls with these darling (bunny) reindeer friends in a rainbow of yummy colors.
It’s never too early to start planning your Easter tablescape. Have some happy bunnies hopping around the table!
There’s an animal figurine for just about everyone!
Find a sweet piece to start baby’s Herend collection. The raspberry and green patterned bear is a trunk show exclusive!
We all know a dog lover! With plenty of breeds and themes to choose from, one of these canines is sure to set tails wagging.
I have my eye on this Westie—hint, hint Santa!
The coastal collection is one of my personal favorites. Have a friend with a beach house? Pick up the perfect little hostess gift for them.
We are in the South after all! Don’t forget the college sports fan. Charles Willis has done all the work for you by selecting a mascot for each school’s team and they are extra spirited.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this small sampling of all the Herend goodness available at Charles Willis through Christmas. While at the shop, don’t forget to enter their drawing for a pretty piece in November and December! You could be the lucky winner of an alligator or, the grand prize, an antelope figurine. For the quintessential Atlanta holiday experience, pop by Charles Willis for some shopping followed by lunch at Buckhead Diner just down the street and a can’t-miss performance of The Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre. It’s the perfect way to drum up some Christmas cheer!
Two lucky winners will receive these fabulous figurines by entering their in-store drawing. Bonne chance!
P.S. Not local? Charles Willis is offering select trunk show pieces on their website and will happily take orders over the phone at 404-233-9487. For shop happenings and tabletop inspiration, follow them on Instagram here.