≡ Menu

This grand contemporary family room was the scene of a gala to benefit the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte recently. The Philanthropy Show House will be featured on the 2015 Season of the PBS show, “For Your Home” beginning April 6. Photos courtesy For Your Home.

“For Your Home” host and designer Vicki Payne wanted to create a stunning contemporary ambience for the show’s second annual Philanthropy House in Charlotte, N.C.  Through the use of warm color schemes and wood veneers, she infused the 30-year-old  home with a modern, energetic vibe anchored in classic beauty.


The Philanthropy Show House is filled with contemporary yet warm and inviting spaces. Photo: For Your Home.

Adding to the beauty of the house, the Philanthropy Gala held there recently raised over $18,000 for the Oncology/Hematology Clinic at the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.


The spacious and inviting kitchen of the Philanthropy Show House opens to the dining room on one side and the family room on the other. Stairs also lead from the kitchen to the upper level. Photo: For Your Home.

The Show House will be featured in the upcoming 2015 season of “For Your Home” on PBS stations nationwide, beginning April 6. Hosted by Payne, “For Your Home” is one of the longest-running home and garden decorating and lifestyle shows on television.


The master bathroom of the Charlotte Show House reflects the contemporary elegance of the home’s décor. Photo: For Your Home.


The Palisade 60-inch round table from Hooker Furniture is the focal point of the Philanthropy House dining room. Photo: For Your Home.

In her quest to renovate and design the Charlotte home with both a classic beauty and contemporary flair, Payne turned to the Palisade Collection from Hooker Furniture, a collection that blends refined beauty with an eclectic edge. “The Palisade dining table and chairs provide the perfect mix of contemporary styling and classic flair,” she said.


The Palisade dining table and chairs in the Philanthropy Show House. Photo: For Your Home.

The table reflects the clean simplicity of the contemporary décor, yet grounds the room in tradition. Crafted in highly-figured Walnut and Sycamore Maple, the tabletop has a Neo-Classic feel through the Maple veneer pattern, set off by ebony stringers. The result is an elegant starburst effect.


The Sycamore Maple veneer pattern set of by ebony stringers creates a starburst effect on the Palisade tabletop. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


The Palisade table is paired with a Crystorama chandelier in a polished chrome frame draped with clear, hand-cut crystal swags and beading that appear to float. A geometric drum shade provides the finishing touch.

“The dining room was a hit with all who attended the fundraiser for the Levine’s Children’s Hospital,” Payne said.


The Palisade 6o-inch dining table is paired here with more traditional carved wood-back chairs in a walnut finish. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

 At Hooker Furniture, we’re extremely pleased that the Palisade Collection could be part of such a stunning home transformation for a very worthy cause.

Enjoy a few more photos of the interior of this fresh, modern and inviting home:


Another view of the grand, yet warm, family room. Photo: For Your Home.


The kitchen and breakfast room of the Philanthropy Show House.


A close up view of the breakfast room.


The over-the-top laundry room in the Show House. Laundry would be no drudgery here!

What do you think of the blend of clean, contemporary simplicity and traditional elegance in the Charlotte Philanthropy Show House? Let us know in your comments.


Delightful Spring Holiday Entertaining


This lattice-weave-inspired Summerglen dining table says “spring” to me, especially in the romantic light finish. The metal basket centerpiece holds pears, but wouldn’t a clutch of Easter eggs be just as easy and pretty? Photo: Hooker Furniture.

Are you hosting an Easter, Passover or other important celebration at home this spring?

Elegant and pretty touches in your centerpiece, china, glasses, napkins, tablecloths and dining table will delight your guests and present a fun and creative challenge for you and your family.


After a long winter’s nap since Christmas, spring is the time for your dining room to come back to life in vibrant color. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

Can you imagine the fun of creating the lovely Easter centerpiece below, perhaps with help from one of your children or grandchildren?

Eastercenterpiece idea

Elegant simplicity with a hand-crafted touch is the ambience of this delightful centerpiece. Photo: midwestliving.com.

An idea from Midwest Living magazine, here’s how to create this festive decoration: Place a tall drinking glass in the middle of a wide-mouthed jar. Carefully stack colored eggs in the space between the outside of the glass and the wall of the jar. Then fill the glass with water and your favorite spring flowers!

Chatelet round dining

If a fabulous Faberge Easter egg could be a dining table, this Chatelet table would be it! You’d want to use placemats to enjoy every aspect of such a remarkable design. Everything else could be perfectly simple: a few nodding tulips, perhaps. Photo: Hooker Furniture.


teleflora tulips and narcissus with bird in basket

Tulips and paperwhites are classic spring and Easter flowers for your table. Placing them in an earthy bird’s nest is a charming touch. Photo: Teleflora.com

You might think bone china and porcelain are too fragile for family celebrations, but they’re actually stronger than ceramic, stoneware or earthenware. And if china does chip, it’s much less noticeable, so it looks nice a lot longer.

If your guest list exceeds your wedding china, dishes don’t have to match. You can mix pieces with solid colors, simple patterns and elaborate patterns to make up your unique place settings. All they need is a color ot two in common.

For example, my dinner service is Royal Worcester (thanks, Mom!) with a border of purple blackberries and celadon green leaves.


It is accepted, and even desired, to mix and match china patterns at your holiday table. Photo: royalworcester.com

Antique soup bowls from my mother-in-law have a tiny sprigged floral border in soft green, violet and gold. Under the bowls I use a luncheon plate with a modern spray of flowers in celadon green and gold leaf. I have solid-color, quilted placemats in soft green and deep purple from some inexpensive online store.

If you run out of pieces, just alternate plate patterns from one place setting to the next. If one setting has a colorful dinner plate, use a plainer salad or dessert plate with it and vice versa so the tablescape is visually balanced.

You’ll get a lively look when you use colored glass goblets for water plus the expert-preferred clear glass for wine.

williams sonoma pastel old fashioned glasses

Mix pastel-colored water glasses with clear wine glasses for a lively look. Photo: williamssonoma.com

Placecards feel fancy, and kids love them. For Easter, I dye eggs each diner’s favorite color and then write his or her name on it in gold or silver metallic pen, and place them above each plate with a bit of faux Easter grass and a few colorful jellybeans.
If you hate to iron, good news: permanent-press tablecloths are usually cheaper. I like quilted cotton blend placemats best of all because you can switch them out if there’s a mishap.


Colorful tablecloths or placemats are a perfect complement to spring entertaining. Photo: Le Jacquard Francais Jardin, Royal Green.

Successful entertaining is a balance between fussing enough to let guests and family feel special, but not so much that the atmosphere is stressful. Plan as much as you can ahead of time, like what food will be served in what dish.

Dining rooms tend to be pretty wood-y, so create some fresh variety with pieces in a couple of different designs in different finishes.

Sanctuary Bling Dining Room

Mixing finishes and furniture designs in the dining room makes for a more inviting atmosphere. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

If you don’t have room for a buffet and china cabinet arrangement, a server like this Sanctuary mirrored console gives you plenty of space to set up drinks, appetizers, dessert and coffee service, and it’s an artful design and real focal point.


The medieval trefoil motif is one I love, and to make this Chantal Display Cabinet even more special, the interior back panel reverses from fresh blue-green to matching the case wood. What a treasure! Photo: Hooker Furniture

Most important, take a moment during your  holiday celebrations to enjoy your blessings, starting with family, friends and spring!



Easter Brunch, Southern Style


Easter centerpieces set the tone for your celebration, so start there. Photo credit: Tulips and Teacups: bhg.com; Egg tree: countryliving.com

Southern hospitality knows no borders because it’s all about making guests feel special and at home. So this Easter, let’s all “Southern up” and treat our friends and family to a day they’ll remember long after the last Easter egg is rolled across the lawn. Here’s how.

Centerpieces do more than decorate when created with guests in mind. They become conversation starters and set everyone at ease. Modernists will like the sleek, elegant look created with glass cylinders, a few tulips and moss, above. Vintage tea cups add cottage charm when filled with lily-of-the-valley plants and placed by each table setting.
Kids of all ages will smile at this egg-travaganza for the eyes–a charming DIY egg tree and mini-floral garden as shown above, through which a chorus line of little chicks strut.


Try matching vibrant colors of spring flowers with the color scheme of your plates and napkins. Add a hard-boiled egg at each plate, as in this example. Photo credit: countryliving.com.


If monochromatic elegance is more your style, an all-white tablescape is a natural for Easter. Photo credit: countryliving.com


For a sweet favor at each seat, Easter bird nests made of marshmallows, chow mein noodles and Whoppers Robins Eggs are always a favorite. Photo: countryliving.com

Save guests the awkwardness of sitting here, there, everywhere and trying to balance plates on their laps. Invest in a well-sized dining table and buffets for spreading out the feast.


At 132″ long, the Sanctuary Refectory table will seat a crowd.


At 132 inches long with leaves extended, the Sanctuary Refectory table will seat your Easter crowd. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

The comfy Sanctuary dining arm chairs will encourage guests to linger well past mealtime.


Encourage guests to linger after Easter brunch with comfy dining arm chairs. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

  Serving a buffet? The Emerald Fretwork Chest in its bright palette fits in beautifully with spring dining themes.


The Emerald Fretwork Chest is a perfect buffet for spring occasions. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

And the Black Shaped Apron Console Table creates additional serving surface without taking up too much space.


The Black Shaped Apron Console can serve dining buffet duty during any special occasion. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

On to food. An entree that can be assembled -or cooked- in advance is ideal because it frees you to spend time attending to guests instead of last minute meal prep. This recipe from Denise Gee’s cookbook, “Southern Casseroles–Comforting Pot Lucky Dishes”  can be prepared up to three days in advance. Whew.


Croque Monsieur (French Ham ‘n Cheese) Casserole is a creative twist on an Easter favorite–ham. Photo credit: Robert M. Peacock, chroniclebooks.com

Croque Monsieur (French Ham n’ Cheese) Casserole

from “Southern Casseroles-Comforting Pot Lucky Dishes” by Denise Gee

Serves 6-8; Ingredients:

Two 8-ounce cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

¼ cup dijon mustard

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

½ Cup grated parmesan cheese

3 cups grated Gruyère cheese (see note below)

1¼ cups classic white sauce (recipe below)

½ teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

¹⁄₈ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 pound thinly sliced brown sugar -or maple- glazed deli ham, torn into about 3-inch pieces

Garnish: Fresh thyme sprigs

Cooking directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease two 13-by-9-inch baking dishes. Unroll the crescent rolls into the dishes. Use your fingers to seal the perforations, pressing the dough up the dish sides so that it looks wavy and rustic. Bake each dish 10 to 12 minutes, or until the rolls are light golden brown. Remove the dishes from the oven and set aside to let cool. In a small bowl, combine the mustard and lemon juice. Use a brush or spoon to spread half of the mustard-lemon mixture atop each of the hot, baked crusts. (It absorbs best when the crusts are still warm). Whisk the Parmesan and ½ cup of the Gruyère into the white sauce. Add the thyme and nutmeg and set aside. Select the crust with the prettiest edging to use as the top and set aside. In the dish with the bottom crust, spread half of the cheese sauce over the crust. Add the ham evenly across the crust and top with 1 cup of the Gruyère. Remove the top crust from the other baking dish and place it atop the ham layer, using a wide spatula to press the top crust down gently. Evenly spread the remaining cheese sauce over it and top with the remaining 1 ½ cups Gruyère. Press down gently once more. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the filling is thoroughly heated. If desired, turn the broiler to low and cook the casserole for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned in spots. Let cool and cut into squares. Garnish with thyme sprigs before serving. NOTE: Suggested Gruyère substitutes are Emmentaler, Jarlsberg, or Swiss, in that order.


This can be made a few hours ahead of baking (but add the top layer of cheese just before putting it in the oven). Once cooked and tightly covered, it will refrigerate well for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing it because of its cream sauce and cheese, which could make it gummy once reheated.

Classic White Sauce

Makes about 1½ cups. INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup butter or vegetable oil (see Notes)

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or cream, warm (see Notes)

½ teaspoon ground sea or kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground white or black pepper (see Notes)

Dash of nutmeg

 In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking constantly until the mixture begins to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, and whisk to combine. When it just begins to boil, in about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to low, and whisk the sauce until smooth and thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Use as directed. Notes: Vegetable oil and white pepper are often used to ensure the whitest sauce (though the flavor is less buttery); use black pepper if desired. Microwave each cup of milk for 40 to 50 seconds before adding it to the roux; warm milk (105°F to 110°F) will help the sauce incorporate faster and create less floury lumps. Without warming the milk, the sauce will be fine as long as you whisk it constantly; strain out any lumps if necessary. The richer the dairy product, the richer the sauce. For more complex flavor, replace half the liquid with chicken broth. For a thinner sauce, reduce the butter and flour by half.


Recipes courtesy of “Southern Casseroles–Comforting Pot-Lucky Dishes by Denise Gee; chroniclebooks.com