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How to Make Every Night Date Night at Home

Sit close and see what develops. Photo: Sam Moore Furniture Houlihan Settee.

True romantics are all about getting to the heart of the matter. But traffic jams, pricey movie tickets and long restaurant waits ca take their toll on even the most ardent Cupid. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re ready to woo in a way that’s new, show your home some love and make it the scene for date night every night.

After all, home is where the heart is!

Cozy up in style on the Randleman Sectional from Bradington-Young.

Make relaxing together at day’s end an irresistible thing to do with Randleman, a luxe leather sectional with plush Spring Down cushions. 

How to make romantic dinners for two practically perfect. Hooker Furniture

Take date night romance to new heights with the Boheme Ascension Dining Table that can be adjusted from 30-inch dining height to 36-inch counter height. And its smaller size makes this table ideal for everything from cozy candle-lit dinners to leisurely breakfasts spent sipping coffee and watching the sun rise. 

For lasting romance, you need the write stuff. Hooker Furniture.

At first glance you’d never guess that the chic  Modern Romance Writing Desk is a romance command center. And yet, it is. With a drop-front center drawer that houses a keyboard, this kidney-shaped desk makes it easy to dash off a quick text or email. Or reach inside its two top drawers for a removable pencil tray and writing insert, then go old school and treat your sweetie to a handwritten note that’ll be cherished for years to come. 

Love may be a simple DIY project away.

To add a modern graphic punch, stain or paint unfinished wood letters (found at craft stores). Then glue them together to form an endearing word or message.

Want to heat things up in style? Hooker Furniture.

 In addition to keeping media room equipment neatly stored on adjustable shelves behind each door and in an open triple section component area, the Big Sur entertainment console delivers an unexpected, romantic perk—an electric fireplace insert with LED flames that flicker like the real thing and deliver warmth from a a built-in fan-forced heater to warm up your date night. 

This elegant upholstered bed is made for sleep, stylish repose and more. Hooker Furniture.

Adorned with dramatic details like button-tufting and a crown motif headboard, Reverie romances the bed -and everyone nestled in it.

Chocolate may be the tastiest aphrodisiac of them all. Photography copyright 2015 by Erin Kunkel.

In cooking, as in life, some of the most fabulous pairings occur when opposites attract. In this easy-to-make scrumptous recipe, sweet caramel and spicy ground black pepper come together with the help of decadent Dutch chocolate.

Salt and Pepper Caramel Brownies

from The New Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne

They say that freshly ground black pepper wakes up the salivary glands and enhances our ability to taste food. Who wouldn’t want to taste their brownies more completely? Black pepper also adds an unexpected smoky, floral note to the classic treat, making them complex and irresistible. The bittersweet, salty caramel is indulgent but heavenly.

Makes 16 large or 25 small brownies


1/2  cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for greasing the pan

3/4 cup (3 3/8  ounces) all-purpose flour 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Page 4—Date night every night at home blog text

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs


2 tablespoons water

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line it with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter the parchment.

To prepare the brownies, whisk together the flour, cocoa, pepper, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a large bowl,  whisk together the brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs. Add the melted butter to the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture. (You could throw in some chocolate chips at this point, but that might just be gilding the lily.)

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until just set, 2 4 to 26 minutes. As soon as a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the center pulls out very moist crumbs, not runny batter, pull the brownies out of the oven. Set on a rack to cool.

To prepare the caramel, add the water to a medium saucepan. Add granulated sugar to the center of the saucepan, making sure the sugar is evenly moistened. Cook over medium heat, without stirring (although you can gently swirl the pan, if necessary), until the caramel is medium amber in color, 5 to 6 minutes. Slowly add the cream, whisking constantly; be very careful, since it will bubble up and spatter. Add the butter and cook, whisking constantly, until the caramel is smooth and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more.  Whisk in the vanilla. Pour the caramel over the brownies and spread evenly.

Cool in the pan, on a rack, for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and refrigerate until the caramel is set, about 1 hour.

To serve, cut around the edge of the brownies to loosen them from the pan, then use the parchment to lift the brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut the brownies into squares. (Little pieces go a long way!) Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from The New Sugar and Spiceby Samantha Seneviratne, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.



Liven Your Home with Lavish Living Coral

A luscious mix of red, pink and orange, Living Coral looks modern, upbeat and fearless. Photo: Sam Moore Furniture and Pantone.

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019, “Living Coral,” reflects our desire for vitality, community and care for the natural world we depend on.

Modern, upbeat and fearless, coral is a classic that’s been creating a hospitable mood since the Renaissance. So if you love it, use it lavishly to liven your home!

An elegant pearl gray settee gets a youthful lift with accent pillows in a modern coral-and-white floral print. Enhance the impact with a few of Nature’s many coral-hued flowers. Done! Photos: Sam Moore, birchlane.com

Coral is no shrinking violet, but it’s surprisingly easy to use. Try these tips:

  1. Try coral as a wake up call to a cool neutral color scheme, as with the pearl gray settee above. Off white and light woods also welcome coral’s warmth. Use coral in at least three places around the the room to lead the eye and create balance.

    Boho-elegant or nautically nice, coral is a natural with creamy yellow as on the Sariah Sofa, and loves cool complements from ice blue to navy and all points in between. Photos: Sam Moore and wayfair.com.

    2. Coral and royal blue are gorgeous complements. They’re rich and regal with dark wood and gold accents, or crisp and exciting with gray, silver or bright white. 

    In the Milsey Tufted Ottoman, watercolor softens coral’s punch so it plays nicely with lighthearted blues, greens and golds. A round ottoman like this earns focal point status with an eye-catching print. Sam Moore Furniture.

    3. Coral plus vivid aqua or teal and yellow-green bring home the brilliant allure of the ocean for a beachy vibe.

Coral pink, turquoise and other summery hues get an elegant, go-anywhere look in classic paisley on the Kelsey Wing Chair from Sam Moore.

Rich coral red has been a splendid favorite since the Renaissance. No surprise, as shown in this Saffron Crackle Chest, it is flattering, energizing and graciously warm. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

Coral goes cool in timeless styles, modern prints and metallic neutrals that show off natural coral’s fascinating shapes in this Coral Console. Photo: Hooker Furniture

Living Coral, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019, is a vibrant hue that manages to be both modern and classic, and expresses styles from coastal to chic to cosmopolitan and even an Asian flair. Are you using living coral in your home? Let us know in the comments. 

Rich coral has been a splendid favorite since the Renaissance. No surprise, as it’s flattering, energizing and graciously warm. Photo: onekingslane.com.


8 Ways to Find Comfort at Home

Retreat in comfort at home with a crackling fire, cup of tea and a comfy chair. Bradington-Young Furniture.

It’s a tough world out there. But at home, peace, serenity and comfort await through decorating, furnishings, cooking and relaxing with family and friends.

Want to make your home a sanctuary that welcomes everyone (including you!) with a warm, welcome hug? Here’s how.

Sit down and snuggle up with the Chester Sofa. Hooker Furniture.

An updated take on an iconic British design dating back to the 1800s, the Chester sofa is cozy, comfy and spacious with deep, plush seat cushions made for curling up with a soft blanket throw to tv binge watch or read a book by the fire. Classic yet contemporary, this beautiful Chesterfield sofa features a classic rolled-back frame with button tufting and is upholstered in a trendy mid-tone blue hue that’s warm, inviting and colorful.

Create a yen for zen in unexpected ways. Hooker Furniture.

With decorative hand-carved mango wood doors in the shape of a mandala (an ancient, universal spiritual symbol for serenity and the wholeness found within the circle of life), this entertainment console furniture is as much art to be admired and contemplated as it is practical storage for tv and stereo components.

Make time to talk and listen. Bradington-Young Furniture.

The Gallin, Kirby swivel tub  and Kirby stationery chairs mix classic and contemporary style with comfort and ease. And by placing these luxe leather chairs in a circle facing one another, they form an inviting place to gather and gab with friends over coffee or cocktails.

Work it out with style. Hooker Furniture

For the 23% of Americans who now work from home at least part of the time, a home office that’s not only functional but fashionable, too, can make going to the office (even if the daily commute is now 30 seconds) something to look forward to. Crafted of soft white oak veneer with eglomise mirrored accents, the Rustic Glam trestle desk, credenza and bookcase  are mirrored furniture pieces that transform conventional office essentials into chic focal points.

Put into practice the adage” “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Hooker Furniture.

Studies show that clutter and messiness at home contribute to stress.  With its antique mirrored, pearl essence finish, the Sanctuary ten drawer dresser  is a pretty, practical problem-solver. With 10 spacious drawers, you can store more and stress less.

Dine like you mean it. Hooker Furniture.

Restore the tradition of breaking bread together. Whether you cook like a Food Network star chef or excel at take-out, when family and friend gather around the spacious  Beaumont rectangular dining table, the time together will feel special.

Pick a winter winner, chicken dinner (and with bacon!) John Lee

Fried chicken evokes fond childhood memories for many people, including me.  This comfort food brings to mind Sunday lunch at my grandmother’s home where our big family of aunts, uncles and cousins would race after church to feast on her crispy fried chicken with gravy, homemade rolls and pie topped with sky-high meringue.  No matter how many of us were at the table, somehow there was more than enough to eat. And there was certainly more than enough love to go around, too.

This recipe is tasty, easy to make and delivers on three popular trends—home cooking, bacon and the resurgence in comfort foods like fried chicken and gravy. Try it. You’ll like it. A lot.

Buttermilk-Soaked, Bacon-Fried Chicken in Gravy


“Fried Chicken” by Rebecca Lang

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco

1 chicken (about 2 pounds, 8 ounces), cut into 4 pieces

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

Vegetable oil, for frying


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon salt

To make the marinade, whisk together the buttermilk and hot sauce. Pour into a large zip-top bag and add the chicken. Seal the bag, rub to coat the meat, and refrigerate for 6 hours.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on a paper towel, reserving drippings in the skillet.

Reprinted with permission from “Fried Chicken” by Rebecca Lang copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photographs copyright © 2015 by John Lee.

Make home a refuge for you and yours.