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Soft Modern Hip-Haute Style

Give your gathering some hip-haute style with decor like this. Photos: Hooker Furniture.

This Easter and beyond, embrace the tradition of the day in a new way with an elegant, yet soft modern approach to brunch, lunch or dinner. Decor that mixes simple, clean lines with a variety of materials and textures, along with inviting, warm finishes is how to create hip-haute, soft modern style. That’s especially true when the day culminates with a cleverly conceived dessert no one expects!

With two 20-inch leaves that extend its width to 84 inches, this Scandinavian-inspired table can seat a crowd. Hooker Furniture.

Beefy X-shaped cross beams form the sturdy pedestal base of the Studio 7H Geo Trestle Dining Tablewhile also adding architectural interest.

The modern way to create a forest-fresh feel: this solid Acacia wood live edge table with glass legs. Hooker Furniture.

Aptly named, the Organic Dining Table features a solid acacia wood top with a live edge, so each table is unique in shape. Tempered glass legs create the illusion from afar that both table and dining bench  are floating in air.

With its 44-inch diameter, this table is sized right for small spaces or intimate gatherings. Hooker Furniture.

With its unique mix of re-sawn maple, waxed aluminum sheet and rustic bolts, the Urban Elevation 44-inch Dining Table adds a rustic, industrial touch that looks lovely in everything from chic penthouses to casual country cottages. 

A buffet like the Reverie is the secret weapon of every savvy host/hostess. Hooker Furniture.

A blend of old world and modern design elements, the Reverie Buffet is defined by crisp, clean lines and a trendy platinum gray, lightly distressed finish. It also provides extra serving space and extra storage for dining essentials. Shelves are adjustable, drawers have drop-in felt liners, and there’s even a silverware tray in the middle drawer.

Here’s how to keep your celebration moving. Hooker Furniture.

Despite its name, the Ciao Bella is more than a bar cart. This aged bronze metal cart with wood shelves is like a butler on wheels. It’s perfect for getting food to the table fast, and then clearing the table with ease after mealtime.

Why bunny hop when you can bunny haute?

A trendy muted blue palette transforms this bunny and eggs from kitsch to contemporary cool, especially in these glass-sleek and subtle, matte finishes. 

A simple bloom adds flower power to any table.

Solid white dinnerware, with a tone-on-tone basket weave rim, creates an elegant foundation for the table. A fresh tulip, tied to a simple striped napkin with a pastel ribbon, adds a pretty touch from nature.

Every girl needs an Easter hat.

Here’s a quick DIY project that’ll make every little girl you know feel like the star of the Easter parade. Tuck oversized silk (or paper) flowers into the ribboned brim of simple straw hats. This is a contemporary look that’s as pretty as a petal. 

Make this the sweetest treat of the day. James Ransom, copyright 2017.

After the meal and obligatory egg hunt are done, treat kids and grown-ups to an unexpected (but very cool) dessert that’s trendy, tasty and very easy to make.

Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Tacos


Ice Cream & Friends: 60 Recipes & Rif

The Editors of FOOD52

Makes 6 to 8

With these Chocolate Tacos, it’s your taco party so you can do what you want: Soft, chewy shells (that you shape by hanging over books, but not this one!) are spooned full with whatever ice cream flavor you desire and topped with Picasso-like splatters of chocolate and crushed nuts—or sprinkles or brittle or gummy bears. You get the idea.

The shells are a love child of eggy crêpes and soft flour tortillas—and the secret star of this taco. You can make the shells a day in advance and have guests fill their own, or you can make the tacos entirely in advance and keep them in the freezer.

Taco Shells

2⁄3 cup (85g) all-purpose flour

1⁄2 cup (100g) sugar

1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the skillet

1⁄4 cup (60ml) milk

1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites

Fillings and Toppings

10 ounces (285g) dark chocolate chips

3 tablespoons coconut oil

4 to 6 cups (950ml to 1.4L) ice cream, softened (store-bought Choco Tacos have fudge-swirled vanilla ice cream)

1⁄2 cup (60g) crushed nuts, plus any other desired toppings

  1. To make the taco shells, cover 6 to 8 hardcover books that are 1 inch (2.5cm) thick with parchment paper. Stand them up vertically, spine up. These are your shell molds.
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, 1 tablespoon water, almond extract, and vanilla, followed by the egg whites. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  1. Warm a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Butter the skillet and then spoon in 2 1⁄2 tablespoons of batter. Spread the batter gently with the back of a spoon or offset spatula so you have an even circle. Cook until slightly brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until slightly brown on the second side, 1 to 2 minutes more. With a spatula, gently fold the shell over the spine of the book and let cool. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding butter to the pan as needed.
  1. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each. Let cool slightly.
  1. Fill the taco shells with ice cream, drizzle with as much chocolate as you wish, top with the nuts, and enjoy! You can freeze uncovered for a few minutes to let the chocolate harden; the tacos will also keep, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Reprinted with permission from Food52 Ice Cream & Friends: 60 Recipes & Riffs  by the Editors of Food52, copyright © 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.



Spring Fling: Nature-Inspired Decor

Here’s how to lighten up your home and life with style and nature-inspired decor.

Spring is on our doorstep. Time to break out of that winter rut and make a fresh start, both inside and out. With design’s new take on nature-inspired furniture, your home can blossom with style in light, airy ways that’ll also inspire you to step outside and enjoy all that Spring brings once the decorating is done.

Where to start? Draw back the curtains and let in some natural light and fresh air. Then go room to room to see which spots are overdue for a style refresh.

Here’s how to make every day sunny. Photo: Hooker Furniture

The bold sunburst shape of the Sunray Mirror  is accentuated with German silver foil, which makes the mirror gleam while reflecting soft beams of light around the room.

Lighten up your home with a sparkly, blingy mirror. Hooker Furniture

Shape up in a light and airy way. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

With a laser-cut metal base that resembles a trellis, The Angeline Console  puts a modern spin on an important element of garden design—architecture.

Spring is time for sky-high style. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

The softly-curved shape of the Beaumont Bachelor’s Chest romances the room as its nature-inspired Skylark Blue finish takes flight with fashion finesse. 

For the authenticity of nature, try simple and uncomplicated. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

The clean lines and weathered gray finish of the Jude nesting tables  infuse interiors with a very organic sense, especially when clustered together in the center of the room.

Here’s where to come home to roost in style. Photo: Hooker Furniture

The Affinity upholstered bed  has a streamlined silhouette that lets light flow in and around it, plus a greige and antique white sand-blasted finish that adds nature-inspired texture.

Remember to lighten up in other ways, too. Plant flowers or stroll through a nearby park. Fresh air, fragrant flowers and the sun’s glistening reflection on water are among Mother Nature’s most sure-fire cures for stress.

Bark, run, repeat.

When someone asks, “Who let the dogs out?” let the answer be…”I did!” Playing fetch, rolling in the grass or taking a leisurely walk will benefit you and your furry best friend.

Drink a cup for better health.

Every day, over 50% of Americans drink tea, which can lower cholesterol and the risk of stroke. So why not sip yours beneath a shady tree with a snack in your hand and friends by your side?

Flower power works wonders.

This sign says it all.

Now’s the time to embrace the season of renewal and fresh starts that is upon us. Lighten up. Have a little Spring fling. You and your home deserve it. 



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.