Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2012

We threw ourselves into the ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST HOME DESIGN SHOW in March as first-time exhibitors. With the Spring High Point Market following close behind, we rolled our sleeves up and went to work on our showroom. The event was well-organized and beautifully put together; we were more than happy to meet with an abundance of talented designers, architects and builders.

We brought some of our new Spring 2012 additions to the show to introduce, including our new Leonardo L621/A table and the new Leonardo L28N dining chairs which were very well-received. Our showroom at this exhibit was significantly smaller than our showroom in High Point (250 square feet vs. about 3000 square feet!), so without a lot of ground space to work with, we went upwards! One of our favorite features of this showroom was our new lighting.  Specifically, we introduced two new chandeliers:  Rain and Decadence.

The Rain chandelier is a stunning display of pouring crystals. This chandelier is made exclusively with Swarovski crystals and allows for the exchange from colored crystals to clear crystals.

The pretty Decadence chandelier delivers elegance to any room. The frame is made of solid brass chrome, whose black and silver lampshade projects a cheery brightness. The Murano glass flowers may be ordered choosing black and white flowers, or transparent and silver flowers.

Fully customizable in sizes ranging from 20” to 60”, each chandelier can be made in either a chrome or a gold finish. In addition, we offer the choice of fixture: ceiling or chandelier. Made in Italy

FIORI DI ZUCCHINE FRITTI

If you happen to live in an area where food is sometimes grown and not semi-trucked in, then you might find yourself staring at a pleasant bounty of zucchini flowers at your local farmers’ market. A friend surprised us with a basket. We nearly fell over. Here in Arizona, it’s like seeing water. This is not the case in Italy. Seasonally available in abundance,  Italians are constantly coming up with new ways to present them, as this is a perfect seaside snack on the Mediterranean. Pleasant stuffed with mozzarella, robiola, or any other soft cheese, plus or minus anchovies, and then baked, personally, we would suggest frying them using a simple batter with a little chopped sage. Best served hot with a very cold glass of wine, and you cannot go wrong.  Buon appetito!

Oil for frying

2 large egg yolks

1 cup ice water

1 cup flour

12 zucchini flowers with stems

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a deep mixing bowl, lightly beat the yolks and pour in the ice water; mix to combine.  Add the flour and mix until batter is the consistency of heavy cream. Dip a couple of zucchini flowers in the batter, letting the excess drip off. Fry in hot oil a few minutes until they shimmer with gold. Drain on paper towels and dust with plenty of salt and pepper. Enjoy hot.

Aging Gracefully

A restored Trullo in Valle d'Itria in Puglia - Courtesy of our friend Leo at Typuglia

Story book in appearance, admired by  tourists, and cherished by Italians, a Trullo, or many Trulli – as they are called, is a type of round, sometime rectangular, house covered by conical roofs, topped with a finial or ball, and are characteristic of the Puglia region of Southern Italy, and most notably found in the small town of Alberobello. Recognized by the World Heritage Committee as having outstanding universal value and prehistoric construction techniques, mortarless trulli are made with local limestone from surrounding fields. Restored and inhabited today, Trulli are an example of Vernacular Architecture – architecture forced from man’s need to provide shelter and comfort using the natural resources available to him. Present dwellings date back to the 14th Century, although there is room for debate, and tradition has it that this type of limestone construction, which could be dismantled easily, served dual purposes. One, citizens resistant to authority could be dispossessed rather quickly, or two,  those seeking to avoid taxation on new property, could, well, get rid of the evidence. Wandering around in a trullo, one can certainly appreciate the degree of work and skill in constructing such a hefty building, placing massive stones in an ever-diminishing circle to maintain the top cone. Most trulli are one-story buildings, although you would find two-story trulli during the 17th Century for the rich. Simple inside, and usually whitewashed, a trullo usually consists of a series of rooms separated by arches. Starting out with one trullo, when additional space was required, another trullo was added on to the current. Very clean and open in terms of style, and true of antique buildings in Italy, where very little embellishing is necessary – one wouldn’t want to distract from the overall beauty of a trullo. MADE IN ITALY

ITALIAN CHERRY {CILIEGIE} LIQUOR RECIPE, FOR MUCH LATER

Cherries are plentiful in the countryside in Italy, and the birds put up a strong fight to beat us to the bounty. If we win, we never get around to eating them all before the cherries start souring.  I swear, the birds give us dirty looks through the open windows, as we toss them in the “storage” bin. To avoid all the scrutiny of our winged friends, why not make a cherry liquor to drink later (as in December), and enjoy as an aperitivo before dinner, or perhaps after, when a digestivo is called for – to aid digestion.

2 pounds and a handful or so of cherries

1 liter alcohol, or vodka (ouch!)

2 cups sugar, or a bit less

Wash and cut the cherries, discarding half the pits…Recipe continued here…Ciliegie Liquor

On Our Movie Wish-For-Time List: Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times)

Taking on the four cycles of life in the mountainous region of Calabria, Italians are always teaching us to slow down and enjoy life, this film promises to deliver on that theme.

Winner at Cannes, this is what critics are saying:

“This is a beautifully evocative, humorous and subtle look at life and nature in deepest rural Italy.” -Screen/Wendy Mitchell

“Frammartino uses his background as a video installation artist to create something that one could just as easily come across playing at an art gallery. The director simply turns on the camera and shows us the natural progression of time in a place where time seems to have stopped. Working from a quote from the School of Pythagoras — that each of us has four distinct lives within our one life, and thus must meet each other four times — the number four also represents four elements (man, animal, plant and mineral) and the four seasons.”
The Hollywood Reporter/Natasha Senjanovic

Grazie Mille! Let’s Do This Again Soon.

Walls by Florence De Dampierre

Garden Frescoes from the villa of Livia in Roma, as shown on De Dampierre’s book of important wall designs throughout history. The Roman villa was likely part of Livia Drusilla’s dowry brought to the Julio-Claudian dynasty (27 B.C.-68 A.D.) These dining room frescoes were discovered in the 1500s, and according to museum literature, Augustus’s wife, Livia may be credited for the fresco trend in dining rooms for many centuries to follow.