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Marcel Breuer

summer14_MBauerI was 20 and it was my very first apartment. My own kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom. I wanted my place to look like the ones in the interior design books and magazines I read constantly.

summer14_MBChair1I was bringing furniture items from home but I wanted to enhance them with new ones. My mother promised me a kitchen table and chairs and a few more things. She told me to make a list of things I needed and wanted.

summer14_MBChair3Mothers know their children very well, so it was no surprise to her when I told her I wanted Marcel Breuer chairs for my dining table. Marcel Breuer was a Hungarian designer and architect who studied at the Bauhaus art school in Germany. In the 1930s, Breuer fled Germany for London, where he experimented with plywood materials and created his celebrated Long Chair, a one-piece wood reclining chair. He went on to much success in America from the late 1930s until his death in 1981.

summer14_MBChair2I had noticed in many of my parents friends’ homes a beautiful chrome and cane chair called the Cesca Side Chair. They are classically clean, light and airy Bauhaus style chairs that Breuer first designed in 1928. I looked at other styles of chairs, but this was the one. Mother tried to discourage me on such a chair because of the strong but fragile-appearing caning in the chair. She thought they would not last long and young adults wouldn’t respect them.

But my mind was made up. We bought a complete set of six of them. If I had nothing other than those chairs in my first apartment that would have been just fine with me. I no longer have the Cesca Chairs in my home but when I see them I think of Mother and how proud I was of those chairs in my very first apartment.


Leaving Palm Springs

Palm Springs AirportIt’s easy to be nervous about flying when you’re standing in line at check-in or security and being bombarded by the sights and sounds of airport madness.

It’s a lot different if you’re flying out of Palm Springs Airport. I was in Palm Springs recently, and having enjoyed the desert Hollywood life for a few days, I was not eager to get back to the airport. But this is not just any airport. This airport actually feels like a little resort.

Palm Springs Airport FountainBecause it almost never rains, you emerge from security through a set of doors and find yourself back outside in the sunshine, among palm trees and grass lawns, with blue skies above and mountains around you. Want to lie down on the grass and breathe the desert air just a little while longer? Go ahead, no one will stop you. The two covered, sunlight terminals are connected by landscaped walkways, and there are outdoor restaurants to take in the last of the Coachella Valley sun.

Palm Springs is a special place, and as soon as the plane reached cruising altitude I began to miss it. My last thoughts were of the delightfully garden-like gateway, the Palm Springs Airport.

Recommended Reading

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, David Lebovitz

Palm Springs Mid Century Modern, Dolly Faibyshev

Marimekko: Fabrics, Fashion, Architecture (Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture), Ms. Marianne Aav

Food and Entertaining

Picnicking in the City

summer14_picnicI love summer and all the fanfare that comes with it.

Warm summer sun, barbecues, shorts and tee shirts, boat shoes, fishing, camping, and picnicking. Yes, it’s summer, but I live in downtown Seattle and it’s a very busy metropolis with millions of tourist, construction, traffic jams, noise and night life. Of course I love living in the epicenter, but it’s always good to take a break. For city dwellers, that often means running to the nearest urban oasis, the city park.

One of my favorite things to do on those wonderful warm summer evenings is get together with friends and neighbors and plan a dinner picnic. It’s really easy to do and everyone gets a chance to share something from their refrigerator or stop by the local gourmet shop.

Grab a blanket and a few folding chairs, a bottle of your favorite wine or Italian soda and stake out a place under a tree with the best view that you can find, and relax. I promise you with your sip of something and a nibble, a four star restaurant couldn’t be any better.

We have long summer evenings in the Northwest region so conversations and joyous cheer linger for a while. Pick a theme and make it yours, call an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, and remember to treat the park like your extended living space.

I have a great recipe to share that will bring a smile to everyone’s face:

Joey’s Easy Caprese Salad

  • 4 vine ripe tomatoes, ¼ - inch thick slices
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, ¼ - inch thick slices
  • 20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
  • Your favorite Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste

On your favorite large platter layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each. Repeat until the platter is full. Drizzle olive oil on top and salt and pepper to taste. Yikes !! Everyone will think you’re a fabulous cook. Enjoy!

Don’t forget colorful reusable plates and napkins that will be a crowd pleaser too.

Twelve Things I Can't Live Without (right now)

  1. My Sea Green Watering Can from Crate and Barrel. (www.crateandbarrel.com)
  2. 80 Acres Body Products. These are the most wonderful olive oil based products. I found them in San Francisco. (www.mcevoyranch.com)
  3. Veuve Clicquot Brut. The Yellow Label. I always feel French drinking this champagne. (www.veuve-clicquot.com)
  4. L’Occitane — Verbena Collection. This scent is fresh and clean smelling. The very Best!!(www.loccitane.com)
  5. Kate Spade Candles: “The New York Celebrity Candle Collection,” so elegant in a Lennox china holder. (www.katespade.com and www.neimanmarcus.com)
  6. Lemons, I love them year round on many dishes and in my drinking water. It’s a staple on my grocery list.
  7. D.C. Comics Wonder Woman Key Chain. I use it for my guest keys. It’s really fun. Thanks to my friend Matty.
  8. Mitica Wild Lavender Honey — So good with a crusty baguette from your local bakery. (www.deandeluca.com)
  9. Fresh Roses from Pike Place Market in Seattle.
  10. Voss Water. So refreshing, and save the cool cylinder shaped bottle for a long stem rose or picnic basket. (www.vosswater.com)
  11. My Jonathan Adler Day Timer Book. Yes, I know it sounds old to have one, but it helps me stick to my schedule. (www.johnathanadler.com)
  12. To my family and dear friends “I love you Madly”.