Skip to main content

Elizabeth Lamont's Interior Design Blog

Oct 02, 2014   |  0 comments

Halloween DIY Decorations

I was honored to submit an article to Maria Shriver's website this month with DIY Halloween decorations. Halloween really kicks off the Holidays season and as the weather starts to bring a bite to the air our thoughts turn to entertaining our friends, neighbors and families. This year I'm putting together a spooky miniature graveyard scene that you can use as a hall display or even as a table centerpiece. Click here to read the full blog post on MariaShriver.com.

The saying goes that if you choose a job that you love, you never have to work a day in your life.   This is how I feel, as I am able to spend my days transforming houses into warm and elegant homes.

I was so pleased to be able to work recently with Jensen Ackles (of TV's "Supernatural" fame) and his lovely wife, Danneel Harris, to update their nearly 6,000 sq. ft. Malibu home. This is a dynamic young couple and the dark, outdated style of the home just didn't suit them (or the home). I wanted to help them recreate the space with a more relaxed feel, yet maintain sophistication and style.

The Ackles had brought with them some beautiful furniture from a previous house, but we really needed to capture the more relaxed Malibu attitude for this home. I began with a palate of blues, grays and ivories to draw on the colors of the sand and ocean, which allow additional accessories to further enhance the mood. We used many of our custom pieces from Room at the Beach to add that comfortable ease and low-key style.

I love to start with the entryway, as that space sets the mood for the home and is an immediate reflection of the homeowners' taste and personality.   Before, this entryway had just a too-small table that sat unadorned alone. Instead, I added an extra-long, custom bench and a beautiful oversized painting from artist Karen Bezuidenhout to create a relaxed, yet bold welcome area.   

The original kitchen dining area had a rustic farmhouse table and large upholstered chairs with traditional tufted detail. We replaced the entire setting with a custom fumed white oak table with a natural light grey stain finish. This table has very clean lines that are balanced by the rounded back of the wishbone chairs.   A striped neutral rug anchors the room and patterned custom cushions on the chairs are whimsical, yet elegant. The Room at the Beach-designed, grey wooden chandelier adds a lighter feel than a traditional metal or dark wood chandelier, and a dark green banana tree in the corner brings the outdoors in.

 

Typical of Malibu, the home has amazing views, but many homeowners are reluctant to install any window treatments for fear of obstructing those views. I was able to demonstrate that drapes do not have to cover the windows or be heavy to create a more finished look. Additionally, I always feel that there is no sense of privacy or definition at the doorway if you can see directly into the home. We added drapes in many of the rooms to add that extra detail.

I loved this project because the house itself was a beautiful design with grand ocean views, but desperately need updating.   It is a perfect example of how the interior design can easily change the overall feel of the house, even within the same frame. What before was heavy Mediterranean, is now, with lighter colors, fabrics and unique accessories, the embodiment of relaxed, coastal living.

 

The Ackles have recently have put this home on the market, but it was wonderful to work with them and I find so much joy when transforming a home. Now, it's been quite exciting to see the house featured on many websites, like: Yahoo.com, LA Times, and Wall Street Journal. Let me know what you think of the home in the comment section below!

xo,
Elizabeth

Jun 27, 2014   |  0 comments

4th of July Party Ideas

4th of July can easily be my favorite holiday. Everyone is flocking to the beach and the parties go on for days! I never get tired of decorating with red, white and blue... I love to add vintage touches even in the most modern setting.

This year I decided that not only would the setting be gorgeous but the food would be healthy as well as fun. My table uses the best of the summer from outdoor lanterns, to bunches of red carnations with pinwheels for sparkle. I love mixing formal and casual. Striped paper plates and plastic glasses (nice ones that look like the real thing) combined with crisp linen navy and white napkins with coral napkin rings looks fabulous. If you're serving burgers or hot dogs on the 4th, use some simple baskets lined with parchment paper and tuck burgers and fries neatly in them. You can find cheap baskets anywhere and with the parchment paper lining, cleanup is a breeze!

For this Holiday you really can't  have enough stars and flags, so add them any chance you get. Think of different ways of using them: coasters, cocktail napkins, or even as garland. Hang flags from balconies, on retaining walls over the pool - anywhere you have the space. We have a lot to celebrate as a country so bring it all on!

Here are some more ideas for your party:

Invitations

Make it easy but classy with electronic Invites from Paperless post like this cute vintage design

Healthy  BBQ alternatives:

  • Sweet potato fries
  • Grilled shrimp salad, cobb salad or healthy grilled food like turkey burgers, chicken sausage or chicken drumsticks
  • Homemade frozen popsicles 
  • Drinks:  American craft beer selection for the adults: find a local store that carries a good selection or order online from http://www.beeronthewall.com. Root beer for the kids!
  • Simple Lemonade 

Activities for kids (and some for adults)

  • Slip & slide or water guns
  • S'mores
  • Glow in the dark necklaces & bracelets
  • Bubbles
  • Sparklers

Decorations:

  • Buy tin buckets and red, white blue spray paint. Use masking tape to make stripes, spray paint and peel off. Fill with sand and stick in pinwheels and flags.
  • Set your playlist to country music
  • Bandana napkins
  • Sunflowers
  • Red carnations
  • Flags and stars in any form! 

And last but not least, think safety:

Have bug spray, sunscreen, band aids & Taxi Magic app for the drive home!

Fireworks

Most cities have official or private fireworks displays you can catch. In Malibu there are always private industry parties that have firework displays set off from barges off the coast of some of the most famous beach front residences. Google "Fireworks display [your city]".

Happy 4th!
xo,
Elizabeth

Take Advantage of Seasonal Produce for a Beautiful, Bountiful Buffet

Take advantage of seasonal produce for a beautiful, bountiful buffet relaxing and catching up…that's the best part about spending a long weekend with friends and family. But too often we end up snacking on junk foods and overindulging in heavy barbeque and sodas. This weekend, plan a gorgeous buffet with fresh and colorful choices that are delicious, elegant and will leave your guests feeling refreshed and ready to welcome the summer. Getting the kids involved makes the meal more appealing to them as well.

For inspiration, enjoy a trip to the farmer's market for a variety of organic, fresh vegetables for salads and kabobs. The farmers market in Malibu is one of a kind (and always, a great place to do some celeb sightings, if you have any out-of-towners visiting).

Look for all kinds of salad greens, berries, beets, and peppers. Take the time to speak with the vendors (also our stars) to ask about what's best right now and even have a taste. This time of year go for the stone fruits, just coming into season.

When you're planning your menu, start with a signature cocktail: Watermelon Martinis! I love martinis because you can add almost anything so they are always fresh and seasonal.

Pour it into a beautiful glass pitcher and it becomes part of your decor. This is such a refreshing choice that always makes it feels like summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions: Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until  sugar has completely dissolved. Let cool. In a food processor, puree the watermelon flesh. Add a little of the sugar syrup to sweeten to your taste.

Pour the pureed watermelon into 2 empty ice cube trays and freeze for min. 4 hrs. In blender combine frozen watermelon cubes, more simple syrup to taste, lemon juice, vodka, melon liqueur and blend until smooth. Pour into 8 frozen martini glasses and garnish with watermelon balls & slice of cucumber on a toothpick.

 

Main Course De-light

The main course doesn't need to be heavy to be wonderfully satisfying. Keep the dishes light and colorful. Grill Veggies first then Salmon and it will pick up delicious flavor from the veggies. My dear friend Karen Parcell, makes the most delicious grilled salmon ever. Here's her recipe:

Directions

Whisk together the mustards, honey, horseradish, mint and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before using. Can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated . Bring to room temperature before using. Brush both sides with the marinade with a bit left over to add before serving.

Heat the grill to high. Brush the grill with the oil. Place the salmon on the grill, skin side down, and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, about 3 minutes. I tented mine with tinfoil.

Karen's recipe, like her, will close any real-estate deal in the Palisades (Visit her website at karenparcell.bhhscalifornia.com)

 

Roasted Veggies

This recipe came about when I arrived home after a long day of installing furniture in a client's home and was surprised by my daughter making me dinner! She whipped up some grilled veggies and added them all to a salad. Fantastic! Try it this Memorial Day Weekend and you too will love it.

Ingredients:

2 bunch Asparagus - ends snapped off
4 Zucchini - cut into long 1" strips
2 large yellow onions - cut into 1" rings
2 basket of cherry tomatoes - cut in half
1 head of romaine lettuce - torn into bite size pieces
1 bunch of Arugula - stems torn off
6 oz feta cheese - crumbled (buy in a block as fresh as you can, from a cheese shop)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Ginger dressing (recipe to follow)

Turn grill on high. Thoroughly clean and dry all the veggies. Put asparagus, onion, and zucchini in a ziploc bag with olive oil less small amount for grilling. Add salt & pepper to veggies, just a pinch or two of each. Massage your veggies so they are well coated. Throw a small amount of water on grill to make sure grill is nice and hot. When grill sputters it is ready. Dip a paper towel in remaining oil and using tongs wipe the grill grates with oil. Lay the veggies sideways on grill to prevent them from falling thru grates. Let them get a nice char about 3 min per side for onions, and zucchini and a bit less for asparagus. Remove and let cool.

A big bowl is important for not only presentation but allows you room to toss the salad, making sure each piece is well coated with dressing. Add all the ingredients except the cheese. Add the dressing slowly about 2 oz at a time, gently toss the salad. Get some air into it so every piece has that delicious flavor. Crumble feta cheese on top before serving and a couple turns of fresh, cracked, black pepper.

Ginger Dressing

Makes about 9 oz

1 cup of good olive oil
1/2 cup of rice vinegar
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of grated ginger( best to buy to already done in a sauce at any market - I love the Culinary District brand from Surfas here in LA)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1tsp of crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp blk pepper

Add all ingredients into a bowl and whisk well. Can stay at room temp for 4 hours or in fridge for a month.

Fun & Healthy for the Kids

For the younger guests, create a special kabob assembly line. When children are involved in the choices, they tend to be more willing to try a variety of foods. Offer cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, chicken sausage chunks (throw those on grill after veggies and on side of salmon), and yellow or orange peppers to make an inviting activity that ends in a healthy meal! There may be a need for some dipping sauce so pour a bit of ranch dressing in individual bowls for bright flavor (make it fresh with mayo and the ranch dressing packets, it tastes so much better).

Add a basket of fresh, crusty bread and you are set.

 

Sweet Endings

For a sweet yet sophisticated ending, create a berry parfait buffet. With some charming glass dishes and a variety of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, along with some fresh whipped cream or vanilla yogurt, guests can create their own layered treat. Wine glasses or mason jars are lovely if you don't have dessert bowls, and clear plastic cups are great for the kids (we suggest our Govino plastic wine glasses). Add some granola, chocolate chips or crushed nuts for a sweet, crunchy garnish.

And really, when it's dessert, don't we all love a "make your own" treat? And even better that this one is actually so good for you!

Enjoy!
xoxo
Elizabeth

It may be a cliché to say that mothers always put everyone else's needs before their own, but it is generally true.  We just can't help ourselves!  Even for Mother's Day, we often end up doing the grocery shopping so the kids can make us breakfast in bed!  This year, make sure it really is a day off and a day celebrating you.

To ensure the day's success, you may need to actually tell your family what you want to do.  It may be fun to imagine being surprised or that your loved ones will plan a fabulous day for you, but is that realistic for your family?   Of course they love you and want you to have a wonderful day, but do they really know what would make your day?  Do you want breakfast in bed or a fabulous brunch at that restaurant with the view?  Do you want a bouquet of flowers delivered or would you rather take a walk through a botanical garden?  Maybe you just want to stay in with a cup of tea and a good book.

Once your family has some ideas for the day, make sure the planning does not fall on you.  Specifically delegate if you must!  Gently (or not so gently) suggest that they decide who will make the restaurant reservations, check the timing for the show you want to see or do the grocery shopping.  Some suggestions might be in order for the grocery list (champagne, maybe?), but generally your family should be able to take care of it themselves.  Then, let the details fall on the family.  


However, it doesn't hurt to ensure a wonderful gift that you know you'll love.  Stop by the store and pick up a little something for yourself.   A new side table for those ubiquitous flowers or some new bedding for the best mom to snuggle right in! (to enjoy a well-deserved nap!). Personally I have my eye on the new Pine Cone Hill Chambray Linen duvet cover and shams....

xo,

Elizabeth

Recent Blog Posts