Designing the Life: A Blog by Uma Stewart and Friends

Hotel Tour: The NoMAD in NYC

the-nomad-hotel-is-now-open-for-business-in-new-york-cityLast year I stayed at The NoMad Hotel NYC with my husband for our anniversary. We live 20 miles from the city, but like many Jersey folks, enjoy living like resident-tourists rather than like commuters sometimes. When we walked into the hotel lobby, I remember thinking, wow, he really picked a good one! We enjoyed staying right in the Nomad neighborhood for a total change of pace from our usual city spots. We wandered through the flower district, checked out the Showplace Antique & Design Center, and had great Peruvian food at Raymi. The Ace is around the corner. Fun to pop in just to soak up the genius vibes for a bit. Most importantly? The NoMad’s perfect decor and Elephant Bar of course! Take a quick peek and I’m sure you’ll be headed there too. We are planning this year’s quick getaway now, and we may just go back!

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Color Palette: Sienna and Deeps

August 2015August is bittersweet, right? No month means summer in the same way. Hot. Slow. Hazy. You’re at the beach, the farmer’s market, standing in front of the AC vents. And yet the rush of fall is creeping in back of mind. The sun is already setting earlier. And it begins: Have you peeked at fall fashion yet? Talked to your kids about what kind of lunch box they want for the new school year? Are you longing for them to come home from camp yet?!

This month’s mood board captures this cusp for me. The fullness of summer with the fall season in full view. Just not here quite yet. Thankfully.

Link to this pics (L to R): 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

My House: A Plan for Breakfast

Breakfast Table Designing In Chatham NJSaturday mornings are bliss, aren’t they? We get up late. My husband and son work together to make pancakes while I catch up on my blog reading and Pinterest. I know. I’m super lucky! It gets better. The pancakes are amazing, and every week the recipe rotates: blueberry, cottage cheese, banana nut, or apple pancakes in the fall.

Some days we have lots of family and friends join us for the now famous pancake breakfasts we have. If our peeps are coming we make spicy eggs, and pull out champagne for some mimosas. So fun. The entire table gets filled to maximum capacity for quite a few breakfasts every year. Here’s a recent pic from my Instagram (stay tuned because the room is getting a fix up with some new pieces and Uma Stewart fabrics soon!).

Kitchen Decorator In Morris County NJBut other days it’s just the three of us for breakfast, and that is equally nice. I still try to make the table look decent. Right now black-eyed susans are growing wild in our front border. I am frequently inspired to head outside with the snippers to pick a few. I’ll often snip at the unplanned Japanese maple tree growing onto our patio steps too.

Dining Area Decoration In Short Hills Nj

I’m all for dressed up and ornate as you probably know by now! But these simple breakfasts for three call for a simple table. As it turns out, we don’t need much.

Once we’re done eating we might put on some music, dance (at least Aadi and I will), and read the news or a book. This week Michael had me listen to a new album he downloaded by Christine and the Queens. I loved it, and he knew I would. How about you? Do you have a pancake routine?!

Christine & The Queens Chaleur Humaine

Here’s a recipe for my favorite pancakes. I love it for the low fuss days because the cottage cheese makes it filling and more protein heavy! No side dish needed.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
1 cup cottage cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cups finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup dried currants, plumped

2 large egg whites

Pure maple syrup or honey, or plain yogurt (optional, for serving. I like them with just some butter because the currants are sweet enough.)

Lightly butter, oil, or spray your griddle.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cottage cheese, butter, egg yolks and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. Stir in the pecans and currants.

Beat the two egg whites until they are stiff but not dry and fold them into the batter.

The batter will be thick and bubbly. Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake, nudging the batter into rounds. These are thick and might take a little longer to cook than most other pancakes. Cook until the top of each pancake is starting to dry around the edges – you will get a few bubbles here and there – then turn and cook until the underside is lightly browned. These will keep in a 200 degrees F oven while you finish making the rest, but they are best served ASAP!

On My Library Table: Matisse: His Art and His Textiles

matisseandhistextilesI wanted to start a series where I show you some of my favorite possessions: my collection of art and coffee table books! It seemed fitting to start with Matisse: His Art and His Textiles. I picked this book up almost exactly 10 years ago at The Met when I went to see the namesake exhibit. It was a gorgeous exhibit, which showcased not only works of art by Matisse, but also pieces from his personal collection of textiles.

robesmatisseMy favorite item was this beautiful silk robe which appears in many of Matisse’s paintings and sketches. At the time of the exhibit, I had just quit a job and was in search of a new career. I was heavily leaning in the direction of “interior designer,” but I was looking for clues. I remember that I had recently met three textile designers. I didn’t exactly understand their work at the time, but I wrote the phrase “textile designer” down because I loved fabrics and something appealed to me. It also seemed remarkable to me that I had met so many people in this new profession quite randomly around the same time!

goldenringsmatisseUp in the top right corner of this picture is a piece of our GLASS RINGS textile pattern in the Metallic Gold color way. It has been a long haul, and looking back I can’t believe that I can add the title of Textile Designer to the roster of job descriptions I have. I remember the  emotions I felt as I looked at a master’s paintings in person. I remember the joy as I considered the use of color. But it was looking at his collection of fabrics that gave me this feeling of reverence.

tokenstripematisseHere are some of the paintings with the gorgeous robe. I love how our TOKEN STRIPE in Nightshades seems to capture the exuberance. Maybe it was subconsciously inspired by Matisse’s stripes! Thinking about it now, fabric invokes reverence in all of us. Think about how you stroke a fabric. Even my most no nonsense clients will pick up a swatch differently from how they pick up a tearsheet. You pick up fabric and feel it. You hold it up to the light and consider it from angles. The exhibit characterized Matisse’s love of his textiles as a fascination, but chances are, he had that reverence too.

I’m not surprised my path led me to create fabrics. I grew up around them in my house and in my mom’s design studio. There were frequent conversations about them. And they always inspired my deep love, whether in interior or clothing form. Visiting this exhibit was another experience in my database of experiences that helped me to find a calling. I brought the book home because I wanted a way to capture the memory of that. Some part of me must have known how much walking through that exhibit would still mean to me now.

I’m wondering about you? Have you ever experienced a series of coincidences like this? Do you have intense fabric love? A fan of Matisse? I would love to hear about it! You can also let me know if you would like to see another book from my collection. I have a feeling I’ll be sharing another soon!

If you would like help creating a beautiful home, contact me about our design services.

House Tour: A Luxe and Layered Small Space

Veranda Mag Cottage4This interior by Andrew Brown was featured in Veranda this month. There are so many elements that I love. Sisal carpets, white and black with blue, a libray table, chinoiserie screen, tailored window treatments. The list goes on. The house totally captures that worldly, laid-back look we love. Be sure to visit veranda.com to see the full house tour.

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