The Basics +: Cream of Chicken Soup


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 medium Spanish onion, chopped

2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

2 tbsps of Pimento

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour

7 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned

3 sprigs parsley

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 3/4 cups cooked, diced chicken

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, pimento and carrots and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes more.
  2. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the soup. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  4. Whisk the heavy cream, sherry, and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Divide among soup bowls, sprinkle the top of each soup with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Dont forget the vintage Tureen!

shop tureens!

New England Clam Chowder from Kennebunkport

This clam chowder recipe comes courtesy of chef Bryan Dame, executive chef of the Tides Beach Club Kennebunkport Oceanfront Hotel. The fresh cherry-stone clams are the star of this creamy, warming soup that makes a great appetizer during any season.

Executive Chef Bryan Dame of the Tides Beach Club - Luxe Beat Magazine

Serves 4 as a first course.

  • 10 pounds cherry-stone clams
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • salt and black pepper, to taste


Wash clams and steam in water and white wine. Remove, reserving the cooking liquid, and pick and chop clams.

Render bacon. Add butter and onion and sweat.

Add oregano, garlic, celery, and potatoes. Stir well.

Add flour to make a roux. Add reserved clam cooking liquid (clam juice) and cream. Cook until potatoes are tender and add clams, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper.

New England Clam Chowder from Kennebunkport, Maine

The items we all covet…but what IS a sweetmeat ?

Often found in pairs, they have become a staple on mantelpieces everywhere. They flank mirrors in the best entryways. We ooh and ahh at then in magazines. But what the heck is sweetmeat.

Don’t be fooled by the name, sweetmeat are actually candied delicacies, a piece of candy or a piece of fruit covered with sugar. And the dishes made for them are fabooooolous.

We just found a great pair at an auction and cant wait to display them.

Anglo-Irish Antique Sweetmeat Dishes

These will look great on a dining table, buffet or mantel. The color is terrific.

Some other good examples:

So lets make some sweetmeat to eat and drink!

Sugar Plums


  • 200g luxury dried fruits (a medley of raisins, currants, citrus peel, sultanas, apricots, figs, dates etc.)
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
  • 1 orange, zest of, grated medium
  • 2 -3 teaspoons brandy or 2 -3 teaspoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (or a mixture of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves and allspice)
  • 12 pistachio nuts
  • 3 red cherries
  • Put all of the dried fruit, ground almonds and glace ginger into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the grated orange zest and mix well. Then add the brandy or orange juice and pulse briefly until the mixture comes together.
  • Mix the sugar and mixed spice together.
  • Divide the sugar plum fruit mixture into 12 pieces and then roll into small balls, before rolling them in the spiced sugar to coat them all thoroughly.
  • Cut the pistachios into slivers and cut the cherries into quarters, then push the pistachio slivers and cherry pieces into the top of the sugar plums, to imitate leaves and berries.
  • Place them into small paper cases if you wish and store them in an airtight tin for up to 4 weeks if made with brandy, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge if made with orange juice.
Sweetmeat the Drink

This drink takes the richness of roasted pecans and goes full-on Southern, pairing a nutty-flavored liquid with bourbon and a hint of peach.

  • Ice
  • 1 3/4 ounces bourbon, preferably Belle Meade
  • 1 1/2 ounces Pecan Water (see related recipe)
  • 3 dashes peach bitters

Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the bourbon, Pecan Water and bitters; stir for 30 seconds, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a coupe glass.

You can find our sweetmeat dishes at Rapscallions, our antique store in Maryland! and on Chairish!

Easy Reference- Furniture Guide

Antique Furniture is one of the most fascinating sections of antique collecting. Primarily because so many of us naturally do what’s most important when collecting antique furniture. We buy what we like.

Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors. In other words, more vintage furniture is acquired for its beauty and function rather than the profit potential of a piece.
But whether you are looking for a piece of antique furniture for your home or looking for something to sell on; to become knowledgeable about identifying antique furniture takes research. And that is even if you are focusing on only one aspect of this very diverse subject.

There are several ways you can identify an antique furniture item.

The first aspect is the joinery; machine-cut furniture was not produced until about 1860. If the piece has drawers, remove a drawer and look carefully where the front and back of the drawer are fastened to the sides of the drawer. If a joint was dovetailed by hand, it has only a few dovetails, and they are not exactly even; if it has closely spaced, precisely cut dovetails, it was machine-cut. Handmade dovetails almost always indicate a piece made before 1860.

It’s easy to spot an antique by the drawers because joints were not machine-cut until about 1860. If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.

Look carefully at the bottom, sides, and back of the drawer; if the wood shows nicks or cuts, it was probably cut with a plane, a spokeshave, or a drawknife. Straight saw marks also indicate an old piece. If the wood shows circular or arc-shaped marks, it was cut by a circular saw, not in use until about 1860.

Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made. On handmade furniture, rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not uniform. Examine these parts carefully; slight differences in size or shape are not always easy to spot. A real antique is very rarely perfectly cut; a reproduction with the same components will be because a machine will have cut it.

The finish on the wood can also date the piece. Until Victorian times, shellac was the only clear surface finish; lacquer and varnish were not developed until the mid-1800s. The finish on furniture, made before 1860, is usually shellac; if the piece is very old, it may be oil, wax, or milk paint. Fine old works are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish. A lacquer or varnish finish is a sure sign of later manufacture.

Testing a finish isn’t always possible in a dealer’s showroom, but if you can manage it, identify the finish before you buy. Check the piece in an inconspicuous spot with denatured alcohol; if finish dissolves, it’s shellac. If the piece is painted, test it with ammonia; older pieces may be finished with milk paint, which can be removed only with ammonia. If the piece of furniture is dirty or encrusted with wax, clean it first with a mixture of denatured alcohol, white vinegar, and kerosene, in equal parts.

The type of wood is the final clue. Very early furniture, from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the eighteenth century, is mostly oak, but since the end of the seventeenth century, other woods as walnut and mahogany became the preferred choice among the cabinet makers.

Around the 1670s they came to recognise the better properties of the walnut, which dense grain allowed for lighter and finer shapes of the furniture, and quickly turned into a most fashionable material. However, in the early eighteenth century, the walnuts in central Europe were nearly extinguished by a frosty winter and its numbers were significantly reduced.

Meanwhile in 1730s mahogany became increasingly popular after it was introduced to England, imported from the British colonies in Honduras and the West Indies. The walnuts quickly became almost entirely superseded by the exotic newcomer, which remained the favourite choice for the next century, especially in England and America.

English and American furniture styles

Most antique wooden furniture you will encounter, will either be from traditional English periods or American Colonial styles.

Identifying Antique English Furniture Styles

Queen Anne   1701-1714

  • Style: English Baroque (furniture less heavy than one in French or Italian Baroque)
  • Wood: oak; walnut; also cherry and later mahogany; walnut veneers applied to an oak base for less expensive furniture
  • Form: graceful curves; cabriole legs; claw-and-ball foot
  • Decoration: figured veneers, foliage marquetry, curved legs with carved shells on the knees, lacquered furniture (japanning), gilt furniture

Early Georgian    1714-1760  

  • Style: Palladian style (1720s-1740s); Baroque
  • Wood: walnut; walnut veneers applied to oak furniture; gilt gesso
  • Form: architectural forms; strict symmetry; furniture larger in scale (comfort becomes more important); pad foot introduced; cabriole legs and claw-and-ball foot still widely used
  • Decoration: walnut burr used as a decorative effect; marquetry no longer in fashion; Classical motifs incorporated; japanning

King George II    1727-60

  • Style: Rococo; oriental influences; Gothic influences
  • Wood: Mahogany; pine; gesso
  • Form: Asymmetrical ornaments; chairs with broad square seats
  • Decoration: C and S curves; rocaille; carved foliage; gilding and japanning remained in vogue; chinoiserie; upholstery with rich floral needlework, velvets, or silk damasks

King George III    1760-1820

  • Style: Neoclassical style, Empire style
  • Wood: Mahogany, satinwood used as veneer, rosewood, kingwood, exotic wood
  • Form: Symmetrical design introduced; architectonic forms; previously valued  Baroque and Rococo curves gradually superseded by straight and elegant lines; tapered legs, pad feet
  • Decoration: chiefly used Classical motifs, such as palmettes, vases, bay leaves, Greek keys, griffins, sphinxes, etc.; wood inlays instead of carved decoration; marquetry; parquetry; painting

Regency    (early 19th century)

  • Style: Neoclassical; Exotic style with Japanese, Persian, Turkish, Indian influences
  • Wood: Mahogany; rosewood as a veneer
  • Form: smaller scale; simple, bold curves; more functional; more intimate
  • Decoration: colours used; ancient motifs

Victorian    (late 19th century)

  • Style: greek; Gothic and Rococo influences
  • Wood: Mahogany; walnut; rosewood
  • Form: heavy; massive; substantial
  • Decoration: dark finish; ornate carvings; marble tops used

Identifying Antique American Furniture Styles

American furniture styles have seen a significant number of style periods since the early Colonial era, with each period being to some degree influenced by the pieces being built in Europe (generally England and France).

Early Colonial – 17th century

  • Pine, birch, maple and walnut
  • Hybrid of English styles with square lines, solid construction, heavy decoration and carving.

Late Colonial – 18th century

  • Pine and Mahogany
  • Imported wood with interpretations of Queen Anne and Georgian styles. Formal. Windsor chair.

Federal – Early 19th century

  • Mahogany and Cherry
  • Interpretations of Georgian styles and Duncan Phyfe variations of Sheraton style. Some French influences. Heavier versions of English styles. Boston rocker, Hitchcock chair.

Pennsylvania Dutch – Late 17th to mid-19th century

  • Maple, pine, walnut and fruitwoods
  • Solid, plain, Germanic style. Colourful painted Germanic decorations.

Shaker – Late 18th to mid-19th century

  • Pine and maple
  • Severely functional with no decoration. Superior craftsmanship and excellent design.

Chicken Thighs with White Beans and Escarole

Thanks to food guru Kate Merker

YIELDS:4 TOTAL TIME:0 hours 30 mins


2 tbsp. olive oil,

8 small chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 skin-on cloves garlic, plus 2 cloves thinly sliced,

2 sprigs oregano, plus 2 teaspoons chopped,

2 strips lemon rind, thinly sliced, plus 2 tablespoons juice,

1 Dijon mustard

1 small head escarole, trimmed and torn into pieces

1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, rinsed


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook, skin sides down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Turn chicken skin sides up. Add skin-on garlic and oregano sprigs. Cook until garlic is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken, garlic, and oregano to a platter.
  3. Add sliced garlic, sliced lemon rind, chopped oregano, and remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in mustard.
  4. Add escarole, in 2 batches if necessary. Season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until escarole is beginning to wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add beans and cook until escarole is tender and beans are heated, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Serve topped with chicken, skin sides up.

Friday Happy Hour: Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour and Come Together

Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour

Meet the best whiskey sour recipe—it’s full of bourbon and fresh lemon, sweetened with maple syrup and includes a hint of cinnamon (spice is optional). Feel free to multiply the amounts given below by up to four, if you’d like to make a bigger batch in your cocktail shaker all at once.


Per cocktail

  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) Bulleit bourbon or your bourbon of choice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons maple syrup, to taste (I like 3 teaspoons, which is the equivalent of ½ ounce or 1 tablespoon)
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon, optional


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mason jar about two-thirds full with ice. Pour in the bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Securely fasten the lid and shake well.
  2. Pour fresh ice into your cocktail glass and strain the cold whiskey sour mixture into the glass. Enjoy!

Pomegranate Fizz

Pomegranate Fizz
  • Ice (preferably 1 to 2 large cubes)
  • 4 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce dry curaçao
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 ounces chilled sparkling brut-style white wine
  • Lemon/kumquat wheels, pomegranate seeds, rosemary sprig and/or grating of nutmeg, for garnish (optional)

Place the ice cubes in a serving bowl and set aside.

In a mixing glass, combine the pomegranate and lemon juices, gin, curaçao and bitters, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the ice in the bowl, then top with the chilled sparkling wine. Arrange your garnishes on the surface of the drink, if using, and serve.

The Extraordinary Living History of Blue-and-White

Imagine the frenzy: a novel white porcelain arriving from the East, the surface almost jewel-like in its translucency and hand-brushed in a festival of cobalt decoration. It was a stirring debut 200 years in the making. The exotic blue-and-white wares marched through 16th- and 17th-century Europe like a vivid carnival, fresh off a journey of color and craft that began in southern China, where artisans discovered a chemical kinship between their prized porcelain (made with locally sourced and highly coveted kaolin) and cobalt oxide (the only pigment to withstand porcelain’s high-firing temps). Technology evolved, but the regal color map was, as they say, baked in. In the centuries that followed, artisans across four continents joined the crusade, forging a grand—and global—ceramics tradition. Here, a look at the majestic migration of blue-and-white wares and the decorative imprint etched immortal.

a handprinted illustration of a map of the eastern world

Blue-and-White Ceramics in the Eastern World

Chinese Porcelain
Chinese Porcelain
Chinese Porcelain


Fourteenth-century artisans in Jingdezhen, China, are the first to fire porcelains decorated with the blue and white underglazes recognizable today. Their muse: cobalt ores just in from the Middle East, worked into dazzling dragons and floral scrolls. 

a handprinted illustrated map of the western world

Blue-and-White Ceramics in the Western World

Italian Medici
Spanish Fajalauza
Spanish Fajalauza


Italians set out to unravel China’s porcelain secret. The Florentine court of the Grand Duke Francesco I de’Medici comes the closest with a soft-paste version, though they lack the translucency of Chinese pieces. Only 59 examples still exist.

16th-century Italian soft-paste porcelain ewer, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Decorating with Blue and White

Shop Blue and White at HSD Catalog

Remembering Paige Rense

MAGAZINE | JAN 3, 2021 | Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseBy Kaitlin Petersen

In her 40-year tenure at Architectural Digest, Paige Rense transformed a sleepy regional quarterly into an iconic brand—and catapulted interior designers to stardom along the way.

Editor’s note: Rense passed away on January 1, 2021, at her home in West Palm Beach, Florida. This profile of Rense, originally titled “Star Power,” was published in the Fall 2018 issue of BOH.

Like attracts like. It’s a simple enough premise—and for Paige Rense, it was the key to success when she joined the Architectural Digest staff in 1970. Her unwavering objective was straightforward: to be the best. To do that, she reckoned that she needed the best projects; to attract the best work of premier designers, she assured them that their project would be covered by the best photographers and writers. And as she delivered on that promise again and again, the magazine’s influence—and her own—grew.

Today, Rense lives in West Palm Beach, where she continues to write. She rejects attempts to categorize her meteoric rise as legendary. “Most of what I did seemed obvious,” she says when we sat down for an interview in Rizzoli’s New York offices this summer. She had just made the final edits to her forthcoming book, Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine, a retrospective that traces AD’s oeuvre from its founding in 1920 as a large-format regional magazine until her departure from the title in 2010. “There was no secret formula at all,” she insists, though she single-handedly shepherded the transformation of the Los Angeles quarterly into a glossy international style arbiter. “It seemed to me that, given the subject matter, designers were key. So I started interviewing them—and they loved it. Then I graduated to architects.” Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseIn 1970, Paige Rense appears on the masthead of Architectural Digest for the first time. Arthur Elrod’s Palm Springs house appears in the Spring 1970 issue. Leland Lee © AD courtesy of CondeNastPub

Her first big “get” was legendary San Francisco designer Anthony Hail, who agreed to be interviewed and introduced her to other Bay Area talent. The resulting coverage got the attention of designers nationwide, and she traveled to New York on the coattails of that success. While there, she had lunch with Angelo Donghia, then a star on the rise. “He believed that I would do with the magazine what I said [I would do],” says Rense. Donghia was taken with her vision and in a major coup for the magazine, he showed his own New York townhouse in AD—a story all of the major shelter magazines were after.

There was something special about the magazine, even in the early days of Rense’s tenure. “Rich people don’t usually want to have their homes photographed, but they all want to be in AD,” Donghia told her shortly after his home was published. There was a certain celebrity that came with publication—an appeal Rense actively encouraged. “By showing top designers, other top designers wanted to be in the magazine,” recalls Rense. She also brought a new look and feel to the shelter category, creating stories that amplified a designer’s portfolio by running photographs as full pages and across spreads instead of many smaller images, which was common practice at the time. 

Designer and architect Campion Platt, who credits Rense with launching his career, was one of the professionals lucky enough to be published frequently in her pages. His editorial debut in the magazine, a Manhattan high-rise apartment in the Olympic Tower that belonged to a Malaysian princess, garnered him seven new clients—five immediately, and the others years later. “It was a different time—there were no blogs, no social media,” recalls Platt. “You were lucky if you were published once a year, and AD was the most important place to be on the planet.”Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseThe Hamptons home of Truman Capote is featured in AD in 1976. By 1985, Capote is one of the many literary contributors to the magazine, alongside the likes of William Styron, Kurt Vonnegut, Gerald Clarke, John Updike, Susan Sheehan and Judith Thurman. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales even pens a guest column. Richard Champion © AD courtesy of CondeNastPub

Rense will be the first to tell you that her journey to becoming editor of the magazine was filled with surprises. She applied for the job on the recommendation of a friend after a brief career at Peterson Publications, where she worked under her managing-editor husband, Arthur Rense. In her AD interview, the publisher asked what she would do if she were hired. “I said, ‘Well, first I’d make it good,’” recalls Rense. Following the still-unsolved 1971 murder of Bradley Little, the magazine’s editor in chief, she filled in as his replacement—and eventually got the top job. 

“Every once in a while, she’d call and say, ‘Come have lunch, and bring your latest work,’” recalls architect Marc Appleton, whose projects Rense published often. He even designed her home in Santa Barbara, which, as she reveals in the Rizzoli retrospective, she published anonymously in the magazine; the two later became friends. “I’d come to the office with 15 or 20 slides. She had poor eyesight, so she’d pull out a magnifying glass, and in the space of literally one minute, she would look at everything I’d done and decide what she was interested in—‘No, no, maybe, yes, maybe, no, yes.’ And then we’d go have lunch.”

Designer Sandra Nunnerley also remembers meetings with Rense. “She wanted to know what you were doing, see what your interests were and what you were working on,” says Nunnerley. “It was understood that you’d go to her first with new projects, before the other magazines. She was so supportive of my career and my work, so I always did.” Many designers recall the editor’s emphasis on exclusivity. Platt tells the story of a project he had photographed and submitted to Rense: “She was keen to publish it,” he says. “Then, one Sunday morning, she saw a 1-inch-by-1-inch photo of the space in the real estate section of The New York Times—the couple had decided to list it—and that was it.” Rense was no longer interested. “She had to be the first; she was a stickler about that. It’s in my book, which was published in 2010, but I never did get that project published [in a magazine].”Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseIn the 1980s, the magazine’s circulation swelled to nearly half a million. The White House appears on the cover of the December 1981 issue when Rense publishes photos of the Reagans’s private quarters. Derry Moore © AD courtesy of CondeNastPub

As the mystique of the publication grew, Rense introduced the AD100—a list of top designers—in a stand-alone bonus issue in August 1990. (The next iteration focused exclusively on architects; subsequent editions merged the two.) It was immediately regarded as the definitive who’s who of top architects and designers—and became a wellspring of exclusive talent for AD.

“She ran things with a severe grip,” says Appleton, who graced the list for the entirety of Rense’s tenure. “But if you were on the AD100, why would you go anywhere else? I was quite content to be published in her magazine.” Like Platt, another longtime AD100 honoree, Appleton says that the frequent exposure in AD’s pages helped propel his career. “What I came to admire as I experienced the magazine over the years was that she put great stock in the writers and photographers, as well as the design and architectural talent she represented. I think that explains a lot of her success—the writing, the pictures, and the work were all consistently good.”

The work of photographer Mary E. Nichols often graced the magazine’s pages. “She was a perfectionist,” says Nichols of shooting for Rense. “There was no tolerance for photographs that weren’t technically perfect.” Unlike at today’s heavily-produced shoots, Nichols and her photography assistant were often the only representatives of the magazine on site. Nichols arrived armed with Rense’s instructions for each project—ghastly window treatments or vulgar artwork to avoid, for example—but her mission was to capture the home the way the architect or designer intended it to be, not a stylist’s interpretation of the space. “She wanted everything [in the pictures] to feel like you were there—like you had just arrived in the room and it was ready for you. She wanted that integrity.” Even with all of her celebrity subjects, Rense rejected spaces that felt artificial. “I wanted reality,” insists Rense. “I didn’t want a stylist—that has always seemed fake to me. I wanted the reality of whatever was there.”Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine.Rense’s book, published by Rizzoli in 2018, chronicles the magazine’s history.Courtesy of Rizzoli

Rense weathered changing ownership, forging a cordial relationship with the late S.I. “Si” Newhouse, the longtime chairman of Condé Nast, when the esteemed media company purchased the magazine from Knapp Communications in 1993. “Si asked me to lunch [after the acquisition]. I said, ‘Do I report to you now?’ And he said, ‘You don’t report to anyone—but you have lunch with me whenever you come to New York.’ He was so wonderful and supportive.” Rense also adapted to the comings and goings of competitors—and the fickle nature of such a public job. In the forthcoming book, she chronicles her meetings, and sometimes ensuing friendships, with designers, celebrities and socialites, but also the constant pitches, and the finer points of saying no. Rejecting a home, she muses, is akin to rejecting its designer—something she tried never to do in person.

“Paige built a stable of super-talented people that were also longtime, loyal friends,” says Platt. “It worked both ways: She was going to be loyal to you and build your career; in return, you were going to hold the line and come to her first. I know people who stepped the wrong way and were shut out. She had an absolute grip on the top end of the interior design business for decades. To get an audience with her, to have her want to visit your projects, was a very special thing.”

That control, say designers who know Rense, is what cemented the magazine’s place among an ever-widening audience of design enthusiasts. “She is a tough lady, and she ran the magazine for so long,” says Platt. “It was really her; she was making all these decisions by herself all those years. But she never had an ego about it. She was all about the work.”

Homepage photo: One of Rense’s favorite portraits, taken by her late husband | Kenneth NolandThis article originally appeared in Fall 2018 issue of Business of Home, Issue 9. Subscribe or become a BOH Insider for more.

Aunt Adele’s Befana Cookies

The third recipe of our series was shared with us by Andrea Berti, the 4th generation owner of Coltellerie Berti, whose beautiful handmade knives have been available from MATCH for over a decade.

“Each year on Epiphany, my wife’s family, from the great grandparents to the great grandchildren, gather for lunch after the children joyfully open their stockings. At these celebrations everyone enjoys Aunt Adele’s Befana cookies.”

ingredients (Approximately 24 cookies)

  • 1¼ cups flour (300g)
  • ½ cup sugar (100g)
  • ⅔ cup melted butter (150g)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 egg yolks (plus one separate yolk for brushing)
  • 1 tablespoon Marsala wine or dark rum
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Sugar sprinkles for decoration

step 1
In a large bowl beat the yolks and sugar until foamy.

step 2
Add the flour and melted, cooled butter. Mix until there are no lumps.

step 3
Add the Marsala (or rum), orange zest, honey, and baking powder. Stir to combine.

step 4
Cover with plastic and refrigerate for two hours.

step 5
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to approx. ⅓ inch (1cm) thickness.

step 6
Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

step 7
Brush the tops with egg yolk and decorate with sprinkles. Bake at 350° for 10-15 min until golden brown, but not too dark.

Buon appetito!

Whats in the picture ?

Round Tray with Handles


  • 12.6″ DIA
  • ITEM A359.0
  • $340
Convivio Espresso Cup with Saucer


  • 2.5″ DIA X 2.6″ H, 2.5 OZ
  • ITEM 1532.0
  • $88
Pedestal Tray, Sm.


  • 8.3″ DIA X 4.7″ H
  • ITEM 1249.0
  • $320
Britannia Creamer


  • 3″ H, 6.8 OZ
  • ITEM 1253.0
  • $212
Britannia Tray


  • 19.7″ L X 15.7″ W
  • ITEM 1255.0
  • $795
Britannia Sugar Bowl


  • 2.6″ H, 7.4 OZ
  • ITEM 1251.0
  • $254
Convivio Salad/Dessert Plate


  • 8.5″ DIA
  • ITEM 1503.0
  • $110
Violetta Espresso Spoon


  • 4.8″ L
  • ITEM 1314.2
  • $27
Espresso Cup with Saucer


  • 2.2″ DIA X 2.4″ H, 2.7 OZ
  • ITEM 710.0
  • $132

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Omnibus signed into law over weekend has major wins on horse racing, slaughter and soring

horses grazing on grass
The new law includes measures to stop the widespread drugging of racehorses and to keep horse slaughter plants in the United States shuttered. It also boosts funding to end horse “soring”. Photo by Alexia Khruscheva/

With the signing of the omnibus bill this past weekend, U.S. federal law now includes critical protections for horses we have fought hard for over many years. These include measures to stop the widespread drugging of racehorses and provide increased track safety, keep horse slaughter plants in the United States shuttered, and boost funding to stop the cruel soring of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds.

These are historic achievements, and we’re proud to share the details with you.

Racehorses: The law includes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (S. 4547/H.R. 1754), to address the doping of racehorses and require that the tracks they run on be safe. The law will establish an independent, national authority that contracts with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to oversee drug enforcement. It will put in place uniform and rigorous rules, testing and penalties to address the abuse of pain-masking and performance-enhancing drugs that are key contributing factors to frequent fatalities on American racetracks.

According to news reports, at least eight horses on average died at racetracks each week during the 2019 racing season. The new law will create a committee tasked with mandating enhanced racetrack safety protocols to protect both racehorses and jockeys. This is an especially important win for us because we have long worked with serious-minded reformers in the horse racing industry to address racehorse deaths on the tracks, including through the creation of the National Horse Racing Advisory Council made up of industry professionals and specialists.

Horse slaughter: We helped secure a rider in the law ensuring that no taxpayer money will be allocated to fund U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughter plants, ensuring that they cannot reopen. This provision is necessary to stop the return of the predatory horse slaughter industry in the United States and it has been in place for all but two years since 2005. An overwhelming majority of Americans—80%—agree that horse slaughter for human consumption is an inherently cruel practice that should be permanently banned. This is also a food safety issue: American horses are not fit for human consumption because they are not raised under the regulatory restrictions required for animals raised for food. Horses in this country routinely receive drugs and medications that are specifically banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in food animals due to their toxicity to humans.

Horse soring: The law doubles the FY 2020 funding level for USDA enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to over $2 million to address the “soring” of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds. Soring is the intentional infliction of pain on the horses’ hooves and legs to get them to perform a pain-based and artificial high-stepping gait for the show ring called the “big lick.” We’ll be working in the coming year to secure passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1007/H.R. 693 in the current Congress), a bill that would decisively crack down on soring. The bill passed the House in the 116th Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan vote and is cosponsored by a majority in the Senate. We will also work with the Biden administration to swiftly reinstate a rule that would strengthen enforcement against soring, as the omnibus package urges the USDA to do. The rule, shelved in 2017, would end the failed system of industry self-policing and use of devices integral to soring, accomplishing much of what the PAST Act would do.

We achieved many more victories for animals in the omnibus bill this year, and each one has taken months of tireless, round-the-clock work by our staff and members of Congress sympathetic to our cause. We are grateful to every one of them. We are also grateful to you for your support: for calling and writing to your members of Congress to support these measures and for keeping them front and center.

Let’s take a moment today to celebrate these landmark wins for horses and for all animals. In coming months we will be watching closely to ensure solid implementation of the new measures concerning horse racing, and we will continue to press forward to ensure that the cruelty of horse soring ends once and for all. We will also be pushing for the passage of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to permanently ban the brutal slaughter of American horses both here and abroad. The road ahead is long, but we’re in it until these measures to protect American equines cross the finish line.

Thanks to Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund for her dilligent work here and for the info included here.

Why Buying Made in the USA is important

As a shop owner, I spend a lot of time apologizing for delayed shipments, delayed Customs and months-long manufacturing delays. While I am a big believer in importing unique items for our customers- I find it harder every day to recommend items that are also made here. The throw away culture that created the massive imported furnishing market needs to be rethought by buyers. Whether you think Globally or Nationally, there are excellent reasons to shop Made in the USA. In our stores and on our website, we are delighted to give you Made in the USA options…and here is why.


It’s about keeping and creating jobs to allow our citizens to provide for themselves and their families. When you purchase domestically, you are helping to sustain and strengthen our economy for generations to come and secure future business within America.

American manufacturing means investment and finance for the American economy.  The more that is pushed into national manufacturing, the more the nation’s economy will reap the benefits…and jobs!


In most cases, we make better quality products and not only that,  products manufactured here are usually built with higher quality components, which increases the longevity of products. … Made in USA is built to last.


When products are made in the US, federal and local governments can control working conditions and ensure that minimum wages are paid and proper laws are upheld. Importing goods from abroad means that we do not have that level of control and transparency. Sweatshops are rampant in third-world countries where many products are manufactured. While we have un-linked ourselves from Brands where abuses have been reported, we simply cannot tell what happens abroad.


Current technologies allow manufacturing processes in the US to lean toward cleaner, renewable, and eco-friendly practices. If we invest in American-made products, we can be sure that we are doing our part to contribute to a cleaner environment for our generation, not to mention the generations to come. Can we do better? Yes but many other countries don’t even recognize the problem.


Unlike 30 years ago when American plants were not as fast and quality driven and labor costs kept prices high, and forced manufacturing overseas…USA companies that remained or have since opened have concentrated on quality. They are also very consistent.

As a shop owner, I spend a lot of time apologizing for delayed shipments, delayed Customs and months-long manufacturing delays. While I am a big believer in importing unique items for our customers- I find it harder every day to recommend items that can be made here. throw away culture

What about the cost?

Many Americans are in a position to buy the very best and so it is easy to recommend American made goods. Many Americans need to choose by price and must sacrifice longevity to meet their immediate needs. And we spend a good deal of time ensuring that we only represent the best of those imported products. But the last group of buyers is who I would like to reach. With the emergence of Sezzle, Affirm and other Pay over time options- Americans should be looking to upgrade quality. So while, we do pay in this country for good working conditions and quality manufacturing: we are also paying down the deficit, improving the economy, creating jobs and retaining an industry within our shores.

SHOP Made in the USA

Christmas Putz Display – An Old American Custom

Our antique division was lucky this weekend to find two wooden Putz or Christmas Houses at an auction nearby. Because they com from this area, you would think it might be easier to find these little beauties,,,but it has been more difficult than we imagined, So we felt really fortunate to find 2 in one lot.

We cannot wait to add these to our collection!

Weeks before the Christmas holidays, the children in 19th century Bethlehem, Nazareth, and other Moravian communities along the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, made up little parties to go on expeditions in search of moss, ferns, gravel, and bright-hued stones to be used in Putz building. These excursions constituted one of the most enjoyable features of an old custom.


A Putz was a Pennsylvania-Dutch miniature landscape, with varied figures, structures and animals. Some of these scenes were made on a grand scale; but smaller ones, equally pretty, and not so difficult to manage, were arranged at the foot of the Christmas tree. The tree was placed on a table, or, better still, was set in a large dry goods box with boards placed across the top of the box, as a foundation for the Putz.

The Moravian Putz probably had the same origin as the Christmas crib that was set up in Roman Catholic churches at Christmastide. The latter is a more or less elaborate embellishment representing the stable at Bethlehem, with figures of the Virgin and Holy Child, St. Joseph, the three kings of the Orient, an ox, a donkey, sheep, and shepherds. The custom of erecting cribs in churches began during the thirteenth century in the Franciscan order; even today Christmas cribs are found in many Catholic houses.

The Putz is the same idea secularized, and probably originated in Germany—the source of many good old Christmas customs—at the time of the Reformation. The Moravians brought the custom of Putz building from the fatherland on their immigration to America, and continued the tradition through passing generations. It is probable that on Christmas Eve, 1741, when Count Zinzendorf, named the Moravian settlement on the Lehigh, Bethlehem, a Putz adorned the little log building in which he and his brethren were first assembled.

Christmas 9.5" Vintage Putz Christmas House Lg Lighted - Decorative  Figurines : Target
Modern day Putz Display houses can be found and enjoyed from many sources!

Beekeeping from Scratch

1960s Bohemian Beehive Bee Skep Straw Basket | Chairish

A recent purchase of an antique Bee Skep has gotten me thinking about Bees and how beneficial they are. More and more the natural colonies of bees we are accustomed to are either moving or disappearing at an alarming rate, leaving our gardens without the necessary pollinators. Alas beekeeping will need to be a gardening tool for everyone and it can be easily.

A Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping

Written by Lauren Arcuri

 The Spruce / Autumn Wood 

If the thought of keeping your own bees appeals to you, read on. We’ll explain the basics of beekeeping for the beginner, whether you’re a backyard beekeeper, homesteader, hobby farmer, or a small farmer looking to start a business selling honey and other bee products. It’s fairly simple to learn how to keep bees.

There are some factors to consider before embarking on a beekeeping adventure, so before you dive in, consider whether keeping bees is right for

  • Study All About Bees There are lots of books on beekeeping, and learning all you can about these sweet little insects can help you start your hives off on the right foot. Read as much as you can so that when your bees arrive; you’ll be ready to go and know how to keep bees.
  • Learn How Bees Make Honey Before you jump in and start ordering supplies, let’s take a step back and understand exactly how a hive works and what bees do. Bees make nests in nature, fly to flowers and extract nectar, then bring the nectar back to the hive and comb, where it slowly becomes honey.
  • Connect With Your Local Beekeeping Organizations In beekeeping, some details can be specific to your local area. The nature of beekeeping means that you’ll be most successful if you have strong local resources to draw on: someone to come check your hive or help you find your queen if needed, for example. Reach out and find your local beekeeping association and go to meetings. Some associations offer mentors who can be invaluable in helping you during your first season.
  • Learn How to Set Up Your Beehive To keep bees, you need a beehive. In the wild, bees build their own hive, usually in a hollow tree trunk or another sheltered place, but it can be anywhere. As a backyard beekeeper, you will provide a man-made hive for your bees so you can help maintain the colony and easily harvest the honey.There are a few different choices for the backyard or larger-scale beekeeper. Langstroth and top-bar hives are the most commonly found types.
  • About Beekeeping Tasksbefore you start beekeeping What is involved in taking care of your bees? Much like gardening, beekeeping tasks are best divided by the season. The best time to start your hive is in the spring so that the colony you begin with has time to build up, lay brood (baby bees), increase in number, and store honey before the winter sets in.
  • Gather Your Beekeeping Supplies What do you need to really get started beekeeping? Learn about the essential supplies and what you can do without for now. Remember: start small, so you can make adjustments if you change your mind later. Some supplies are better purchased in person, while others can be ordered ​online.
  • Your Honey Bees Once you’ve gathered your supplies and amassed plenty of beekeeping knowledge, it’s time to order your bees! You will likely order what are called “package bees” and a queen, or a “nuc colony.” Of the two, a nuc colony is a more established set of bees with a queen who has already started laying brood. It can give your hive a head start if you’re able to get one.
collecting Bee Skeps

Collecting Bee Skeps is a great hobby as well. You can use them until they crumble or just appreciate them in a retired grouping. The set above sold for over a 1000 dollars! So buy them when you see them.

New skeps can be bought at farmers markets. And there are many videos on You Tube to show you how they are used and cleaned.

Or BUILD YOUR OWN with these tips from Modern Farmer

How to Grow and Care for Bloomerang Lilac

The Lilac That Blooms Almost Continuously From May Through Fall

Lilac lovers often feel that the bloom is just too short. Lilac bushes bloom for about two weeks in May, and before you know it, it’s already over. Gardeners who cannot get enough of the looks and fragrance of lilac have the option to plant late-blooming varieties. Or, they can add a Bloomerang lilac to their landscape or patio.

Bloomerang, first introduced in 2009, is a registered trademark hybrid, which means that its name is protected as a brand. Only the nursery that bred it is allowed to propagate the lilac and sell it under the name Bloomerang lilac.

In May, around the same time as the common lilac, Bloomerang blooms heavily. In June, the shrub takes a break before starting to bloom again in July until the first frost.

The spring bloom is different from the summer and fall bloom, when the panicles are smaller and darker in color than in the spring.

The beautiful color and fragrance of the re-blooming lilac are not just for humans—butterflies and hummingbirds will seek it out as well.

Botanical NameSyringa x
Common NameBloomerang lilac, reblooming lilac
Plant TypeDeciduous shrub
Mature SizeFour to five feet height and spread
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeLoamy
Soil pH6 to 8
Bloom TimeSpring and mid-summer through fall
Flower ColorLavender, pink, purple
Hardiness Zones3a-7a
Native AreaNon-native hybrid

Bloomerang Purple
Bloomerang Purple  F.D. Richards / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

How to Grow Bloomerang Lilac

Hybrids like Bloomerang lilac are bred for best performance and disease-resistance. As such, they are a low-maintenance and almost carefree shrub for borders, foundations, and privacy screens. Bloomerang can be planted as a specimen, in small groups, or as mass plantings.


Bloomerang does best in full sun. It can tolerate partial shade, but it comes at the cost of reduced bloom.


Like all lilacs, Bloomerang prefers soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil can be neutral to slightly alkaline. Good drainage is essential; lilacs do poorly in soggy, wet soil.


Mulch around the base of your lilac to retain moisture. In long dry periods, water it moderately but regularly.

Temperature and Humidity

Like most lilacs, Bloomerang needs an extended period of cold winter weather in order to bloom profusely. This makes lilacs unsuitable for hot climates. While Bloomerang lilac can be planted through zone 7, it is best grown in areas with cooler summers. In areas with hot summers, the lilac is better off in locations that provide some shelter from the strong afternoon sun.

The shrub is not affected by humidity unless the weather is very hot and humid, which will slow down the reblooming.


Fertilize Bloomerang lilacs twice, the first time in early spring right after the ground turns soft, and a second time after the spring bloom to give it a good boost for the continued summer bloom. Use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus to encourage blooming, and avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen, as it will encourage only foliage growth, not blooming.


Bloomerang blooms on old and new wood and does not require pruning. For a neater appearance, you can remove the spent flowers after the spring bloom but it’s not essential.

Bloomerang Dark Purple
Bloomerang Dark Purple  F.D. Richards 

Varieties of Bloomerang Lilac

  • Bloomerang Purple ‘Penda’ is a standard-size cultivar with lavender-colored flowers.
  • Bloomerang Dark Purple ‘SMSJBP7’ is a standard-size cultivar with dark purple flowers.
  • Bloomerang ‘Pink Perfume’ is another standard-size cultivar with pink flowers.
  • Bloomerang Dwarf Pink ‘SMNJRPI’ is a compact dwarf cultivar that reaches only two to three feet in height and spread. It has pink flowers.
  • Bloomerang Dwarf Purple ‘SMNJRPU’ is another compact dwarf cultivar with purple flowers.

Growing Bloomerang Lilac in Containers

Unlike common lilac and other large varieties, Bloomerang can be grown in containers, especially the dwarf varieties. Keep in mind that lilacs, even compact varieties, have an extensive root system. The container should be large, at least 18 inches in diameter.

Before you start, check out the common container gardening mistakes, such as filling the container in the wrong place. The correct 18-inch container for a Bloomerang lilac holds about 15 gallons and moving it after you planted can be cumbersome.

Sufficient watering is crucial to keep your Bloomerang lilac alive and blooming. Follow the instructions for watering container plants.

Common Pests/Diseases

Bloomerang lilac is more resistant to powdery mildew and leaf spots than common lilac. Because powdery mildew, a fungus, thrives in humid weather, ensure good air circulation in and around your Bloomerang lilac by giving it enough space.

It is also deer-resistant.

Toscana Melamine Dinnerware

Our Toscana collection is inspired by the handcrafted and hand painted ceramics found in the Tuscany region of Italy. It’s rich color palette and beautifully designed pieces will create a unique and memorable tablescape.
Beautifully crafted with textured surface treatments and exceptional weights, Le Cadeaux melamine has the appearance and feel of real ceramic. Table art that is beautiful enough to dress the table for any indoor or outdoor gathering while being functionally shatter resistant, dishwasher safe, and BPA free. As with any melamine, not recommended for microwave.

SHOP Toscana Dinnerware, Glasses, Napkins and Tablecloths

Sabre flatware is the perfect partner to Toscana!

Cast Iron Horse-Head Hiching Post

19th Century
Cast Iron Hitching Post

The harness on the horse head indicates a carriage horse.

There are many hitching posts of this design in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana which were made in Baltimore Md originally. This piece came from a horse farm located outside of Baltimore.

Curiously, this iconic American design was copied at Disneyworld for their main street hitching posts in both California and Florida. According to Jim Korkis, the horse-head hitching posts on Main Street at both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom were designed by Emile Kuri (Mary Poppins set director). He based them on an antique hitching post that was given to him as a gift by the owner of the 1840 mansion where the academy award winning movie ‘The Heiress,’ was filmed (1949).

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Rapscallion Meatball Lasagna

Half my time in the kitchen is trying to develop the easiest and simplest way to make something not available in a restaurant near me OR trying to figure out how meals I have had in the past and that I covet were done. I cant do everything on my farm and in my business and also cook everyday- so when I do, I like to do several things at once.

I really wanted to try Lasagna. Yes my first time! So I made Lasagna but also did a mushroom broth to use in the sauce, which became a rich cream of mushroom soup with Rosemary, garlic, and cream. And I put away 12 meatballs for another dinner or sub sandwiches later in the week. And next time, I will assemble one lasagna baker for dinner and put away 2 or 3 versions in loaf pans….Time and Money saved!


 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 1 medium yellow onion (9 oz), finely chopped

 5 garlic cloves, minced Note: I saute my garlic until soft which I think gives it more flavor.

 Kosher salt

 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

 One (28-ounce) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, undrained

 2 teaspoons dried oregano

 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn

Note: I add a mushroom or beef stock to my sauce to give it weight. Just about a 1/2 cup.


 12 ounces 70/30 ground beef and 12 ounces of Pork

 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

 3/4 cup bread crumbs or dried bread crumbs, toasted, plus more if needed

 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves Note: I use as much as I can harvest!

 2 large eggs

 3 medium garlic cloves, sauteed and soft

 1/3 cup olive oil


  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  •  1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
  •  3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Spoon a thin layer of sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan. Arrange a layer of pasta sheets over the sauce. Sprinkle meatball quarters, mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pasta and then add another thin layer of sauce (about 3/4 cup). Repeat the layering process 2 more times. Add a final layer of pasta and top it with the remaining sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and stick in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 mins= remove the foil and cook and an extra 15 minutes. REST the Lasagna for at least an hour before serving.

Today’s Covet…The Romeo Console by Bungalow5

The Romeo Collection uses subtle, but exquisite design details to create pieces that artfully blend into a space. Separate panes of cast glass are held within a skillfully crafted grid of gold-leafed metal. The irregular nature of the cast glass makes the piece, giving  each one a unique, handcrafted appeal.

  • 54w x 15.5d x 32.5h
  • Gold Leaf Iron
  • Cast Beveled Glass
  • 1 Fixed Glass Shelf


This is a very sophisticated console table. I love it in front of the raw silk wallpaper because it lightens the piece and shows up the gold and bold glass slabs. This would be great in a hallway, dining room, or living room.- I sincerely covet this console…Deborah