Redesigning your small space

January 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Design Studio

January 2014

Redesigning your small space

Now that the holidays are over and all the decorations are put away it’s time to redesign your space.  It could be as simple as just rearranging your furniture.

Stand back and take a good look at the room, does it have a focal point?  That could be a fireplace, wall of windows or an entertainment wall.

You want to arrange the furniture so that you’re facing that focal point.

Blog Jan 2014

You want that to be the first thing people notice when they enter the room. You also want to arrange the sofa(s) and chairs so that it draws you into the room.

Arranging the furniture as a conversation area as above makes it for a more comfortable feel, no one wants to feel they’re sitting across the room from you.

image

 

Newsletter Jan 2014 5

 

Don’t forget about your walls
How about an accent color on one wall or part of a wall?

newsletter pic jan 2014

 

Nov newsletter 1

 

slipcovers6 (1)Slipcovered sofa and chairs

You can change the look of your sofa and chairs with slipcovers (Simplicity Sofas has custom fitted slipcovers for all of our pieces) or change out your throw pillows and area rug. Throw pillows are inexpensive and can make a big impact.
(10) Throw pillow Collage

(11) Fabric Shot

December 2013

December 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Holidays

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday to all!

I thought I would share some holiday recipes for all to enjoy this month.

sugar cookies

Christmas Sugar Cookies

 Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
Instructions
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar together until just incorporated.
2. Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to butter and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl.
4. The dough will clump around the paddle attachment while being mixed. If your mixture does not come together and is crumbly, add ice-cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clumps.
5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and top with a second sheet (Image 1). Roll dough into an oblong disc between the papers with a rolling pin (Image 2).

 

sugar cookie dough  sugar cookies dough rolling

7. Transfer dough — wax paper and all — to a large cookie sheet. Wrap dough tightly onto cookie sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
8. Remove top sheet of wax paper and roll dough a little thinner. It should not be sticky. You may dust the surface lightly with flour if it is sticky, but not too much.
9. Roll dough to a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thickness.
10. Cut out desired shapes from dough (Images 1, 2) and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

sugar cooking cutting 1 sugar cookies cutting

Cashew Dulce de Leche Christmas Cookies

cashew cookies

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 egg white, beaten
12 ounces salted cashews
pinch of cinnamon
14 ounces prepared dulce de leche
1 sandwich bag

Instructions
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar together until just incorporated.
2. Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to butter and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl.
4. The dough will clump around the paddle attachment while being mixed. If your mixture does not come together and is crumbly, add ice-cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clumps.
5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and top with a second sheet (Image 1). Roll dough into an oblong disc between the papers with a rolling pin (Image 2).

 

 sugar cookie dough sugar cookies dough rolling

7. Transfer dough — wax paper and all — to a large cookie sheet. Wrap dough tightly onto cookie sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
9. Remove top sheet of wax paper and roll dough a little thinner. It should not be sticky. You may dust the surface lightly with flour if it is sticky, but not too much.
10. Roll dough to a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thickness.
11. Cut dough into 3-inch squares using a cookie cutter (Image 1) and place on parchment-lined baking sheets (Image 2).

cashew dough cut 1 cashew dough 2

 

Chocolate and Candied Orange Christmas Cookies

chocolate orange cookies

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 egg white, beaten
8 ounces candied orange

Instructions
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar together until just incorporated.
2. Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and salt. Add to butter and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl.
4. The dough will clump around the paddle attachment while being mixed. If your mixture does not come together and is crumbly, add ice-cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clumps.
5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and top with a second sheet. Roll dough into an oblong disc between the papers with a rolling pin.
7. Transfer dough — wax paper and all — to a large cookie sheet. Wrap dough tightly onto cookie sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
9. Remove top sheet of wax paper and roll dough a little thinner (Image 1). It should not be sticky. You may dust the surface lightly with flour if it is sticky, but not too much.

choco orange dough

10. Roll dough to a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thickness.
11. Cut dough into 3-inch squares using a cookie cutter (Image 1) and place on parchment–lined baking sheets.
12. Lightly brush squares with egg white (Image 2).
13. Evenly divide candied orange between the cut dough squares (Image 3).
14. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden around the edges and fragrant. Let cool completely.

choco orange 1 choco orange 2 choc orange 3

 

Easy Gingerbread Dough Recipe

gingerbread houses

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
1. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into large bowl.
2. Beat butter in another large bowl with an electric hand mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
3. Add brown sugar and beat 1 minute.
4. Add molasses and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Add egg and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
6. Reduce speed to low and beat in vanilla.
7. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just to blend (Image 1).
8. Gather dough into ball and divide in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into a disk (Image 2). Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
9. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
10. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
11. Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper to 1/4-inch thickness (Image 3).
12. Use gingerbread house templates to cut out shapes (Image 4) and transfer to prepared sheets spacing 2 inches apart.
13. Gather scraps, roll out dough and cut more shapes if necessary.
14. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 8 minutes for smaller shapes and up to 15 minutes for larger shapes.
15. Cool completely on rack. Line baking sheets with fresh parchment as needed.
Note: Cookies will not spread much during baking, but for precise gingerbread house construction, cookies can be perfectly re-cut while still hot. Place the paper templates on top of the hot cookies and quickly cut with a plain-edge knife (Image 5).

gingerbread 1  gingerbread 2  gingerbread 3 gingerbread 4 gingerbread 5

 

Easy Royal Icing

whipped icing

 

Ingredients
3-4 tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Instructions
1. Whisk together meringue powder and powdered sugar (Image 1).
2. Pour mixture into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
3. Add warm water and mix on high speed for about 5-7 minutes or until stiff peaks are achieved (Image 2).
4. Transfer to a piping bag and use to assemble gingerbread house pieces.
5. Cover remaining royal icing with a damp towel to prevent crusting (Image 3).

cranberry mix 1 cranberry mix 2 cranberry mix 3

Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies

cranberry cookies

The sweet and tart jam could be enjoyed on its own or in other recipes. Be sure to save those holes you cut out to make the perfect petite cookies.

Ingredients

The Cookie:
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 cups flour

The Filling:
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup water

Instructions

The Cookie:
1. Cream the butter, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Add walnuts, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and zest. Mix well.
4. Add flour and mix until incorporated.
5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.
8. For each cookie cut two shapes with your cookie cutter. From one cut a smaller shape out leaving a hole. Place them on separate trays.
9. Bake on parchment-lined sheets for 12-14 minutes.
10. Allow to cool completely.
11. When cool, dust the cookies with the holes with confectioners’ sugar.
12. Spread about a teaspoonful of filling on the base cookie and top with the dusted cookie.

The Filling:
1. In a food processor, grind the cranberries to a fine consistency.
2. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
3. Over medium heat bring the ingredients to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook for 30-35 minutes or until you reach 220 degrees.
5. Allow to cool completely before using.
6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

Rainbow Christmas Wreath Cake

cake 

This cake is going to become a family favorite in no time. It’s super fun and easy to make but the best part is that they all look different because of the rainbow, tie-dye design. That means that every cake is unique to the baker and you never know how the inside will look until you slice it. It’s like a work of art.

I sometimes think they are too pretty to eat but then I remember it’s made with yummy Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix and drizzled with fluffy frosting, so it’s not just pretty it’s extra moist and delicious

 cake mix

I start by mixing the cake mix according to the directions on the box and then pour 1/2 of the batter into a bowl then divide the other half equally into two other bowls. You’ll have three bowls of batter. I add some red food coloring to one of the quarters of batter and mix well and then some green food coloring to the other quarter and mix well

 both icings

I first pour the white cake batter into a greased Bundt pan, then the red batter, then the green batter and the remainder of the red and bake it in the oven according to the directions on the box.

batter 1

 batter 2

Once cake is cool, I equally divide the frosting into 2 bowls. Microwave the white frosting for about 5-10 seconds on high then mix well with a spoon until it is smooth enough to drizzle over the cake.

With a spoon, I drizzle the white frosting back and forth around the whole ring in a striping pattern until I use all the frosting. Then microwave the other bowl. Before drizzling over cake, I mix in a few drops of green food coloring and then drizzle that back and forth. It’s a fun way to frost the cake. If you bake with your kids they will love this part. I then give it a sprinkle with some holiday sprinkles and that’s it. You will be amazed at how pretty it looks when you slice it. Trust me when I tell you that everyone will talk about this cake and want to know how you made it. As with all my recipes and tips don’t be afraid to get creative and use some red in the frosting or some golden cake with the red and green. It’s fun to make it your own way with this basic technique.

 cake icing

 cake drizzle

cake finished Cake piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!!

Room Layout Tips

August 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Layout Tips

Where you place your furniture in a room will instantly set the tone for how you’ll live in that room.

First Rule – Get Out the Tape Measure!

The first step in arranging a space is determining its size.  Measure the dimensions of a room as well as the hallways, stairs and door widths leading to the space. This is the most challenging for a homeowner, making sure the entrance and curves of the entryways and stairs as well as the room are large enough for potential purchases.

August Blog1

Mix Furnishings of Various Sizes

Every object has a height, depth and width. To add visual interest to any space, incorporate a variety of furniture with different characteristics. If you’re going for a serene, unchallenging area for rest or recovery, keep the furnishing volumes in a room similar. This rustic living space uses an extra-large sectional with small armchairs and side tables to create an energetic space with various volumes.
HGTV Dream Home 2011

August Blog2

Use Scaled Pieces to Create Balance

The size of pieces relative to one another and the size of the space is their scale. Similarly scaled pieces are more serene when used together, but a nice balance of pieces creates a harmonious atmosphere, utilizing the differing physical qualities of height, depth and width throughout a room. When furnishings are out of scale, you’ll notice that it just won’t feel comfortable or right.
Design by Sarah Richardson

 

 

 

August Blog3

High ceilings do wonders for a living room. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular natural light, and help to open the space visually. Photograph by Trevor Tondro

August Blog4

A Sectional makes the perfect space for entertaining.

 

 

 

 

 

August Blog5

By angling furniture into the room, designer Sandy Kozar, used more of the space and created an intimate conversation grouping. Photography by Edie Ellison

August Blog6

The shape of the taller Wingback chairs works with the lower sofa because of a shared commonality of curved forms — in the chairs’ rolled outer edges and the sofa’s rolled arms. Photography by Edie Ellison (Similar to our Ashton Sofa available in Full, Mid and Apartment Size Sofas)

 

 

 

 

August Blog7

The fireplace serves as a focal point in this casually elegant living room. The monochromatic color scheme unites all the elements.  (Similar to our Megan Small Sofa and Chair is perfect for this living room setting.

Let’s talk Slipcovers!

July 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Sofa Studio

If the budget doesn’t allow for all new furniture, there is an alternative. Slipcovers can provide a quick and easy makeover for any room in your home.

Slipcovers are very versatile and you can change the entire color palette of a room.  Dark upholstery pieces that create a warm, inviting atmosphere in the winter months may seem a bit too warm for spring and summer. Solution: Light Colors which can create a cool haven for those hot, humid days.

Do you have kids and pets? Slipcovers can be a relatively inexpensive way to extend the life of your new furniture. Just think, when the kids head off to college, you can whip off the slipcover and have a brand-new sofa!

Ready-made slipcovers are available in most home-decor stores and catalogs, but will not fit like a custom fitted slipcover.  They come in a variety of styles and sizes. Custom fitted slipcovers are also an option from Simplicity Sofas, but only for our sofas, chairs and sectionals.  The great feature of a custom fitted slipcover is that you do not need to tuck in the fabric every time you get up.  The main part of the slipcover fits over the entire base and each cushion has its own cover.  The pictures below explain it all.

Slipcover base eml lrg  Main slipcover

Slipcover Cushions eml lrg  Cushion covers

Slipcover complete eml lrg  Relax & enjoy!

Be Bold

Don’t be afraid to use color in your slipcovers when designing your space.  A festive red sofa with patterned slipcovers for an extra splash of color.  Lightly painted walls and open windows create an open airy space.

Below are several pictures of slipcovers and styles

Photos and article HGTV (Shari Hiller is co-author with Matt Fox of Real Decorating for Real People.) and Simplicity Sofas

slipcovers orange 235x314   Brandon style slipcovers 235x314

slipcover8 314x235 slipcovers7 314x235

slipercover9  Slipcovers3 235x314

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 slipcover yellow eml lrg Lorelei_CMYK (640x480)

ALL ABOUT SECTIONALS FOR SMALL & TIGHT SPACES

June 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Sectionals

Have a small space and always dreamed of a sectional?

You DON’T need to give up your dreams.

All Sectionals can be rearranged in a matter of minutes and will fit thru any opening of 15” or wider. Additional Armless pieces can be added as needed or removed and can be used as Armless chairs. The “L” can be moved from left to right in just a few minutes just in case  you want to place it in another room or if you move and need a different layout.  It can be taken apart and reassembled over and over without damaging the integrity of the pieces.   All units are 30.5” deep and 35” high.

If you want a lot of seating with more open space the sectional is the way to go.  Here are several pictures showing sectionals from a 4 piece to an 11 piece.

4 piece L-Shape Sectional measures only 6.84’ x 4.92’    6 Piece Sectional 6.92’ x 8.84’ 

                              Standard Corner Unit                                            Standard Corner Unit

Lorelei 4 PC Sectional       DSCN0036

6 Piece plus Large Storage Ottoman        7 Piece U-Shape Sectional plus Bumper/Ottoman

Standard Corner Unit                                             Both Wedge & Standard Corner Units

Shannon's sectional 2  DSCN0280

Ottoman & Bumper/Ottoman can be moved 

 

 

5 Piece 6.84’ x 6.84’                  11 Piece 16.84’ x 8.84’   The largest one we’ve built yet!

Standard Corner Unit                                                          Standard Corner Unit

5 piece sectionalLarge mancave sectional

These are 7 Piece plus Bumper/Ottoman

Both Wedge & Standard Corners

Picture of left side Wedge Corner                         Picture of right side Standard Corner

DSCN0280 DSCN0281

Sectional Units

Wedge Corner Unit  42” w

Wedge Corner creates extra seating & leg room

 Wedge corner wedge corner individual shot

Standard Corner Unit 30” w

standard corner individual shotblue sectional corner unit

Left Arm Unit 28”                      Armless Unit 23”                   Right Arm Unit 28”

 sectional right arm unit  sectional armless unit   sectional left arm unit

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