I’m so very pleased to share this lovely cookbook, Sunday Suppers, and author Karen Mordechai with you today. Karen is such a force – a talented woman who wears many hats in her business yet does it with such style and ease (and a warm smile) that you’d never know just how much work it really takes to run her company. In our chat today you’ll soon see that Karen’s passion motivates her to work so hard, to keep her business fresh, to propel it forward. With the support of her husband and the close relationship that she has built with her little girl, along with her friends, the online community and all of the local friends and businesses that she teams up with — there is no stopping this lovely woman from bringing good food, joy and beauty into the world.
Go-getters like Karen are a true inspiration. Karen knows what she wants and doesn’t veer off the path she’s made for herself and her business. Anyone who has watched her from the beginnings like I have, I still remember her first blog about her Brooklyn-based supper club, cannot help but be inspired and motivated by her success story, which now includes a shop and product line along with a #1 bestselling book on Amazon that is flying off the shelves despite being in the very saturated, competitive cookbook market.
It’s great to see a wife and a mother, an entrepreneur, an author, a visionary who still remains so humble and warm too. I’ve met with Karen a few times when I’ve been in New York and she has consistently been so kind and genuine. I’m so happy that Karen and I had a chance to talk recently and that I can share our conversation below because I love her new book and am so proud of her success with it thus far.
decor8: Karen, can you tell us about your background and about Sunday Suppers?
KM: Yes, of course. I am a trained photographer by trade, I have a masters in photography from the ICP + NYU. I am the founder of Sunday Suppers, a food and design community based in South Williamsburg Brooklyn. Our focus is on seasonal fare and simple, thoughtful living. Through shared meals and the act of cooking communally we celebrate the traditions of food and gathering. The food is seasonally focused market fresh. We work with local artisans and crafters to create seasonal dinners in our space. We host approximately 20 events each year between public and private suppers.
decor8: What do you do primarily for Sunday Suppers?
KM: I wear many hats — I style and produce the shoots as well as do a lot of the recipe development and cooking. I also collaborate with guest chefs to cook for events and classes at the studio. Sunday Suppers has been an opportunity to combine my love for food + cooking with styling and photography.
decor8: When was your company founded and why?
KM: Sunday Suppers started six years ago in our home. A few friends gathered at our apartment. We cooked and dined and made a toast. From there our dinners have evolved and we have grown into a beautiful new space, our community has expanded beyond our expectations. The concept however centers on simplicity and a love of food.
decor8: Tell us about your staff...
KM: We have a staff of about 6 people, one full-time creative assistant at the studio, myself and the rest are part-time or freelance positions.
decor8: Who supports you the most in your day-to-day life?
KM: My husband is my rock, he gives me stability and guidance and a good honest answer when needed.
decor8: You also rent your space, how does that work?
KM: During the week we use the studio as our home base for creating, working and doing our own shoots. If we are not using it however we do rent it out to others as a photo studio for shoots, some companies that shoot with us include Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Design Within Reach and some more.
decor8: Who are some of the most interesting people you’ve met at a supper? Why?
KM: We meet people from New York that we wouldn’t perhaps get to connect with otherwise but we also get to meet folks from around the world who either plan their trip around a supper or happen to be in town for one – those are the greatest connections we get to have and so amazing to know that our community stretches that far.
decor8: Do you imagine doing this forever or do you plan to evolve into something else or more? If so, can you share some of your future goals?
KM: Sunday Suppers has grown organically over the years – from a communal dinner series into a community of food + design. I believe organically we will continue to grow into those realms a bit more and I hope we do. Our shop and product line has become a new and very fun project for me personally and I hope to expand on that in the next year.
decor8: How did Sunday Suppers the cookbook come to life?
KM: I was approached many times actually to do a book, but about 3 years ago I was contacted by a lovely agent at Random House. I enjoyed working with her directly on the process, she guided me to be able to create the book I had in my mind for a long time.
decor8: Why is your book special to you, what really makes you happy about it?
KM: Sunday Suppers the cookbook, is a collection of intimate gatherings that we photographed across the country – they are small and more intimate gatherings for 4-6 people. I love that our recipes are beautiful and inspiring but at the same time super attainable and not overly fussy. The goal is to create a book that inspires our readers to cook and explore and find their own beauty in their lives.
decor8: Can you please tell us about your favorite recipes in the book?
KM: Every recipe has a story to me – the granola is one that we make at home and have been making for years, and so are a few others. Shakshuka is a childhood meal to me that is very nostalgic and comforting – and for a sweet tooth the date cake is near to my heart and just the most indulgent treat.
decor8 Do you have any fun stories that happened during production? Or stressful funny ones? Or big mess ups?
KM: I learned so much on the book shoots, some tales were funny and some not that funny at the time- we traveled a lot for the shoots and so something was always unexpected. Our first shoot was on the beach in Eastern Long Island and I remember lots going wrong, we couldn’t quite build our campfire – our wood was wet, etc and the meal was all to be prepared on an open fire. Eventually we figured it out and had a lovely evening on the beach, but we worked very hard on that one.
decor8: On a more personal note, Where do you live and what inspires you about your neighborhood?
KM: We live and work in South Williamsburg Brooklyn. Our apartment is on the waterfront, and so we are lucky to enjoy peaceful views of water and skyline from our apartment. The neighborhood is a little gritty and industrial but also filled with very good food, coffee and design shops. It has a good creative energy to it and there is always something new popping up around here.
decor8: Out of curiosity, I know that you have a young daughter. How do you fit it all in, mom and business owner?
KM: I have a four year old daughter named Sophia. She is absolutely everything to me and the most important part of my day. Balancing it all is always a challenge and so I just do my best to be a present mother, caring and engaged in all the details, and I also love working and being creative and teaching Sophia those lessons of strength and diligence. I find those to be equally important things to teach a young girl.
decor8: And finally Karen, why should people buy your book?
KM: I hope readers will find inspiration and a resource for cooking in my book. My goal was to create food that people can actually make at home and show people that they can think outside the box, pack a fried chicken picnic, go have some iced coffee on the beach – and just add a bit of joy and lightheartedness to cooking and gathering. Simplicity and enjoying good friends and good food is the ultimate goal.
Before we go, I have to share this lovely video that Design Within Reach had with Karen – such a great introduction to her work. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it.
Thank you Karen for chatting with me and sharing your beautiful photography and book peaks with us today. Readers, if you want a copy of Karen’s book you can find it on Amazon HERE. Also, make sure you check out her newly launched website and if you’re ever in Brooklyn, definitely try to get to one of her beautiful events. Thanks again, Karen!
(images: sunday suppers)
I’ve had the nicest exchange with photographer Brittany Ambridge this week, who was so pleased that I wanted to feature her on decor8. It’s always a delight when you write to someone looking to run a story about their work and they reply with such heartfelt words of thanks and are genuinely cooperative and nice. In fact, she updated her online portfolio just so I could share her latest so you are able to see some fresh views of gorgeous spaces she has shot from California to France. I also learned something quite interesting when speaking to Brittany…
First, she is the sole photographer for domino magazine since their relaunch and she shoots about 95% of it. Wow, right? She also retouches the photos herself, which is unusual in her industry. If that weren’t enough, she also works closely with Robert Leleux, the magazine’s newly appointed Editorial Director, on every shoot. When it comes to her work she revealed, “I take it from the initial idea, which is brainstormed with the edit team, to shooting, editing, retouching, all the way through to the color proofs for print. That’s never been done before in publishing to have a single person do all of that.” I believe that this is precisely why her work is so beautiful – because she sees it through from beginning to end and she doesn’t have a lot of hands involved in the process – so her work is seen by us in its purest most honest form – from her eye to the pages of the magazine. How nice.
Instead of just showing you some pretty pictures, I wanted to provide some decorating takeaway for you to enjoy. Also, all of the links to these homes are featured at the end of this post so please click around and enjoy yourself. And remember, all photos can be enlarged if you simply click on them and pinned however please ensure Brittany is credited along with domino when you pin (thank you!).
1. Happy, Bright Corners. A really great eating nook that feels very west coast with the blue tones, tile floor and greenery.
2. Splashes of bold color and pattern. Plus, more of that great tile. Love the marble backsplash and the windows painted in bold blue. Open shelving is a wonderful way to open up a kitchen.
3. Coastal photography and and a painting. Brings the beach to the abode. Also, it’s always a nice touch to lean a few photos against the wall using a painting as a mini shelf.
4. Bold art and patterns against white. Always a good idea. Love the botanical prints (good use of symmetry to balance the room), and all of the Swedish throw pillows by Svenskt Tenn and the HAY trays on the coffee table. I loved my visit to their Stockholm shop – such a utopia of color.
5. Bookcase as a focal point. Emily Henderson’s built in bookcase came out so nice, the lines are fun and unexpected and everything colorful stands out so nicely against white, right?
6. A relaxing, chic sleep space. I love the colors, so unexpected — and the patterns technically shouldn’t work together but they really, really do. Such a great lesson in mixing things up and decorating from the heart vs. always the head.
7. A big, rustic kitchen. The tiled walls, the mega stove, open shelving, crisp white… The ceiling! The rug! It makes even the non-cook want to rattle some pots and pans and shouldn’t your kitchen inspire you to culinary greatness?
8. Greens. Just add greens to you space already. They are healthy, can be displayed in the most stylish vessels these days, and make a home feel very natural and cozy. Some plants and trees are very sculptural and serious (great for very modern minimalistic homes) whereas others can be very wild or wispy for the more eclectic or romantic at heart. The plants and flowers that you love the most are often a window into our decorating soul. At least according to me.
9. Dark floors. I know everyone and their dog is into white floors or light wood floors but dark flooring can be just as gorgeous. It anchors a space (I love saying that, sounds so professional!) and feels warm and personal too. Dark floors can be very inviting, too.
10. A well-styled mantle. This is such a great example of playing with color, pattern and decorative objects along with gorgeous artwork. You know how much I love flowers, so these sweet peas and dahlias really do it for me. And with flowers the great thing is that this week it’s dahlias and next week, it’s cherry blossoms – you can instantly change a mood with the purchase of a single bundle and a swap out of a vessel.
11. A very sweet child’s room. Gosh what a darling space and a beautiful view to boot. Every kid should be so lucky.
12. Bold prints. This is such a nice use of a bold print paired with a simple bench and lots of books and magazines stacked neatly below. That print really makes the corner come to life. Art is such a great way to instantly lift a space.
13. Patterned backgrounds behind shelving. I don’t know if this is a wall or wallpaper, a wallpapered bookcase, or what really. But I love it. Why not add pattern to the back of a bookcase. You can do it with wallpaper, matte gift wrap, fabric, or if you just want to work with solids – paint it. But my goodness, experiment a little am I right? Fun stuff.
14. Concrete floors. Aside from all of that natural light and the gorgeous window and views, I love this polished concreate floor which is perfect for homes set in warm, tropical climates. NOT Boston.
15. All white styling. White books, white ceramics, a hint of nude. YES YES YES. I really love this. Most of those ceramics are from Astier de Villatte in Paris, a shop I actually worked in for the day a few years ago when I styled it for my book. What a dream come true for me to work with such beautiful things. I wanted to bring everything home with me but I escaped only with a journal, a few candles and a large ceramic fork for my wall. I ultimately want to own this many pieces from them though and style them beautifully like this in my home. Maybe when Aidan gets a little older!
16. Bold patterned wallpaper. Bedrooms can often be super boring and generic, can’t they? I mean, what options do we really have with furniture placement? A bedroom is unlike any other space. The bed is almost always in the middle of the largest wall, flanked by two end tables, two lights and maybe some art work above. The bed is always large and in charge so the focus is always on the bed. One of the best ways to change that up is to remove the headboard and go big and bold with wallpaper like this photo above. Then the bed is sort of an after thought and not the first thing you see upon entertaining, and sometimes that really nice if we’re not fussy about keep the bedding perfectly made and ironed or we don’t have the best looking headboard in the world.
17. Mood boards. I know, we all hate the name but they are so practical for designers and so fun for creatives to share what’s on their mind in a very visual way. And a mood board makes such a statement, when composed, it becomes it’s own work of art and focal point. I love them in any room of the home though they tend to work best in the office where most creative ideas blossom.
18. Newspaper-as-art. I never in my life thought of or saw this before and I’ve dealt with a ton of interiors during the past decade. This Kate Moss piece, framed, is lovely. I wish I knew more about it but it’s very cool framed like that above the fireplace, don’t you think?
19. Masks and mood boarding for kids. Okay, those masks on the animals sitting across the bed made me laugh out loud. I love the sense of humor here. But what caught my eye at first, aside from that gorgeous map, are the photos tapes to the wall. Such a great way to encourage your child to decorate and also share what they are inspired by at the moment in addition to pop stars and baby animal posters.
20. String art. Be creative and unusual and do something whimsical like this string art by Berlin-based artist Nike Schroeder. This work was commissioned by stylist Emily Henderson and came out so pretty – I love the softness and splash of color. I’m sure it cost her a fortune, but it’s worth it when something like this literally makes the room.
21. Splash of color and throws. This always works for me. If you put your finger over the painting and imagine the chairs sheepskin throw-free, well it’s not the same room. The power or texture and color!
22. Bold closet doors. This is the best. I can’t embellish here. If you are bold enough just make this happen on your closet doors somehow, someway.
23. An organized work studio with style. We all need a place where we can create from an honest place while also finding our stuff! I really love how this artists’ studio is decorated. Makes me want to run in there and paint something which is exactly what a creative space should do – motivate you to get your hands busy!
Homes shown above are from the following lovely homeowners. Please click on each link to view their entire property. Chay Wike’s Hollywood Hills home, Austyn Zung’s SoHo apartment, Heather Taylor’s West Hollywood home, Ariel Ashe’s Greenwich Village townhouse, Sally King Benedict’s Atlanta home, Anne Ziegler’s Laurel Canyon home, Emily Henderson’s Los Angeles home, Andrea Krueger’s Paris apartment.
Thank you so much Brittany for allowing us a peek into your stunning world, your beautiful work and the homes of so many stylish people you’ve had the pleasure to work with. And a special thanks to domino magazine for sharing photography from previous issues with us, too.
(Images: Brittany Ambridge)
I’m not so sure about these colors of the year lately, are you? Last year, Pantone told us that radiant orchid (post here) was all the rage. Now color experts Pantone are now celebrating marsala for 2015 which is somewhere between a dressed up version of terra cotta and a less intense merlot. For fashion, I can see it – a nice marsala lip or nail works for Autumn just perfectly. But for the home, well that’s a harder sell for me. In fact, this is a hard post to write because marsala doesn’t appeal to me but since I like to challenge myself, I wanted to source several great spaces that incorporate marsala that even I would like. Ultimately, you can judge whether or not you’d use it in your space but my 8 tips are a great starting point if you’re a little marsala shy. And who knows, by the end of this post, this color may even win me over.
1. In a small, bold space. If you live in a charming apartment in Chicago or Manhattan or even a bungalow in LA, and you love a good global, well-traveled vibe, then marsala can be worked in to your interior if you accent with brass and mix in lots of blue and orange. The space below looks like a textile designer, buyer for a great interiors store, mag editor, stylist, author or designer occupies this space. Someone with class and style.
image: Elle Decor featuring space of Interior Designer John Saldino
2. Global + Bold. Marsala needs to be either all or nothing in a room, in my opinion. A simple accent or over-the-top flashy. This space is positively soaked in tones of red, including marsala. The creamy whites and natural woods ground it as do the white cherry blossoms which make the space feel less formal. I keep seeing textiles, ceramics and art from countries like China, Turkey, Morocco and India because this color is definitely more common in those countries – I’ve been to both Morocco and Turkey and found loads of marsala in the bazaars there in everything from pottery to throw rugs.
3. Classy with a bit of Hollywood glam. Marsala works in a space where the foundation is neutral and the lines very classic like this elegant flat which feels very Hollywood despite that it’s in Notting Hill decorated by Swedish designer Staffan Tollgard. It looks oh so glamourous. What works here is that marsala is only used as an accent color on the dining chairs. No where else. The flowers in tones of red and purple help the space overall to feel more balanced so there is less of a contrast between the deep dark chairs and the creamy white floors, walls, ceiling, built-in bank, etc.
image: Pernille Kaalund for Bolig magasinet
4. A bold single piece. This eclectic modern space with a bright white base and tons of natural light is a nice place to use marsala as an accent color. Blue, yellow, orange and red work great with this color. If you want to use marsala in this way, stick to a single piece and mix in other colors.
image: Pernille Kaalund for Bolig magasinet
5. Rugs. Marsala works in perfectly in rugs, have you noticed? And you can find this color in so many rugs that are sourced in Turkmenistan, Turkey, northern Afghanistan, Morocco, Uzbekistan and India. And because they’re on the floor, and usually combined with other colors and patterns, marsala becomes a nice stable tone to ground the room overall.
image: Pernille Kaalund for Bolig magasinet
6. Small Accents in the Kitchen. A tea box, a frying pan, wood stain, or in a rug. Mixed with indigo, a hint of mustard, brushed metal and reclaimed wood it really works without feeling dated or bad 1980’s (vs. good 80s).
7. With bright primary orange, light gray and red. In a contemporary setting, marsala works great with bright red and orange nearby because both bring heat and energy and marsala neutralizes them a bit. With gray, wow what a winning combo! Makes marsala feel more modern and clear somehow.
image: Brittany Ambridge for Domino
8. Artwork. You may not have noticed the painted above the sofa at first glance because the rug clearly dominates, also in marsala, but the painting really brings the eye up off of the floor and harmonizes the space from a color perspective. This room is really lovely and that rug lifts the room making it feel very peppy and even a little sexy!
So, you tell me – Marsala – Pantone Color of the Year – Hell no or hello? I like it but only if it’s combined in a pattern (like a rug) or in artwork, a pillow, etc. But I don’t like it as a solid color accent (like a chair) or as a wall color. What about you?
(images linked to their sources above)
Good morning friends. Hope you are doing well and for those of you getting hit by snowstorms, keep warm and read blogs! So let’s get started with some inspiration for you today. I really like the interiors shot by Swedish photographer Sara Svenningrud. After living in LA and London, she’s now back in Sweden working with clients for magazine and catalog work along with ad campaigns. She’s also produced fashion shows! Her photos are always quite obvious to me when I see them in Scandinavian and even German interiors mags – I think it’s because she’s photographed a lot of homes like Marie Olsson Nylander (whom has also worked with her as an interiors stylist) and I’m quite a fan of Maire’s work combined with Sara’s magical eye.
Marie’s signature style includes loads of soft and creamy hues, yummy texture, fresh greenery and a flea market meets global industrial vibe and Sara’s photos are all about achieving perfect composition, drawing you in and allowing for a lot of natural creamy light to illuminate everything very evenly. Here is a glimpse from her portfolio below. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I have to comment on this image above because where I live, it’s very easy to find old school charts with these beige linen-like backs. You can even source them on eBay. I’ve flipped over one of mine before and used it over my desk as a mood board, but I also love using it as a backdrop for showing some of your favorite artwork with simple black tape too. It’s so imaginative and a nice change from showing art on walls with tape.
The chandelier is so very delicate and pretty and I love the lightbulb-esque table lamp and the contrast between the gold table and the modern elements around it. Also, every home needs a big round frameless mirror, right?
Love this loo! What a sweet little bathroom and that graphic, bold floor set amidst all of that blackness, it’s just the best. The wire basket filled with toilet paper is a good one, I’ve been seeing this for years but like it best in a black/white bathroom like this one. It works.
Gosh that leather sofa on the right is so interesting, almost seems to transform into a bed, am I right? Who makes that thing, is it a classic piece or? I’m stumped for the first time, I usually identify every piece in a room but this sofa – nope!
How stunning, right? Hope you are doing well today.
(images: Sara Svenningrud/styling + home: Marie Olsson Nylander)