Recipe of the Month: August 2014

Warm Gumbo Dip:

       Start the LSU Football season off right



  • 1/4 cup butter  
  • 6 green onions, sliced 
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 cup chopped assorted bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled, large raw shrimp, chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese 
  • 3/4 cup sliced pickled okra
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Toasted French bread baguette slices 


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add green onions and next 2 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until peppers are tender. Stir in shrimp and next 2 ingredients; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add cream cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat, and stir in okra and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Spoon mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. cheese.
  2. 2. Bake at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with bread.

History Lesson: Emeco Navy Chair

Emeco Navy Chair

The Original 1006 Navy Chair

    During World War 2, the U.S. government gave Wilton Carlyle Dinges, the founder of Emeco (the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company) a difficult task: make a chair that can withstand water, salt air, and sailors. The U.S. government wanted the chair to be light-weight and strong, and they wanted it to last a lifetime. Dinges threw the chair out of a sixth-floor window during a furniture show in Chicago, and other than a few scratches, the chair was fine.

   The Emeco Navy 1006 (“ten oh six”) Chair became popular among modernist designers and architects, and the design was copied world-wide.

Emeco works with Coca-Cola: 111 Chair AKA “Coke Chair

   Emeco still makes its classic chair, but now it uses recycled Coke bottles. Their mantra is to “make recycling obsolete” by making chairs that last for forever. If their Coke chairs are anything like their old chairs (which are made to last 150 years), they may just achieve their goal.

 Designers love both the 111 chair and the 1006 chair, check out how designers have used the chairs in various spaces: 
The Emeco chair combined with the use of the Eames® Molded Plastic Dowel-Leg Side Chair
A white Emeco Chair with the Tulip Table (a previous history lesson)

I love the rustic spin on these, the black matte finish really compliments the space.

Recipe of the Month- July 2014

Pico de Gallo & Guacamole

I usually make these together because there is a lot of ingredient overlap, but also because they go together awesomely.
Pico de Gallo
Roma tomatoes (as many as you need, depends on how many you’re feeding)
Red Onions
2 or 3 fresh Jalepenos
Garlic (powder is fine)
Red Onion (just use a handful from the Pico de Gallo)
Cilantro (ditto)
Limes (lime juice tastes good in guac, but it also slows down the browning process)
Some people like sour cream/mayonnaise in the guacamole, to make it creamy. I think its ok, but kind of unnecessary…up to you.
Just chop everything up as finely as you feel like and combine. Garlic, vinegar, jalepenos, salt, lime juice is all to taste so just feel it out.
We like to get tortillas and cheese, maybe some refried beans, and make quesadillas on the stovetop (cook them in a lot of olive oil and salt for crispiness) and use the quesadillas to eat the pico de gallo and guacamole. You could also do tacos or just eat them with chips. Grab a six pack and this is a good summer feast!

History Lesson: Thonet Chair, #14

Thonet Chair, #14

Last time we talked about the Tulip Table, and we said that the Thonet Table was our favorite chair to pair with the Tulip table:

Tulip Table with Thonet Chairs

Like the Tulip Table, the Thonet chair is a timeless piece of furniture design history. The Thonet is actually older than the Tulip Table by almost 100 years, introduced in 1859 by its creator, Michael Thonet (often mispronounced “tho-nay” like a French name; Thonet was German-Austrian, he pronounced his name “toe-net” with a hard T at the beginning and end). He invented and patented a revolutionary way to bend wood in a steambox, a process that hasn’t changed much since.

The chair wasn’t just a renovation is design and woodworking: it could be taken apart (think IKEA) for easy distribution and transportation, making it easy to sell all over the Europe, and the world.

The Thonet chair became incredibly fashionable, appearing in chic restaurants, especially bistros and cafes, a trend that continues to this day.

Restaurant with Thonet Chair Number 18

The #14 is the most famous and widespread, but Thonet also offers the #18

Thonet Chair number 14

The #18 keeps the aesthetic, but is more comfortable, as it supports the back, but does not hit the spine.

The Thonet Chair is a classic that continues to inspire furniture designers today; creative re-dos of the chair pop up all over the world like the one pictured above.

Wallpaper is Back

Wallpaper is back! Wallpaper fell out of popularity, but in the last few years, it is once again becoming a popular alternative to paint. It’s appeal is that, as opposed to painting murals (which depend on the skill of the artist), you can buy funky color patterns, or bold designs, and know that you’ll get a reliable, and hopefully fun, look (as long as you apply the wallpaper well…might want to hire a professional).

There have been advances in how wallpaper is made, and what is used to apply it to the walls. In the past, moisture was a huge concern (especially in humid climates like Louisiana). Moisture could cause the wall paper to peel, mildew could form underneath the paper (which smells), or worse, mold could find a breeding ground on your walls. But a lot of theses issues have been addressed, and wallpaper is back as an attractive option. 

Looking around, it seems like people are designing with wallpaper more reasonably, too. You can have a bold and busy pattern, but soften it up with a matching single color and balancing it with a neutral color like white. This room does it well:

Though a geometric pattern may not be my personal favorite, this room achieves a unique balance, even with the busy wallpaper; the wallpaper isn’t the only accent in the room.

Here are some of Stevi’s favorite patterns:

Love this neutral but spunky wallpaper.  So versatile in that it pulls both cool tones from the gray and warm tones from the gold/tan.  Click here to see wallpaper.

WOAH–what a wallpaper.  Definitely not for everyone, but I love the bold marble effect. And in the right installation, this could really be a show stopper.  Click here to view wallpaper.

This pattern mimics the trendy dalmatian or les touches that we are seeing in black and white.  I like the blue and white and the variation of blue tones within it.  Click here to view wallpaper.

I can see this wallpaper used in a small space such as a powder room or a focal wall.  When the wallpaper gets busy, remember to use it sparingly. Click here to view wallpaper.

This geometric print comes in many different colors and would work well in a lot of spaces. Click here to view wallpaper.


A Living Snow Globe (you shouldn’t shake it, probably)

Terrariums are in. We are unofficially dubbing this summer the Summer of Terrariums.


Spruce up your living space with a mini-garden.  Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, your living space can be brought to life (literally) with some terrariums.


Walk the line between gardening and art, make a terrarium for yourself (or give on to a friend or significant other). Terrariums bring life to a room, like a fish tank, but you don’t have to monitor the oxygen levels or flush your little buddies down the toilet.

This man sealed up a bottle with a garden inside in 1960. He had to open it once in 1972 to add some water, but has not opened it since.


Your terrarium can have a story, like his (especially if you keep it for 62 years!) or can just be put together for aesthetic appeal. Find a couple of funky bottles and plant something different in each one. All you have to do is monitor the water levels in your terrarium: if your plant is drooping, add water, or when you notice there is little to no condensation, add water! Don’t over water; since terrariums are sealed, there is a lot less water loss.

James Modern Terrariums

Send us pictures of your terrariums!