The Latest for Your Home

Three resident experts share their advice on how to keep your home cozy and up-to-date this fall.

By Silvana Di Ravenna

Fall: one simple yet powerful word that can easily transport us to long walks in the woods, pumpkin spice lattes and festive gatherings and meals shared with family and friends. Let’s be honest: Fall is everyone’s favorite season!

This year, besides the tried-and-true gourds in our doorways and the Thanksgiving decorations that disappear as soon as we push away from the table, Austin Woman wanted to take home style to a new level with the help of our three resident experts, who happily shared their cherished traditions and home-decorating secrets to revamp your kitchen, floors and practically your whole home.

If you are looking for some cooking inspiration or just new decorating ideas, look no further, for we have you covered.

Food and kitchen expert:

Jessica Maher from Métier Cook’s Supply and Lenoir

If you haven’t visited Jessica Maher’s restaurant, Lenoir, on South First Street, or her lovely kitchen supply store, Métier Cook’s Supply, which is conveniently located next door, you have missed a treat. Lenoir is an intimate and enchanting restaurant with a prix-fixe menu that is an Austin-foodie favorite. At Métier, you will find all the utensils you could possibly need to recreate Lenoir’s scrumptious dishes.

Because we were feeling adventurous, and because we love a challenge, we asked Maher what items every aspiring chef should have in her kitchen, as well as her favorite recipes and more. Luckily for us, she didn’t disappoint!

Every aspiring chef should own…

1. Chef's knife. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get something that works well and will last a lifetime. It is absolutely the most useful tool in the kitchen and really makes cooking more enjoyable.

2. High-quality cookware. “Anything from cast iron, black steel, stainless steel or copper. It will make your life a lot easier and your food a lot better. We source and carry a lot of vintage cast-iron skillets, Dutch ovens, baking molds, griddles and copper paella pans.”

3. Scale. “As a baker and pastry chef, having a scale at my disposal is essential. I recommend going with a scale that can hold more weight. If you start to get into larger scale projects, like sausage or fermented products, having a scale that can handle the weight of the ingredient plus the weight of the container is really crucial.”

4. Stick blender. “The best tool for a small kitchen. Rather than transferring your soup or sauce to a blender, bring the blender to the pot. All you have to do is pulse the button and—ta-da—you have creamy soup. Plus, it’s a breeze to clean up.”

5. A seriously sharp-looking apron. “To look like and feel like a pro. An apron is obviously useful for keeping yourself clean, but an awesome apron that you can wear even after you’ve stopped cooking and your guests arrive is the best thing ever.”

6. An ever-growing selection of cookbooks by real cooks. “If you haven’t really started your collection, there are plenty of classics from which to choose. The important thing is to sit down with a book, flip through it, find inspiration and then take it home with you to enjoy over and over. I am still rediscovering books I’ve had for years.”

 

Ingredients every aspiring chef should keep on hand

1. Lemons. “You always need a little zest in baking and cooking, and the fall/winter is really when citrus hits its stride.”

2. Coconut oil. “Good for you and adds a lot of flavor to everything.”

3. Wine. “Enough said.”

4. Salt. “Lenoir finishing salt goes well with everything you can think of.” (Sold at Métier.)

5. Liber & Co. Texas Grapefruit Shrub. “It makes a great splash for a gin and tonic, awesome with mezcal, lime and honey, or even just with Topo Chico. You can also add it to your mulled wine recipe to give it a little zesty oomph.” (Sold at Métier.)

 

Jessica Maher's tips for entertaining in the fall

“Choose dishes that you can make ahead of time so you don’t have to fuss once your guest arrives. It is about entertaining, but you also need to enjoy the party and don’t want to have any extra stress. Also, I love mixing and matching serving dishes so you can add height and texture. The more colorful, the better, and you can find a lot of cool, unique and inexpensive pieces at resale shops, thrift stores or our place. The plates can really make your food and table come alive.”

Métier Cook’s Supply
1805 S. First St.
512.276.2605
metieraustin.com

Lenoir
1807 S. First St.
512.215.9778
lenoirrestaurant.com

 

Home-decorating expert:

Denise Roberts from Love Ding

We’ve mentioned previously how much we love Love Ding, Denise Roberts’ charming furniture and décor store located on booming South Austin’s Manchaca Road. Everything about the store exudes coziness and comfort. From her beautiful fluffy pillows, to the rich and colorful textured throws and everything in between, Love Ding has surely become a home-décor source for eclectically inclined Austinites.

Denise Roberts’ tips on how to keep your home cozy this fall.

All about that vase

“To make your home cozy, you must introduce greenery: bonsai trees, snake plants or succulents. These are all affordable houseplants that add warmth and coziness to your bedroom, kitchen and even living area.”

Dim the lights

“Adding a floor lamp in your bedroom with a warm, colored bulb will add some fall vibes. I always look for the bulbs that say warm light in the fall. They help my home feel less cold during the winter months.”

Leather up

“I like to add a touch of leather to a space in the fall, whether it’s a chair, a suede throw or a pouf. Poufs are trending and can be a versatile and stylish piece.

Plaid it right

“I love anything plaid or flannel. Those heavy textures make for great nights by the fire!”

Don’t break the bank

“Twigs from outside are free, and so are feathers. Stick them in vases around the house or your entryway. Feathers can also be hung on strings as an entire wall-art piece. Be creative!”

Denise Roberts’ fall traditions

“I always serve a warm drink. I usually do a cider or hot toddy. This makes the conversation flow and reminds everyone of ​the traditional season. Also, I always play my grandmother’s old vinyl records around the holidays. It reminds me of fall. As a kid, it meant gifts under the tree were just around the corner.”

Moroccan pouf from Love Ding, $120, Marvin vintage record console from Love Ding, $375, Top-drawer pillows by Mexchic from Love Ding, $60. Also Big Sur Blanket by Mexchic from Love Ding, $80

Love Ding
10516 Manchaca Road, Suite 210
512.981.7367
withlovefromding.com

 

Flooring expert:

Stephanie Landers of Landers Premier Flooring

It’s amazing how such a foundational part of the home, the floor, gets so easily neglected. We are often preoccupied with our walls, our rooms and even our ceilings, and we rarely give our floors a second thought, at least, not until it’s too late and it’s time for an unexpected renovation. Flooring lays the foundation for the room, and the number and variety of choices can be overwhelming. We ask ourselves, “Where do we begin, and how do we choose the type of flooring that matches our lifestyle?”

To answer these questions and more, {AW} talked with Stephanie Landers, Austin’s ultimate floor authority and owner of Landers Premier Flooring. She guides us through the somewhat daunting process of choosing the right flooring, as well as caring for it.

Choosing flooring

“It is important to understand your personal taste. Nothing is worse than chasing a fad that really doesn’t fit your style. (Think hand-scraped rugged wood floors in a traditional home). Budget is also an important consideration. A flooring expert will be able to translate both your style and budget concerns into a floor that works for you.”

Why hiring an expert is always a good idea

“Experts can fully explain the differences in the different levels of flooring, especially flooring that can look the same but not perform the same, due to the way it is made, such as carpet.”

Finding help installing new floors

“Installation is the most important component of your flooring purchase. A brick-and-mortar store with a good reputation is always the best way to go. They often have the best pricing, due to their volume and ability to negotiate with suppliers, and the best selection. In addition, their personnel are experts in flooring and able to explain the differences of the types of flooring and help find the one that best suits your needs.”

Flooring trends

As with all trends, it is important to make sure that first and foremost, they fit your style and that you will be happy with the results for years to come.

Tile: “For a modern look, choose rectangular tiles. The ones that look like stained concrete are particularly popular.”

Stone: “Choose large 24-inch-by-24-inch or larger tiles for the floor. For baths, the trend is to use the same stone in multiple sizes, as opposed to a lot of different materials. Think Carrera marble in 12-by-24, 1-by-1 mosaics and 3-by-6 bricks used on the floor, wall and shower.”

Wood: “The wide-plank, wire-brushed, oil-rubbed look is current. Some of these are truly oiled floors and some are urethane finish made to look oil-rubbed.”

Carpet: “A flatter, more commercial look in carpet, as opposed to a textured-type shag, is most modern.”

 

Stephanie Landers’ useful tips on how to make your flooring last longer

Wood and water don’t mix! “Make sure they are getting swept regularly and then damp mopped with a PH-neutral cleaner such as Bona, as needed.”

Protect, protect, protect. “Walk off mats from the exterior doors and use felt pads on movable furniture to help preserve the life of the floors.”

Walk on socks. “Say mahalo to the Hawaiian tradition of removing your shoes at the door to help preserve the life of your wood flooring.”

Suck it up. “Carpet should be vacuumed regularly and then professionally cleaned about every 18 months using the hot-water extraction method from a truck-mounted unit. This brings the fibers back to life.”

Know your fibers. “Knowing your carpet fiber and stain-treatment method is important for dictating the cleaning. Carpets made with Triexta fiber should never have any topical stain treatment applied to them. Doing so would only attract dirt and void your warranty.”

Landers Premier Flooring
2601 Mc Hale Court, Suite 140
512.873.9470
landerspremierflooring.com

 

Jessica Maher photo courtesy of Métier Cook's Supply. Denise Roberts and Love Ding photos courtesy of Love Ding. Stephanie Landers photo by Bluebird Photography. Landers Flooring photos courtesy of Shaw Industries.


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