Built: Nature In The Raw

This time of year is all about getting out of the house – we’ve been cooped up for many long months! But there is a desire to freshen and rejuvenate our lives indoors as well. We’re opening windows, purging excess belongings, excavating the dust and grime that accumulated during the darker months; and cutting the first spring blooms to proudly display indoors. The raw shapes and forms of natural objects can be a refreshing addition to our interior decor; adding texture, beauty and functionality to any space.

In the bathroom:

As storage and shelving:

The natural angle of branches become shelf brackets

Branch shelf three ways

Tree branch hooks

Driftwood as a clothing rod

As furniture:

Tree stump coffee table

a gorgeous natural slab table top showcases the shape of the wood

And as lighting:

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Birthday Cake All Grown Up

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The past week was the best kind of whirlwind; full of birthdays, elaborate meals, a weekend away, and best of all, lots and lots of cake.

I looked in the pantry at 6pm on my husband’s birthday and realized two crucial things: I had procrastinated baking a cake until 6pm, and I had no butter or white flour. Undeterred, I stumbled upon a gem of a recipe I will be revisiting time and again. Imagine an unbelievably tender orange scented crumb studded with the faint crunch of poppyseeds. A generous drizzle of a glossy orange-chocolate ganache takes this cake completely over the edge. The wonders continue: its made completely with whole wheat pastry flour and only 1/2 cup of olive oil and it comes together in a flash with minimal dishes, no mixer required!

Evan and Matt

Our wedding cake table

I am not a big cake person. I find they’re often dry and lacking in flavor, topped with a shelack of overly sweet frosting. Not my thing. So when I got married last summer, I wasn’t eager to go the wedding cake route. We ended up baking 5 varieties of bundt cakes for the wedding — the cake is super moist and flavorful and paired with a light glaze rather than frosting. And the shape of the cake is already so fancy, it needs little in the way of decoration.

Since we had so much success with the wedding cakes, bundt cake has become my go to when I need to bake something. Essentially the same thing as a pound cake (a bundt cake recipe usually calls for 10 cups of batter; roughly two pound cakes) olive oil cakes adapt especially well to the format. They stay very moist, and actually improve in the days immediately after baking. More pictures and recipe after the jump… Continue reading