French designer Erwine Laverne once said, “The most important element in rooms is people, not furniture.” Erwine and his wife Estelle became famous for their Lucite chairs and made the case for lucite furniture in 1959. Decades have passed, but we’re happy to say that lucite is back and it’s here to stay.
Though lucite was most popular during the 50’s-60’s, it was actually introduced in the 1930’s. Among the first collectors was Polish-American businesswoman and art collector, Helena Rubinstein. Helena collected art, furniture and decor in bulk and was well known in the design community. It’s unclear if an interior decorator introduced her to lucite, or if she found it herself, but she remains known for her glowing lucite sleigh bed from Paris.
What we love most about lucite furniture is its ability to remove clutter from a space. Coffee tables, chair legs, or any other type of pedestal furniture can seemingly add chaos to a space. The use of lucite furniture completely removes that worry. This is especially useful today when people are moving into smaller and smaller spaces. There is a large focus right now on living with minimalism – and acrylic or lucite pieces are the perfect solution!
Below are some of our favorite uses of lucite furniture. What are some of your favorite looks? Share with us in the comments below!
Even more exciting news about lucite? We’ve added some STUNNING new lucite pieces to our collection. From two-tiered transparent tables juxtaposed with shining brass, to a beautiful Mid-Century Modern mix of lucite, brass and chrome -these new tables are must-haves for any modern home. Shop now.
Nestled in the heart of Austin, Texas on West 6th Ave, sits a uniquely curated design district that we like to call home.
Austin continues to be a trendsetter in the design and architecture industries and the Clarksville/West 6th neighborhood is no stranger to that! We’ve been lucky enough to have our doors open in the West 6th neighborhood for over 20 years, right inside the Whit Hanks Antiques building. There’s a lot of talent in this little section of Austin – endless opportunities for collaboration and referrals! We’ve gathered a list of some of our favorite design shops right in our neighborhood. Whether you’re redesigning a space or building a completely new one – the Design District on and around West 6th is the perfect place to plan and purchase for your next project.
We proudly specialize in everything from Murano glass and Midcentury furniture to pieces from the Art Deco and Louis XVI periods. With more than 20 years in the business, we can happily share our expertise and even offer interior design services for any project you have in mind! We have pieces that will suit every taste – from modern to timelessly elegant.
From unique textiles and pillows to art and accessories, Meredith Ellis’ designer bungalow boutique is everything that dreams are made of. We’re so happy to call Meredith our neighbor and friend. If you’re in the market for textiles you simply can’t find anywhere else – James Showroom should be your first stop, and we dare you to try and leave empty-handed.
Annie Downing Interiors
We have a serious Instagram crush on Annie Downing Interiors. We love everything about this design firm – especially their eye for detail. We know we’re cut from the same cloth because of how Annie combines the old and the new – always mixing vintage and modern pieces, and then adding the perfect mix of fabrics. Annie Downing Interiors has all kinds of accessories, barware and gifts for any budget.
If you’re in search for a little global flare in your home design, El Interior is the perfect spot. From clothing to homegoods, Marcia Lucas has been sourcing sustainable, fair-trade goods from artisans in Mexico and Guatamala for over 35 years.
David Allen Rugs
Located conveniently right next door to our showroom, David Allen Rugs is a great spot to shop for your next decorative rug. They have a beautiful selection of oriental rugs and have a highly educated staff ready to help you from the moment you walk in the door.
From high end furniture, accessories, and gifts to their entire line of natural bedding – Wildflower is a fabulous shop located on the corner of West 6th and North Lamar. For over twenty years, owners Cory and Gunnar Hedman have prioritized environmental responsibility at the heart of their business. If you’re in search of natural homegoods and gifts – this is the perfect place to shop.
Supply Showroom has it all. Fabric, leather, rugs, wallpaper… – you name it. Located on Lake Austin in a 1930s bungalow, they have the perfect set up to complete a space whether it’s residential or commercial!
Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery
For the serior art collector, Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery has museum-quality pieces spanning art history from the 1600s until now. From Rembrandt to Matisse, you can confidently source fine art from this beautiful gallery and know the works are both original and historic. Russell Collection also showcases a variety of modern-day artists such as Maxine Price and Brian Hamill. For more information visit their site or stop in their gallery right off West 6th!
Contemporary furnishings, modern lighting and more can be found at B&B Italia, right next door to Whit Hanks Antiques.
Page Home Design
Luxury and comfort – the two key concepts Suzi Page Whitworth had in mind when she founded Page Home Design. Page Home Design provides full-service interior design work and prides itself in being able to source one-of-a-kind items for its clients.
As a European business, it’s no wonder we’re always in search of the best European food in the city. Luckily for us, Austin is a city known for it’s food culture. From the recent food truck craze to farm-to-table, there are endless options for choosing your next date spot. We’ve put together a list of our favorite European eats – bon appetit!
Our favorite European eats in Austin, Texas
Baguette et Chocolat
Baguette et Chocolat is a local favorite in Austin. Nestled in the midst of the hill country on Bee Cave road, this quaint little bakery is owned by Anne-lise and Chi-minh Pham-dinh, French natives who relocated to Austin nearly a decade ago. Everything is made from scratch with ingredients imported directly from France. Our favorites include their light and buttery croissants and breads, macarons, and their decadent desserts. They’re also known for their crepes and their Croque Monsiuer. Go any morning of the week between the hours of 7 and 9, and there will a line out the door.
Another French power couple – Pierre Pelegrin and Justine Gilcrease – knew they wanted to open a bar on the East side of town. They decided to open up a bungalow and serve exquisite cocktails and aperitifs, with French classics. Bistro lighting and the essence of coziness meets you at the door. We personally recommend the Escargots à la Bourguignonne, Steak Frites and the Salade de Crabe. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. They have a perfect cocktail list and a fabulous wine selection – perfect for a quiet date night, or a dinner with friends.
Ahh, South Congress. The epitome of old Austin. Perla’s sits right in the heart of it all, with a great patio perfect for people watching – a fun pass time when visiting the SoCo area. Even better – they have a great menu chock full of good eats, and they’re known for their brunch menu. Think shrimp and grits, crab florentine, lobster rolls and delightful cocktails. But it doesn’t stop at brunch – our favorites from the delightful dinner menu include Bouillabaise, the Crispy Texas Gulf Snapper, oysters – and we can’t forget the melt-in-your-mouth lobster shells and cheese.
360 Uno is our go-to spot to eat. Their homemade pasta and crispy thin pizzas are the perfect takeout meal for a Friday night at home. The restaurant itself is a quaint little spot, great for a glass of wine or dinner for two. Our favorite part about 360 Uno? The Lavazza coffee. Whether you fancy a cortado or a simple shot of espresso – this is the best place in West Austin to get it.
It’s simple – we love Clark’s. Located right across West 6th from our gallery, this has become one of our regular spots. Clark’s has a great happy hour, and believe it or not this seafood bistro is actually famous for it’s burger (among other things)! The winning menu item in our book? The ceviche. Hands down.
And now for dessert. La Patisserie is tucked away on South 1st next to the “Greetings from Austin” mural. They’ve gained a reputation for their cronuts, but we’re here to talk about the macarons. Scrumptious, light and flaky, colorful and sweet, your mouth will water just looking at them! They have a variety of flavors – vanilla, pistachio, lavender, rose, strawberry – the list goes on. We have to consciously avoid visiting this authentic French bakery too often for the good of our health, but we all agree it’s a must if you’re in the area.
Memorial Day is a holiday to be spent with family and friends. It’s also thought of as the unofficial kick-off for summer; many people have pool parties, cookouts, picnics and backyard gatherings. With that in mind, we want to share our favorite French recipes to share with your loved ones on Memorial Day. Make a little or multiply the recipes to make a lot!
1. Mini Croque Monsieurs
Classic baked ham and cheese with bechamel sauce
Skill Level: Easy
Recipe Serving: Yields 12 Mini Sandwiches
Cobblestone Bread Co. Million Dollar White Bread (or similar) Smoked gruyere cheese, in slices Slices of ham Dijon mustard Butter Flour Milk Salt and pepper Grated Parmesan cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. 1. Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet. (I lined my baking sheet with foil for easy clean up). Brush each side of each slice with a little bit of melted butter. 3. Once the oven is preheated, toast the sliced of bread in the oven for about 2 minutes. Flip the bread and toast the other side for about 2 minutes. Watch the bread and make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. Remove the bread from the oven and lay out three of the slices. Top them with a layer of mustard, 2 slices of cheese, ham, another 2 slices of cheese and a top slice of bread. 5. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces. Place the pieces back onto the baking sheet.
6. 6.In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and golden in color. 7. Slowly whisk in the milk and turn up the heat a bit. Whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. 8. Add salt and pepper, as desired. 9. Once it starts to thicken, remove it from the heat and add the parmesan cheese, and continue to whisk until the cheese melts.
10. Scoop the sauce on to the tops of the mini sandwiches and serve warm.
French butter cake
Skill Level: Medium
Recipe Serving:Yields 24 madeleines
(Hardware Needs: scallop shell pans)
Ingredients 4 oz (1 stick), plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 2/3 cup white sugar 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon, divided 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon zest Powdered sugar (optional) Equipment Small sauce pan Small bowl 2 medium-sized mixing bowls Measuring cups and spoons Whisk Spatula 2 madeleine pans Pastry brush Small sieve for dusting with powdered sugar, optional
Instructions 1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. You want it to be golden brown, so let it bubble in the pan until it smells toasty and starts to turn your desired color. Watch out, because the butter turns very quickly from toasty to burnt and the cakes will continue to color after it is off the heat, unless you place them in a new container. Spoon 3 tablespoons of butter into a separate container and set aside.
2. Prepare the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the flour and the sugar. In another medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs with the vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the eggs are frothy.
3. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the eggs to the flour. Using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add the 4 ounces of melted butter and continue to stir. It may take a minute for the butter to blend into the mixture but do not over mix.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the batter in the refrigerator to rest, ideally overnight, but can be as little as one hour.
5. Prepare the pans. Add the remaining one tablespoon of flour to the 3 tablespoons reserved butter and stir to combine. Using a pastry brush, brush the interiors of the shells with the butter-flour mixture so that they are well coated. Place the pans in the freezer for at least an hour.
6. Preheat the oven and fill pans. Turn the oven to 350°F. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and one pan from the freezer. Fill each mold with with approximately 1 tablespoon of the batter. Remove the other pan and fill in the same way.
7. Bake the madeleines. Place both pans on a baking sheet for easy handling and place in the oven. Check after 8 minutes and rotate plans. Check again 5 minutes later. The madeleines should be browning around the edges and puffed up a little in the middle. Using your forefinger, press lightly on the center hump — when the madeleines are finished baking, it should spring back at your touch.
8. Cool, then dust with powdered sugar. Remove from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Using a fork, gently release the madeleines from their molds and put them on a cooling rack (or a towel).
9. Storing instructions: Store cooled madeleines in an airtight container. They will last up to a few days, or freeze them for up to several months. If you are eating them post freeze, let the cakes defrost before topping them with the powdered sugar.
3. Tuna Niçoise Burgers
All the flavors of a niçoise salad, but on a bun
Skill Level: Easy
Recipe Serving: Yields 4 burgers
Ingredients 1 1/4 pounds fresh tuna, diced 2 scallions, thinly sliced 12 kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and finely minced Salt and freshly ground pepper Olive oil, for brushing 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste 4 brioche buns, toasted (optional) Sliced tomatoes and arugula (for topping)
1. Spread the tuna, scallions, olives and capers on a plate and freeze for 5 minutes.
2. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until the tuna is finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into four 4-inch patties.
3. Turn on the grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the burgers with olive oil on both sides and grill over medium-high heat, turning once, until golden and crusty. They should be just cooked through, about 6 minutes.
4. Mix the mayonnaise and anchovy paste in a bowl; spread on the buns. Top with the burgers, tomato and arugula and enjoy!
4. Green Tapenade Pasta Salad
A fresh take on a French classic, Tapenade
Skill Level: Easy
Recipe Servings: 4-6 servings
1 pound green spinach penne pasta 1 clove garlic 1 cup pitted Picholine and Niçoise olives (for contrast and color)
1 tablespoon capers 4 anchovy fillets, packed in olive oil The leaves from 2 stems fresh thyme Zest and juice of 1 lemon 1/4 cup olive oil Freshly ground black pepper 2 cups combined baby spinach and baby arugula leaves, lightly chopped
1. Cook the penne until al dente (or whatever you prefer) in salted boiling water. 2. Meanwhile, put the garlic clove in the food processor. Once it’s minced, add the olives, capers, anchovy, and thyme. Then, pulse into a crumble for texture. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper. Pulse a bit longer. You do want the sauce to be chunky. 3. Drain the pasta thoroughly, and toss with the tapenade. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then add in the spinach and arugula.
Have a wonderful, safe Memorial Day holiday. We hope you enjoy these French recipes with loved ones.