This time of year is made for delicious comfort food and soups, chowders, and stews are comfort in a bowl. This month we are excited to share the Corn Chowder recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks, Feed Your Mind. Bay Magazine has created a cookbook is not only beautiful and packed with delicious recipes, but it is local as well. This cookbook draws inspiration from our state’s very own Long Beach Island (LBI to the natives) highlighting locally-sourced seafood, farm-fresh produce and regional ingredients.
2 T. butter
4 scallions, chopped plus 2 T. reserved for garnish
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 lb. white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 corn ears)
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
In a large and heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.
Add scallions, bell peppers, and celery stirring until hte vegetables start to soften, around 8-10 minutes. Add in the potatoes, two cups of the corn, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occassionally, for 15 minutes.
In a blender, puree the remaining two cups corn with milk and add into the soup. Simmer until the soup thickens slightly, 7-10 minutes.
Ladle chowder into bowls or cups and top with chopped scallions and enjoy!
This Corn Chowder is simple yet delicious, making it a perfect recipe for week night dinners. The Feed Your Mind cookbook offers recipes for unique appetizers, side dishes, main courses, desserts, and cocktails, making it a great addition to the kitchen.
We stock the cookbook in our Red Bank shop or click the button below to order your copy!
We are kicking off this year’s project spotlight with one that was over a year in the making, finally debuted in the fall of 2020. Our Elm Road Project was a new construction home with the initial intention to be featured as a Designer Showhouse through Aspire Magazine. Then the house would become the new home of the young family having it built.
In this spotlight, we are focusing on some of the behind the scenes planning parts of the project that took place well before it was furnished and open the the public.
The furnishing and Showhouse is a part of the story that will come later.
A Different Approach
This project was unique in many ways, mostly because it wasn’t just a Showhouse and it wasn’t just a new construction home for a client. Typically, the approach to these two types of projects is very different.
When working with a client, designing their home, we are working directly with the end user of the project. Therefore, we focus on making decisions that will serve their needs and ideal lifestyle specifically.
Alternatively, when we participate in a Showhouse project, there are typically many different designers involved in a single homem each completing an individual space. The focus for each space is to provide inspiration and highlight their work in a unique way to be enjoyed by many people. This usually results in a wide variety of styles throughout.
We were brought into the project very early, hired by the clients to make the hard surface design and decisions for the entire home. Since the homeowners would eventually be calling this their home, it was important that the permanent materials and building elements would create a cohesive flow for the home beyond the Designer’s Showhouse debut.
The client wanted a fusion of California modern with Asian influences for their home. Our goal was to incorporate these desired styles of the client with fresh perspectives to help set the the tone for a truly special showhouse.
Starting from Scratch
With new construction projects specifically, it is our job to bring life to the flat nature of architectural plans. We add dimension to these drawings by planning the spaces as they will be used and feel when you are in them.
Set the mood
We use mood boards when designing spaces and homes to help set the overall focus for the house. This is a snapshot of one of the mood boards for this project.
Modern made to be More
Special detailing can often be lost with the abundance of clean lines and simplicity that is generally associated with modern design. We don’t think that has to the be case, we believe that modern design can be an perfect base for highlighting exceptional details. Each space we touched, including the kitchen, butler’s pantry, laundry room, walk-in pantry, 8 bathrooms, mudroom, and wet bar all have some element of uniqueness.
Thinking inside the box
A very big part of what we are known for is our cabinetry. We strive to create more functional and interesting spaces. We achieve this by pushing the limits of basic cabinet design in every project we do.
All of the cabinetry throughout the home is our custom Town & Country Bespoke Cabinetry. We took special care to be sure that every room was a modern reflection of the possibilities that can be achieved when working with quality craftsmanship and products.
Many of the cabinet door styles started as rough sketches like this from the design studio. These sketches became reality through the fine work of our cabinet makers as seen below.
Beyond the Box
In addition to the cabinetry, we were in charge of selecting and designing all of the hard surfaces for the project. This included the tile, countertops, plumbing fixtures, and bathroom accessories for this home.
Product Sponsors for the Showhouse part of the project meant that we had manufacturer restraints on the selections. Working with limited brands we were able to explore the versatility throughout the home that can be achieved when playing with finish and styles.
We wanted the individual rooms in the house to be unique, yet flow from one to the next. Our approach was to stick with a neutral color palette for all selections to create the desired continuity. Clean lines for all styling selections kept things sleek. While sourcing layers of natural and organic feeling materials offers a earthy feel throughout.
Highlights on products and fixtures will come at a later time.
When a Plan Comes Together
Although it takes time to plan and execute a project like this, it is always rewarding to look back at the process a project and how it all comes together.
We selected a few of our favorite completed spaces in the house. Below are the planning sketches and images of the final room.
We are excited to share more of the details and finished images of the house once the Aspire Showhouse Issue coming soon.
Mike Van Tassel was the photographer who took the professional images of the finishes spaces of the Showhouse.
Nothing is more keeping with the spirit of the season than enjoying comforts of tradition and family. Food is so connected to these comforts, it is for this reason we are sharing a, staff’s favorite, family recipe today.
TCKB member, Kaila Williams, is counting the days until she gets to enjoy her favorite holiday treat. “Every year when my mom asks for special requests for our holiday visit, without fail, mine is always the same. Nanny’s Pecan Puffs!” explains Kaila.
This classic baked good is also known by other names like wedding cookies, pecan balls, and snowball cookies. Pecan Puffs are a soft, slightly sweet butter cookies, packed with chopped pecans and topped with powdered sugar. “They taste like Christmas to me” reminisces Williams.
This recipe only uses a few ingredients and is quick to make. They can even be made early in the season and frozen until you are ready to enjoy.
“We still use the exact recipe that my great grandmother, nanny, always used. The recipe card itself is an heirloom. Written in my grandmothers handwriting which was given to my mom, it is stained and worn showing its frequent use over the years,” Kaila explains. Images of the recipe card below.
1 Cup Crisco (you can use alternatives, but we have found that the tasts is a little different)
1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar (sifted)
1/2 cup for recipe
1 cup for after baking
2 1/4 Cups Flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
3/4 Cup Chopped Pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Blend Crisco and sugar until creamy and smooth. Stir in flour, salt, vanilla, pecans, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until well blended.
Mold into 1″ balls and place on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet.
There is just something about this time of year! Is it the bite in the air, the glow of the lights, the melody of the songs? We can’t say for sure. What we do know is this time of year seems to have a bit of magic in it! With this magical time of year, we are surrounded by a barren nature outdoors and turn inside for holiday entertaining.
Above all the things that make this season special is the overwhelming sense of togetherness. Regardless of your beliefs, this season has a way of uniting; families, friends, communities, and neighbors. That alone can feel magical.
Often gatherings are a big part of this togetherness. This year, as we thought about holiday entertaining, we have found that we are especially drawn to nature when imagining how to highlight this magical season.
Our holiday table is a celebration of nature and the season’s magic.
Keeping things more natural, we opted out of doing a tablecloth, using the wood table as the base for our table-scape. A crisp white linen topped with a rustic burlap runner offer some subtle structure to the décor. From there things get interesting…
Bring the outdoors in!
We love the idea of abundance when it comes to bringing in the natural elements, so we decided that we would go all out with layering the greens. Rather than using a more traditional pine or holly, we chose some of the seasons less celebrated plants for this table. A variety of dried and faux sprigs of eucalyptus create a plentiful bed all along the table. Rather than florals, we chose a variety of potted rosemary plants.
Tip: Rosemary is commonly used in holiday meals, by having these plants on the table it offers a nice semblance to the food you are enjoying at the table. This doesn’t have to be rosemary. Consider personalizing this philosophy to your meal. If there is a particular herb, fruit, or vegetable used in your menu, consider highlighting it on your table-scape.
Black and Brass Accents offer modern touches to the earthy theme.
We chose sleek matte black dishes and paired them with polished brass flatware for a fun juxtaposition of contemporary glam.
Rust and Mercury are both elements of nature. Although we wont go too far into the periodic table, the idea of adding items that are reminiscent of nature’s elements has validity when creating an earthy theme. Giant rustic bells and oversized mercury ornaments are perfect accents to adorn the greens. Wooden Block placeholders display personalized cards for guest’s seating locations.
Set the mood
We all know that lighting is so important when creating a mood. Candlelight is among the most romantic and cozy forms of lighting you can use in a space. We chose to place pillar candles in several glass hurricanes along the table to give a soft warm glow.
No matter if your holiday gathering is large or small, we hope you have a wonderfully magical holiday season this year!
Shop the look
Everything you see on our holiday table is available in our T&C Mercantile Shop. We are open daily for shopping and we are happy to offer virtual shopping for those who cannot visit us in person. Visit our shop page for hours.
Follow us on our social media accounts for updates on what is in stock, new arrivals, and shop events. You can shop products through either of our media accounts, just drop us a line or call.
This year’s Bingham Avenue Project, holiday edition project spotlight, is one that is near and dear to our hearts. This new construction project was the home of Town & Country Kitchen and Bath owner, Ginny Padula. Ginny and her husband Lou, owner of Padula Builders, designed and built this home with a heavy emphasis on family in mind.
There is no better time than the holidays to celebrate family and enjoy the comforts of home. This may be one of the reasons that Ginny pulls out all the stops when decorating her home for the season. We had the pleasure of capturing the house during one of the ‘most wonderful times of the year’ and chatting with Ginny about her holiday traditions and decorating inspiration.
We will spotlight details on this full home design project at another time. For this edition, we are going to focus on spreading the holiday cheer.
We started out by asking Ginny the obvious question, what is it about Christmas that makes her give full measure to decorating her home? “I have always loved holiday decorations and everything that goes with this time of year, like getting to spend extra time with my family.”
Ginny describes her holiday decorating style as being similar to her personal design style; classic and natural with hints of rustic elements. Evident in these images, the home features deep wood tones paired with warm neutrals. The traditional styling makes it feel tailored yet welcoming. When adding holiday décor she enhances these elements by layering lots of natural greens, which pair so naturally with the wood throughout the home.
Ginny is an excellent cook, this time of year the kitchen is especially busy with baking and extra people filling the home for meals. The décor is kept simple in this space to allow for ease of use during meal prep and baking. A small tree or two, some boxwood wreaths over the windows, strategic greens, and of course the highly aromatic and useful rosemary plant. She confides that her favorite holiday tradition is, being in the kitchen, baking cookies with her two sons.
Once the meal is made, it’s time to gather and enjoy! The Padula’s host a family dinner each year on Christmas Eve with the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes theme. “We both grew up celebrating this way. When we got married we took over hosting to continue the custom for our family and friends and pass onto the next generation.” Ginny explains when asked how long they have have hosted these feasts.
This is a meal that requires that the entire family pitch in and takes days to prepare. Lou is the ring leader and head chef of this meal though and he starts planning for the feast weeks in advance. Everything from the homemade manicotti shells that are prepared the Sunday prior until the last salad hits the table is steeped in family tradition.
When asked if the menu varies each year, “Oh no,” Ginny explains, “everything is prepared using Lou’s grandmothers recipes and the menu is just the way she always did it.”
House of Trees
The most prominent decorative element that Ginny incorporates are trees. Large and small, real and artificial, there is a tree in each room of the home. Each tree is decorated with it’s own thoughtfully unique theme. “Last year there were 11, this year we are adding 5 or 6 more” admits Padula.
“They are all my favorite,” Ginny laughs when asked to pick, “but the family tree is probably my favorite” she decides, of the tree that the whole family decorates together. They fill the tree with ornaments either made by or collected by the group.
As in all design, an important element is to be true to your taste and comfort. When decorating for the holidays make it feel personal and purposeful. Small accents in well placed locations can make a big impact. We hope you have enjoyed this special holiday edition project spotlight and have gathered some inspiration for your own home this season.
Happy Holidays from the TCKB Design Team!
Shop The Project Spotlight Look
We rounded up a few items from the shop to help you create your own winter wonderland at home. Our shop is open in Red Bank daily, visit our Shop page for store hours. Please visit us to shop in person, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org , or call: 732-345-1441, we offer curbside pickup, local drop offs, and shipping.
This year, it seems, we are all craving some form of normalcy in an anything but normal time. While holiday entertaining may look different than we would like, there are still ways to make the holiday season special and inviting. We love the idea of hosting an el fresco dinner. The weather may be crisp but this only adds to the enjoyment of the season.
Location is everything
Find a cozy or pretty location like a patio, under a large tree, or in a garden space to set the scene. Consider bringing your dining table and chairs outdoors, the use of furniture that is traditionally used inside the home creates a slightly formal feel in a more casual setting.
Don’t be too concerned with pristine landscape, take advantage of the natural ‘décor’ around you. What could be more fitting than enjoying a meal among the fallen leaves that make the season so beautiful.
Décor for entertaining outdoors
The beauty of this concept is that most of the décor is taken care of by mother nature. For the tabletop, fresh flowers are a must…consider selecting something unexpected. Blooms that offer a contrast against the natural landscape create a focal accent. Here we used various sizes of the same glass vessels for assorted heights while keeping a consistent look. We chose pops of purple wildflower-like flowers. Instead of mixing the flowers in all of the vases, we grouped each flower type in it’s own basin for a more graphic touch.
In our design work, we love how mixed materials create interest to a space, this philosophy is true for tablescapes as well. Here we show brass, silver, and mercury metal tones mixed with organic elements like French linens, handmade pottery, and recycled glassware creating a causal yet polished composition.
A collection of vintage brass candlesticks adds a classic elegance and of course the source on an important ambience element. No matter the time of day that your holiday entertaining will take place, a candle glow is a welcome addition to the experience of dining outdoors.
Keep things simple
Stick with a minimal color pallet and use multiples of the same pieces to keep things simple yet interesting. Layer extra dishes to add subtle dimension and substance to each place setting. Forgo any excess of linens, instead stick with simple cloth napkins as the primary textile on the table. An added bonus, less fabric allows for more worry free dining experience. No need to worry about a spill and the makes meal cleanup a breeze.
A key to holiday entertaining is making everyone feel at home, this can be achieved even when dining outdoors. Have blankets available for guests to drape over themselves while dining. Light a fire nearby in a fire pit or chimenea to offer elements that have a cozy feel.
Shop the Look
Everything you see in these images is available in the T&C Mercantile shop. We are still working on our online shopping site. In the meantime, our retail shop is open daily through the holiday season for in person and virtual shopping experiences. View Shop Hours
Please follow us on our social media accounts to keep up to date with new products and to purchase remotely.
Our Crescent Parkway Project was a complete kitchen renovation; including everything from the floors to the lighting in the ceiling. Town & Country was hired to design a custom kitchen and manage all aspects of the project. We brought in Eric Seebald, of Seebald Construction, to execute the project with us.
This month we thought it would be fun to not only share the finished product, but show you where we began as well. We are going to share some before and after shots and details behind this fully custom kitchen design project.
Let’s start with before…
The size and overall layout of the kitchen were good but the client’s preference for more modern styling, didn’t like the dark stained – traditional styling of the kitchen.
The Crescent Parkway house is considered to be Shingle Style Architecture, a style aptly named for it’s iconic shake siding and irregular rooflines, among other features. The beauty of this architectural style is that it naturally exudes a more relaxed, informal lifestyle. The original kitchen design did not reflect the effortless luxury that the house deserved and the client’s desired.
Our goal was clear…We had to give the space new life with elevated details.
Early in the design process the client’s gravitated toward a door style, Exeter from Rutt Handcrafted Cabinetry, shown on one of the Showroom displays. The Exeter door is pretty special. It is simple at first glance but extremely unique upon closer examination. There is a real architectural element to the door and details in the collection. It’s no wonder the client, an engineer by trade, would be so taken with it.
The cabinetry set the tone for the space. We selected a pale grey paint for the cabinetry surround and natural walnut for the center island.
We replaced the original rustic travertine pattern floor with a heated floor system then topped with a large format porcelain tile. The new floor, with subtle etched design and texture, offers a clean pallet for the base of the room.
Blending traditional and modern is a delicate dance in a space. To do this we used brushed stainless finishes for the hardware, plumbing, and lighting fixtures offering a utilitarian touch throughout the room. Then we incorporated more traditional elements like Calcutta marble countertops and marble tile with a decorative screen printed design backsplash.
All in the details
Let’s Talk Custom Storage
The joy of working with custom cabinetry means that the design options in a kitchen are nearly limitless, therefore optimizing every inch of storage in the room.
The Pantry Storage wasn’t ideal for the client’s needs. Working with a set amount of space meant we couldn’t necessarily increase the storage square footage. Reworking the space would mean it could be better utilized making it much more functional. By shifting the refrigerator to the center, and flanking it with narrow pantry units created a nice balance on the wall. Fully adjustable, they not only pull out but twist open, these narrow pantry units are a significantly more useful solution.
The existing corridor between the kitchen and formal dining room held a built in desk. The clients found they didn’t use it as intended and ended up always being a messy catch-all. This space with the perfect opportunity to gain substantial storage for overflow pantry items and serving pieces. Being a main pass-through in the space, we wanted it to feel special. We used a deep signature Town & Country paint color for drama. A built-in library light and a touch of the same natural walnut used in the kitchen island offer purposeful accents to the piece.
Other storage features in the room include a lift up mixer unit for easier use and hidden storage in the island with touch latch entry. The majority of the base storage feature walnut drawers boxes, many with organization inserts making sure everything has a place.
Light it up
We took careful consideration with lighting for the Crescent Parkway Project. For this kitchen, we wanted lighting to play a less glamorous, but still very important, role. We designed the lighting to highlight and accentuate all of the other elements in the room.
We removed the hanging chandelier over the island and reworked the recessed ceiling lights. All interior and under cabinets lighting was pre-specified and integrated in the cabinetry. This was an extra step in the engineering process that was well worth the effort, resulting in a beautifully seamless applications once installed.
The few decorative fixtures we chose were deliberate. Accent sconces next to the window and the aforementioned library light in the pantry/storage hutch offer light sources that showcase the details on cabinetry they adorn.
As with all of our work, we strive to create beautiful spaces that are highly functional, elegant and luxurious, yet unassuming. We believe this kitchen has all of those elements and we loved creating this space for our clients.
Monmouth Health and Life is chose this project for the cover feature in their Oct./Nov. 2020 issue.
Our First Avenue Project Spotlight is a design collaborative we completed with local interior design firm Salt Design Co. and we just love the way it turned out.
Salt brought us in to design the kitchen layout and provide the custom cabinetry for the open concept space. It was important that the finishes and design were highly functional yet beautifully subtle to balance the planned furnishings and overall house design vision. We worked closely with the clients and Salt to ensure that their vision for a relaxed, yet chic space would flow perfectly with the custom designed cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms.
We used Rutt Handcrafted Cabinetry in the kitchen. The selection of a simple, yet architecturally interesting, door style was the natural choice for this open living and entertaining space on the main floor of the home. The surrounding wall cabinetry provides a clean white backdrop in the room. Finished in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, the color is a continuation from the walls throughout the home. The island and accent floating shelves are a custom stained walnut wood. This finish is the perfect tone of warm driftwood and pairs beautifully with the wood flooring throughout the house.
Tucked in an alcove of the kitchen is an ultra functional pantry space, featuring the microwave drawer, two appliance garages, and ample storage. Everything in this nook is tucked behind closed doors to keep it tidy looking at all times, but also making sure everything is close at hand when needed.
Floating Shelving with integrated lighting flank the vertical ship lap range hood and black framed windows. Unlacquered Brass hardware in a sleek yet substantial style pull was selected for the kitchen.
The Galley Workstation is one of our favorite products to incorporate in our kitchen projects. These sinks are multi-functional, made for everything from prep to entertaining through cleanup. We used the 4′ size with coordinating Tap collection in the center island facing the main living space. Also, not a bad view of the ocean outside!
Each bathroom vanity is a custom design, created specifically for this project. These one of a kind pieces boast special features including custom finishes, doors, and construction elements.
The 3rd floor master suite has ocean views. The master bathroom is ultra luxurious featuring a soaking tub, roomy shower, and his and hers dark painted cabinetry which frame the door to the sun deck.
This project is featured in the Oct./Nov. 2020 issue of Design NJ.
Click the cover image to read more about the full project.
Images for this project by Raquel Lang Worthy
Town & Country Kitchen and Bath designed and/or supplied all products specified in this article. Salt Design Co sourced/coordinated all design elements for this project that were not specified.
This month we are sharing the kitchen from a full house design project we completed a few years ago, but have yet to give it it’s rightful place in the spotlight, until now.
Brought in by builder, Padula Builders, to make finish selections for the interior and exterior of this home.
Along with making the selections, we provided the hard surface materials; cabinetry, countertops, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and tile, to furnish the custom spec home that would go on the market when complete.
Typically, when designing for a particular client we take inspiration for the project design from the client’s lifestyle, design preferences, and specific needs. This project differed in that our objective was to create a home that was uniquely special, reflecting the custom nature and quality workmanship of the home, but also would appeal to styles and requirements for an array of potential buyers.
Designing to sell
We were careful to select details and finishes that were not only clean and classic but would seamlessly lend themselves to a variety of styles allowing the new homeowner to personalize it, making the home their own.
Let’s get to the details…
For the kitchen, we went with the popular style of white shaker, but added special details like the stacked glass wall cabinets and decorative base detailing at the sink. The bright white plays a bold contrast to the stained center island which is a beautiful extension to the hardwood floors that are throughout the home.
Not only are the cabinets two-toned but we chose a leathered granite for the surround to serve as a hardworking surface for cooking and cleaning and accented the island with Carrara Marble to balance the white cabinets that surround. Polished Nickel Cabinetry hardware, pendants, and Rohl Plumbing fixtures give the perfect shine to the space.
Integrating the custom cabinetry with high end Wolf and Subzero appliances was a must to complete this welcoming and functional kitchen.
This project was unique in that we did not have a single client, we had many, to be sure that we did our job in aiding the house find new owners that would make it their home. Classic design principles and finishes never go out of style and that was proven here.
We were thrilled when Open House Magazine offered to help us spread the word to the Long Beach Island area about the re-introduction of retail offering in our showroom. In the interview feature, Ginny, explains our vision to be a local source for unique items that are as useful as they are beautiful.
Over the past several months we have launched T&C Mercantile, the retail extension of our design brand. This natural addition allows our design clients the opportunity to complete their project vision in one place and invite customers to source products that reflect our signature style.
Read the full article here to learn more about what is stocking our shelves and what to expect when visiting us!