Grant K. Gibson

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI

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I have been back in the kitchen again lately.  The chill in the air makes me want to stay in and just be cozy.

For a while I have been making ricotta gnocchi.  But I wanted to change it up a bit.  I noticed sweet potatoes the other day at the farmers market, and thought about marrying the sweet potato with the ricotta to make a sweet potato gnocchi.   As for what you put on top of it: I always like to leave those decisions to you.  I took two bunches of kale and sautéed with shallots and garlic.  I then added some Italian sausage and red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.  You could do a version with a brown butter and sage or mushrooms.  I love to have a base recipe and then be able to play with it depending on my mood and the available fresh produce.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

For the gnocchi:
3 red- skinned sweet potatoes
1 container of fresh ricotta (whole milk)
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
2 cups of all-purpose flour

Wash and dry the sweet potatoes (keeping the skin on), prick them with a fork and bake for around 45 minutes.  (I hear you can microwave them faster, but I have never had a microwave so I am not sure how long I would suggest if you are using this method.)  Cut the baked potatoes in half (length wise) and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.  Discard the skin.  These are going to be some hot potatoes – so let them cool down a tad before burning your fingers.   Using a fork, mash the sweet potatoes until then are not lumpy.   Then add in the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Stir thoroughly.   Then add in the flour – 1/2 a cup at a time.

Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough on your surface or between your hands into long snakes.   Then cut into equal pieces.  Repeat until you have completed the large ball of dough.
I had a baking sheet (with some flour) on the side to place the cut gnocchi.  You can use the back of a fork to create a tine mark if you like.  I personally skip that step.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add gnocchi slowly (don’t just dump the whole tray in at one time!).  The gnocchi floats to the top and cooks in about 1-2 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon and you are ready to serve.

Let me know what you think.  This is going to be my new go to fall dinner party recipe for sure!

Sir John Soane’s Museum

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Arranging travel plans and purchasing plane tickets is always a bit of a challenge.  While booking my latest adventure to Cape Town, South Africa (come back for more on this one!), I found myself with an afternoon to kill in London.  Numerous ideas of how to fill the afternoon layover danced in my head. Lunch at Harvey Nichols and some retail therapy (hello, AbFab)? Faced with a really short amount of time, I wanted to take advantage of every second.  The idea of sitting for hours on end at Heathrow – while suffering from jet lag – depressed me.

IMG_4242Have you every heard of the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London?  If not, you are not alone.  To me it is one of the most magical places on earth.  One of London’s most unexpected interiors – every aspect of which reflects its creator’s architectural ingenuity and extraordinary imagination.  My first visit to the Sir John Soane’s Museum was when I was 12 years old.   My family and I spent the winter holiday in London (then on to Stockholm to see family and friends).  At a very young age, I was fascinated by all of the “stuff” and the “cool collections”. A kid in a candy store kind of moment.  When I spent a year living in England, I would walk around the streets of London and frequently pop into the Soane on a Saturday afternoons. Admission was free, so I could spend hours exploring and studying the collections.   I truly believe that the museum played a role in my becoming a designer.

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I digress, I know.

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Sadly, the museum is closed on Mondays, so my heart sank a bit.  I sort of gave up on the idea.  Sort of. Wouldn’t it be a dream to explore on my own and be able to take photos? (I didn’t have any as part of my extensive photo collection).  I played this fantasy over and over in my head for years.  Due to a group of fabulous friends, with a lot of connections and a bit of luck thrown in, my dream came true.IMG_4276

This past Monday, I had the most marvelous adventure, complete with a personal guided tour by the new director.  Drawings and models of Soane’s projects mixed with collections of painting and antiquities.  Pinch me now.

IMG_4266Soane was a visionary who used his home as a laboratory for his ideas, the repository for his vast collections of 30,000 drawings; paintings including Canalettos, Hogarths and Turners; architectural models; Greek and Roman sculpture and Egyptian Antiquities; 10,000 rare books, including first editions of Milton and Shakespeare, as well as his very personal dwelling space.

 

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No discussion of Soane’s work would be complete without mentioning his use of light. The Museum is filled with mirrors, domes, fantastic ceilings and skylights with colored glass, used not only to light the rooms but also to create dramatic effects and to highlight the numerous plaster casts and marble fragments that are artistically arranged in every available space throughout the house.

 

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Due to his foresight in leaving his home to the public by Act of Parliament in 1833, Soane’s house and its contents survive today, exactly as they were in his time, giving the visitor a rare glimpse into a middle class home of the period.

I highly suggest the next time you are in London that you pop into view the collections.   It’s a one-of-a-kind boutique museum, filled with charm, character and stories around every corner.  I think that you will see why I have been enamored with the space for so many years.   You can also learn more about the Soane Foundation by clicking HERE.

BACK FROM MAINE

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Getting back from a trip is always hard. Too many things to catch up on.  But at least there are the memories! How about these food memories.

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Lobster rolls, fresh blueberries and strawberries and soft serve ice cream. It’s fun to indulge while away. Now time to get back to the normal routine!

OUT OF THE OFFICE

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I have been in Maine for the last week.  This makes the forth year in a row that I’ve made the trip to visit with friends.  (Does four years a tradition make?)  You may recall my mentioning this before.  I love this time of year.  The end of summer and the start to fall.  You can see the leaves just starting to change.  Pops of vivid oranges and deep reds.

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Wesley is proving to be such a great traveler.  Here he met his first lobster.  I not sure if he really understood this odd-looking creature.  I am sure glad that the lobster had his claws banded.  Otherwise, I think a certain Westie would have had his nose in an unwanted grip!

FEELING BLUE

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Some days you just get the blues.  In this case, it’s a bit different than what one usually means by “feeling blue”.

Feeling blue is being inspired by the saturation of the colors.  The combinations of these ikat fabrics against blue and white pottery.

Quite honestly, this does just the opposite of making me feel blue.

HOUSE BEAUTIFUL- SEPTEMBER 2014

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Thank you to House Beautiful Magazine for including me in September’s “The Last Word: What’s Your Favorite Color Memory?”

“The blue of the house at the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech is the most jaw-dropping I’ve ever seen.  It’s a gorgeous, piercing color.”

As you know, I am always finding inspiration while traveling.  Can’t wait to share some photos of some really fun trips that I have planned for fall.

Happy Monday!

SEMI-HOMEMADE PASTA

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I have been back in the kitchen lately.  Experimenting and playing around.

My latest creation is sort of a twist on homemade pasta.   I don’t really have the patience to make fresh pasta dough – so my solution is to pick up already made flat sheets at my local pasta shop.    You can let your imagination run wild with fillings.  I sauteed mushrooms, kale and fresh corn and then added an egg yolk to the center.   I took the egg white and mixed with a little water and made a wash and then covered the bottom layer with another layer of pasta to make a large ravioli-like pocket.   They didn’t take too long to cook (maybe 4-5 minutes) in boiling water.  I wanted to make I didn’t overcook the yolk so that – as I cut into the pasta – the yolk would still be runny.  A touch of browned butter on top before serving and you have a pretty simple meal.

Sometimes nothing hits the spot like bowl of pasta.  Don’t you agree?

RUBBER DUCKIE…YOU’RE THE ONE

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Sometimes it’s all in the little details.   This cutout will become a tiled niche in a shower (white subway tile on the left of the top shelf – to give you a visual).

Just had to make sure everything would fit.  What is the saying?  Measure twice and cut once?  Call me obsessive about the details – but I would rather be safe than sorry.  I mean, soap and shampoo are important, but the rubber duck is an essential!

KIDS BATHROOM REMODEL

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This summer, we have a have been working on a lot of remodel projects.   Here is a sneak peak of a bathroom we are doing for two little boys.  Working with classic and timeless materials (that are easy to scrub down after a lively bathtime splashing) and then adding some fun blues for a custom vanity.  We incorporated this really whimsical wallpaper.  I can’t wait to see the end result!

YOU ARE WHERE YOU EAT

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Thanks so much to the San Francisco Chronicle for the two page feature this weekend!  Special thanks to writer Paige Porter Fischer who helped edit my design inspirations and work her wordsmith magic. The article is below (or you can click online HERE)   I’m still not quite sure what to make of the cartoon-like portrait of me…

You are where you eat: restaurant-inspired design options

Which restaurant’s style do you covet? Grant K. Gibson delivers a design take-out

Interior designer Grant K. Gibson has a novel way of discovering his clients’ personal style. “I always ask them where they like to eat,” says Gibson. “And I’m not referring to the food, per se, but rather the design of the restaurant. San Francisco is home to some of the most stylish dining rooms and cafes in the country, and the decor is as diverse as the food they offer. A person’s answer tells me a lot about the kind of look he or she is drawn to.”

Gibson, whose eponymous design firm has been featured in Elle Decor and House Beautiful, was recently named one of 15 designers and architects to follow on Instagram by Architectural Digest. His feed (@grantkgibson) regularly boasts stunning snapshots from restaurants around town. “It may be the impeccable, tufted leather booths at Cavalier that inspire a chesterfield sofa at a client’s home, or it could be an unforgettable color, like the deep aqua at Bar Jules that we use in someone’s powder room,” says Gibson. “What is so fascinating is digging in and figuring out what it is about a particular space that speaks to someone.” We challenged Gibson to bring home a few great ideas from restaurants where the interior design is as thoughtful as the menu.

 

Outerlands

The vibe: “This is where I like to go on a cold, foggy San Francisco night. It’s rustic and organic and cozy at once.”

Bring it home: “I really love the plank walls in the dining room. This piece delivers the same rustic look in the form of a coat rack.” (CarpenterCraig, $378.58,http://etsy.me/1rS2f5V)

4001 Judah St., San Francisco. Interior design by owners Dave Muller and Lana Porcello, architecture by Charles Hemminger.

Namu Gaji

The vibe: “As you walk into Namu, you can’t help but see the giant wood slab table. … (It) makes you feel like you’re having dinner at someone’s dining room table.”

Bring it home: “I work with a local builder in Petaluma to build tables in the same feel and style. I love that the wood is reclaimed and has a story.” www.heritagesalvage.com/new-arrivals/western-red-cedar-slabs

499 Dolores St., San Francisco. Interior design by Brian Ford of Metropolis Design.

The Mill

The vibe: “The Mill has a clean, modern look with all the white tiles, but it’s warmed up with all the Doug fir custom shelving.”

Bring it home: “I really love the geometric wood shelving that’s so simple and graphic at the Mill. For similar geometric wood shelving, check out Zin Home.” (Geometric wood and iron bookcase, $1,199, www.zinhome.com)

736 Divisadero St., San Francisco. Architecture and interior design by Seth Boor and Sarah Fucinaro of Boor Bridges Architecture.

Bouli Bar

The vibe: “This place has such a fun, contemporary look – with all the clean lines and black accents.”

Bring it home: “I adore the various undulating pendant lights here.” For a similar look, check out the Tom Dixon Beat pendants ($595; www.ylighting.com).

1 Ferry Building, San Francisco. Interior design by Kallos Turin.

Jane

The vibe: “My entire wardrobe is black and white – so I’m obviously a big fan of the color scheme in here. And I love the large mirror that expands almost the entire length of the room.”

Bring it home: “You can’t walk into Jane for a latte and not do a double take of the wallpaper. Here’s an example of black and white done right.”http://www.grahambrown.com/us/product/20-192/Camille

2123 Fillmore St., San Francisco. Interior design by Ken Fulk.

 

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Interior designer insights from

Grant K. Gibson

 

Q: What restaurant in San Francisco most matches your own style?

A: Frances. I love the crisp white interior, and the wall that they have created to display wine bottles is fabulous. It’s a cozy neighborhood restaurant that feels almost like you could be eating in someone’s home. The architecture firm Apparatus Architects designed this space. I work with them on lots of projects around the Bay Area.

Q: What hotel do you feel most at home in, style-wise?

A: Carneros Inn. I have spent many happy nights at this comfortable and casual – yet sophisticated – hotel. I love that each room is its own house, so private and secluded. And the indoor/outdoor shower just makes me happy.

Q: If you have a design-savvy friend coming to San Francisco and can only hit up three spots, where would you go?

A: March, Sue Fisher King and Hudson Grace. My interior design studio is on Sacramento Street, so all of these gems are just down the street.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are trying to figure out their own style and fashion a living space that feels true to their own aesthetic?

A: I often ask people a lot of questions when we have our initial meetings. I want to know about their lifestyle and how they live in the space. (Dinner parties? Or cozy nights for two in front of the fireplace?) I ask people where they travel and to tell me about hotels and restaurants that they love. This helps me determine if they are more modern or traditional and gives me clues about their style. My firm works on projects that really are all over the spectrum. At the end of the project, I want the house to look and reflect the client – and not look like I have been there. A space should not be overly designed. It should feel inviting and be livable.

Q: You are known for being able to mix high and low seamlessly – what’s worth the splurge, and where can you save money, when it comes to decorating a space?

A: I always tell my clients to splurge on the key pieces – pieces that you are sitting in and spending a great deal of time in. Your sofa, dining chairs and bed should be your splurges. Invest in quality pieces that are timeless and not trendy. You can change out your throw pillows, add accessories, and paint the walls on a budget.