Southern Living Idea House

June 27, 2013

Hey there! I know I haven’t been here much, but I do have a fun outing to share!

I was lucky enough to get invited to a sneak peek of the Southern Living Idea House in Nashville, and I have to say, I was surprised! Me? Sure, I’ll come look at architecture and interiors anytime!

Reed Brown for Southern Living Idea Housephoto by Reed Brown for Southern Living

The interior design was all done by Phoebe Howard, who was on hand, along with SL editor Lindsay Bierman to give us the grand tour. No photos were allowed inside except for the dining room, since the house will be a feature of their August issue.

For locals, the house opens to the public June 29th until the end of the year, with a portion of the proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Bierman, Howard at Southern Living Idea House: Modfrugal

The concept was  “modern farmhouse”  and I think they did a pretty great job, especially given the time frame they pulled it together: 7 months! I can’t seem to finish my kitchen renovation in that much time, so, well done team.

Southern Living Idea House:Modfrugal

Isn’t that door detail great? There is another one lined up exactly across the house on the other porch from it so you can open it up for dogtrot style breezes. I snapped a few shots for Instagram while there, so you get a mixed bag.

Southern Living Idea House: Modfrugal

While my tastes obviously lie pretty far from traditional, there was a lot to like about this house. The finishes were very well done and the horizontal wood paneling inside and out gave it a rustic, yet refined vibe that could work for a more modern homeowner. The SLIH is actually a series of several houses, like a mini-compound. After the tours are finished, the property will become a boutique hotel type B & B concept on the Fontanel property.

The mix of modern pieces with Howard’s furniture from her line made the space less fussy and thankfully, not at all folksy. That’s always the danger when dabbling in “country” territory. Not a lot of heavy florals and clutter in here. Very little peeling paint too!

My favorite pieces in the entire house are these nesting tables by Madegoods. They are planks of wood encased in resin and they are fabulous in person.

Madegoods Kas nesting tables

The lighting choices were farmhouse appropriate without being overly fussy. This sconce on the porch was a favorite of mine.

Southern Living Idea House: Modfrugal

I guess you can’t have 2800 square feet of porch space without a swing. I sat in it, and it was actually ridiculously uncomfortable. No seat cushion and too many pillows on the sides and back, BUT in the press kit, the photos of the swing show a nice white tailored seat cushion with less throw pillows, so maybe they removed it in case dirty blogger butts messed it up before the press event that evening. You know how filthy we can be.

Southern Living Idea House:modfrugal

The dining room was actually my least favorite space, but the only room we were allowed to photograph. The one thing I liked in that room was the framed kudzu, presented as though it were a coveted biological specimen. Look! It’s Pueraria lobata! It’s nice to see Mrs. Howard has a sense of humor.

Southern Living Idea House: Modfrugal

Things I really liked, but can’t show you…look for them when you visit, or see them in the August issue:

* The 3 bowl farmhouse stainless steel sink that has been bead blasted to give it a matte finish. Great custom piece to meet the codes for a B & B.

* The painting over the fireplace by Shawn Dulaney is a much needed modern statement that makes the room.

* The bathrooms are all classic white marble in various tile size applications with Ann Sacks Andy Fleishman’s Neo Terrazzo floors in the master. The master bath cabinetry is also very well done. Modern and timeless.

* The overall architecture and finishes used. Metal roof, deep porches, solid doors, cable railings on the porches. Nicely built by Castle Homes and designed by Historical Concepts, who were inspired by a 150 year old Leipers Fork farmhouse.

Southern Living’s Pinterest page has a few more photos of the inside, so go there for more sneak peeks!

Don’t worry, my 70’s modern thing is still going strong, but it’s always nice to see other styles done really well.

Google Reader Alternatives

June 17, 2013

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I won’t get into the outrage and disgust I feel that Google Reader is being terminated, but when I heard the announcement, I started test driving a couple of alternatives.

First I tried Feedly for a month or two, which I liked OK, then I tried Bloglovin’.

Can I just say that I really wanted to hate Bloglovin’ simply because the name makes me want to do unspeakable things. The word ‘blog’ is bad enough, combined with a cutesy ‘lovin'”…..I was determined that this would NOT work out. I was feeling very judgmental and superficial about it. HOWEVER, I have to give them props that the interface is nice, you can comment directly from the reader, and all sorts of other fun stuff. I kind of dig Bloglovin’ …there. I said it.

Despite the wave of nausea that briefly passes if I must say the name (which I mostly, never do) it’s a good little program.

There are several other alternatives, but I found what I liked, and hope you can too.

To follow me there, go to Modfrugal on Bloglovin’



Reader Mailbox!!

June 7, 2013

Guys, I got the BEST thing in my inbox the other day, and I am so excited to show you! Adam Crockett was looking for some DIY modern mailboxes and happened upon the very first post ever here at Modfrugal. Guess what he did? He rocked his own modern mailbox!  Check it out!

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Crockett mailbox

What a great job he did..right?!

Thank you SO much for sharing Adam!! We LOVE hearing from readers like you and feel honored to have provided even a glimmer of an idea.

UPDATE: Reader Wendall Krahn just sent in his mailbox as well…with scrap lumber on hand, his mailbox clocked in at only $60!  Excellent job Wendall!!


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Garlic & Rosemary Jelly

June 6, 2013

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

My research, and ultimate findings after 2 batches have yielded the recipe below. I am not 100% satisfied from an aesthetic perspective, but I am razzle dazzled *insert jazz hands* from a taste perspective. This stuff has wooed and wowed 2 parties now, and I am learning that a jar of this gold is quite a well received hostess gift.

It all started with some innocent reading of one of my fave e-zines Sweet Paul, when I came across their recipe for a garlic rosemary jelly. I have always loved savory/sweet jellies and jams, so this was right up my alley. Their recipe called for Pomona pectin, but I had plenty of Certo left over from last season I wanted/needed to use, so I adapted the recipe to work with my pectin on hand.

The first batch I made in Weck jars, the 7.4 oz Deco and the 7.4 oz. Tulip jelly jars.  The deco jars worked better since they are short and squat. The jelly jars seem designed for a clear jelly and not one with bits, since they float. With my second batch I used Ball wide mouth 8 oz jars because they were the squattiest ones I know of. More on that later.

This recipe is from my second batch, which is a double batch yielding about 8 cups of jelly.

Prepare your jars by putting them in the canner in simmering water. (I actually don’t have a canning pot but simply use a stock pot with a round cookie cooling rack set in the bottom to keep the jars elevated…might be time for an upgrade?)

3 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 heaping cup slivered garlic
10 thick branches of rosemary, plus 10 small sprigs, rinsed and blotted dry
7 cups of sugar
pat of butter
2 pouches Certo pectin

Simmer the wine, vinegar, garlic and 7 branches of the rosemary for about 15 minutes on medium high to infuse the liquid with flavor.

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal


This where things might get a little controversial. Every other recipe I’ve seen puts the rosemary in a sachet, or some other way to keep it out of the liquid, but I am shamelessly greedy when it comes to rosemary, and I wanted to infuse as much flavor as possible despite the extra work naked branches brings to the equation. If you want this to go faster, chop the rosemary leaves and put into cheesecloth with the garlic/wine/vinegar. Otherwise, follow my completely unprofessional method.

Because I didn’t want the sugar to dilute the rosemary flavor too much, I have done the unthinkable and added the sugar BEFORE fishing out the rosemary. I also add a pat of butter at the same time to prevent foaming on top, stirring constantly. After the first few minutes, when the mixture is starting to bubble, I fish out the 7 rosemary branches and replace them with the remaining 3 fresh branches.

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

Then comes the tedious part. After a few more minutes of bubbling, simmering and constant stirring, I fish out the remaining branches and start to strain the stray rosemary bits from the mixture. If I had used the cheesecloth, this would not be necessary, but I was working on instinct not expediency here.

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

I use a bamboo skewer to pick out the rosemary from the garlic and return the garlic to the pot. Once the mixture is syrupy, a skewer is the best tool for picking out stray leaves.

Then add the 2 pouches of pectin… and even though the packet directions say to boil for only a minute, I found that instead of a rolling boil, a low boil for 3-5 minutes works better here. Less foam.

Ladle into your jars, then add a fresh sprig of rosemary, and process as usual. (Put on lids/rings and put into boiling water, 1-2 inches above the jar tops and simmer for 10 minutes).

I reserved some jelly to put into a jar as refrigerator jelly because of my frustrations with presentation. When the jelly is processed, the rosemary sprig loses its green fresh look, as you can see….

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

…but the jar that was not processed in the canner didn’t recook the jelly, so the rosemary sprig stays fresh looking.

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

You can also see above the difference in color between the processed jelly (left) and refrigerator jelly (right). The processed jelly turns a more golden color, where the fridge jelly stays a clear, pale gold with a hint of green. The other situation is the garlic slivers. They will float to the top of the jar, so after all the lids have “popped” and are adequately sealed and the rings tightened,  I started to rotate them every 15 minutes to distribute the garlic and rosemary throughout the jar. Doing this while the jelly is still warm and liquid allows the bits to move throughout the jar.

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

To can the jelly without the rosemary seems like a huge loss, since it will then appear as only a garlic jelly, but the fridge jelly, while not shelf stable for months, is, in my opinion, prettier. For the fridge jelly, instead of rotating the jars, I simply used a skewer (again) to push down the garlic and rosemary every 15-20 minutes while it cooled. The fridge jelly sets just fine without the reprocessing for those who might wonder.

Garlic Rosemary Jelly-Modfrugal

While both taste really wonderful, I think that from a presentation viewpoint, and for an immediate gift, don’t reprocess the jars. To save some of this deliciousness for the winter months, can away, but it is unlikely to last that long in my brief experience!

My favorite way to eat it is over goat cheese, spread on a rosemary cracker, or other thin crispbread. It’s also wonderful with pork or chicken. Play with it, and tell me how you end up using it!




May 27, 2013

Last week we went to the preview of the new outdoor exhibit at Cheekwood, LIGHT, by Bruce Munro. It was fantastic, and we look forward to going back many times over the summer. More information about the installation can be found HERE.

Pack a picnic at sunset and enjoy the gardens and light show….a perfect summer evening. Next time I’m bringing the tripod and I’ll update the photos here..which really don’t do the the exhibit justice.

Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal


Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal

Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal

Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal

Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal

Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal

Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal

Bruce Munro LIGHT @ Cheekwood: modfrugal


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