House of Cards Inspired: A Haven Within A Haven

A phone call from my son earrrrrly Friday morning led off with the question asked round the streaming world, “Do you remember what March 4th is?”  For the Netflix loyal, March 4th is the highly anticipated and touted premier day of House of Cards season 4.  I haven’t decided if I will be staying in for a weekend marathon or settling in on a weeknight for some must stream TV, but Francis J. Underwood has granted full pardon unto any House of Cards fan for any important meeting, activity or appointment missed during the period from March 4, 2016 until whenever they finish Season Four.

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The opening credits featuring Washington, D.C. landmarks and the House of Cards main title theme music by Jeff Beal hits a haunting note that lingers in your mind and thoughts.  Captivating, to say the least.

House of Cards Main Title Sequence from Drew Geraci (District 7 Media) on Vimeo

Popcorn makes a delicious case for the ultimate binge watching snack. I will be popping up a batch of Rosemary and Sea Salt popcorn for streaming sustenance.

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Rosemary and Sea Salt Popcorn

Ingredients

½  cup popcorn kernels
¼  cup canola oil or grapeseed oil (or other high flashpoint oil)
1  tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
3  tablespoons unsalted butter
½  teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat the oil large pot over medium heat. After the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels and the 1-tablespoon of rosemary, and then shake the pot to gently toss the kernels until they are all coated with oil. Cover with a splatter screen or a lid that is placed slightly ajar to allow the steam to escape.  Cook until the popcorn popping frequency slows to several seconds between pops. Remove from heat, allow a minute or two for any final pops, and then pour into a large bowl.  In a small saucepan combine the butter and remaining ½ teaspoon of rosemary.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Drizzle over the popcorn and season with salt and pepper, tossing occasionally as you butter, salt, and pepper the popcorn.

~Food & Wine

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Our gift giving millennial on board with the newest and greatest gadgets son insisted we accept his gift of Roku so we could get our House of Cards on. Streaming and binge watching entire seasons of television series and series made for Netflix, HBO, Showtime and the like in an entire weekend is how several million people watch television these days.  I was a slow convert, but House of Cards, how you draw me in.

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No streaming spoilers here, but as it plays out in the House of Cards game, Frank Underwood & Co. prove the more things change the more they stay the same.  Never in a million years did I believe I would be enthralled by a fictional series.  Let’s face it: House of Cards mirrors the nonfictional times we currently find ourselves living in.  See what I mean?

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Cunning characters with a penchant for political advancement veiled in brilliant plot twists play to the camera and today’s political climate with art imitating life inside the Beltway mastery.  Makes for excellent viewing.  I’m the type of viewer who doesn’t immediately realize how much of an impression fictional and nonfictional scenes and characters are making on me. It’s the same with inspiring and impressive interior design and decorating. Impressive interior design and decorating has the same effect on me.  There are spaces that grab the eye at first glance and others with a wash over you presence that slowly and surely draw you in.

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The brilliant writing, captivating story lines and foreboding theme song make me sit up and pay attention, but it is the sleek set designs of House of Cards that impress.  Somewhere between an obligatory nod to traditional Washington, D.C. townhouse decor style and an overly emphasized attempt to marry modern to minimalist is a space found in many a home sweet home- a haven within a haven.

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For those of you who are familiar with the show I don’t need to explain. For those of you who are not familiar with the show, a quick synopsis to put you in the loop…

The married Washington, D.C. insider powerhouse couple, Francis  and Claire Underwood, come together at the smoking window (as I referred to it all weekend long). Cutting deals and stabbing backs on a daily basis is not for the faint at heart. When the proverbial house of cards begins to fall, and the weight of the Washington, D.C. world becomes heavier than usual, the cooler heads and blacker hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Underwood divide and conquer the day over a shared cigarette.  Harm to the body is trumped in favor of this downtime ritual set with Frank and Claire seated atop a radiator and a shutter framed window. An otherwise forgettable and basically unimpressive space suddenly becomes a design focal point.

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The forged alcove serves as a small space of shelter and refuge from circadian shenanigans- an in-house haven to vent away the foul of the day.  I am by no means advocating smoking, but I do suggest if you do not already have a haven within a haven space entertaining the thought of getting one. I am, however, a huge proponent of recharging one’s battery.

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A couple of years ago I won a Rebecca Swivel Chair after entering the Beautiful Black and White Pinterest Sweepstakes from House Beautiful.  This is my “in my own little corner, in my own little chair” chair.  It resides in a haven within a haven part of the house where downtime meets me time and helps me lose track of real time for a short period of time.

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A phone call laaaaate Friday night led off with the question asked round the streaming world, “Have you watched it yet?”   To quote Frank Underwood, “I’m only getting started.”  Dave the Builder’s man cave will pull double-duty as both screening room and a haven within a haven over the next few evenings.  Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home to stream and decompress.

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A Beautiful Distraction: Interior Design and Decorating Images

The interior design and decorating minded tend to look at objects, spaces and images in a different light.  A discerning eye will wonder toward a beautiful distraction in seconds flat.  As Dave the Builder and I were watching a movie over the weekend, I realized my love of all things placement, pattern and palette was working overtime.  Dave asked me a question about the story line, and as I fumbled to conceal the fact I didn’t have a clue he asked, “are you even watching the movie?”  Technically, I’m watching, but more and more the focus of my attention is not with the story line.  These eyes are zeroed in on the real star of the show.

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To say I am completely taken in by the the houses (set recreated or actual real estate), architecture, grounds and furnishings that frame the frame is an understatement.  As soon as the final credits roll off the screen the floodgates of post film commentary open.  We Siskel and Ebert the heck out of the exteriors and interiors of the houses seen throughout the film, what design features would be considered passé by today’s standards, and how classic design elements will stand the test of taste and time.

This beautiful distraction dilemma is taking on a life of its own. The number of interior design and decorating images I view in a single week is in the territory of beautifully ridiculous. Pens and pads are strewn about my desk, a quick reach in close proximity of the keyboard for the numerous gotta have it, gotta share it, gotta remember the source jot it down moments of my blogging life.

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Interior design and decorating images showcasing exceptional design and decorating work produce inspired results. Take the image below from the Waco Symphony Showhouse 2013. The interior design and decorating genius of CDA Interior Design is a showhouse showstopper. Is this not a stunning example of coastal chic on steroids?  It is amazing how fast my eyes can style spot at least eight points of interior interest in this image.  Equally amazing is how fast the featured interior design, furnishings and accessories draw me in.

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I’m no code cracker, but I think that is exactly the point.

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