Author: Monica Melsness

Leland Duck

Before he moved to Portland and switched to upholstery, Leland Duck was a hot-rod specialist in Wyoming, chopping up classic cars with his father, an automotive welder. In 2009, after years of restitching the interiors of souped-up roadsters, Duck joined Portland’s crafty DIY ranks. “I take the same approach to furniture as I did with cars, bringing old things back to life,” the 27-year-old says.   Set above Beam & Anchor on N Interstate Avenue, Duck’s light-filled studio tumbles with swatches of old World War II tent fabric, thick tufts of foam stuffing, and the skeletons of 19th-century armchairs. “You tear open a vintage couch and it could be a nightmare inside, but as long as the bones aren’t destroyed, you can bring almost anything back,” he says. Duck combs estate sales for discarded furniture with potential, strips it down, and stitches in new life using distressed vintage fabrics, high-end threads from Denmark and New Zealand, and classic Pendleton wools. From hundred-year-old rocking chairs to contemporary inventions, Duck’s work is refined, precise, and practical. Soon, …


Caipirinha is the most popular cocktail in Brazil. It’s made from cachaça, a clear distilled spirit made from sugar cane juice. If you can’t find cachaça, just swap it for vodka and you’ll have a Caipiroska cocktail instead. Ingredients 1 lime 1 tablespoon superfine sugar 2 onces cachaça Ice Directions Cut up a lime into 8 wedges. Muddle the wedges in a rocks glass with sugar. Add Cachaça and top with ice. Stir and serve. Enjoy Photo: Monica Melsness Recipe:  Bobby Flay  

Bruno Galiasso and Giovanna Ewbank Sweet Home.

This beautiful home belongs to the Brazilian actor Bruno Gagliasso, 31, where he lives with his wife, actress Giovanna Ewbank, 27, and his five dogs – golden retriever Zeca, the Corsican Menina, boxer Johnny, the labrador Peste, and their mutt Favela. The first description he makes about his  house is: “My home is where I’m happy, where I feel good with my friends and with my family, where I grow up and raise my children.” The house is located in Itanhangá, in Rio de Janeiro, and has a huge garden with space for them to play with the dogs, and a garden with a jabuticabeira (fruit tree), palm trees and a lush bougainvillea. “The environment has a very good vibe. Our friends come here and nobody wants to go, “says Giovanna. It was on a trip to New York that they were enchanted by an exhibition of Robert Mars, known for paintings that mix skulls and logos of Louis Vuitton. Bruno is fascinated by skulls and has at least seven scattered around the house. “The skull gives me a sense of reality, …

How to Make Scandinavian Decor

Nordic style extols simplicity and comfort in an indoor environment. The oldest customs of the people of northern Europe have become a contemporary decorating style.  Adapted to the current reality, the Scandinavian style is a hit. Today,  Scandinavian style concerns environments where simplicity and comfort prevail. It’s a cleaner decor without excesses, very bright to combat the northern darkness of winter. It is made of straight lines, simple shapes and neutral colors. Colors White is the key color in this type of decoration. Think of the Nordic region: Short and dark days. White helps a lot when it comes to lighting. So white walls are the starting point of this style. Use basic colors like white, beige, gray, brown and black. Fabrics With respect to the upholstered chairs, sofas and pads, use natural fabrics such as linen, wool and cotton. Skins, or imitations of them, appear in rugs or blankets on the couch. They give it a sophisticated touch. They are pieces that prove the authenticity of a Scandinavian space. Objects They are few and good. In …

Roasted Red Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes with Ricotta

Serves 8 Ingredients 4 red bell peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 cup basil leaves, divided Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons plus ⅓ cup olive oil 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved ⅓ cup fresh ricotta ¼ cup pitted small black and/or green olives Flaky sea salt Directions Preheat oven to 375°. Place bell peppers, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish and top with anchovies and garlic. Tear ¼ cup basil leaves over top, season with kosher salt and black pepper, and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil. Bake until peppers are tender but still hold their shape and are slightly charred around edges, 35–45 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, blend remaining ¾ cup basil and remaining ⅓ cup oil in a blender until smooth; season basil oil with kosher salt and black pepper. Arrange bell peppers on a platter. Top with tomatoes, ricotta, olives, and more basil, then drizzle with basil oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Recipe:  Skye Gyngell Photo: Monica Melsness

A Sizzling 21st-Century Home

Carlo and Christine Rinaudo loved the character of their 1940s bungalow in Sydney, but the internal layout was back to front. The family commissioned architect Mark Szczerbicki to undertake a minimalist yet detailed renovation that flipped the floorpan, resulting in a private bedroom zone at the front and seamless indoor/outdoor living areas at the rear. Photos: Maree Homer Via: Homes To Love

Book – The New Bohemians

In The New Bohemians, LA-based designer Justina Blakeney defines the New Bohemians as creative individuals who are boutique owners and bloggers, entrepreneurs and ex-pats, artists and urban farmers. They embrace free-spirited, no-rules lifestyles and apply that attitude to all areas of their existence, including their homes. With little distinction between work and play, the new boho home often includes an office, art gallery, showroom, photography studio, restaurant, or even a pop-up shop. The New Bohemians explores 20 homes located primarily on the East and West coasts. Exclusive interviews with the owners, as well as 12 DIY projects created by Blakeney and inspired by objects found in the homes, offer insight into achieving this aesthetic. In addition, each home is accompanied by an Adopt-an-Idea section that offers general decor, styling, and shopping tips for easy duplication in your own home. $34,00 at amazon  

Studio Joop – Anniek Beije

Anniek Beije is the photographer behind the creative studio Joop in the Netherlands. Since 2015 the Studio Joop, whose name is in honor of her grandad,  has been growing into a green and creative work space. Joop Studio is all about simplicity. Anniek believe the most beautiful moments don’t need garnishing and that is the feeling Studio Joop wants to capture.  The ongoing project ” plant series” is the first example of this attitude. In her work she  tends to use only natural lighting, because she dislikes the distracting effect studio lights give. She also tries to minimize the amount of Photoshop used to just edit out blemishes of spots in the background and get the color balance right to print. For print she uses only recycled paper. Thank you Anniek for all your creativity and also for the wonderful plant series pictured with purity and grace.  

Grönadal – Rocking Chair

The Grönadal rocking chair is not only  a balanced combination between Vietnamese crafts and Scandinavian expression. It is also manufactured in a rattan factory in Nha Trang province in Vietnam as part of efforts to keep the valuable handicraft traditions alive. The designer Lisa Hilland’s goal was to create a rocking chair with unexpected encounters between materials and expressions. Live natural materials such as rattan and ash stand nicely in contrast to the powder-coated steel. The backrest and the seat are hand woven with wire following traditional techniques, and become more beautiful with age. Rock on Grönadal!  

Win a Book: Cravings – by Chrissy Teigen

OUR WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN! IT’S JASMINE.S. CONGRATS, JASMINE! Niche & Nook is constantly looking for inspiration and we thought it was time to give something back to our readers. Niche & Nook is giving away a book, “Cravings”, to inspire you get more creative in the kitchen. This book is written by Chrissy Teigen, a model, co-host on the TV show FABLife, and married to John Legend (a singer). For years, she’s been collecting and cooking her favorite recipes, and here they are: from spicy tomato skillet eggs to chicken satay. Don’t miss out on this chance to win this prize! Enter below before July 28, 2016 for a chance to win! Photos: Monica Melsness  

Banoffee pie cupcakes

Serves 14 Ingredients  Caramel 1 cup sugar ⅓ cup water 125g butter, cubed 125ml cream Banana cakes 2 cups self-raising flour 1 cup caster sugar ½ cup milk ⅓ cup vegetable or mild olive oil 3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup) 2 eggs Extra banana, thinly sliced Golden syrup, for drizzling Creamy frosting 250g mascarpone 300ml thickened cream 2 tbsp icing sugar Directions These cupcakes are best made the day before. To make caramel; put sugar and water in a large saucepan over a medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and without stirring, boil for 10-12 minutes until mixture begins to turn amber. Swirl pan to distribute colour evenly. Remove from the heat and add butter, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Mixture will splatter and foam. Pour in cream and whisk until smooth. Set aside until cooled completely. Caramel will thicken as it cools (store at room temperature for a spreadable consistency). Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 14 holes of two standard-size muffin tins with paper cases. Sift flour …

Wedding Reception Style: Rustic Romance

The small town of Wanship, situated just north of Park City, may seem an unlikely location for a wedding, but thanks to High West Distillery’s incredible new digs and event space at Blue Sky Ranch, that’s all about to change. “I’m in love with this new venue,” says Leslie Price of Leslie Dawn Events. “It’s sophisticated and rustic without feeling cliché. It’s really versatile and the scenery is breathtaking.” Inspired by that stunning mountain backdrop and the aesthetic of the building, Price designed this romantic tablescape for an outdoor-loving couple with a taste for the finer things in life. “I love working within a rustic space, but so many times the décor can take a sharp turn towards a purely masculine vibe. I wanted to bring some delicate elements into the design to soften it up with the use of beautiful organic florals, muted tones, and candlelight,” she explains. She chose a palette of light amethyst and Serenity Blue, but paired the ethereal tones with whiskey-inspired hues, including rust, brown, and a touch of yellow, …

Show How Much You Love Your Mother – Give Flowers!

With Mother’s Day around the corner, unless you are super organized, you are probably frantically searching the web for something that will show her how much you care for and love her. I  chose 23 flower bouquets  that are guaranteed to put a smile on her face.   Wild About U   Vibrance   Rejoice   Porcupine   Sweetheart   Bordeaux   No. 1 Mom   Pegasus   Mother’s Day Designer’s Choice   Mom is Colorful!   Mom is Bohemian!   Mom is Graceful!   Mom is Loving!   Mom is Cute!   Mom is Hip!   Mom is Whimsical!   Mom is Chic!   Mom is Sweet!   Mom’s Favorite Roses!   Mom is Chic!   Mother’s Day Designer’s Choice   Romantique   20% Off + Free Delivery on Mother’s Day Flowers at The Bouqs! Use Code: MDAY20 – Valid 4/1-5/9 15% Off + Free Delivery on Mother’s Day Flowers at The Bouqs! Use Code: MDAY15 – Valid 4/1-5/9

Fresh Flower Cupcake Toppers

The perfect union of  beautiful blooms, cupcakes and frosting. What you need:   *Fresh flowers *Sprinkles Cupcakes *Scissors *Toothpicks *Ribbon                     Remember: Fresh flower toppers are for decorative purposes only. But you can enjoy the delicious Sprinkles Cupcakes with a variety of  flavors: banana, dark chocolate, red velvet, salty caramel, sprinkle and strawberry to name a few. This post is kindly sponsored by Sprinkles Cupcakes. You can buy yours at: Or visit the store at: Photos: Monica Melsness

How to Water an Air Plant

Like us, air plants need water too! Air plants are a pretty and hardy plant and this means low-maintenance and relatively little attention; but you cannot just pop them into a terrarium or stick them on a shelf and forget about them.  Air plants need to eat and their natural food is water. Here’s how to water it:   Photo: Monica Melsness    

4 Reasons You Need a Greenhouse

With global warming our climate is changing rapidly, so  having a greenhouse in the backyard can bring more stable growing conditions for your garden plants. Greenhouses hold tropical plants, citrus trees, succulents, and several types of  vegetables and herbs. I have not yet convinced you? I’ll give you four more reasons to have one. 1- Flexibility – A greenhouse allows you to grow a wider variety of food and flowers. 2- Stability – A greenhouse offers a predictable environment which shelters tender plants from damaging weather extremes. 3-Self-sufficiency – A greenhouse empowers us to easily save and germinate our seeds, making it possible to avoid paying for them. 4-It’s Beautiful – When you choose a perfect greenhouse for your garden, you can redefine your outdoor space. Look below at this beautiful example I chose for you!  

Eliza Blank – Founder of The Sill

Eliza Blank, the 30-year-old founder of The Sill, grew up watching her grandmother garden and believes that every house needs a plant. Here’s how her team is greening the urban jungle. Why did you start The Sill? Owning a houseplant in a city like New York is so important. When it came time for me to move out on my own, one of the things that I really wanted to do was fill my apartment with greenery; immediately I realized how difficult that would be. It wasn’t just the access, it was the missing element of design. You have your choice of 100 shower curtains—why isn’t there that breadth when it comes to buying a potted plant? Do you sell anything besides plants? About a year into the start of The Sill we started designing and manufacturing our own line of ceramic planters. All the tabletop items are designed with input from our plant team. The pots are well suited to the plants, they’re the right size, and they incorporate drainage when appropriate. What’s the most common question you get …