Category Archives: HOME STYLE

Simple Beauty

Simple Beauty

I found this article on the European beauty in minimalism helpful for maintaining a lifestyle that goes with the home style. Let me first say that I am not a minimalist: my walls are covered in art from tame to eccentric and I am person who needs colour in my life. But wouldn’t it be so easy to keep up with the household chores if we could just get rid of what we didn’t need and got each room organized?

The Beauty of Minimalism  (Engel & Völkers blog, 2014)

Minimalism is one of the most enduringly popular decorating trends, and it’s easy to understand why. Characterised by streamlined shapes, sparse furniture, and a serious lack of disorder, minimalist decor brings space and light into any room and keeps the focus firmly on the beautiful bare necessities.

Starting work on a minimalist makeover isn’t difficult: just follow our simple steps to transform your home.

Get rid of what you don’t need

A good way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to ask yourself “is it essential, or is it beautiful?” If it’s neither, put it in a box for charity. It’s best to keep furniture to a minimum, favouring basic items like couches and coffee tables over ornate bureaus and chests. Strip your home down, judge each piece independently and then decide which things you want to keep and select the most suitable location for each one.

Organise your storage space

Every household is filled with items that, while essential, are best kept out of sight. Bits and pieces such as computer cables, folders filled with paperwork, and DVDs are required for daily life, but in a minimalist home the old adage that there should be ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’ really does hold true. Give your current storage space a rigorous clear out to make room for the things that you really do need.

Keep it plain and simple

Ornate décor is not at home in a minimalist household. Avoid patterned upholstery and carved furniture, keeping lines plain and simple without any distractions. Floors should be kept clean and clear: preferably in plain hardwood, but if you favour carpets then choose a block colour in a neutral shade. Move items that are cluttering up surfaces into storage spaces, leaving only a few splashes of colour where appropriate.

Add some objets d’art

Once your home is cleared out, it’s time to stamp your own character onto the clear canvas. Don’t get carried away: you only need one or two pieces per room to express your personality and make the space look lived in. Add statement pieces such as simple artwork on the wall, a vase of flowers on the coffee table, or place a hardback copy of your favourite book on the shelf.

Do it slowly

Rome wasn’t built in a day – so don’t try to change your entire home all at once. Start with one room and work from there. You’ll also find it helpful to keep coming back to review your decisions – make the initial changes and remove clutter, give it a few days and then examine your work again with a fresh pair of eyes. You may find that items you previously couldn’t bear to part with now seem unnecessary complications, so it’s important to review and simplify on a regular basis.

If you feel that your new minimalist interior still needs some statement pieces to complete the look, visit Engel & Völkers Interiors. Our beautiful collection has been carefully selected to help you create an elegant décor, perfectly complementing our equally luxurious property listings, from state-of-the-art design penthouses to deluxe minimalistic Villas with sea views. With impeccable taste and an effortless online shopping process, you’ll find everything you need for beautiful minimalist style.



Lobster PEI Style


Well, to have a great lobster dinner you have to start with the best lobster – PEI Lobster! We get our lobster at Water Prince Corner Shop (, the owners and staff are so friendly. I love that they know my dad by name, his usual order, with some added down home conversation.

Dad says the best lobsters are not too big, as he believes the lobster meat is not as tender in the large ones. So we always get lots of 1-1/2 pounders and believe me they are perfection. To make the meal complete, make sure to have melted butter, homemade potato salad and biscuits – and your set! I always recommend crackers, lobster bibs and extra napkins as this can be a messy meal. 🙂

It is so important to prepare seafood properly, so here is the lowdown from the best – tourism PEI  – Seafood Preparation!

A little PEI Lobster dinner.


PEI is famous for its lobster with bright red shells and juicy tender meat. Once so common that they were used as fertilizer, lobster has now become a gourmet delicacy. Lobsters have ten legs, beady eyes, long antennae and a crust-like shell. The bright red colour characteristic of the lobster is only achieved by cooking. When alive, lobster are usually greenish-blue and speckled with dark spots. The meat, when cooked, is a delicate white tinged with red.

Where to Buy

Delicious lobster is available from tip to tip on PEI throughout the year! Visit for a complete list of lobster retailers and markets in PEI.

How to Buy

Lobster may be purchased live in the shell, or freshly cooked in the shell. When purchased live, lobster should show some movement and the tail should spring back when straightened out. Lobster that show no movement when handled and whose tail hangs down straight, are dead and should be discarded. When handling live lobster, be careful of the claws as they can give you a severe bite. To protect the handler and to prevent the lobsters from harming each other in captivity, the claws are usually immobilized by placing an elastic band around them. When buying cooked lobster, check that they are a bright “red-orange” colour, have a fresh aroma and that the tail section will spring back into a curled position after being straightened out. Lobster is sold as either canners or markets, in accordance with the size. Canners weigh between 1/2 and 3/4 pounds (250-375 g) while markets weigh over 3/4 pound (375 g). Lobster is also sold as cold pack (meat, frozen in cans), hot pack (meat, heat processed in cans), cocktail, chowders, paste, and whole, frozen in the shell.

How to Store

Live lobster should never be placed in fresh water or on ice. Under ideal cool, damp storage conditions, lobster can live out of water for up to 36 hours. They can be stored in your refrigerator for several hours by placing them in a large container covered with damp newspaper or seaweed. Cooked lobster in the shell can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if placed in a tightly covered container. Shucked lobster meat can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. Live lobster should never be frozen but cooked lobster freezes well. For best results, the cooked meat should be removed from the shell and placed in plastic containers, glass bottles or freezer bags. Prepare a brine solution of 1/4 cup (50 ml) salt to each quart (litre) of fresh water. Pour this over the lobster so that all the meat is covered and a 1/2 ince (1.2 cm) headspace remains. Whole cooked lobster can be frozen in individual heavy plastic bags. Place the lobster in the bag, being careful that the sharp shell does not puncture the bag, cover with a brine solution, seal tightly and freeze immediately. Whole cooked lobster may also be frozen in plastic pails with tightly fitting covers. Pack the lobster in the pail, cover with a brine solution, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) headspace, cover tightly and freeze. To thaw lobster, place it in the refrigerator and allow 15-18 hours defrosting time per pound (500 g). To speed up the defrosting time, place the package under cold running water for 1/2 to 1 hour per pound (500 g).

How to Prepare

Lobster should be cooked either in clean seawater or salted fresh water (add 2 tbsp./25 ml of salt to each quart/litre of fresh water). Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the lobster and bring it to a boil. Grasp the lobster firmly by the back just behind the claws and plunge it head first into the boiling water. Cover, return the water to a boil and then lower the heat to a bubbly simmer. Lobster will cook in 12-20 minutes depending on the size. Canners will cook in 12-15 minutes, while large lobsters will require up to 20 minutes of cooking time. Timing should start only after the water has returned to a boil. Once cooked, the lobster should be drained immediately, They can now be served hot or chilled quickly by being dipped in cold water. It is important to cool the lobster quickly so that they do not remain in the temperature range in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you wish to use the lobster in a prepared dish, you can now remove the meat from the shell. Lobster has an average meat yield of 20-25%. This means that a 1 pound (500 g) lobster will contain 3-4 oz. (100-125 g) of meat. It will take approximately 5.5 oz. (160 g) of meat to make 1 cup (250 ml). If using canned lobster for your recipes, remember that an 11.3 oz (320 g) can will yield about 2 cups (500 ml).

How to Serve

There are two methods for serving lobster in the shell. The shell can be broken apart using lobster crackers and the meat then picked out, or the lobster can be cut in half down the centre and the claws cut open with a large heavy knife. All of the lobster is edible except for the shell, the small stomach (hard sac) behind the head and the dark vein, running down the back of the tail. The green material in the body is the liver or tomally. This is excellent eating, as is the red material, or roe, which is found in the body of the female lobster.


Design Style

A little about orange By Designer, Lisa Sinclair


Some of my FAVORITE examples of orange…


Hermes – most requested orange paint colour; Barneys NYC – Leather and Cashmere Throw; Vessel P Pendant; Studios – Knit Pouf; Paola Lenti by Decode – Element Sofa


Fitzfelt – Polka Rug Colour #179; Dwell – Cable Fabric; Jaipur – Britta Rug




Home Style

Why we love ORANGE… Orange is the most flamboyant color on the planet, and the color we associate first with fun times, energetic days, warmth and organic products! I love it, especially in the Fall. It makes me feel alive!


Thanks to Claudia Sparks for letting me take pictures of some of the beautiful orange accents in her new amazing home.


These are a few of my favorite orange things around my home. The best part of this time of year is having a lot of candy around to decorate and you don’t even have to feel guilty about it. YUM!

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