In my current SB Journal entry "Decorating A Dreamhouse" - - I'm imagining that I'm living in a three-story cottage house like the one at left, in the charmingly, colorful City Of Basel, Switzerland
The City of Basel Switzerland is beyond a doubt absolutely like no other!
Basel has a beautiful medieval old town center housing its historic City Hall and here daily markets are held, making for a lively inner city and romantic old town. These street cafés, patisseries, sweet shops and traditional neighbourhood restaurants all provide unique opportunities to really become acquainted with the Swiss lifestyle.
Basel is a German speaking area, and being an American ex-Pat, non-German speaking, I was pleased to learn that both English and French are spoken enough so that many people are able to communicate 'comfortably' in everyday interactions . . . and will gladly work to understand you. Ahhhh! My sincere gratitude!
Borrowed French words are fairly common in everyday conversation; for example, Baslers often bid each other farewell with the French "adieu". Basel is among the most important cultural centres of Switzerland with the City hosting a large number of theatres and many museums, including the Museum Of Fine Arts, the world's oldest art collection accessible to the public.
You will love Switzerland's international Basle Bahnhof Train Station and the City's extensive tram (light rail) and bus network - the bright green trams and buses are the greatest. Imagine this: they are absolutely prompt, relatively inexpensive, clean and very convenient. Deep sigh.
Other things that distinguish Switzerland from any other Country:
* The Swiss typically take longer to get to know you, the stranger to their Country; they also are comparable to the British in their being more reserved. You'll probably have to make the first step, inviting them to your home for coffee, for instance and by all means, punctuality is very important.
* The supermarkets (and many other businesses) close at noon or 2pm, so your schedule will have to evolve around this. Food is not inexpensive and restaurant prices reflect this fact. The Swiss government protects Swiss farmers greatly consequently the cost of food is high.
* The Swiss approach to education is very different than in the United States. Children are selected based upon their abilities and as many as 70 percent of Swiss kids are selected to train in vocational schools of various sorts, rather than choices of a university education
* Most of the Swiss rent rather than buy and the Country has well established tenant rights. The apartments have communal laundry rooms, with access on your designated days. In general tenants are most considerate of each other: no noise before or after certain hours of the day. Everyone in Switzerland recycles.
* Basel is pronounced ˈbɑːzəl, with emphasis on the first syllable.
* Finally, Basel is Switzerland's second largest city. It is located in the utmost northwest part of Switzerland. Moreover, Basel is the heart of where three different Countries meet: SWITZERLAND, FRANCE and GERMANY.
It is said about the Swiss they have "Savoir-Vivre," a French expression, meaning knowing how to live life. I interpret this that the Swiss live life well, live life with intelligent enjoyment, meeting every situation with poise, good manners and elegance.
We're going inside now so please join me as I write in my SB Journal on decorating the interiors of my house in Basel, Switzerland. My dreamhome.
Decorating The Mudroom Of My Dreamhouse In Basel, Switzerland:
The photo of my 'hard working' mudroom may not instantly reflect the
Despite this truth even my lil' mudroom is getting some top treatment. I'm referring to the draperies in this room - goin' high style - with the prestigious company Lee Jofa through use of its quality, durable fabric, Mulberry.
With gardening the inevitable dirt comes in with the dirty shoes, into my lil' mudroom. The room is terribly well used, but I've designed it so that it functions well.
The potted geranium on top of the green cabinet is purposeful, not just because it services my mudroom. Without the subtlety of fresh flowers or a live plant, the inside of our rooms can become stale. The addition of something that is living can bring life to our spaces.
Decorating The Foyer Of My Dreamhouse In Basel, Switzerland
The foyer is full of tactiles, styles, and moods:
Tactiles - Tactiles are fun - they help us rediscover our sense of touch. Here, the
creek rock wall, wood beams and architectural pieces, and the flagstone floor are superb mixes of textiles.
Styles - Mixing old and new. The antiques live here like they've lived here for a hundred years, but I combined them with the "extraordinary contemporary artwork of "Waiting," a black and white photograph and "Blue Door," a hand-colored photograph." Both works are by Vicki Reed, and are also shown at right and below.
Moods - Always wanting to make my living spaces inviting - and yet not wanting to part with the
severe bench seating, old side table and the utilitarian wash bucket - I knew I'd need to mix it up again. The "animated objects d'arte of the "Crow And Pitcher" a wood sculpture and its coordinating "Raven On Picklewood," both by Mark Orr, are whimsical, earthy and perfect for my room.
The hand woven rug is actually another lovely, varying tactile. I thought this area rug deserved its own mention because it has 'such responsibility' as a transitional floral piece, it helps pull my whole room's look together. This one is "Savannah," in chocolate/frost" New Moon Rugs' Tibetan Hand woven Rug. This piece accomplishes its job in an ever so subtle way; I love that.
Decorating The Living Space Of My Dreamhouse In Basel, Switzerland:
This room works for me. It invites me to come in, sit down and be comfortable.
The amount of natural light is such a part of making this room work. It's always important to bring as much natural light as possible into our living spaces. Here, the woodwork and walls painted shiny white, a lite window treatment, a mirror and even this "Trellis Chandelier" help to bring in and reflect that light. A secret in this room is that the fireplace mantle flower pots are Lavenders by NDI Floral. Sometimes the best designers have to substitute beautifully made silk flowers to get the look we want. Thanks to NDI Floral.
Decorating The Guestroom Of My Dreamhouse In Basel, Switzerland
This tranquil guest room is by the interior design firm of Marshall Watson Interiors and it simply had to be in my lovely Swiss home.
There are some garnishments, the fancy prints of fancy chairs, the ornate embellished mirror and certainly the carved and painted dresser. The dresser is Chippendale style and manufactured by Smith & Watson. The armless chair in coordinating fabric is from Moderne Chairs By John Widdicomb. The tranquility is achieved here by the soothing colors, the lack of items that compete for your eye and I think by the strength of the horizontal bed. I find the soft stripe of the rug draws you to the bed and to respite from the world.
Decorating The Master Bedroom Of My Dreamhouse In Basel, Switzerland:
Jessica LaGrange Interiors, LLC designed this master bedroom for a special family that lives with savoir-vivre, a family that lives life well and with intelligent enjoyment. Every situation is met with manners and poise and elegance.
The Iron Barcelona Bed is by Perry. In the corner of the room is a desk that could serve to jot thank you notes, or enjoy coffee and a croissant. The distinct tall chair is a Jean Wing Chair by Century Furniture and finally, the breakfront cabinet that duplicates the fabric folds of the draperies is the Sofiero Breakfront-2 by Country Swedish.
Switzerland is beautiful with waterfalls, glacier-fed creeks, rivers, lakes, pastures, breathtaking mountain views, a plain wonderful place to raise your family. Living in this Country you are naturally more inclined to get out and hike, cycle, do water sports, skiing, etc. These are all common, easy to do things. Though the people may take more time to get to know you, allowing for a bit of caution and protection, at its core Switzerland promotes harmony and peace and, of course, the lovely savoir-vivre.
I could so live here in my Decorate A Dreamhouse in Basel, Switzerland. Couldn't you?
Creamy, Smooth, Lightly-Sweet, Touch-Of-Lemon Cheesecake aka Slice Of Heavenly Goodness
This is the single best cheesecake ever - I've almost renamed it, 'Slice Of Heavenly Goodness Cheesecake'. This cheesecake has become the favorite of family and friends who’ve had the good fortune to be served this slice of heavenly goodness. T'is true.
You may have noticed that this cheesecake does not have any kind of crust, neither bottom or sides.
You may also have noticed that there are no cracks in the top. That is because this cheesecake is baked in a bain-marie, a water bath. This is one of the secrets to a truly creamy cheesecake. Because of this, you'll need a bit of advance planning perhaps to prepare this recipe, but if you do, you will fall in love with this recipe.
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (one pint) sour cream, room temperature
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Generously butter the inside of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil tightly around the outside bottom and sides, crimping and pleating the foil to make it conform to the pan. This will help to prevent water seeping into the pan when you put it into the bain-marie. Position the baking rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 300 deg Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sour cream until well blended.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese with the butter until smooth and creamy. Add this to the egg-sour cream mixture and beat until smooth.
Add the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat thoroughly, about 2 minutes.
Pour into the prepared springform pan and place in a roasting pan (or other pan) large enough to prevent the sides from touching. Place in the oven and carefully pour in enough very hot tap water to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake for 2 hours, 15 minutes, or until the cake is very lightly colored and a knife inserted in the center emerges clean. Remove from the water bath and carefully peel the aluminum foil from around the pan. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool, about 4 hours. Refrigerate, covered, until well chilled. For best flavor and texture, this cheesecake is best chilled overnight.
- I can't stress enough how important it is to let those first 4 ingredients in this recipe come to room temperature. I've hurried the cream cheese and have had unsightly lumps of it in my batter.
- Have a platter or other large dish that will hold the hot and drippy springform pan after you remove it from the bain-marie. When you remove the bain-marie from the oven, the water is very hot, so please exercise extreme caution.
- Before removing the roasting pan, have a plan on where you are going to set it so you are not holding the pan, desperately searching for a clear space to set it down. I find it impossible to remove the cheesecake from the bain-marie while it is in the oven, so I remove the entire set-up from the oven. I make every effort not to burn my wrists or the back of my hands while removing the springform pan; I haven't been burned yet, but I have soaked the edges of the potholders in the hot water, and it's amazing how fast that steaming water is wicked up to my tender fingers!
- When you first remove the cheesecake from the oven, it looks light and puffy, and there may be some hairline cracks in the top. Do not despair. As the cheesecake cools, it will gently deflate and the hairline cracks disappear
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