Food: How To Make a Cappuccino

I recently added to my Alessi collection, and it was a very happy day! I bought the Alessi 9090 espresso maker designed by Richard Sapper.

As with many Alessi items, this one has a story. It was the first product that Alessi produced that was for the kitchen. It was released in 1978, and since then, the company has sold over 2 million machines. The 9090 won a Compasso d’Oro award in 1979, and it was Alessi’s first object to be added to MOMA’s permanent design collection in New York City.

This is a short video from Dezeen where we hear the story of the 9090 from Alberto Alessi:

And now, to the cappuccino! Here’s how I make mine:

I gather my machines – the Alessi 9090 (or, generally, a Bialetti maker) and my frother gadget from Ikea.

If you’ve never used a stove-top espresso machine, then you’ll need to know that it comes in three parts: the base, the middle, and the top. In the base, you put the water (in this machine, I fill it just to the gold steam screw). In the middle – the basket – you put the ground espresso coffee. In terms of coffee, I like Illy and Lavazza, but I also buy what’s on sale. And I recently picked up espresso from Ikea, which I’m looking forward to trying out soon.

A coffee dispenser is handy, but it isn’t essential. After you fill the base with water and put the basket in place, you put the dispenser on top and turn the dial twice (or more for packed, stronger coffee). The dispenser dispenses just enough coffee for any size of espresso machine.

The Alessi 9090’s top attaches to its base via a patented lever-lock system. It’s pretty cool. If you’re using a Bialetti, at this point, you would screw the top onto the water-and-coffee-filled base.

Turn your stove onto high and put your espresso machine on top of the burner. If you’re using a gas stove, keep the flame smaller or the same size as the base of your maker. If you’re using a traditional burner, move the machine so that it’s on the element (off-centre). This ensures that the full base is getting heated and it also means that the handle won’t get hot from the element’s heat.

While the coffee brews, get your milk ready.  I like to heat up my milk on the stove, but a microwave will work, too.

Side note – I love my parents’ Wolf stove!

When your milk is heated (after a few minutes), use the frother to froth the milk.  

Another side note: Check out my parents’ dedicated espresso machine cabinet. It makes me laugh every time I see it. And what’s even funnier – there are more machines stored elsewhere in the house. We do love espresso, and I guess you just never know what size you may need!

When the coffee whistles, it’s done. You can check on the brewing process by carefully opening the lid.

I like to pour my coffee in first, then add the milk. But if I need a bit more coffee, I confidently add it in post-milk. 

To finish, I top off my cappuccino with a sprinkle of cinnamon (and a side of peach pie, when possible!).

Are you a cappuccino fan? How do you make yours?

Check this out – I’ve been writing about coffee since 2010!















Uptown: Working with Pink in my Basement

I didn’t intend to inject my basement with shades of pink, but some things were just meant to be. I couldn’t fight it. I didn’t want to fight it.

After I wrote about Minted’s collection of large-scale art, I was just about certain I was going to get a black and white piece for over my day bed. Instead, I was mesmerized by this piece, and I couldn’t say no. Minted generously sent over the gorgeous abstract art, and it hung vertically above my day bed for many months as I made progress on my fireplace redo.

*** Warning: Pink is about to make a brief appearance on White Cabana. ***

Holly-Katie-Craig-MintedHolly by Katie Craig

Once my fireplace makeover was complete, I turned my attention back to the daybed area of my space. I opted to rehang Katie Craig’s print horizontally, and I think it works much better in my space.

White-Cabana-Katie-Craig-Minted-artI adore the large-scale version of Katie Craig’s print. It’s bright and dramatic and bring a whole lot of interest to my space. As you can see, the room is still very much dominated by black and white even though there’s colourful art on the main wall. The addition of  fuchsia brings me joy, so I think I’ll keep it.

Here’s what (most) of the room looks like now:

White-Cabana-home-7 White-Cabana-home-3

I painted the Fjellse bed frame (made from two twins that came with my house) high gloss blackWhite-Cabana-home-1

(I’m still on the lookout for two side tables of the same height)


(featuring my most recent Alessi addition – Karim Rashid’s Hellraiser tray for Alessi)

White-Cabana-home-5 White-Cabana-home-6

see how I transformed my old 80s fireplace into this beauty

I have recently published this makeover on Domino. If you click here, you’ll see a couple of before photos.

Many thanks to Minted for sponsoring this post.

Sources: art – c/o Minted; day bed (two Fjellse singles joined and painted high gloss black) – Ikea; wall paint – c/o CIL; white tray – Style at Home; black side cart – Market Road Antiques in St. Jacobs; chevron pillow cases – Target; bicycle pillow case – Urban Barn; coffee and side tables – Kijiji; shag rug, lamps – vintage; silver tray – Alessi; fireplace mantle – vintage; bamboo ladder painted high gloss black – garage sale; ceiling light – Ikea; art on fireplace – Janet Hill Studio, Chapters Indigo (tea towel); hex fireplace tiles – Twin City Tile

Design: Alessi Gets Dressed

By now, you may know that I am a collector of Alessi. This Italian company works with designers around the world to produce collections that are classic, useful, whimsical, and statement pieces.

The Juicy Salif citrus squeezer designed by Philippe Starck is still one of my most favourite Alessi pieces. It’s such an unusual design and noone else has attempted to recreate anything quite like it. The trays and bowls are functional and friendly, and I have a few pieces hanging around on my sideboard (you can see one tray in this photo). I dare you to come to my home and resist touching my mini Anna G. corkscrew. It’s so cute! I remember buying each piece of Alessi that I own, which makes each purchase quite special.

So what’s going on with Alessi these days? Well, when I saw the newest collection by Marcel Wanders called Dressed, I was pretty excited.dressed-sugar-bowl-Alessi

Dressed sugar bowl, $121


Dressed butter dish, $99


Dressed egg cup, $66


Dressed table set, $121


Dressed spoon with soft boiled egg opener, $44


Dressed biscuit box, $198 (there’s a bell on the lid!)

These are just some of the pieces in the Dressed collection that I think would pair well with my existing pieces. I mean, that biscuit box with bell, how great is that?

Marketplace: EQ3 – Proudly Canadian

EQ3 is a Canadian furniture and home decor design company that strives to offer well-crafted and highly attractive products which are (mostly) made in Canada. I think EQ3 has a lot of great things to offer in terms of their inventory as well as in its design aesthetic and business philosophy. While you discover EQ3’s collection, be sure you don’t miss out on the work by some of my design favourites – Marimekko, Vitra, Alessi, and Herman Miller.

EQ3 Oblong Lamp

EQ3 Mini Table Lamp White

Marimekko Lumimarja Pillow Case

EQ3+ Vitra Elephant White

Images courtesy of EQ3. EQ3 locations.