Roasted Carrot Soup Recipe

carrot soup recipe, squash soup,

When I designed the Wayfair dining room with a tureen and soup bowls, it gave me a hankering for fall soup. Last night I whipped up some Roasted Carrot Soup. Easy, healthy and deelish – it’s the perfect color for your Halloween-themed dinner. Here’s how I made it….


Peel and cut on diagonal 6 carrots

Peel and chop half an onion (I only had red onion so that’s what I used)

2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes

2 peeled garlic cloves

Toss all veggies in generous amount of olive oil, Salt & Pepper, parsley and tsp. cumin

carrot soup recipe,

Roast in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until veggies tender.

carrot soup recipe,

Place roasted veggies in saucepan, add 14 oz. can of veggie or chicken broth or stock

Heat through and, using immersion blender, puree smooth. (You can do this in a blender too if you don’t have an immersion blender)

Add a generous dollop of plain Greek yogurt, mix it all in the soup.

roasted carrot soup recipe,

Tah Dah! Enjoy…..

butternut squash soup recipe,

Wayfair fall Dining Room Contest Winner

I’m baaacccckk! I took a long break from blogging, social media and even clients’ decorating projects this month. I planned my own kitchen update (more on that later) and took a trip to Captiva – one of our favorite spots to getaway. Sometimes it’s good to pause and refresh, isn’t it?

It was fun to return to some great news – I won the Wayfair Design Services Dining Room Contest! All the designers were given the same floor plan to follow and were asked to fill the dining room with Wayfair products for a family-friendly meal for six people. Our inspiration was supposed to come from fall foliage.

Before and After floor plan

Here’s a peek at the completed room but I want to tell you my thoughts when designing this room …. (I’m also giving you the links to every product in case you see something you like for your own fall decorating)

wallpaper, teal lamp, barn doors, wayfair design services,

After I chose the dining room table and chairs …..

wayfair design services, farmhouse dining room,

I chose the place settings – Wood Chargers under pretty Spode dinner plates and topped with yummy orange pumpkin-shaped soup bowls was a good start. Flatware that looks to be made from twigs and branches was a fun addition and what guest wouldn’t want to use these natural linen napkins with ruffles. I topped each napkin with a place setting name card – a polyester leaf on which to write each family members’ name. Everyone also got a leaf-shaped photo clip to insert photos that would make great conversation starters. The Harvest Soup Tureen and Harvest Salt & Pepper Shakers were pretty necessities …..

fall inspired decorating, interior design, wayfair design services,

A sideboard was important to store that seasonal dinnerware and on which to place the fun indoor S’mores maker (dessert anyone?), along with a gorgeous mirror and teal green lamps.

wayfair design services, dining room,
wayfair design services, mary beth zwolfer, interior design, wallpaper,

Don’t you love the wallpaper? … such a soft pattern with a hint of color. With a wallpaper such as this, you don’t need a lot of artwork. It stands alone as wall decor and creates character. What originally started as just a square space cut off from the rest of the home, this dining room is transformed because the wallpaper gives the room movement and personality. In addition, since the door opening was so wide, I also gave the room a set of sliding barn doors and a pretty chandelier.

barn doors, wallpaper, chandelier, wayfair design services,
barn doors in dining room, farmhouse dining room, wayfair design services,

Lastly, I added some pretty accessories to pull the room together ….

fall inspired accessories, wayfair design services,

I’m truly amazed how you can get almost anything and everything to completely decorate your entire home through Wayfair. Here’s the room rendering created for me by a Wayfair Design Services graphic artist – I had a lot of fun with this project. I thank Wayfair for the cash prize and the pretty rendering. Thank you, dear readers, for heading over to check in on my design. I hope you’re inspired to decorate your own dining room and host your own fall inspired dinner party!

wayfair design services, mary beth zwolfer, interior design,

My latest Wayfair Design Services projects

A quick post: Here’s a peek at my latest Wayfair Design Services projects.

A large family had 2 existing sofas in the living room of their new construction home and needed furnishings and accessories to bring the room together …..

blue and gray living room, wayfair design services,

This young couple also had an existing sofa and desk in their living room, along with their “home” sign. They wanted more seating and finishing touches. They requested all neutral so I was sure to incorporate a lot of texture.

farmhouse living room, wayfair design services,

The first room is more contemporary and the second is farmhouse style. Want to see more of my Wayfair designs? Click this link

Lesson Notebook: How to choose the correct drapery rod – Palos Park Townhome window treatments

Happy Friday! (excuse the awful photos, I only take photos usually for my clients’ folders to keep as reference and I don’t usually think “I’m going to use this one day”) Anyway, I’m back at Kathy’s and Dan’s townhome again this year. They’re a terribly nice couple and they’ve been some of my favorite local clients that I’ve had the privilege to work with.

window treatments, palos heights, Chesterfield, Roseland Draperies,

One of the finishing touches we’ve been meaning to get to (after all the furniture shopping!) is decorating the window in the living room. The shoji screen window treatments that were in the home when they moved in were just not working for my clients 😉 Designing a new home from top to bottom is not like on T.V., it takes time and there is a schedule of events to bring the home’s design to completion.

The Mr. wanted a bit of privacy in the evening and the Mrs. wanted pretty … So I proposed woven wood blinds – but not all the way at the top of the windowsalong with simple drape panels flanking the windows and hung on a modern gunmetal drape rod ….

interior designer palos heights, IL,

The furnishings we had installed months ago dictated the style of the rod and would be the jumping off point in determining the window fabric ….

alfred and mary interior design,

I then contacted a window drapery company in a neighboring town and the Mr. and Mrs. and I sat down together with the sales lady and chose a fabric lickety-split. Tah-dah, the windows now look finished and stylish and definitely bring an air of sophistication to the space, along with just a tad bit of privacy when needed ….

alfred and mary interior design, window treatments palos heights,
alfred and mary interior design, edesign,

Next up I’ll be decorating a large home in Homer Glen, so stay tuned. I might just get a Lesson Notebook idea out of that project!

Homemade Applesauce Recipe, Apple picking

homemade recipe, applesauce,

It’s apple pickin’ season! Over the Labor Day holiday we headed to Wisconsin to get together with Dear Husband’s family. I made homemade applesauce as a side for the party and this is how I did it ….

Clean your apples with a clean paper towel that’s been wet with regular distilled vinegar …

Gather your 8 clean apples, either “Gala” or “Golden Delicious”, I used Gala. Peel and core the apples and cut into chunks …..

homemade applesauce, apple pie recipe,

Gather 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar.

homemade applesauce recipe,

Sprinkle all over the cubed apples in your saucepan and gently mix…..


Cover the saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the apples are soft enough to smoosh – either with a spoon or potato masher – I used my immersion blender.

buy red LeCreuset,

Makes enough for 15 people to have a side. Oh Mama Llama, that’s good!

homemade applesauce recipe,

Lynn’s Office and Craft Room Edesign

When Lynn came to me through Wayfair Design Services, she requested a total remake of her office and told me she had a new craft machine to play with (sounds like the cricket bug – wink!) ….

office craft room interior design, mary beth zwolfer, palos heights,
Photo courtesy of Wayfair Design Services client

The room had good bones – lots of natural light and classic wainscoting trim. It just needed a little personality and function capabilities. I started with a pretty rolling desk chair and chose a paint for the top part of the walls and the wainscoting …..

office chair, St. Barts paint Sherwin Williams,

The functional items had to come next but they had to be pretty too. A table instead of a traditional desk would allow Lynn to spread out with all her craft materials. Two file drawers and a bookcase will allow Lynn to organize family papers and craft materials…..

A rug is a must, along with a comfy chair for reading and a pouf to prop up feet after a long day…….

Then some more finishing touches such as an extra chair for a friend or Lynn’s husband to join in the craft fun, pretty lighting, faux flowers, and art ….

I hope that Lynn has many years of crafting fun in her office/craft room and I thank her for hiring me through Wayfair Design Services.

wayfair design services, mary beth zwolfer, interior design,
Design by Mary Beth Zwolfer, rendering by Wayfair Design Services
mary beth zwolfer, interior designer, palos heights,

Designing a colorful Playroom that’s not clownish

Kelly came to me through Wayfair Design Services looking for a room to corral her teens and keep them out of her way entertained (Kelly had a fun and funny sense of humor). She was nice enough to upload a few inspiration photos for me that included lots of color – including purple – and all the photos had a wall gallery of colorful art.

My first initial thought for the room was to use preppy colors – a teal sofa, a furry rug and a fun ‘n fabulous patterned chair …….

Idea #1 for main furnishings

But Kelly wished for a rug with more color and a bit boho. So I replaced the rug – but with that replacement, I switched out the patterned chair for a solid chair, which luckily comes with an ottoman that has storage ……..

Idea #2 for main furnishings

LETS LOUNGE & READ ~ I then added tables and more seating & lighting. The coffee table is clear to visually open the space in the small room and to let that colorful rug shine through …..

LETS DRAW & PAINT ~ I couldn’t forget pillows (natch!) and a gallery set of frames to showcase the kids’ artwork ……

Styling the kids’ art!
Pull the colors from the rug and add some pillows

LETS WATCH TV~ & keep that clutter under control! Shelves were a must for all the kids’ games, books and everything else that teens accumulate. The shelves also add height and add visual interest on each side of the TV.

how to style shelves, alfred and mary interior design, wayfair design services,
TV stand and shelves for storage are a must in a playroom!

LETS NOT FORGET THAT 5TH “WALL”~ Lastly, I suggested the whitest of white walls but an orange ceiling to make the room one of a kind! This is a fun room – but by tempering the bright colors with black, gray and white, the room is colorful without being clownish!

teen playroom, wayfair design services,
Rendering by Wayfair Design Services

Not a sponsored post, but everything – except the paint – is from Wayfair.

I think the teens are going to have a lot of fun and creative times in this room, don’t you?

space planning, restoration hardware,