Today we have extra tasty treat for you. My dear friend Maia is stopping by to take Tasty Tuesday to the next level. Maia is a bit of a renaissance woman. That’s a fancy way of saying she’s really good a lot of stuff. She’s a graphic designer, photographer, art director (of Rue Magazine no less), mother, founder of the fab online children’s shop Bitte, and also a great cook. Now that she bought her first house with an enviable yard, Maia has also become something of a amateur gardener this year. Color me impressed. I’m just thankful Maia is willing to share some of the fruits of her labor  – literally – in the form of amazing recipes inspired by what’s coming out of her garden right now. Even if you have to get your produce from the farmer’s market (like I do), for the next few weeks Maia is going to help us make the most of this end of summer bounty. First up: the prettiest Zucchini Muffins that you ever did see.


If you have a garden, this time of year can be a little overwhelming. Trying to harvest and use everything up before it gets stolen by critters or rots can sometimes feel like a full time job. But I always hate to waste any of the goodies too. So I thought I would share a few recipes that will help you make the most of your late summer harvest. Or if you’re not the gardening type, you can still do a lot of fun things with a big haul from the weekend farmer’s market.


First up is a recipe for Savory Zucchini Muffins. It’s a twist on the usual sweet zucchini bread, that as anyone who grows zucchini knows, you get sick of pretty quick. The best part is that these can easily be frozen in a ziplock freezer bag and brought out months from now when you’ve recovered from your zucchini overdose. You could also easily sub out half the flour with whole wheat flour to make them a little healthier for easy breakfasts on the go, or packed into school lunches.

apt34 - zucchini-muffins


Makes 12 Muffins
• 2 cups flour
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ½ cup greek yogurt
• ½ cup milk
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup melted butter
• ½ + 2 tbsp cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
• 2-3 minced garlic cloves
• 1 cup shredded zucchini (drained of excess liquid)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and oregano.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt and egg.
4. Stir the garlic into the melted butter.
5. Whisk the melted butter mixture into the other wet ingredients.
6. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mix, and gently combine. Don’t over mix the batter.
7. Stir in the shredded cheese (leaving out 2 tbsp for topping) shredded zucchini and chopped basil.
8. Spoon even amounts of mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the bread comes out clean.


I cannot thank Maia enough for sharing this beautiful recipe with us. Be sure to check back weekly through September for all her delicious ideas.

For the rest of our Tasty Tuesday archive CLICK HERE.

original photography for apartment 34 by maia m. smith

Obviously, I have a thing for kitchens. I’ve blogged about them here endlessly. I’ve obsessed about the design of our own for nearly two years now – yes we bought our house TWO years ago. Remodel hell is a subject for another post. Or novel. But I digress. Back to the subject at hand –  I appreciate gorgeous kitchen design, regardless of the style. Which is why I had to share this stunning example from the Sunset Magazine Idea House (now open to the public in Oakland!).

apt34 -thermador
apt34 thermador

Created by Bay Area design aficionado, Lauren Geremia this space is an obvious showstopper. The kitchen is anchored by that stunning wallpaper. I love it’s black ground. It certainly is unusual to do wallpaper in a kitchen, but covered in glass it functions like any other backsplash. Combined with the custom oxidized iron hood and grounded with the white marble counters – it’s simultaneously dramatic and timeless. And of course I love the open shelving – I have very similar plans for the final touches in our space.

And the similarities continue. Like I did for our kitchen, Geremia Design selected Thermador appliances for the space. Thermador is the prefect combination of beautiful form and professional-grade function. For example, the Thermador Pro Grand Range thinks about all the details necessary for perfectly cooked meal so we don’t have to. Thermador’s 3-in-1 Star® Burners five-point design allows for more ports and more flame distribution than a round burner, leading to faster time to boil. Score. The burners also have an exclusive ExtraLow® feature that provides the widest variety of temperature control of any simmer system. It cycles on and off to maintain temperatures as low as 100° for simmering delicate sauces or keeping food warm without scorching. That’s already come in handy for me more than once!

Thermador is actually celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year (they actually introduced the first built in wall oven and matching cooktop in 1947) and their incredibly history is another reason that I love having Thermador in our own 100 year+ old house. To celebrate this major milestone, Thermador is holding an amazing Diamonds Are Forever giveaway right now. Through the end of the month you can enter to win daily prizes like a pair of Waterford Crystal champagne flutes or a Thermador Dishwasher!

To enter for a chance to win CLICK HERE.

photography by myself and thomas j. story courtesy of sunset magazine

Apartment 34 on Instagram


It’s amazing how quickly summer goes. At the first of June the season seems to stretch out like a vast horizon far, seaming unreachable far off in the distance. But the next thing you know, there’s only two weekends left in August! It gets me every year. So I’m rushing off to soak in as much sun, fun and unplugged time as I can fit in before September’s mad dash returns (and I depart for Italy – yelp!).

But I have made sure to take a break from watching the Olympics (I’m obsessed – is it just me? I just love watching it all – volleyball, synchronized swimming, weight lifting, track…I’m going to be so sad when it’s over. But anywhoo.) I have discovered a fun fab things online to check out this week.

> A bunch of the mamas from our Real Mom Series discussed comparison – a very relevant topic regardless if you have kids or not.

> How many cocktails can you cram in before season’s end? Coco-kelley is making it easy

> I’d also like to eat this, and this and this

> And indulge in this

> I’m having a love affair with all things ceramic, but this gal is particularly talented

> One of my favorite online children’s boutiques, Bitte, is celebrating its first anniversary and offering 15% off to celebrate! Just enter the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY15 at checkout

> Mini dream come true – Domino Magazine included Apt34 in their round up of must-follow design focused Instagrams!

And I actually hadn’t mentioned here some of the most exciting news of the month: Apt34 has been named one of six finalists for a SAVEUR Magazine 2016 blog award!

The winner of Best Style & Design Blog will be selected by the public – and I would so appreciate your vote. You can cast your vote RIGHT HERE (and you can vote daily!).

Now I’m off to break out the rosé before the summer season is gone!


Entryways can often present a design conundrum. Tight spaces mixed with the need for organization can lead to spaces filled with a bevy of stuff – console tables, baskets and coat racks or cheesy oversized entry organizations systems. But sometimes less is more.

I’m loving the look of a simple, classic entry bench. A bench can serve as an intentional piece of decor rather than a catchall, but still offer the function you need. I’m definitely stealing this idea.

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A bench offers the functionality an entry needs. You can sit and put on shoes, set down a bag – even drop keys or mail in a small tray. If needed, hang a hook or two to capture a hat or coat. Sure you can’t hide away clutter, but that’s kind of the point. An open bench helps you avoid the traps of closets or other closed storage – cramming them too full, holding onto too many things you no longer need or forgetting what you actually have.

You can also use a bench as a place to display a few prized accents; maybe a favorite coffee table book or a fresh bouquet. It gives you something lovely to look at the moment you walk through the door.

And the bench itself can also be beautiful. There’s a long history of craftsmanship and design into this seemingly simple piece of furniture. After doing a little hunting, I found the perfect bench for my entry. Custom made in San Francisco by Moroccan Tazi Designs, I found a piece with classic construction features a black metal base and a thick mahogany slab in a natural finish. The look is understated and timeless. But it’s the brass feet that give it a little something special. I”m so excited to have this piece in our house!

Here’s a little inspiration for how I’m planning to finish off my entryway look. PS be sure to stop by Instagram today for a little sneak peek of my set up.



round mirror / santal 26 candle / ceramic objet / simplicity coffee table book / chasing slow coffee table book / candle sticks / tazi designs custom bench / glass beads 1, 2 / icelandic sheepskin / tray


For our entire Idea to Steal Archive, CLICK HERE.


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Spain has been having a serious moment of late. I’ve had so much fomo as I’ve watched friends wander explore through Barcelona, Sevilla and the Spanish coast. But I’ve never really had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the wide variety of Spanish food culture. It varies so much region to region, and is so rich in history and tradition.


But last week I got to enjoy a taste of Spain – specifically the Basque region at San Francisco’s Aatxe Restaurant with Williams-Sonoma. To celebrate their new Spanish-inspired culinary collection of dinnerware, tabletop accessories and cooking tools, Williams-Sonoma partnered with Aatxe chef Ryan Pollnow to create a bespoke Tapas Party. Chef Pollnow trained at some of the finest restaurants while working in Spain, including Mugartiz – considered one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, but he found himself most inspired by the Spanish pintxos and tapas he enjoyed at small neighborhood places. At Aatxe Pollnow pays homage to that experience by serving Basque influenced pintxos (small bites), tapas and the most epic gin and tonic menu I’ve ever seen.

I got to sample some signature Basque-style bites including Pan con Tomate with Jamon, Croquettes and Olive and Anchovy skewers. As Chef Pallnow explained, the goal of each dish is to present as many flavors and textures as you can in one small bite. Mission accomplished.


The highlight of the evening was the opportunity to screen a documentary about Basque culture – its food traditions, cider production, sports, fishing and maritime history. Its rich culture that reaches back centuries. But I was also struck by how beautiful the region is, nestled on Spain’s northern coast. It’s rugged, a bit rustic and just stunning. I’m planning a trip as I type this.

But Williams-Sonoma could actually take care of that for you because right now they’re giving away a FREE TRIP TO SPAIN! One lucky winner will receive airfare for two, and then two nights each in San Sebastian, Laguardia and Bilbao, dining in Michelin-starred restaurants, cooking lessons and winery tours. Basically a foodie dream trip.

You can enter to win this amazing giveaway RIGHT HERE, but you better hurry. The contest closes this Friday, August 19.

But this wouldn’t be a Tasty Tuesday without a recipe. If you’re feeling inspired, you’ve got to try your hand at Spain’s signature dish – Paella. Of course, this being Williams-Sonoma they’ve upped the ante by adding lobster. You’re welcome.



serves 6

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 live lobsters, each about 1 1/4 lb. (625 g)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
2 cups (14 oz./440 g) Bomba, Calasparra or other Spanish paella rice
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) Pernod
1/4 tsp. crumbled saffron, soaked in 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup (5 oz./155 g) sliced piquillo peppers or roasted red bell peppers
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
Lemon wedges for serving

Have ready a large bowl filled with ice water. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat and add 1 Tbs. salt. Add the lobsters one at a time, headfirst. Cover and cook until the lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to the ice water and let cool completely. Reserve 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) of the cooking liquid.

Separate the claws and tail from the bodies, reserving the bodies to make stock, if desired (see note above). Remove the meat from the knuckles, tails and claws. (You can leave the meat inside the claws, if you like, and use them to garnish the finished dish.) Keep the knuckle meat whole and cut the tail meat in half lengthwise. Transfer the lobster to a covered container and refrigerate immediately. The lobster can be refrigerated up to overnight.

In a large paella pan or a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in the rice, the reserved cooking liquid, the Pernod, saffron mixture and piquillo peppers. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Nestle the lobster meat (and the whole claws, if using) in the rice, cover and let stand until the lobster is hot, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the paella with the parsley and tarragon and serve immediately with lemon wedges alongside.


this post is in partnership with Williams-Sonoma. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. thanks for supporting collaborations that we’re excited about and that keep apartment 34’s doors open. 


So I have some exciting news – in just three weeks I’m going to be taking a little trip…to Italy! I’ll be able to share all the details soon, but to say I’m doing a happy dance is an understatement. Italy has a very special place in my heart. I traveled there for the first time at 17 and the place just stuck with me. I studied Italian all through college was able to study abroad there. I also returned for my honeymoon. But I haven’t been back since.

I also haven’t done any major travel since having entering mom-land – which means I need some serious packing help! My closet is not exactly jet-setter ready at the moment. So I’m frantically banking style inspiration and deciding what to add to my cart.


This look feels like the perfect look to spend an afternoon window shopping. A white-leg white pant and field jacket layered over a tee is a refined but laid back look (san heels. I’d probably wear these sandals instead).


I’m not sure I’m feeling brave enough to rock a crop top post-baby, this chic top feels so Italy appropriate.


A long short, chic flat and a great sleeveless top – I’m finally considering the off the shoulder trend – feels like a cool way to explore, wine taste or simply enjoy an afternoon of cappuccino and people watching at a cafe.


A timeless white dress topped with a button down tied at the waist is a perfect for an long lazy lunch that leads into a long night out.


And you never know when you might need something a little special. A flowing maxi dress is an easy, comfortable way to make a dramatic statement.




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