Media Darling: Karl Lohnes

Karl Lohnes is a design
journalist of all good things related to the home. He reached millions of
viewers for eight years while appearing on America’s This Small Space on HGTV and was one of the founding editors of
Style At Home magazine, with which he was associated for almost 15 years. 
He is currently the
on-air home decor expert for CTV’s Canada AM and The Marilyn Denis Show, offers
up a monthly style report on CHUM FM’s
All About Style with Marilyn Denis and is the weekly home columnist to Metro
News
in Canada and the United States. He is a popular speaker at consumer/
trade design shows and is an avid shopper. Lohnes also runs a private design and
décor consulting business and loves to cook, bake and entertain.



Twitter: @KarlLohnes

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
The world of media fascinated me from a very early age, especially magazines; those names on the mastheads were like gods to me. I thought editors of a magazine were the ultimate in media power, then I started to work for some only to realize they are everyday people making a living. I studied  marketing and advertising in college and fell in love with design/decor in my mid-twenties. I worked at advertising agencies, for a major bank and the phone company before realizing that wearing a tie was not for me. I started my career in design by working at furnishings store Urban Mode on Queen St. in downtown Toronto. 
Where would you like to be five years from now?
In five years from now I hope to have expanded my media reach through newspapers, television, radio and magazines. Truly, the only worth that a media personality has is how many people they can speak to. 
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
In the design world, the best thing you can do is look and listen…It’s the only way to predict trends and absorb the vibe on the street. In media, the best thing you can do is be humble and not expect everything to happen overnight.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
My favourite media outlets are airplane magazines; they incorporate culture, city buzz, travel, food, fashion but rarely decor…They tend to be nice monthly capsules of what’s happening out there. 

Best interview you’ve ever had?
About me: The Washington Post. They coined me ‘The Dr. Phil of Decorating’. I lived off that nickname for personal appearance booking for about ten years. Best interview I’ve conducted? My interview with Diane Von Furstenburg when she launched her home decor line. I realized that the more famous someone is, the less they actually have to say publicly. 
Worst?
The very first time I appeared on Canada AM. I was promoting Thanksgiving turkeys and the interview segment went horribly wrong. Its one of my biggest career lessons; stick to what you are best at and don’t try to be something you are not (like a turkey expert!).

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Stay focused on your passions and incorporate them into your work. All of a sudden, work becomes a good reason to wake up to each day. 
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
If you want respect, you need to treat everyone the same…Whether you are nice or an ass; just be consistent. 

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Your media contacts will always outlive your client contracts.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Getting follow up after I’ve publicised your client’s product. Its a very rare thing to get a thank  you these days. 

I hate?
Having to deal with three different PR contacts for the same media opportunity; the senior account director who secures the opportunity, then an associate account manager that sends the information, then the intern who tries to communicate with me

I love?
Having a weekend brunch or coffee with one of my PR contacts. It shows they go far beyond 9-to-5 role in their career.

Reading?
Hopefully my own book really soon…Until then, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It’s 782 pages long so wish me luck.

Best place on earth?
The Jasper Park Lodge Resort. A magical place where time stopped in the mid-1950s.
Dinner guest?
Martha Stewart; although we have dined in the past, I have never cooked for her at my house.
Hero?
Any and all of my editors for making sense of the messages I write.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Olson Recipe Maker…Helps me with my cooking, baking, food prep etc. Couldn’t live without it when at the grocery store.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean; peeing in the water becomes less guilty.

Voicemail or email?
Email; it means I can respond any time of the day or night. 
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Yum, yum: Churros

We’re nearly a month into 2013 and all of our healthy eating resolutions are beginning to feel a bit… boring. After weeks of sugary treats and cheese platters galore, the focus on veggies and whole grains was a welcome (and oh so necessary) change of pace. Now that our jeans no longer feel like they’re cutting off the circulation in our thighs, we’re ready to return to a more balanced lifestyle. Basically, this means we’re craving butter and sugar, and will punch someone if we’re offered another piece of kale. 




With the cold weather officially here, we’re a lot more likely to want to spend some time around a hot stove and a pot of bubbling oil. Don’t worry, the end result is a lot less Game of Thrones’ battle of Blackwater and a whole lot of delicious. Yes, we are talking about churros! The crispy, deep-fried dough is a favourite in Spain and Mexico. We highly recommend serving them with a rich hot cocoa. If you’re feeling especially loco, why not dip your churro in the cocoa?

Churros (recipe via Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
vegetable oil (for frying)
confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon or a cinnamon-sugar combo (for dusting)

Tools of the trade. 

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine one cup water, butter, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and sift in flour, stirring for one minute.

Sift that flour, baby. Sift it good.
2. Transfer flour mixture to bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition; spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip.

All ready to be fried!
3. Heat 4 to 5 inches oil in a large Dutch-oven until it registers 325 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer (note: we used a candy thermometer, which worked out excellently!). Holding pastry bag a few inches above the oil, squeeze out batter, snipping off 4-inch lengths with a knife or kitchen shears. Fry, flipping once, until deep golden brown all over, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer churros to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

Squeeze that dough. 
Fry that dough. 
4. Roll churros in topping of your choice. Serve immediately!

Ta da! Try not to eat them all at once. 

*Special thanks goes out to Trish Petozzi for teaching us how to fry churros like a pro. Trish works at Cake & Loaf Bakery and has the best sister in the world. 

Fave 5: Magazines gone bust

We read A LOT of magazines on the fourth floor. Aside from being an integral part of PR, a new magazine arriving at the office calls for a break to check out the latest trends, beauty tips and celebrity gossip. But we also get really, really sad when a magazine announces it’s ceasing publication – it’s like losing a trusted friend. Today, a tribute to five magazines we still miss.

Domino

If you re-pin decor pics on Pinterest, you’ve likely pinned from Domino.
Image source.

We all let out a collective scream when Domino announced its last issue in 2009. There’s a reason why every second living room on Apartment Therapy contains the ever-familiar mint green book, Domino: The Book of Decorating. Every issue contained page after page of beautiful inspiration, chic interiors and refreshing ideas. Type Domino Magazine into Pinterest to see what you missed. 

You can get your fix this month with a special new edition, Domino Quick Fixes, that is currently on newsstands. Their revived Facebook page is also addressing important questions such as “to colour-coordinate or not to colour-coordinate bookshelves?”. Could this be the return? We can only hope. 

Sassy

Yes, that’s Milla Jovovich, circa 1991.
Image source.

The thought that there are girls out there not getting advice on relationships, sex, body image and how to grow up to be a cool chick from Sassy makes us worry about their generation. Founded by Jane Pratt, the magazine offered (as its name suggests), a sassy, sometimes-controversial, feminist voice for young girls. The magazine was published until 1994, which makes us feel a little old, and also wonder if our mothers knew what we were reading. Need a fix? We’re enjoying a lookback with this Sassy Magazine LIVES tumblr. 

Jane

Premiere issue of Jane, with covergirl Drew Barrymore (who Jane claims to have had an affair with).
Image source.

Luckily for 90s girls, Jane magazine stepped in to fill the void left by Sassy, running from 1997 to 2007. Also headed by Jane Pratt, the magazine was said to ‘appeal to women who are irreverent’. If you’re still lamenting these magazines, we’re sure you already know about xoJane.com, where you can go for a daily dose of the irreverent.

Wish

A little bit of everything.
Image source.

Headed by another well-known Jane, the subject matter was tamer but featured lovely pieces covering fashion, beauty, home and food. Running for five years, the magazine was shut down at the end of 2008. We still pull out old issues to check out  20-minute Supper Club, a feature that planned out meals for a week, including wine pairings.  

Blueprint

RIP Blueprint, 2006-2008.
Image source.

Part of the Martha Stewart Living brand, Blueprint was targeted to a younger demographic than Martha Stewart Living, one that enjoyed pretty DIYs, fancy cocktails and decor inspiration for small spaces when you don’t have a manor like Martha’s. We consult our archives when there’s an occasion that calls for a little Martha: first turkey dinner cooked for the extended fam, an inkling to make a wreath that doesn’t look like grandma’s, the desire to plant a herb garden in a windowbox, you know…





Yum Yum: Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette

Forgive us if we keep going on and on about how happy we are that our favourite fruits and veggies are in season. It was a long, hard winter and our taste buds are rejoicing at the return of fresh produce.

On our latest trip to Fiesta Farms we stumbled across some rhubarb. While these pink stalks can be quite bitter, if you add a little sugar and cook them down, they make a lovely compote or a perfect companion to berries. We’re more stoked on the latter and decided to attempt a Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette.

Our galette on the fourth floor.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette
(makes three mini-galettes)
Crust:
We used Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee recipe for the crust and it turned out perfectly (go Martha). We don’t have a food processor, so we blended the butter the ol’ fashioned way – with a pastry cutter. You’ll need to make the dough at least an hour before you plan to start baking. 
Tip for making your pie crusts super flaky: Stick everything in the freezer for 10 minutes before you start baking. The butter, your pastry cutter, your bowl. We aren’t sure how it works, but it definitely does.

Filling:

2 1/2 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
3/4 cup of sugar + additional for garnishing
1 tbs vegetable oil
3 cups of strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 egg

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Celsius. 

2. Cook rhubarb first to reduce excess liquid. (This extra liquid has been the downfall of many a pie crust.) Mix 1/4 cup of sugar with rhubarb and heat the vegetable oil in a pan. Once oil is smoking, add the rhubarb-sugar mix and cook for 5 minutes. Rhubarb should be cooked, but still firm. Set aside and let cool.

3. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with strawberries. Drain excess liquid from the cooled rhubarb and fold in with the strawberries.

4. Take crust out of the fridge and roll out on lightly floured surface. Spoon rhubarb-strawberry mixture into centre of crust, leaving at least an inch around each edge. Fold the “naked” edges into the centre, pleating the dough as needed. The pastry will partially cover the filling, leaving an open middle where the filling will show through. Repeat with other two galettes.

5. Place galettes on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Whip one egg and use a pastry brush to glaze the pastry with egg wash. Sprinkle the pastry with sugar.

6. Bake galettes in oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Celsius. Turn down heat to 350 degrees Celsius, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool.

7. Eat while hot or at room temperature. Goes well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a hot summer’s night.