Monday, August 29, 2011

What Do You Keep. . .8/29/11

Below are some images of seven beautiful ideas and designs for cupboards and cabinets that I have borrowed from designers and design bloggers that I read and admire. The sole purpose of sharing them with you is to illustrate just how many ways one piece of furniture can be utilized. . . you can bring in color, or keep it muted; you can place it in a kitchen, a dining room, a living room or even a bedroom as I did with mine. It can house stoneware, silver, family photos and frames, treasured books or even seashells. . .the only limitation is your imagination, and dimensions of course. Take a look at these beautiful images and if you've got a great idea for a cuppoard/cabinet that you'd like to share, email it in!!
A beautiful cupboard with white serve ware and a playful Tiffany blue painted bead board as a backdrop. It really makes all the white pop!
This is from Cote de Texas. It is blogger Joni's living room and IT IS fabulous!!
I love this antique piece! Keeping the doors open and housing different sizes of stoneware and silver makes it look austere and interesting.
This is by a decorator in California. Hers displays pretty plates and porcelain.
An image from Gianetti Designs. I loooove it and I LOVE the cabinet!! What I wouldn't do to steal this and put it in my kitchen! I especially love the chippy interior.
The height of this piece makes it unique in my opinion. Although the interior and exterior are monochromatic here, it's never boring because it is offset by the gray tones inside the cabinet and the black/gray floors. Beautiful.
For the fun girly girl in all of us, THIS cabinet will bring a smile to your face. I can't decide what I love best? The bright pink interior color? The grayish/brown exterior? The chicken wire? The pouffy tassle? The GORGEOUS silver inside?!! It's ALL fabulous from A to Z. This is the type of piece that I'd come back to look at when I need a pick me up ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?? PART 1. . .8/10/11

I promised you photos of table settings and while I have not been able to set up very many lately and photograph even less, here is at least one tablescape to whet your palette and get you all thinking about how to make your next dinner a simple and decorative affair all your own. So here is the first setting: A table for four.

The following table setting is an easy and fast one to pull together. . .trust me. . .I know!! Not long after you asked me to show you some table settings for dinner parties we had guests over on a Sunday night and unfortunately the afternoon prior to their arrival turned into one task after the other and before I knew it, I had ZERO time left!! I ended up running to the grocery store less than an hour before they were expected. I threw together a simple and quite scrumptious dinner, set it to cook, had my husband slicing cheeses and fruit for the hors d'oeuvres plate and whipped up this table in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES!!!! LITERALLY! If I can do it, you can too!

Fortunately I was already thinking about table decor while at the grocery store check out line so I swung by the floral department to check out some options. As I looked upon gorgeous stems in every color (and not really sure what I wanted my table to look like at this point either) I reached for what is usually considered the "garnish" of floral arrangements, not the focal point - baby's breath. It seemed sweet, light and summery so a $2.99 bouquet of baby's breath it was!! Voila!! I loooooove how my quick and easy table turned out and even though it was not an intended grouping to photograph for you as a dinner party design, it's a good one in my opinion because it's meant to demonstrate that having guests over can be 1) simple, 2) quick and easy, 3) inexpensive and 4) chic.
I have 12 of these wicker chargers so I took 4 of them and laid them over an antique linen I purchased at Round Top two years ago. I used my "daily" plates over the chargers but paired them with off white vintage napkins I found at another antique fair. TIP: don't be afraid to mismatch linens at at table. I've even used a different colored napkin for each guest before.
These are my Butler's Pantry dinner plates and salad plates. My lacy tea-colored linen napkins atop.
A close-up of the silver. The forks are our every day ones but the steak knives are ones we received for our wedding. I have never ever used them. . .in fact, I accidentally found them a few days back when cleaning out a drawer in our butler's pantry and remembered them that day! I liked that they were a different color than the tablecloth.
I used an empty Ball Jar as a vase for the baby's breath. Also, I like to sometimes save clear wine bottles, wash and peel off the labels. For tonight's table I filled one with cold water instead of using a regular pitcher.
Here's a different angle of the table. These wine glasses are my FAVORITES!!! I rarely use them because they are incredibly fragile (I broke one while setting the table) but I love how dainty and casual they are. . .the perfect finishing touch for my simple table.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A French Chateau in Houston: Part 2. . .8/2/11

This is what the French chateau in Houston looks like today. It's a sad empty place but full of promise, charm, history and authenticity. It's a daunting remodel for a buyer there's no doubt about it but if you are up for the task and can use this kind of space, (including a ballroom!!) contact Diane Kingshill at Martha Turner (713-248-4900).
Behind that staircase there is another one that leads down to a spectacular basement!! It smelled a little damp in the chateau when I visited but to be inside this masterpiece was inspiring. My mind was going a thousand miles an hour with ideas of how to design, decorate and utilize each room. . .I'd be forced to have several more children and teach them to sing Austrian folk songs. . .
LOTS of work. . .
A beautiful sitting room/nook. . .well, one of many.
This is the ballroom.
Here's the way down to the basement I mentioned and this is sort of right when you walk through the front door.
There are probably a million uses for this narrow room which happens to be directly across from the ballroom.

A French Chateau in Houston: Part 1. . .8/2/11

Several months back a friend took my husband and I to visit a French chateau and it was truly stunning. At least from the outside. The interior, you could see from the street facing the chateau, was completely gutted and barren. But the ghostly interior wasn't the thing that stood out the most to me. . .no, the fact that THIS authentic French chateau was sitting on gorgeous wooded acres in the middle of Houston, Texas was the most surprising.

The chateau was brought to Houston piece by heavy piece in 1962. It was rebuilt using imported, aged and antiqued materials from France and Italy and was even reconstructed by real experienced French craftsmen. The home's entire facade is built of limestone and features marble steps, antiques statues and fountains, manicured French gardens, and elaborate details strewn throughout the house. That's right! It is here at 306 E. Friar Tuck in Sherwood Forest off of Memorial and it can be yours for just under $9 million. . .pocket change, right? The good news is that if you can afford that kind of a home, it's value is EXCEEDINGLY higher, the bad news is that the entire 12,734 square feet inside the home (lot is 117,089 sq ft) is completely gutted. There's no sheet rock, no flooring, no ceiling. . .nothing. But for some fearless person with incredible imagination and time, the possibilities for beauty and creativity are boundless. The chateau's skeleton is wrought with original French brick, wrought iron work, marble patterns on the ground, you name it. . .it's an antique lover's dream come true but the truth is that to make it come alive, it would take approximately $5-7 million dollars of work. Here are some photographs of the chateau in it's former glory.
This is absolutely breathtaking! I can only imagine the elaborate parties that must have been given in this gorgeous backyard and veranda.
To the left is a photo of the greenhouse that was home to beautiful plants as well as antique statutes. The greenhouse no longer stands today.
That back house is the pool house.
Such stately rooms. . .I wonder what ever became of all this gorgeous antique French and Italian furniture.
I love this study. This is sort of how I imagine Buckingham palace's private residences to look like. . .although I know they are much more modern.
beautiful kitchen. . .a tad antiquated but nonetheless. . .
This landing feels like that of a French hotel.
That's a heck of a butler's pantry!

Monday, August 1, 2011

UPDATE. . .8/1/11

Two things I want to share with you this morning:

1) I'm working on the second dinner party table setting and then will post a few options for you all - indoor and outdoor though I recognize the heat makes life a little insufferable for outdoor dining. . .maybe it's for the fall or for a rare breezy Houston summer night ;)

2) I have been asked to decorate a home!! A friend has recently purchased an older home in the Briargrove area and is in need of renovations and post-renovations decor and has asked me to do the job. I'm very excited and looking forward to it. It started a few weeks back but as of today (literally) things got "hot", and by that I mean, INSANELY BUSY out of nowhere?!! I met several contractors in the last few weeks but the floors were sanded and refinished and completed yesterday and the painting starts tomorrow. . .which meant I had to use the very very little time I had while my son was at soccer camp to meet with the owner and the painter to put up paint samples, view, select and move forward. I spent about an hour and change at the house doing that, counting up all the holes in the ceiling where I needed to buy new light fixtures, counting the cabinets and drawers for knobs and pulls and measuring rooms for rugs. Whew!! Looooong morning and day!! I spent any and all extra time there after today on the phone back and forth with contractors, owners and such and then stole moments to flip through catalogs for ordering my lighting while cooking my kids' dinner with the other hand. . .I'll keep you updated as we go :)