My Design: Inspiration for a Bedroom

A project I am just starting on is a bedroom suite for a couple who have remodeled their house in stages. Last year they added a new kitchen and family room and this year, it's a luxiuous sleeping and bathing space off in a wing all by itself. The area is huge and we are starting from scratch. The husband is adament about the headboard: no upholstered ones (my current favorite), and no canopies (another favorite). Headboard shopping today is truly boring. There are a few different styles out there and the rest are just variations on a theme. Tacky. Multitudes of ideas were rejected by them, but one headboard did finally fit the bill: reasonable yet rich looking and unique enough, but still beautiful. It's from Baker Knapp and Tubbs. This is it:

Here is what the room looks like today. The beams will be light, the floor is very dark wood. There will be a limestone fireplace mantel and dark wood bookcases flanking the walls on both sides of the hearth. They both really like blue and thought they wanted aqua, but once they saw this one fabric, the entire room took off on a different direction. There will be a sofa facing the fireplace covered in a gorgeous Marine blue velvet. The drapes will be cocoa colored silk. I was just informed today by Monica that I will need 40 yards of drapery silk. And that's after cutting the order down from 3 widths to 2 widths of fabric. A cocoa colored wool damask by Nancy Corzine is the duvet fabric. There will be a rush seated bench at the foot of the bed with a linen blue/cream striped cushion on it. Still up for discussion will be a center table with rattan covered stools underneath. Two area rugs: one natural, one patterned. If it was up to me, I would just run seagrass throughout or a striped blue and cream dhurrie, but my clients don't always listen to me.

Here are the fabrics I will be using. The damask was the inspiration fabric. Do you see the new Jasper fabric on the right? Yes!!!

In my mind, this picture of a room from Michael Smith is exactly how I want it to look. I going to lobby for a chandelier, but I don't think they will agree. Wish me luck!

Preppy Does Dallas


The August issue of D Home (Dallas) landed in my mailbox today (I really don't remember ordering it, but I'll take it). Anyway, the title on the cover is "Go Preppy." All the articles feature very preppy interior designers from Texas and LOTS of pink. There's even a quiz on being Preppy. It's really a charming theme this month and I don't remember them doing themes before, but it's possible.

D Home is a great local design magazine, something that Houston doesn't have. The columnists are first rate. I even featured one earlier here, David Feld who wrote a hysterical column of the overuse of coral in interior design. Their web site is superb too and a great way to peruse old issues if you have the time. There are a lot of quality designers who never get any national press, so local magazines are a good way of discovering them. I try to pick up different "local" magazines whenever I'm at a newstand. Here are a few pictures from this month's Preppy Dallas. Enjoy!

Notice the children's portrait - a la Warhol does Preppy!

I love the way West Elm and Brocade show their daybeds for outdoor porches.

Quotes from Interior Designers


I stumbled on this web site today: Interior Design Quotes

Pick your designer for handy quotes or pick your topic, such as "dining room" or "accessories" and see who said what about it. Bloggers may be the only people in the world who would use the web site, but, you never know!

According to this web site, here's what Charlotte Moss had to say about decorating: Decorating is like math, a game of adding and subtracting.

Look at this picture of her bedroom and tell me, what did she possibly subtract???? Aw, that's ok. That's why I love her - the more the better!

One day, as soon as a client lets me, I'm going to steal her idea of a gorgeous antique mirror on an easel instead of a full length dressing mirror. Genius!

Notice the mannequin with tonight's dress on it, waiting to be worn. Who do you think actually puts the dress on the mannequin?

Stefanidis: Living By Design, A Forgotten Book


A design book largely overlooked these days is "Living By Design" by John Stefanidis, a London based designer. Published in 1997 by Rizzoli, this book remains an all time favorite of mine. If you, like me, enjoy reading the story of how a home came to be, you will love this one. Stefanidis chronicles his country home, Cock Crow, and its complete transformation from old stables and farm buildings into a warm, sprawling weekend retreat. This book stayed "with" me for a long time and I studied the pictures for months, working out a floor plan to make sense of how Cock Crow flowed together, how the rooms were connected to each other and where the new construction started and where it ended. A large portion of the book is devoted to the grounds and flowers and the care of such. The pictures are dated by today's standards and I wouldn't recommend it for any trendy ideas of how to update your bedroom. But, if you enjoy figuring out how a house fits together - this is for you. It's very similar in idea to Bunny Williams' An Affair with a House and I would venture a bet that Ms. Williams is a great fan of this book and used it as an inspiration while writing hers.

Cock Crow is now sold. After Stefanidis' partner died, he moved to a new townhome in London, which was featured in a few design magazines. There, in the pictures, I spotted many of the accessories and assorted items that he brought to London from the country. I've taken a few pictures from his web site to give you an idea of his design work, in case you aren't familiar with it. Mr. Stefanidis is at the top of his field and "Living By Design" gives a glimpse into a life well spent.

My Designs: French Bedroom in Texas

This is a bedroom I worked on this year. The walls are covered in a Farrow and Ball wallpaper and Chelsea Editions fabrics figure prominently. Yes, I know - those are English companies! But, the furniture is mostly French antique with a few French reproductions pieces added to the mix. The curtains are a gorgeous Nancy Corzine taffeta with a scalloped trim on the lead edges. It's hard to see here, but the carpet is a wool cream and aqua pattern. The nightstand comes from Chelsea Editions furniture and the coffee table comes from Joyce Horn Antiques. If you click on the pictures, they will enlarge to see everything better.

These period bergeres, originally stained dark, are from Tara Shaw. The fabric is an aqua linen from Rogers and Goffigon, who make the best fabrics out there as far as I'm concerned and, believe it or not, they do not have a web site. The mirror is an antique from Area. Thanks Daniel!

This buffet a deux corps was our inspiration/starting point. It was the first item purchased and I designed the room around it. Isn't it beautiful.? It was bought at Watkins Culver, owned by Babs Watkins, one of Houston's premier designers. Again, no web site, sorry to say.

I designed the sofa and had it fabricated by Custom Creations, who have a wonderful line of furniture that they produce. Again, this is covered in a Rogers and Goffigon fabric. And speaking of Custom Creations, all my soft goods (drapery, bedding, pillows, etc.) are fashioned by Monica Hancock of Custom Creations by Monica. It's led to a few mishaps having two vendors with almost the same name! Sorry about the shape of that pathetic orchid. I should have pulled it out before taking the picture. Ne faites pas vous aimez juste le design français?

"Somethings Gotta Give"


I don't think another modern movie ever inspired me from a design standpoint more than "Something's Gotta Give" by Nancy Meyers starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. I loved everything about the featured house in the Hamptons: from the blue and white stripped dhurri, to the shingled exterior, back to the ebony wood floors, to the ironstone in the dining room, along with the slipcovered chairs around the table, to the desk where Erica writes her hit Broadway play. I bought the movie and freeze framed scenes so I could take notes. I had clients call me after seeing the movie to tell me that's how they wanted their house to look (right!)

The barely seen family room:

I wasn't alone in my love of the decor. Newspaper articles were written about it. People copied the kitchen all over America. One home magazine recently featured a couple who (thought) copied the house. I eagerly awaited The Holiday, Meyers followup movie, to see not the movie but the decor. It didn't move me visually the same way as Something's Gotta Give. The blogger Chameleon Interiors wrote extensively on the house, even sourcing furniture for the reader. Did the movie move you in the same way?

Detail from the living room. I love the black wicker chairs and standing lamp:

The much heralded dining room with ironstone plates, coveted slipcovered chairs, and wonderful light fixture:

Design Thoughts at Maison Maison


Online shopping at a lovely French antique store in Houston, Maison Maison, I thought these items could be the start of a beautiful bedroom. I adore all the pale blues together with beautiful white linens trimmed in a pale blue scallop. The screen could be a headboard, but it's probably too delicate, so put it a corner with the chair in front of it. Gorgeous taffeta silk drapes, seagrass rug, flatscreen in the cabinet - I just need the client!

Design Books Library


My design book library is exploding along with the trend. For years, I had a few books on interior design: ones I had from college, some early youth book-of-the-month club books, a few others collected here and there. But for the past five years it seems, new, glorious and hard-to-resist design books come out every week. The months leading up to Christmas are particularly hard on the pocketbook. My favorite books seem to be those about one house: Bunny Williams' An Affair with a House, Rose Tarlow's, The Private House, and Charlotte Moss' Winter House immediately come to mind. I also love the series on French Design by Betty Lou Phillips and Charles Faudree. I'm trying to collect all of Beta-Plus' gorgeous catalogue and am almost there. Then there are the series from the magazines owned by Better Home and Gardens - they seem to put out new books daily! Even Pottery Barn has a nice series, believe it or not.

John Saladino's only design book is a bible to me. When will Dan Carither's write one? I want that book! Henrietta Churchill has a great series of English design. Anything put out by Rizzoli House is worth reading. The same goes for British House and Garden. I'll buy any book that has the word Provence or French or Antique in the title.

Why all the books? Interior design seems to be the rage. Witness all the national chain home stores in business today: Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Ikea, and Z Gallerie. The furniture business used to be only local with maybe a Pier I thrown in the mix. HGTV helps the trend, but it's bad for designers - we can't all redo a home, or a room for the matter, in 24 hours. Here are a few pictures of my design books and where I'm stashing them. My French home (hopefully!) is beginning to take on the look of an English country home (I wish) where books lay around for generations. Où devrait je mettre mes livres?

Another New Orleans Stop: Ann Koerner Antiques

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Magazine Street was blessedly spared Katrina's wrath and the antique stores there are open for business, many never having closed for very long at all. Ann Koerner features beautiful Swedish and French designs, all displayed in a quiet and elegant manner as these pictures reveal. When I go to New Orleans, I skip shopping for antiques in the French Quarter and head straight for Magazine Street. If you've never been and you love French antiques, book a flight as soon as you can. But don't forget your wallet, things are pricey on Magazine Street.

Lucullus Antiques: New Orleans and Breaux Bridge


Beautiful images from Lucullus, epicurean antique stores in New Orleans and Breaux Bridge Louisiana (second store opened when New Orleans was clinging for dear life after Katrina.) Lucullus has everything French for the stomach = furniture on which to sit while you eat, plates for your food, glasses for your wine, pots to cook in and much more. Heure pour le dîner!

Suzanne Rheinstein


Today, the fabulous blogger Style Court wrote about Virginian houses highlighting the Californian interior designer and owner of Hollyhock, Suzanne Rheinstein. The owners of this house again collaborated with Rheinstein on a Florida home several years ago. Take note of her use of painted wooden floors, beautiful French antiques, sconces, and her famous "racetrack" ottoman. These photos come from the Southern Accents article about that collaboration. Appréciez