Bloggers Make the Best Friends

In case you didn't know, or have been hiding under a rock, I've been on vacation for the past few weeks in South Padre Island, a little bitty island at the tip of Texas right across from the border of Mexico. You can't get any further south and still be in America than here. Being the dutiful blogger, I wrote a few posts about the island and showed off the beach here on Blogger. Imagine my delight (and surprise) when I received an email from a stranger who reads my blog, Cote de Texas, but has never left a comment. Her name is Teri and she told me that she lives in Harlingen, a small city 30 minutes away from South Padre Island, and she, also, has a family bay home on the island. She was flabbergasted to read that I was here visiting. Would we want to meet for a drink or dinner? Now, I don't know about you, but meeting a stranger over the internet is not my idea of a good time, but somehow, knowing that Teri was reading my blog seemed to make it all ok. Well, almost ok. I still hesitated to say "yes."

It's a small world out there people, beware!

I have good friends from Harlingen and, in fact, one of those friends is down here with me now. Her name is Julie and we vacation together every summer in South Padre Island. Julie was born in Harlingen but moved to Dallas when she married. Is it possible, I ask my new blogger friend, does she know Julie? Well...she not only knows Julie, but grew up right next door to her, AND had just been with her at a party on the island last Saturday night (while I spent that night alone!) There were many twists and turns and coincidences to this story, too many to get into here, but suddenly drinks and dinner with a perfect stranger didn't seem dangerous at all, in fact, it sounded fun.

The three new friends at dinner: Julie, MOI, and Teri

So tonight, Julie, my new blogger friend Teri, and I had dinner together and talked about blogging, and decorating, and French design, and furniture, and interior decorating and all those good things that decorating bloggers like to talk about. Julie was a little bored with all the design talk, but she was a trooper! Thanks, Jules! Tonight Teri explained to me how she discovered my blog to begin with. She was reading Absolutely Beautiful Things, a delicious blog from Australia and ABT had my blog, Cote de Texas, listed under favorite reads. Of course the word Texas attracted Teri, being from Texas and all, so she clicked right over to my blog. Little did she know that when she first clicked onto my blog, she would be making a new friend. And so, what is the best part about meeting a new blogger friend, besides promising to get together every summer for dinner down at South Padre Island???? Teri brought me the new Elle Decor AND Veranda magazines !!!!! Yes!!!! You can't get those magazines on the island and I've been DYING to read them. Thank you Teri!!!

S0 Bloggers, have YOU ever met someone in real life who reads your blog? Or have you been too afraid to do so? Tell us YOUR story!

The two new blogger buddies: Moi and Teri

The two old Harlingen buddies: Julie and Teri

Having a great time at dinner ON THE BEACH: Julie, Moi, and Teri

Besides being interesting and adorable and having great taste in magazines, Teri is also very chic. She drove up in her new car, a Mini Cooper. To die for! This has to be the cutest car in all the world:

Even cuter is the dashboard. Check out the speedometer, it's the size of a basketball! Too cute:

Reclaimed Building Materials


I'm currently reading, well, really looking at the pictures in, Building with Reclaimed Materials, published by Beta-Plus, 2007. If you are interested in how you could build a new house and have it look like it is 200 years old, this book is for you. I'm fascinated with that concept because my husband only likes new construction and I prefer old homes. So, using reclaimed materials such as old roof tiles, antique tiles for backsplashes, used flagstones for the floor, to make a new construction house look old is very intriguing.

Ruth Gay thinks the same way. Several years ago she opened a shop in Houston called Chateau Domingue which sells reclaimed building materials from France and Europe. Walk into her cavernous warehouse and you will certainly forget you're in Houston. Ruth herself is a pretty, diminutive mother of three, who is tres chic, of course. Her web site is gorgeous, as is her warehouse, which is filled with all kinds of building materials and antiques. Here are a few images from the web site. Amusez-vous en regardant ces peintures!

Gay sells antique window surrounds and door surrounds. A pair of these on the exterior of your house will age it by 200 years.

Gay also sells an assortment of concrete garden elements, to be used inside or outside as you desire.

Imagine your roof made from reclaimed tiles from France. It sure would stand out on the block.

Here's an antique fountain or animal trough, you decide.

A pair of these on opposite sides of your front door would be wonderful.

An antique shop fixture would make a perfect kitchen cabinet.

Hanging antique lanterns would distinguish any exterior.

How would you like a painted buffet deux corps for a kitchen pantry?

Iron railings would look great on a second story landing.

Original French shutters - leave them this color or paint them khaki.

These sconces are a personal favorite of mine. I'd love them in my dining room.

I wonder how much Gay charges for the blue hydrangeas?

Cote Sud: A House on the French Coast


This charming country French home was purchased by an American man from Colorado. He spent a few years completely renovating it to his specifications. Pictures are courtesy of Cote Sud Magazine. Enjoy!

Covered porch seen at the very left of top picture. The kitchen lies through the French doors.

Typical French "in ground" swimming pool.

Rustic wood table set for lunch under a covered porch. Notice how the napkins are placed under each plate and how each setting has it's own lantern.

Beautiful wood front door. The chandelier in the foyer can just barely be seen.

Antique French chair and ottoman. Notice the beautiful French windows.

Antique desk and chair in front of iron framed French windows.

Large limestone fireplace in living room. Large limestone column holds up the second floor.

Cosy dining room with painted table and chairs. Wood chandelier has matching sconces next to the wood door.

Cavernous kitchen with eat-in breakfast area.

Another view of the large kitchen and breakfast area. The covered porch from the second picture is just outside the draped door.

Charming kitchen foot stool.

Antique black and white marble tiles in front of traditional french oven.

Private porch outside of bedroom suite.

Bedroom with silk curtain canopy.

Close up of upholstered headboard with carved gilt wood frame and tassel.

Large, down pillow waiting for bed.

Bathroom with back to back sink vanities.

Dining Rooms Serve up Eye Candy


This dining room by John Saladino is located in a New York highrise. It's a personal favorite of mine and has been for years. There's not one special piece of furniture in it, in fact, there isn't even a dining table, just a couple of linen tablecloths thrown over a nondescript piece of plywood. The chairs, though, are beautiful - but there are only four. The other four are probably scattered around the apartment, awaiting a dinner party. What sets this dining room above other more furnished ones, is the gorgeous mural painted on the back wall. It's a garden scene and a trellis can just be seen arching in the middle and along the bottom. The sparse display of flowering branches on the table sets off the mural perfectly. In his book, Style by Saladino, this entire apartment is featured and Saladino goes into great detail of how the mural came to be. The artist did further work for Saladino, but never, in my opinion, did he achieve the perfection he did in this dining room.

This dining room, by Cathy Kincaid, is another favorite of mine. It's a complete opposite of Saladino's in that the room is loaded with antiques, furniture, chairs, and accessories. Yet, somehow, the room remains light and airy looking, almost like icing on a white cake. The room just sparkles, helped along by the crystal lamps and Vaughan chandelier. The open back Patina chairs with short slip cover skirts exposing delicate thin chair legs add to the overall lightness of the room. Though the table is a dark stained over-sized antique, it is barely noticeable in the room. The french doors leading to the next room have mirrors instead of glass in the panes, further adding to the ambiance. Notably, the room's only color comes from the blue and white porcelain and the hydrangeas.

Wow, I love this dining room. Fiona Newell Weeks designed it for her own home and it's stunning. The walls are covered in a blue and white Farrow and Ball damask and the wallpaper is the focal point of the room. Without it, the room would not be half as striking. It takes guts to use a paper like this in a dining room, but Fiona is known for her bold strokes. The whimsical boat chandelier plays up the room's youthful feeling. Is there any doubt that the owners are fun loving people? I love how the khaki color plays against the blue and white and how skillfully Weeks repeats the color - in the chair's wood stain, the leather upholstery, the frames' mats. The unusual oval shape of the mirror further sets off the young, adventurous feel of the room.

This dining room features Swedish antique furniture and elegant Niermann Weeks chairs. Simple seagrass keeps the quiet, simple tone going. That is, until you look up at the lighting fixture. An absolute stunner, it was commissioned by the designer, Jacqueline Segura, especially for this family's beachside home. The artist who makes the fixture was challenged to expand on the size of the glass blown ball. Little bits of round crystal attached to the iron, gives it subtle sparkle. Again, the chandelier gives off hints that this family is young and full of life.

This dining room's draperies become it's focal point. The designer, in dealing with tricky arched windows, uses square top valances to solve that problem. The quiet two toned stripe is matched by the softness of the linen material. Large blue and white porcelain vases on the mantel play up the room's height. The chandelier all curvy, matches the round table.

Fabulous French detail makes this room a stunner. The gorgeous antique gilt and wood chandelier matches the rustic feel of the table and the buffet. Simple, oversized white plates rest on the wood shelves. Dreamy blue and white toile slipcovers - what could be more French?

Young, hot designer Windsor Smith showcases her own dining room. I love the wallpaper, an aqua handpainted design. Gorgeous. Simple sisal matting on the floor and mismatched chairs and benches lend more informality to the room. Silver pitchers filled with leaves are an unusual centerpiece. Domino's current issue showcases this room if you want to see more of it.

Ah, I know this room well. The house was on the cover of House Beautiful this year and it belongs to a good friend of mine! Houston designer Carol Glasser and the famous English designer and author Katrin Cargill turned a traditional English house into an authentic Swedish home. Each piece in this room, and the entire house for that matter, was bought especially for it. The chairs are reproductions, but it's hard to tell that. The chandelier is a Swedish period antique. The walls are soft pink with traditional Swedish handpainted flowers not visible in the picture. There's no rug to cover the difficult to achieve limed floors. Once inside the house, it's hard to believe you are in Houston, not Sweden, so faithful to the design were Glasser and Cargill.

Symmetry and silk drapes become the focal point in this room designed by Birmingham designer Mary McKee. Luscious silk drapes paired with bamboo blinds is a favorite of many designers today. Choosing short skirts instead of upholstered seats brings the formality down a notch. Impossible to overlook, highlighted in the middle of all the symmetry, is the drop dead gorgeous double, crystal chandelier.

I've saved this picture for years and have no idea who the designer was, but I've always loved the romantic French screen on the wall. It's an unusual place for a screen, but somehow it works here.

Pam Pierce, Houston great, uses linen as her focal point. The tailoring of the skirted table is unusual, but so effective! A few bold antiques - a large trumeau with attached sconces, a French chandelier, period arm chairs, oversized bowl - is all that is needed to make a simple dining room special.

Here the shades become the focal point, along with the large, gorgeous French chairs. The only color - a purple hydrangea.

The room is beautiful, the walls are lacquer perfection, but I show it to highlight a design that puzzles me. I absolutely never understand two tables, the same size, in one dining room. Here, the designer, Markham Roberts, tackles the issue by using two different tablecloths. Somehow, he pulls a quirky design off.