A House for Sale in Illinois

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Angela, a reader from Houston, who is also now a client, emailed me the link to this house for sale in Illinois.  Listed for a cool $9.5 million – the house is 11,000 sq. ft of French styling.  While most Mac Mansions of this size are usually decorated with store bought furniture inspired by Tuscany – this decor is actually more Shabby Chic meets Sweden, an unusual combination for a house with this square footage.  Though the interiors are rather austere, it does have a certain “look” that Cote de Texas readers might enjoy……so, enjoy!

 

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The charming facade boasts French blue shutters – a hint of things to come.  The exterior is stone, with antique wrought iron accents, copper gutters, and a crowning cupola.    The attached garage has vintage styled carriage doors.  The driveway and paths are crushed gravel – an authentic French detail.   The house is U-shaped and the front area is enclosed behind short stone walls thus creating a courtyard effect. 

 

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At the front of the property, hidden behind a hedge of evergreen, is the obligatory tennis courts. 

 

 

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The entry hall:  a large lantern, an oversized antique mirror,  and a French baker’s table greet visitors.  The walls throughout are stark white,    the trim is painted a light French gray and the floors are radiant heated limestone.    Straight ahead is the dining room with views towards the large backyard.   To the left is the powder room, which has a lounge area for guests.

 

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The  stair hall is to the immediate right of the entry hall – lanterns and iron railings make this authentically French looking.   The sunroom shown here, with its black and white flooring, is next to the dining room and leads straight off the front hall.   The furnishings in this vast house are rather sparse.   But, realize, the house is only three years old –  I’m sure it is nearly impossible to furnish a house this size in such a short amount of time.  It’s a shame the owners are selling  – I would love to see the house after the family has lived here for a decade – imagine how lovely it would be, filled with the collections of a lifetime - all the art,  accessories and furnishings that are added to a home over the years!!

 

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The main living room with its coffered ceiling.  This room leads off to the right of the entry and stair hall and overlooks both the front courtyard and the backyard.   A skirted table placed under a large crystal chandelier divides the space into two areas.       A Gustavian sofa sits next to the fireplace.   Beyond the back arches is the two story library.  If this was my house – I would add area rugs to help warm up the interiors.  Also, I would paint the trim much lighter and I would tone down the wall color a bit to a less bright white.  Additionally – the blue upholstery would go bye-bye.   It’s a little too sweet for my taste.  I adore all the antique, wood chairs and all the lighting fixtures.  Certainly– this decor is a refreshing change from what one usually sees in homes of this size.

 

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The two story library on the other side of the living area.  This room over looks the front courtyard and is striking with its zebra skin, French desk, sconces, mirror, and lantern.  Elements in the house were collected all over America – from other estates and antiques stores.

 

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The dining area – a large wood table sits underneath a crystal chandelier.  An antique settee takes the place of chairs.  Both this room and the adjoining sun room overlook the backyard and swimming pool

 

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Adjoining the dining room is the step-down sunroom with its distinctive black and white stone floor.  The architecture of the house is gorgeous, with its beamed ceilings and tall French doors.  I like the arches that separate the rooms.  Again, these rooms are lacking rugs and curtains, and all the rooms seem to need just a bit more furniture to fill up the space and create a more homey atmosphere.   I do, though,  like the furniture style that has been chosen – it fits in perfectly with the architectural style.

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The sunroom – with its gorgeous limestone, 12 ft. tall fireplace.   This photograph really highlights how bare some rooms are.  I would love to see this room fully designed – this is such a beautiful space!

 

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Right off the sunroom, overlooking the backyard, is this covered porch with its stone arches.  The blue theme from inside is carried out here.

 

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Past the arches in the dining room, is the butlers pantry which leads to the kitchen and it’s keeping room.  The kitchen is a masterpiece of white, heavily-veined, Carrara marble.  Carrara marble like this is no longer available from the quarries.  Instead, the Carrara marble that is now available is gray, with indistinct veining.   Calcutta marble is a good substitute for Carrara in order to get the distinctive veining, but beware, Calcutta is almost three times the cost of Carrara!!!!    

 

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The stove – seen here – is a classic French LaCornue unit, with a 60 inch hood.   Is there a more beautiful cooking range?    The wall behind the range is lined with subway tile and the counters are stainless steel.  A professional rotisserie is seen just to the left.  In the butler’s pantry there is a professional coffee bar.  I wish all the pictures were this large and clear – half were, and half weren’t!

 

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The adjacent breakfast room boasts a table with another Carrara marble top and white slipcovered chairs.  Notice the wonderful storage under the island.  On the right – just barely visible are the built-in “armoires” which house the refrigerator and freezer.  I think this kitchen is beautiful!!

 

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The keeping room has a large limestone fireplace topped by a mirror, and open shelves, backed by bead board, which showcase an extensive collection of ironstone.  A trendy lantern lights this area that is filled with white slipcovered furniture.  The ottoman is from Shabby Chic – the “Ella Bench” and the sofa is their “Elegant Sofa.”   Again – an area rug is needed here – I would use large seagrass matting, or perhaps the thicker apple matting to provide much needed texture.  I would put in curtains to further warm up the room – and books need to be placed in the shelves.   All this would add much needed texture and warmth.  While this room is somewhat more cozy than the rest of the house, the large scale of this room and, truly, all the other rooms, prohibit any real sort of warmness, which is a hazard inherent with such sized room.  This is especially true when light stone floors  and white walls are used.    Also – I do think with rooms this big – there is a need for more furniture just to fill up the empty spaces.    This room could handle two large sofas and two oversized armchairs and ottomans, a game table, side tables, sofa tables, lamps, a screen – the list is endless!   But then again – I’m not a minimalist – and this might be clouding my judgment.

 

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Outside the kitchen and keeping room is an outdoor kitchen and eating area shaded by a pergola.  The large  limestone table is surrounded by the types of chairs found in French parks. 

 

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Upstairs, the master bedroom is quite lovely with its needlepoint rug and downy linens and slipcovers.  The caned bed appears to come from Shabby Chic.   There are even curtains here!   The carved fireplace mantel adds to the warm atmosphere found in this bedroom.  The softly curved ceiling is very soothing.    The upstairs interiors  are a departure in feel from the downstairs – the dark wood floors are the primary reason, along with the rugs and curtains used throughout the upper floor.  This bedroom is very, very nice!

 

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The dressing area – the vanity/closet holds the purses for the lady of the house.  I would love to have a dressing room like this!!!  Apparently, there is also a breakfast bar, refrigerator and dishwasher in this room.  The pink rug is the perfect touch in such a feminine space.

 

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That was the dressing room – this is the closet!!!!!  OK – I really could use this closet!  This I love!!!!!  What space  - - super dreamy!!!!  The windows are on both sides of the closet, bathing it in natural light.    The French door at the back of the room overlooks the front yard and the tennis courts.  The side windows overlooks the front courtyard. 

 

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The front facade:   the master closet is above the garage – the room on the left with the dormer windows.  The French door at the end of the closet is seen here with its balcony which overlooks the tennis courts.

 

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The master bathroom:  again – a needlepoint, Aubusson-styled rug is used here.  The bath tub is placed in a tiled alcove.  Notice the marble treatments on the vanities – this is a favorite of mine - where the fabricator cuts the stone is a softly, arching shape – simply beautiful.  The faucets are Perrin and Rowe, polished nickel.  Notice too the arched niches above the sink, with their ledges made of the Carrara marble and the small circular window above.  An armoire holds all the towels and a center table holds the soaps.     The floor is wood – which is unusual for a bath - but so beautiful, it really warms up the room!   This bathroom is perfect, to my eye!

 

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The upstairs hallway continues the white walls with French gray trim seen downstairs.  Rows of lanterns and arches break up the large expanse of ceiling.

 

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The back facade and pool area.  The dining room is right in the middle where the raised, stone terrace is.  To the left is the black and white floored sunroom, while the kitchen and keeping room is at the far right.  The master bedroom with its iron balcony is upstairs on the right, above the kitchen area.   Matching, symmetrical wood pergolas are placed on the very left and very right of the house.

 

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Wisteria climbs up the pergola.  And notice that charming pool room – it looks like a doll’s house.

 

This house is located on three acres in the heart of Lake Forest, Illinois.  What isn’t shown here sounds just as impressive:  the basement contains a bar, a wine cellar, a wine tasting room, a movie theatre, a gym with pilates equipment, a spa with sauna, stream and massage equipment, a laundry room, and more.  There are a total of six fireplaces, 14 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and 3 half baths.   I wish there were pictures of the basement and all those wonderful spaces.  

Must be nice!!!   In fact, it must be very, very nice.

If you are interested in purchasing this house (!) see the realtor’s web site here.   And thanks Angela for the heads-up!!

Katie did – She Really Did

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Most design blogs are written by people who love interior design.  Few, though, are written by actual interior designers themselves – true designers who make a living from the profession.  Those few standout designers who do write blogs bring a unique quality to the world of the design blogosphere.  Instead of posting endless pictures of other people’s work – they are able to show images of their own design, and thus, explain the process to us – help us understand how they came up with the design, what was their inspiration, what were their sources, and how we can emulate their design in our own homes.  

 

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 Katiedid is one such interior designer blogger.  We both started out about the same time and became email buds along the way.   Katie Denham, aka Katiedid, is endlessly talented – a fact her readers have gleaned from the occasional pictures she has shown of her own home’s remodeling.  A few months ago, she took her readers through the process of her c0mplete kitchen make-over and the results were stunning.  The final reveal pictures of  her kitchen and butler’s pantry belong in the best design magazine out there.   There have been other snapshots of  her wonderful turn-of-the-century house in Sacramento that she shares with her husband and two daughters:   pictures of vignettes in her entry way,  her living room, her daughters’ rooms, the landscaping.  All have provoked a feeling of longing to see more of her work.  Up until now though, Katie has been reluctant to let her readers view her professional work – you see, she works for a large interior design firm and there are bosses and privacy issues, etc.  Until now, that is.   Until the  Cosmo Cafe.

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Recently, Katie casually revealed a party she attended of a newly opened restaurant in her home town - the  Cosmo Cafe.  She quietly mentioned that she actually was a senior designer on the project.    I was floored.   This project was huge – it was very impressive.   Very.  Katie has been keeping quite a secret from her readers – the secret of her talent.   Katie is too humble to brag about her talent, so I’m going to do it for her.   Let me tell you - if I had designed this restaurant, I’d be bragging about it for months!!!!!    As an interior designer myself, I look at the pictures of the Cosmo Cafe in total awe and admiration.  Interior Design like this is not easy to do, people, trust me!   I am so happy for Katie – I could burst!   So, enjoy these pictures of the Cosmo Cafe, and be sure to check out her blog where she talks about the project in more depth, here and here.

Congratulations Katie!   You deserve it!!!

 

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The Cosmo Cafe – with its distinctive black and white mosaic tiled floor and chartreuse upholstery.

 

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The front waiting area  - pedigreed contemporary furniture.   I love that banquette!

 

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Another shot of the dining room, with its classic white table cloths.

 

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The Cosmo Cafe is located in d0wntown Sacramento in a restored building.  The blown up historical pictures in the booths’ niches reflect it’s storied past.

 

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A wide shot of the restaurant with its distinctive lighting and floor.  Notice the large C in the entry way’s floor.  Also notice the beautiful wood walls that play against the contemporary feel of the restaurant.   Ying and Yang.  Just beautiful!

 

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At the opening night party at the Cosmo Cafe, Katie posed with Kevin Johnson, the former NBA player who was just elected Mayor of Sacramento!

 

Another picture from the opening night party – check out the red-soled Louboutin shoes!   Too funny!

 

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Katie’s house:  Katie changes the decor of this console with the season.  Here, she styled it for Christmas with a unique, lighted Empire State Building, candles and antique books.

 

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 Here, Katie styled the console with branches and shells.

 

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And here – for fall, grasses and pumpkins!

 

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Katie lives in a beautiful turn-of-the-century home that she has been remodeling.  Here is picture of her living room.  I love her styling skills – notice the coffee table – how perfectly it is arranged.  Underneath, a cowhide rug accents the area.

 

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And, again, a perfect vignette, styled for summer with cool colors.

 

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Katie’s recently finished kitchen.  Isn’t this stunning?  I love the contemporary chairs juxtaposed against the traditional design of the kitchen.   Notice, too, that the island is stained wood which creates further interest and brings warmth to the design.  The Carrara marble countertops and backsplash is so gorgeous.  Love Conner the dog, too!

 

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The Butler’s Pantry is off the kitchen.  Again, the style of it matches the era of the house, yet the contemporary lighting fixtures and mirrors bring it up to today.

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Lest you question exactly how extensive Katie’s kitchen transformation was – here is how it all started – gutted to the studs, as they say!

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And just to show Katie’s not a one kitchen wonder, years and years ago, in her first house, she installed another “new” kitchen, again keeping it original in feel to the age of the house.  Notice how she updated her vintage range with a custom hood – at great expense, no doubt.  The hood is stunning.

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And another shot of her earlier kitchen from years ago.  Actually, this looks quite current to me.  I love the black and white color scheme with yellow accents.  Katie was ahead of her time – notice she used subway tile way back then – probably just as it was starting to gain popularity.  Great job Katie, as usual!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed pictures of Katie’s restaurant design and her house remodel.  Be sure to check out her blog, Katiedid here.  And, Katie was recently honored with a profile on 1st Dibs’ Blogosphere Series.  Read it:  here.

Truce: When Flowers Say it All

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It is no secret to faithful readers that this election season has been an exciting one in my household -  Fox News could have filmed one of Ben’s and my debates and aired it purely for comical enjoyment.   We were on opposite sides of the presidential election and most nights leading up to voting day were spent emotionally discussing the issues:  Obama’s tax plan, McCain’s choice of Palin, Obama’s inability to truly understand the Oil & Gas business, and McCain’s side on the “social issues” to name just a few juicy topics.   Some nights the noise level in my family room got quite loud.  Our debates became very personal to both of us, so I was truly ready for it all to be over so that my house could go back to its usual quietness.  Truthfully, I knew that the United States was going to be fine – no matter which candidate won.  To me, they were both honest, good and competent men.    But in my heart – I felt it was time - time for us to elect an Afro-American as President.    It just seemed to me that Obama was the “right” choice. 

The night America decided to agree with me, Ben went to bed early and didn’t watch the live television coverage from Chicago, which really disappointed me.  I believed that no matter how one felt about taxes, or abortion, or William Ayers – watching Obama give his victory speech was something that should have been mandatory in every home – it was history that we Americans made that night.   Instead, I watched it alone.

And so, even as I said I couldn’t wait for Tuesday to be over so that things could get back to normal in my house, nothing really changed.  Until, that is, when a few days later the doorbell rang and a huge arrangement of flowers was delivered.  The card read:  “Congratulations on the Election.  I love you, Ben.”

Aw, is he not the sweetest man in the world?  Nothing like a bouquet of flowers to wipe away a few months of “discussions.”  And wipe them away, the flowers surely did.  That night Ben came home all smiles, and I was all smiles and we both declared Truce - for the next four years.

 

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The arrangement of flowers Ben sent me congratulating me on the election.  Actually, they were the equivalent of a peace pipe, a true symbol of a truce.

 

After the excitement of the flower delivery wore down, I kept circling around and looking at them.   Years and years ago, 20 to be exact, in the first apartment we lived together as newlyweds, our downstairs neighbors owned a popular and very chi-chi florist company.  Though we only lived there for a year, it was a very floral year.  One of the owners really took a liking to Ben (like everyone does) and used to bring him flowers almost weekly.  It was wonderful.  For twenty years, they have been our go-to florist whenever we’ve needed to send something special for a birthday or some other occasion.   For all those years, we’ve always been pleased with their work.  But last Friday, I kept thinking, gee – this arrangement is really not up to par.  It was just a mishmash of pink, purple, lavender and white flowers  thrown together – without any of the florists’ usual uniqueness.   I wondered what Ben had actually ordered over the phone.  Ben is a very humble man, not flashy by any stretch of the imagination.  He also is not a complainer - he’s not one to send his meal back to the kitchen for any reason, nor would he ever question a floral arrangement.   And, of course, neither would I ever complain to Ben about such a thoughtful gesture.   He’s sensitive about those things and thinks I am judgmental enough.   I knew to keep my mouth shut.   

 

So, imagine my surprise when later the evening I heard Ben say, “these flowers really aren’t that pretty.  They look like something you would get in the hospital.”  Exactly, my dear!    The floral varieties by themselves were pretty enough, but together, they were just a mess, certainly not something that Eddie Ross would ever create.  After some discussion, Ben admitted he never really knows what to order when the florist asks him what he wants to send out.   So, after 20 years, he got a lesson in flower ordering.   In all honesty, I had never really thought about it much either.  But, given the opportunity to really be honest with my husband, I told him  – it’s always better to just order one type of flower – a dozen or two roses is always great.  Especially nice is to order the roses without a vase.  Who needs another cheap florist vase any way?   Or instead of roses, order a dozen tulips.   Or instead of fresh flowers – order a potted orchid, or a hydrangea plant.  For something I hadn’t really thought about before – I certainly had a lot of ideas!   But really – what is best to order from a florist, or to pick out at the corner flower stand?  What makes up a fool-proof delivery of flowers?

 

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A dozen peach roses is always welcome in my house – especially when they are wrapped in paper and tied with raffia.   Enough of cheap floral vases!   Isn’t this a much prettier presentation?

 

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There is nothing more romantic than roses arriving in a beautiful long, white box, tied with a ribbon.

 

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Imagine opening the door to a few dozen of these old garden roses in varying shades of pink?   Many florists in California sells these varieties over the internet.  Rose Story Farm is one such company that sells fabulous, old fashioned roses like these.

 

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– better yet, plan a trip Carpinteria to tour Rose Story Farm’s acres of blooms!

 

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Or, you can always bribe a friend with rose bushes to let you cut a few of the blooms to surprise a spouse. 

 

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Simple and elegant:   one color, one dozen roses:  order orange colored ones for fall. 

 

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Another good color for fall is a mixture of orange and yellow roses. 

 

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Pale lavender roses are gorgeous no matter what season – and a personal favorite of mine.

 

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Or try a mixture of light and dark pinks and lilacs with white roses.  So beautiful!

 

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A sure bet to order from is Martha Stewart.  There are a plethora of choices on her web site – some come in wonderful vases like this one made of mercury glass.   Stewart  has a “one arrangement a month” program – a gift that lasts for  year.  I’ve always wanted to give that to someone.  Maybe this Christmas………?!!

 

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Instead of fresh flowers that will die within a week, order a rose plant – these are from Martha Stewart. 

 

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Lately one of my favorite bouquets of roses is one of each color – something my best friend Lisa has given me on my birthday.

 

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Californian designer Lynn Von Kersting puts arrangements of old garden variety roses throughout her house.  These romantic blooms match the feel of her decor. 

 

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Roses are a staging staple for design magazines.  Here in a Gerrie Bremermann room, dozens of white roses fill a baptism font.

 

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Again, Gerrie Bremermann uses yellow roses to blend with the colors in this room.

 

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Veranda used light pink roses in Pam Pierce’s all white living room. 

 

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Suzanne Kasler uses a small arrangement of pink roses in her pink and khaki dining room.

 

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Besides roses – a great flower to send is tulips.  Either French or Parrot tulips – both are beautiful.

 

 

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Parrot tulips are ruffled like these.   Tulips are a great choice – a few or many.  This is a large bouquet – a smaller number of tulips can be just a pretty.

 

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But then again, a large box of mixed French tulips would be most welcome!!!  If you are having a party, consider ordering a large box of flowers online such as this.    It’s a great savings. 

 

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A dozen parrot tulips- tulips are most beautiful when they start to fall over like this.

 

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Many interior designers use tulips in their presentation.  Here Dan Carithers, an interior designer from Atlanta uses peach tulips in a yellow and blue room.  I love this shade – it almost is the color of skin.

 

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Interior Designer Diane Burn uses an antique tuliper to hold her dozen tulips which are perfectly bent over.

 

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Jeffrey Bilhuber’s French tulips match the decor exactly.    This room without the bouquet of tulips would not seem quite as finished.

 

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Gerrie Bremermann used peach colored tulips in this antique silver bowl.

 

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Babs Watkins, from Houston, mixed white parrots with hydrangeas in this dining room in River Oaks.

 

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As always, when sending out flowers, order them wrapped in paper – this is beautiful enough.

 

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Sometimes, instead of sending fresh flowers, I like to order potted orchids.  They last up to two or three months and look wonderful in any decor – traditional or contemporary.  Here a white phalaenopsis orchid is potted in a red oriental wood bucket.

 

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An orange cymbidium orchid is perfect for the fall season and is available in stores now.

 

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White orchids look particularly pretty in a blue and white pot.

 

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A great gift is fresh orchid stems – though they don’t last as long as the plant, they do last much longer than fresh cut flowers.

 

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Californian designer Michael S. Smith used yellow orchids in his famous Portuguese styled home.  The  yellow plays perfectly off the blue and white tiles.

 

 

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In the spring, the prettiest flower you can order is the peony.   Here is a bouquet in a vase that is decorated with peonies.  Is there anything more beautiful than this?

          

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A smaller bouquet is every bit as pretty.

 

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Or, bring home one stem on a special occasion  – beautiful!

 

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A bouquet with deep pink peonies pops in a monochromatic room.  Notice how the stylist added the hot pink throw in the atrium.

 

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In a California guest cottage, Michael Smith used a pale pink peony bouquet that blends with the decor.  Another bouquet of roses sits on the side table.  This room gets better with each viewing.  The lighting choices are impeccable – the oversized lantern, the black reading  fixture and the creamy porcelain table lamp.    Most amazingly, the fabric is actually bedspreads purchased from Urban Outfitters and upholstered to the walls and used for the curtains and upholstery.

 

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Suzanne Kasler’s famous pink dining room features a deep pink peony bouquet that picks up the colors in the painting.

 

 

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The hydrangea plant is a favorite with just about everyone.  Ordering a single plant in a pretty clay pot is a gift that keeps on giving.  The plant can be transplanted outdoors after the blooms are finished – thus this one flower delivery can actually last a lifetime.  My favorite colors are the blues and purples first – but I also love the “antique” hydrangea colors.

 

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  An inexpensive straw basket is a great thing to include with an hydrangea order.

 

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Make a grand statement with mass of plants in large, matching pot.

 

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Once the blooms have faded, plant the hydrangeas outside to enjoy for years to come.   Luscious!

 

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White hydrangeas in  gorgeous patinaed urn.

 

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  Veranda magazine likes to feature hydrangeas on it’s covers.  Here – a home in California designed by Houstonian Renea Abbott.  A cover like this makes it hard to resist buying the magazine.

 

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  And again, in a home in Galveston designed by Babs Watkins.

 

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And, here mixed with snaps, in a Dallas home designed by Houstonian Jane Moore for her daughter and son in law.

 

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In the same living room as the above Veranda cover, Jane Moore used hydrangeas as the only color in the room beside seafoam green.

 

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I love to dry the antique hued hydrangeas – here in a home designed by Shannon Bowers in Dallas – a large metal bucket holds a mass of dried hydrangeas.

 

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In my own home, when in season, I try to keep blue hydrangeas in two different places – first, on my wine tasting table in the entry area.

 

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And second, another plant in my breakfast room inside a white ironstone vase.  I love the blues against all the white. 

 

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In fact, I love hydrangeas so much that for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah invitation, I decided to go against the glitzy trend and instead chose an invitation which featured hydrangea blooms with a ribbon in antique hydrangea colors.

 

 

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OK – so I’ll really play the proud parent now!  At Elisabeth’s Bat Mitzvah luncheon, my mom Betty Rae and I ordered this huge arrangement for the center table.  It was all pink (the colors are really off in this picture) – roses, peonies, stocks, and who knows what else.  That’s my large iron urn that we used for the vase.  Actually Lizzy is standing on a chair here – the flowers towered over her!  And of course as soon as Betty Rae arrived, she removed those pink bows the florist had used for decoration.   I’ve always wondered what the photographer said to Lizzy to make her pose like this – she looks like one of the girls on The Price is Right showcasing the grand prize!

 

 

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My daughter was born in spring, in late March, and for her birth I received two beautiful flower arrangements that remain my all time favorites.  The first is what my parents sent me in the hospital -  an large arrangement of French tulips – that perfect peach hue which is almost flesh colored.  At my wedding reception the flowers were roses and tulips – so ever since then, those two flowers have had a special meaning for us!   

The other arrangement I received in the hospital was from Ben, the proud but exhausted new father (yes!  HE was exhausted!)  Ben, of course,  ordered the flowers from the same florists that botched his Election Day Truce bouquet.  For Elisabeth’s birth – his florist friend informed him that they had flowering branches of dogwood.  Now, being from Texas, we don’t have dogwood here.  In fact, before that day, I had never seen it before.   The dogwood branches that were delivered to the hospital were the most gorgeous flowers I have ever received before or since.  The pale pink flowering branches were huge and took up so much space in the small room  – everything else was dwarfed by their size, including my tiny 5 lb baby girl.   I was amazed and overwhelmed by their beauty and by the fact that Ben had sent something so extravagant – not in cost, but in sheer lavishness.  Generally, Ben is a very understated person, but I suppose the grandness of his gesture matched his emotions.    Being as Elisabeth is an only child, it seems fitting that the dogwoods were a one-time occurrence, never matched again.  If he ever did send me dogwoods again, it would somehow take away from the specialness of that occasion.

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Suzanne Rheinstein used a small, flowering potted dogwood in this Virginian house.   I wonder if the owners later planted it on their property?

 

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A southern bedroom with an arrangement of dogwood branches.

 

 

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And finally – sometimes flowers aren’t the only way to say what you want to.  I wasn’t the only one who received a surprise last week.  Lizzy’s boyfriend sent her a balloon bouquet!   What a festive way to say – I’m sorry, I love you, Happy Birthday, or Congratulations on the Election – whichever applies.

 

What’s you favorite flower or arrangement to get from your significant other?  Did I list it here?  Do you have one memorable arrangement that you will never forget – like my dogwood branches?