APRIL FOOD DAY

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As many of you are probably aware, there is a drive underway this April 1st, for bloggers to unite and donate to the organization Feeding America, formerly known as the Nation’s Food Bank Network.   April Food Day is asking all those who write blogs and those who read them to donate $1.00 on April 1st (or even today!)     One dollar is such a small amount, yet it equates to ten pounds of food, or seven full meals!    If you wish, and are able, you may donate any amount.  

 

I know I don’t have to tell you about the hard economic times some people are living through today.   At Cote de Texas, I write about the fun things in life, the beautiful things, and the superficial, the very things that come from a life full of success.    Unfortunately, I don’t spend much time discussing what is going on out there in America now, where so many people are out of work and suffering.    The very things I write about seem so trivial in the face of the devastation and hunger so many families face each and every day.    It only seems fitting that together, we take one day out of the year to think about something more important than the usual.

 

So, today and tomorrow, please take a minute and go HERE, to donate $1.00 to a great cause.    Be sure and take the time to read the literature on their web site to see all the good work that Feeding America does.   

 

Thank you so much!!!!!  Together, all of us can make a difference.

Pretty in Pinks and Blues

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It’s always fun to find new designers, especially ones that share the same aesthetic that you do.  I never had seen Christopher Maya’s work before, but apparently he’s had a long and very successful career.    I try to keep up with designers, young and more established, and thought I had done a good job at that, but apparently, not good enough!   I’ll have to try harder in the future.   It was this living room below that caught my eye .   I think it’s just beautiful! 

 

 

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I found this apartment in New York Spaces, March issue, and just fell in love with it.  The designer, Christopher Maya, from NYC, used deep pink as an accent color and it really pops what could have been another typical beige space.  Instead, pulling the pink color from the Bennison print on the arm chair, the room looks young and fresh.    Apparently the owners of the space had inherited a house full of antique furniture and accessories, such as the collection of porcelains on the shelves, and they wanted the look to be family friendly instead of stuffy.    Maya certainly obliged.

 

TO LOVE: 

Bennison Fabric (if you can only afford it!  Too expensive, but worth every penny.)

Deep pinks mixed with beige – a youthful alternative to red mixed with beige.

Deep cushions on the sofas and chairs, filled with down, plumped to a high crown (much maintenance, but looks great when no one sits on it!)

Seagrass in a pattern – slightly more dressy than the typical pattern.

Curtains  that hide the wall space between windows.  Instead of just two panels, Maya installed four which adds richness, luxury, and interest.

 

 

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In the dining room, Maya used painted Louis XVI chairs and settee. 

 

TO LOVE: 

Using a check fabric on the back of wood framed chairs – taking a page from history when the French put the more expensive silk or embroidered fabric on the front of the chair and the less expensive, not seen, cotton checked fabric on the back.

 

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In the bedroom, Maya designed an upholstered headboard to mix with a collection of fruitwood French antiques.  The side table is just beautiful.

 

TO LOVE:   An exaggerated headboard design mixed with a luxurious sapphire velvet.

 

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In the bedroom again, more 18th century French antiques – the gallery top table is really special.  I love the collection of period portraits in antique frames. 

 

TO LOVE:    

Beautiful striped silk taffeta curtains. 

 

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Christopher Maya has a large portfolio on his web site, filled with all his other projects, mostly in New York.    In this large house in upstate New York,  Maya mixed blues and greens in the family room.

 

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In another living area in the same house, he mixed the blues with beige.  The patterned rug in this room is wonderful.

 

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Close up of the chinoiserie styled coffee table and Fortuny inspired fabric pillows.

 

 

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In this informal living area of the same house, Maya matches reds with khakis.  I love the checked fabric on the sofa.   The red is picked up again in both the antique chest and in the lamps.  Maya added flat trim to the hems of sofa and chairs for additional interest.   

 

 

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Other rooms I really loved in Maya’s portfolio include this two store living area.  Here Maya used ice blues and creams.  I love how curtains are so important to his design aesthetic.  Just beautiful!

 

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Wonderful view of the same room.  

 

 

 

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In this bedroom, the curtains, again, are the focal point.  In order to hide the AC unit, Maya used textured blinds along with the fabric panels.  The shaped valance is a great way to hide the space between the curtain rod and the window, making the eye see the two small windows as one large unit.

 

 

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A symmetrical dining room – painted Louis XVI chairs paired in dark brown leather, give the room a masculine feeling. 

 

 

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 Maya has done several show houses – here in this Hamptons Showhouse, Maya mixed blues, red, and yellows with black accents.

 

 

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Here in another view of the Showhouse, the striped valance curtains add a summery look to this beach house.

 

 

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Another view of the Hamptons Showcase room – painted French chairs surround a more contemporary styled table.   Notice the detail of the valance treatment.

 

 

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Maya designed this beautiful secretary that EJ Victor sells.  This design shows up in his rooms in different finishes.  Available through  Robert Allen showrooms.

 

 

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Here, the same secretary, painted blue for a summery feel.

 

 

 

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And at Kips Bay Showhouse, handsome Christopher Maya sits in the room he designed.  Here the secretary shows up in red lacquer.  He also designed and sells the bookcase. 

 

To see more of Christopher Maya’s portfolio, be sure to visit his web site here.

Dreaming of My So-Called French Life

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Is spring really here?  Really, is it for sure spring yet?    It has been such a cold winter for Houston and everyone is so tired of it.  I know it can’t compare to what those in the north have to suffer through, (and suffer you must surely do!)  but still, this winter it was actually cold here – and for a long time.   Most winters, we have spells where you can wear T-shirts around during the day, but that didn’t happen this year.    And yes, while  I do consider anything lower than 65 degrees to be freezing – it’s all in what you are used to.     March is usually when we start wearing our summer clothes in Houston, but not this year.   And how about this – every time you think winter is truly over and you pack up all those sweaters and fleece, isn’t it always sure to bring on that one last cold front?  This summer when we will all be miserable and complaining, I know I’ll regret saying this, but – I’m so ready for hot weather!!!  My flowers are freshly planted and we’re holding out hope that our huge oak tree is going to make it, but it looks like we have to wait another year or two to be absolutely certain.   I planted a ton of caladiums last week and I can’t wait for them to peek out of the ground and unfurl their huge elephant-like ears!    Do they have caladiums in France?   I wish I had a French garden, with a row of plane trees growing outside a bastide made of limestone with light blue shutters.  And there would be lots of lavender and tall, cypress trees, and gravel paths lined with box.   One of my favorite blogs to read and dream about is Vicki Archer’s French Essence.  Vicki is from Australia, but she now divides her time between London and her house in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, the poor girl.   In Provence, where she and her family grow olive trees, Vickie wrote the book “My French Life”  all about her experience of falling in love with a French ruin and turning it into this:

 

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Vicki Archer’s house in Provence with its tiled roof and blue shutters and pergola surrounded by flowers.  “Mas de Berard” Vicki calls it, I call it a dream.

 

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Vicki’s terrace where they take drinks and dine – how gorgeous is this?

 

Vickie’s book “My French Life” has inspired me to think of writing about MY life.  After all – it’s just as glamorous.  Working titles are “Being Born in Galena Park Didn’t Hold Me Back.”   (Yes, I spent the first year of my life in that booming metropolis, Galena Park, near the stinky Houston Ship Channel.)  Or how about this title  “A Life Divided: Houston and South Padre Island.”    Wait, I have a few better ones:  “A  Grocer’s Daughter, a Landman’s Wife,  A Shopping Fool’s Mother.”    hmmmm – doesn’t quite have the same ring as “My French Life.”    OK, try this one:    “From Secretary to Interior Designer to Blogger – A Road Never Taken”   or  “Pretending A Spec House’s Backyard in Texas is a Lavender Farm in Provence.”    My favorite though is “My So-Called French Life.”     I’ll let you know the final  title when the publisher calls.

So, I don’t actually live Vicki Archer’s life (that’s for sure!) but I can dream, can’t I?   A psychiatrist once told me that when you get down or get the blues, you should imagine you’ve won the lottery and what you would do with it.    I hate to sound so superficial, but sometimes it works.  OK, let’s play.   What would it be like to move my family to Provence and tend to this garden?   It’s available!!!

 

“Le Dream:”

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Every morning I would get my bicycle out and ride down this gravel road to the village bakery for fresh hot coffee and a croissant.   If I can move to Provence, do I still need to cook?

 

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I’d come back laden with the daily papers and bakery goodies and have my butler Pascal ring that bell on top of the bastide to wake up my lazy  family (some things never change.)   We’d eat the pastries and drink the coffee and read the paper sitting outside under the umbrella.   Pascal’s wife Charlotte would whip up lunch for us to eat here too.   

 

 

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After breakfast, Pascal would set up a little bistro table with a chair for me to blog away on, right under the shade (we’d have wi-fi, of course.)  All the while my dog Georgie would be swimming in the pond and Sammie Jo would bark at the squirrels (do they have squirrels in Provence?)  Ben would head back upstairs to his bedroom, at the front, right, to sleep the morning away (probably nursing a migraine) and occasionally he’d wave at me down on the gravel terrace.  Elisabeth would be gone – driving into town for a bit of shopping!

 

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After lunch, Ben and I would go to the ruins for swimming under the hot summer sun.

 

 

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After the swim,  we would go back upstairs to change out of our wet clothes and shower for an early evening.   We’d wait for Lizzy to come home and then we’d watch the Purple Martins fly into their cute little house.  Or is that a dovecote?    OK, we’d wait for the doves to come fly back.

 

 

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Before dinner, we’d take a leisurely stroll through the  gardens, taking the time to actually smell the roses. 

 

 

 

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 And dinner would be set up here, with a white table cloth and lantern light, watching the sun set over the mountain range.    Maybe, just maybe we’d have a glass of wine for the occasion.    And then, it’s back to the house for a quiet night in, watching a few good oldies on DVD.  

 

 

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Just to wake up and do it all over again! 

 

I hope your weekend is filled with wonderful dreams that one day might just come true!    To read Vicki Archer’s “My French Life” go here.   To read Cote de Texas’ “My So-Called French Life" go here.

OY SUZANI!!!

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Sweet Artie, the voice behind Color Outside The Lines,  emailed me some pictures last week, saying he thought I would enjoy them.  Well, thanks Artie, you were right – though the word “like” is actually an understatement.     On so many levels – these photos present endless opportunities  to look, admire, critique, devour, learn, remember but certainly, not forget.    So enjoy!  And thank you Artie.  I owe you one!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Down a long brick drive, through wooden doors and a gate house, you enter the property.

 

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It is big, and it is old, very old.  There are also two guest houses and an underground garage for 15 cars.   The property is large – suffice it to say.

 

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The walls are white, the floors are black herringbone wood, and notice that the doors are painted black too.   The architecture is Mediterranean.

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No one lives here.  The house has been completely furnished so that potential owners might imagine how it would look to live here.  It’s called “staging.”  This is an example of mega-staging to the nth degree.

 

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The main room is all red, really, really red!   The carpet is a huge piece of seagrass, which shows how much color and texture seagrass actually adds to a room.  The golden rug becomes the second major color here, after the red.

 

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The living room is large enough for three separate seating groups.    There are many Moroccan inspired accent pieces of furniture, along with English antiques.  Suzanis cover the large sofas.   Blue and white porcelains are accents.  This room sets the color theme for the entire property.  Almost every room has a touch of red, golden-beige, black and blue  & white.  

 

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I think whether you like this room or not, will be highly personal.  It has started to grow on me, actually.   But I do feel that if some of the upholstery was covered in white, or the beige, it would have given the eye a place to rest.    Right now, all the red makes it hard to appreciate the antiques and the subtleties in the room.   

 

 

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The dining room is a respite from all the red – done in blues with again, the seagrass and the chairs’ caning playing a major roll in the color scheme.   Dyed grasscloth covers the walls.    Notice the   touch of red shows up in the painting!  Perfection!

 

 

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The breakfast room brings back the red and the mother-of-pearl furniture.  Ikats and stripes make up the curtains.  Again, the seagrass and the grasscloth tone down the bright reds.  There are actually two breakfast rooms in the house.

 

 

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The adjoining kitchen is nice and white with marble and light blue walls.   Again, everything is high contrast between white and black.

 

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The family room is next to the second breakfast room.    More suzanis – on the sofa and made into pillows.  

 

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The family room again – notice the blue walls, how warm they actually are, which is nice shade to mix with reds.  My favorite item in the room?  The red lanterns on the mantel!  I love those!

 

 

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The library:  Ahhhhh.   You can relax now.   Imagine if the big living area was done in these colors instead of the red, so much more restful!  I love this room.   The plain seagrass has been replaced by Starke’s diamond pattern in the library.   I love the patterned curtains and the pillows.   Beautiful!

 

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Another view, showing the card playing area. 

 

 

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The upstairs family room is white, black and beige, again – with zebra and blue & white accents.  The blue and white porcelains are a running them throughout the house.   Symmetry symmetry.                            

 

 

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One of the bedrooms has red accents and a Moroccan theme with more of the mother-of-pearl furniture.  This red is more of a persimmon shade than the truer red downstairs.

 

 

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Indienne cloth covers a skirted table.   Again, the rug provides the calming color against the high contrast of the red, black and white.

 

 

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Another of the bedrooms with the light blues.  Seeing a color theme yet? 

 

 

 

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The upstairs library has the white upholstery again which pops against the dark floors and the wood paneling.

 

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The master bedroom is the most calming room in the house.  Warm blue, not quite an aqua, with beige carpet, and white and black accents.   Notice the perfect symmetry on the window wall – the small frame above each French door, the sconces and chairs  flanking the middle door. 

 

 

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I love the framed wallpaper panels that flank the bed and the touches of ikat fabric.  I just love this bedroom!    And – I think this is the first room with absolutely no red in it – yet it ties in with the rest of the house through the blues, white and black accents.

 

 

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The tufted chairs with wheeled feet are wonderful.  And the fireplace with a black framed mirror and crystal sconces add perfect symmetry. 

 

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The woman’s master bathroom is all white marble and even has a fireplace!

 

 

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The open air loggia connects the main house with one of the guest houses.  Notice how the outside window of the guest house is curtained in red!  And notice the tiled fountain – it  picks up the house’s color theme.

 

 

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The entire loggia is decorated in blues and white with touches of yellow.

 

 

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The main guest house has a rotunda where the staircase is located.  Just as in the main house, it is decorated with black hardwoods and white stucco walls.

 

 

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The main guest house contains a combination media and game room.  The furnishings are white with black accents, the textured rug again adds the important color.

 

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The second guest house acts as the pool house and has a gym and more guest bedrooms.  There is another smaller pool outside the gym.  And not to worry – there is a wine cellar and servant’s quarter.

 

 

 

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And finally, the pool house is furnished in the same color scheme as the main house, black, white, red, and khaki.   Love the two lanterns – love the curtains, love the room!

 

OK, now that you have seen the Suzani House – do you have any clue as to who the interior designer is?   Any guesses?   I would bet a million dollars on whom I think it is – that’s how sure I am.    Would you?