The Skirted Roundtable: Accessorizing – The Last Frontier


This week the Skirted Roundtable tackles accessorizing, primarily focusing on how we furnish shelves – do we fill them with books no one reads – and  never will – or do we fill them with worn out, well-read books?   What do we do when we have a client with lots of empty bookshelves – and no books in the house?  Do we fill those with newly bought books just for the job – or do we fill them with decorative items instead?   How do you decorate bookcases and mantels, and by the way – what do you think of those cashmere throws all the stylists put over every arm chair?  Have those jumped the shark?   And while we are asking you all these personal questions, how do you really feel about real flowers versus silk flowers?   Listen and hear what Linda, Megan and I have to say about all of the above, and more important – whether we think you should use frosted  or clear bulbs in chandeliers.    HERE.



 An anonymous commenter accused me of not showing my own work to be judged on The Skirted  Roundtable – well, here is how I decorated my bookshelves with three different criteria in my own house.    Here, in this desk’s bookcase  near my foyer – I used only leather antique books and white decorative objects for contrast.   As is obvious, these are books that were never read – rather they are used here as accessories. 



In my family room shelves,  I used a combination of antique books, my collections of globes and iron dogs, paintings, urns,  and design books.   Some books here were read, others are decorative.   I tried to keep to a color scheme of brown, black, green and a touch of gold.    This will all be changing soon – I recently won a pallet of antique books on Ebay, so I plan on redoing the shelves with more of those Ebay books and less of the decorative objects.





Where are my “real” books – besides being scattered around the house in stacks here and there?   The majority are on the landing/library bookshelf upstairs. 




When I filled up the built-in shelves, GJ Styles was kind enough to deliver this on-sale bookshelf by accident.  I kept it and quickly filled it up – including the shelves inside the cabinet.   The remaining books without a home are waiting on the tarmac in the garage.


Where are your books – on display in your public areas, or tucked away in shelves, like mine?   Listen to how we decorate with books on this week’s Skirted Roundtable HERE.   And coming up in the next few weeks – we have some popular guests slated to visit us on the SRT!   We are so excited – and hope you will be too.  As always, Linda, Megan and I sincerely thank you for your continued support – without you, we are nothing!

Objects Lost and Found!


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There is a new antiques shop in Houston – Objects Lost & Found, or to make it all a little easier on the tongue, just Objects.  Located in the heart of antiques central on Ferndale, Objects owes its start to last year’s Hurricane Ike.  Proprietor Sharon Perry has had her offices at this charming house for years.   An architect/interior designer with more impressive credentials than President Obama:  she graduated with a degree in Architecture from  Rice University and earned her major degree from Harvard, Perry has dreamed of running an antiques shop in her office for a long while.    In fact for the past three years she has been quietly amassing antiques from France and warehousing them, waiting for just the perfect time to open.   Once Hurricane Ike blew through last year and  her office suffered storm damage – it gave Perry the  excuse to finally open Objects.  Since reconstruction work was going to have to be done anyway – why not reconfigure the office into a shop?   The turnover was easy -  she had plenty of room on the second floor for her architecture and interior design business – so upstairs all the offices went.  While the downstairs was being turned into the charming shop, Perry flew off to France yet again to really get down to the business of buying.  It all came together last month when she opened the doors to the newest shop on antique row. 



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The shop is spread out over three main rooms – it is filled with antiques, mostly “smalls,” lamps, and accent furniture such as pairs of consoles.   What sets Objects apart is that it caters to those in the accessorizing phase - that time at the end of a project when the shelves and table tops are waiting to be styled - but finding just those right objects can be one  of the  more time consuming  duties an interior decorator faces.  As a designer herself,  Perry recognized the need for one-stop shopping for all things “accessory” and has merchandised Objects as such.   I suspect interior designers will flock to the shop for the special touches that make a room complete.



First stop is a wall of lamps, mostly in pairs, and mostly custom designed by Perry.    On the bottom shelves is a collection of boxes – perfect for side tables and coffee tables. 


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On this round bakers rack are scores of decorative plates and Majolica -  highly collectable ceramics.




I love this line up of parrots on the mantel!   Sharon said she has a real bird theme going on throughout the shop. 




Naturally I was drawn to this beautiful pair of painted antique French chairs.   Sharon loves the original muslin lining  as much as I do – I wouldn’t have recovered these either!  Why do muslin linings look so fresh and attractive now?   Funny how times and taste changes. 






Another favorite of mine was this stunning Spanish styled table, painted, and topped with aged stone.    I could see using this outside on a covered porch or inside in a dining room, either one!  I really love this table!!




Another favorite was this painted console – it is actually one of a pair.  More majolica rests on top, along with birds and a birdcage. 



imageThis charming armoire with chicken wire is filled with framed prints. 



image The second room has shelves filled with goodies mostly from Sharon’s trips to France.



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My mother, sister and I all collect tole or tin boxes.   Mostly, when we are lucky, we might find small biscuit tins from the English company Huntley Palmer.   But this piece dwarfs all of our carefully collected tins:   it is a large display that once held different spices – probably used in a market, Sharon said.  I was drooling over this!!!!   


imageA close up of the spice dispenser – here you can see the mustard and cinnamon compartments.  




A painted chest with a zinc mirror.  Antique drapery hardware sits in a wooden crate atop the chest.



image In the third room:  I love this sofa and the pair of demi lune consoles flanking it.   The scrolled iron wall hangings are antique French burglar bars, Sharon quipped. 




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A large collection of English and French inkwells sit atop a vanity table in the third room.


 image And finally, one of the more unique objects in the shop is this lavabo in the shape of a turtle!  Sharon, being both an architect and an interior designer, is hoping someone will buy this and ask her to design a powder room around it.   I hope they do too – she has all the plans drawn up in her head, just waiting for them!!!

 A special thank you Sharon for the tour of your beautiful shop Objects!


Objects is located at 2815 Ferndale, off Kirby between Westheimer and Alabama.    For these next two weeks, Objects is participating in the Holiday Card for the American Cancer  Society.     It is open Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays by appointment.






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Tara Shaw welcomes  authors Rhonda Eleish and Edie Van Breems to her Houston store this Friday from 2 until 5 pm  for a book signing and lecture on decorating with Swedish furniture.   On Saturday, the same event will be held in New Orleans.  If you can, please be sure to attend – it  should be a great event!




HOUSTON:  Tara Shaw’s  at 1845-a West Alabama

Friday, October 23 at 2:00 until 5:00 pm

For more information call:   713-533-9744







Its that time again, The Urban Market, Houston’s version of Round Top, will be open this  coming November 8th.   For more information, go HERE.  

Sunday, November 8th
9am-4pm @ 607 E. Whitney, 77022
The Knights of Columbus Fields

Dallas Design Duo




One of my oldest friends, Julie, whom I first met when we roomed together at UT – and with whom I spend each summer with down at South Padre Island - lives in Dallas.  Her house is a large ranch  – long, in a L shape that overlooks a courtyard with the de rigueur swimming pool.   A few years ago she embarked on an update of her house – doing most of it herself.  She bought a new scrolled iron and glass front door and installed a row of columns with arches along the open gallery that flanks her living room.  She subtly fauxed the room in a neutral peach tone and added a beautiful  French stone mantel.  And then she stopped.   Furnishing the living room herself was above her skills, she admitted.  

Although she had lived in the house for most of her married life – the living room had never been professionally decorated.   The family room, though, had been – and the difference in the two rooms was obvious.  Julie  was more than ready to finally have  her front room  beautifully furnished.   When the time came to choose a decorator, she decided to give a somewhat new designing team a try.  Never mind that they were all friends - Julie had seen their work and knew that they would be perfect for her job.  They, like Julie,  loved French antiques and used them in all their projects.   The two decorators had an appreciation for fine furnishings and a knack for accessorizing and Julie felt since she had waited long enough for a nice living room – she was going to go “all out.”   So the designing du0 who go by their last names, RayWeitman, got the nod and the work commenced.  

Carol Ray and Marlene Weitman work in a different way than many of their peers.  Since they prefer antiques to new furniture – the hunt for furnishings is more labor intensive  than just quickly ordering from a catalogue.  It takes a thorough search of all the shops around town to find just the right piece to fit here or there.   The job therefore may take a while longer than one that is furnished over an afternoon at a showroom.  But Carol and Marlene are up for the long hours.  They love nothing more than a fun hunt for antiques for their clients.  

The two are both from Nebraska, but came to Texas to attend UT and never looked back – they moved to Dallas after graduation.  Neither majored in interior design, but  like so many of us  – they were drafted into the business by friends who had seen what they did with their own houses.   Drawing from their experience in designing their seven  houses between them – they partnered up and enrolled in interior design classes – selecting the courses they felt would best suit their clientele.   Let me take a wild guess – they skipped the class on “Fire retardant fabrics in hospital design.”  The business is now six years old and is growing each year.   By far, the highpoint of the RayWeitman partnership was being featured in The French Room by prolific design book author Betty Lou Phillips.   I remember reading the story about the beautiful house they designed and being intensely interested in who they were.   Phillips tends to showcase the same designers in book after book, but here was a new name with a great look.   When my friend Julie told me that she had hired the pair – I knew her living room was going to turn out great – and it did!!!  




image Once Julie had gotten the bones of the room done herself – she painted the walls and added arches and columns to separate the gallery from the living room, she was at a standstill.   Here is where RayWeitman stepped in, bringing in the first pieces of antiques – a side table and a French settee.  In the end – everything but the piano and a few chairs was replaced.




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This beautiful settee, painted and gilded would be reupholstered for the living room.  It was one of the first antiques RayWeitman bought for the room.




An eclectic mix of contemporary upholstery and antiques totally changed the living room.   The wall of windows were instantly warmed by the gorgeous curtains with beautiful trim down the leading edge.   A large rug defines the seating area.



Two matching chandeliers hang from the vaulted beamed ceiling.   A Spanish styled console table divides the long room into two separate areas.




To create interest, the two niches flanking the fireplace were given very different treatments.   An ottoman doubles as a coffee table for the reupholstered antique settee and the two clean lined club chairs.   The large Louis Philippe mirror does what all mirrors should do  - reflect something beautiful – in this case, the tw0 chandeliers!



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In this picture you can really see how large the chandeliers truly are – they fill the space perfectly. 




I love the brass andirons – so beautiful.   A lot of people don’t focus on the fireplace accessories – but see how wonderful it looks when you do!   This is my favorite part of the room -  I love this vignette with the Swedish chest.




The framed grisaille Zuber mural is my favorite thing in the room – so pretty!!!!!





The view towards the back of the room.  The antique textile pillows pick up the colors found in the rug.



Atop the chest is a collection of framed intaglios.   For information on the best company to buy beautiful, but very very reasonably priced intaglios – go HERE.



juliec2The entry way into the living room has this enfilade – with a beautiful painted trumeau atop it – reflecting the living room.



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RayWeitman also designed Julie’s powder room – using a piece of furniture, they added a sink and custom cut marble top.  I love the curved backsplash with the wall hung faucet!  So pretty.   The antique gilded mirror layered over the wall to wall mirror and the crystal sconces add sophistication to the room.



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And finally, the powder room floor was custom designed with a variety of stone and metallic mosaics that give just a hint of glamour to the room.





When this book by Betty Lou Phillips came out – it was a huge publicity boom for RayWeitman.  It’s not many designers that get the honor of being in a Phillips book, but this design duo made the cut.




Many pages were devoted to the large Dallas house they designed;  filled with French antiques, the house matched the book’s title.



This vignette is found off the entry hall set within an arched niche.  I adore the feminine French tea table and the crystal sconces.




How beautiful – the living room is painted a creamy ivory – as most of the downstairs is.  The simple but elegant stone mantel, with a French trumeau above it, is the focal point here, but the chinoiserie styled Mah-Jong table (set with antique Mah-Jong tiles) is amazing.  It was handed down to the homeowner by her grandmother!  



An assortment of antique textiles made into pillows rest on the sofa. 




The family room is really special – I LOVE the silk skirted console table.  The antique painted leather screen hanging on the wall, surrounded by a collection of blue export plates,  is stunning.



Vintage chairs with leather upholstery surround an urn turned into a table in the family room – check out the limestone walls and steel windows. 





This marble range hood might be the prettiest ever!  You can’t find Cararra like this anymore!!


 scan0020In the breakfast room, a large breakfront holds more of the blue and white transferware collection. 



scan0022The breakfast room has an orangery feel with its steel doors and windows.  



scan0021 My favorite!!!!  An antique French pastry table with a white marble top – I just love these!!!!




The guest room is all toile – notice the cute slipcovered headboard with bows.  Darling!



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This kitchen is a recently finished project by RayWeitman – stainless counters, what a luxury.  The hood is marble – I love the transferware platter used as a focal point.  





Another view of the kitchen with a farm sink and glass cabinets filled with more transferware.




And finally - a beautiful carved hanging shelf filled with transferware hangs in the kitchen. 


I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my friend Julie’s new living room  by RayWeitman and all the pictures from their portfolio.   If you live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and would like to talk to the two about a project, you can contact either Carol Ray at 214-649-1406 or Marlene Weitman at 972-365-0200.    I’m sure they would love to hear from you!