Pink/Repink: Dishing on House Beautiful





Did the cover of the new House Beautiful look familiar to you? 



Maybe it’s because just one year ago, the House Beautiful cover story was the same – Windsor Smith’s new house?



The 2009 story of Windsor Smith’s new house featured her gorgeous pink sitting room with its collection of wonderful chairs.  Who could ever forget a room like this?        Almost everyone in the design blogosphere was head over heels in love with Windsor’s house, and especially this pink room.  I can’t tell you the number of blogs that talked about that cover story of Windsor’s house. So, why in heaven’s name would House Beautiful repeat that room on their latest cover?   What is going on over at House Beautiful with its new editor in chief?  

To tell you the truth, I was confused  when I first saw the magazine this month.  I thought, are they featuring Windsor’s house again?   Or, wait, maybe another magazine featured it last year, maybe I’m mistaken???   This cover certainly had me doubting my recall.  Surely, one magazine wouldn’t repeat the same cover story twice in one year?     Who at House Beautiful thought it was a good idea to confuse their readers?   If you carefully read the cover, you notice it does proclaim:  “ten rooms we couldn’t forget” – well, neither could we.



As it turns out House Beautiful’s new issue is all about the color pink, since Pantone has named Honeysuckle Pink as the color of the year.  In the Pink cover story, page after page of previously run photographs were shown again (yawn) to illustrate the color pink (double yawn.)   For instance, this picture above is repeated from a previously run story.  Remember how the blogs oohed and awed over this stairway?   Until someone noticed what a terrible paint job the stairs got.   So, here we go again – staring at the awful paint job. 



And House Beautiful runs this picture of a Suzanne Kasler dining room- yes, again.   Jeez.   How many blogs have shown this picture on Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Month?   Hundreds?    Thanks House Beautiful for running it one more time.  




If House Beautiful wants to talk about the color pink – give us something new and fresh, like this photograph from this month’s Cote Sud.   Now, THIS gorgeous photograph made me stop and stare.  I certainly didn’t have to wonder where I had seen this photo before – because I hadn’t!   It’s totally original and fabulous.  



 Even House Beautiful’s Bathroom of the Month has been seen before – its Betty Lou Phillips master bath, straight off the pages of her latest book.    God forbid, they go photograph a bathroom we haven’t seen before.  




            Let’s make nice.   I did love that House Beautiful showed this gorgeous all gray and white house by Tracery Interiors.    To tie this all gray and white house in with the Pink theme, they added pink flowers everywhere.  Poof!   Now, it’s a pink house!    OK, this house is gorgeous, as were the others shown this month.



To be fair, the houses featured this month in House Beautiful are beautiful.  The Tracery house above, is, spectacular.  And this one with the pink curtains by Ruthie Sommers is fab too.   Gorgeous entrance hall.



Why all this talk about House Beautiful?    Because on the newest Skirted Roundtable, we discussed all of this and more.  One topic we talk about is the Picks Section found in most magazines, online and at the newsstand.  Does anyone read these types of stories?   Seriously – does ANYONE read these pages filled with all kinds of little things to buy?    Picks have become a large and must-have  part of the  new online magazines, Rue, High Gloss, and Lonny.  Why?????   Is it even possible to publish a design magazine without a Picks page?  Someone should try.





On the Skirted Roundtable, we don’t just crucify House Beautiful.    Veranda was back at it again, recycling a house we’ve all seen before, ad nauseum.  The gorgeous Belgian house owned by antiquarians Brigitte and Alain Garnier that has been seen in countless international magazines and all over the blogosphere,  is this month’s cover story.  People, PLEASE, give us something new for our money.    I will say this,  if you have never seen the above house before, it’s worth the issue price – it’s gorgeous.  But, if you’ve seen it before and before and before, you’re out of luck.  Of course, the current Veranda does have many other houses worth seeing.   If Veranda could ever just give us all new content, we would be on the band wagon, shouting it from the rooftops.    Despite all the unfortunate repeats, I am loving the direction of the new Veranda.    The magazine is evolving and growing.   It’s leaving its southern roots behind and is looking more and more Elle D├ęcor edgy each month.    Whether you like that or not is personal preference.    All I want is to be surprised each month by something new and original.




Country Living gets it right.  Never have I seen a recycled house or story in this magazine.  For years Country Living was the Cinderella to the better produced Country Home.    Today, I can barely remember Country Home.   Each month, Country Living consistently give us what we didn’t we wanted.   March’s issue has columns on both Dave Matthews AND Lucinda Williams.  WOW.  Someone at Country Living has good taste in music.   This month, they give us new houses, new stories, new features and none have been seen before in the magazine or the blogosphere.  It can be done.




Lonny – the premier online magazine – FREE. 


While we are dishing out lots of money for magazines each month –  more and more fabulous FREE online magazines with fresh, original content are vying for our attention.   It makes you wonder - who’s going to win this battle.  Is it even a battle?   Can the FREE Rue, Lonny, High Gloss and all the other online magazines take over the business, stealing the paying readership?    The content of these online magazines certainly rivals the paper versions.   Do you think Hearst, et al, has discussed Lonny at a board meeting?  Do they care?  Are they worried?  Do you think that IBM discussed those snarky teenagers who started a little business in their garage called Microsoft and Apple?   Are High Gloss and Rue the Microsoft and Apple of the magazine world?

Join us for this week’s Skirted Roundtable HERE where Linda, Megan and I discuss all this – House Beautiful’s Pink issue with all the repeats, Veranda’s status, Town and Country tidbits, along with online magazine gossip. 



And now, for something totally different:   Budget Buying News:


Target must have hired a new photostylist.  I can’t remember ever seeing such a beautiful ad from them!  This new line looks so cute!!!



And another new ad from Target.  Too bad they don’t sell that sofa!  They could make a million on that item.


Listen to The Skirted Roundtable vs. Pink/Repink HERE.

Why Don’t They Make This Anymore?



The esteemed blog, An Aesthetes Lament, has a running commentary on “why don’t they still make this?” where he questions things that have been discontinued or are no longer available.  I have my own list of beauty products I miss – a wonderfully fragrant body gel that I used for years and years until it was suddenly canceled,  and a sugar scrub that was canceled  soon after it debuted.    Then there was the perfumed essence oil that I bought from The Chemist Shop in Westbury Square (oh – the memories of those gorgeous cabinets!)   I wore that oil forever and 25 years after the store has closed, I still have one small vial of it that I covet.  

Lately, I’ve been wondering why the florist and candle maker,  Kenneth Turner, discontinued his two best products:   first, a candle that came packaged in a large terra cotta tub inside of a wicker jacket, and second, the large, wicker basket that came with attached holders for his long tapers.   For years, these two items were a must-have in Houston.   Sinfully expensive, not many could afford either the candle nor the basket.  




The original Kenneth Turner candle – here a 5 wick terra cotta tub in a wicker basket.  I’ve been reluctant to use my last one! Originally, the candle came in one scent, Original, though over the years, Turner has added many different fragrances to his line.


A small picture of the Kenneth Turner basket with attached tapers.  Inside the basket, you could place flowers or fruit or both, as Turner often did. 



Kenneth Turner pictured at home, during the heydays of the 80s, among a fruit and flower arrangement.


Kenneth Turner, who works out of London, is considered one of the most innovative floral designers of our time.   He creates lavish arrangements where he combines flowers with vegetables, fruits, stones, shells and branches.   The arrangements truly were unlike anything ever seen before.    His clientele list read like a roster of who’s who which included devotees such as Jackie Onassis, Lady Spencer, Lauren Bacall, The Princess of Kent, and Jayne Wrightsman.     He became a superstar in the floral business – launching a chain of stores.   The fragrance line was started in 1986.   He has also written countless books on the subject of floral and interior design.   He continues today in the business giving speeches and creating designs for weddings and private parties. 




Turner at his original shop.



This newer shop on Bond Street shows the British Royal Warrant of the Prince of Wales above the door.  



Kenneth Turner – these bulbs are busting out of the terra cotta pot into the basket – typical Turner whimsy.



Several of his books are still available on



An old collection of Kenneth Turner products still showing the 1 wick basket candle and several other items no longer available.



Today, the product line has the beautiful 5 and 3 wick candles in a round glass container.  Much more “modern” than the wicker!  Should I take the plunge and update already?  The Original scent is now available in a diffuser and a room spray, which I use to scent my house and car.



On the movie set of Sex and the City, Part Two, Turner’s Moroccan inspired pierced nickel ware was used.



The nickel cutwork range of product used in Sex and The City, Part Two.



In Carol Glasser’s former family room, you can see the five wick Kenneth Turner candle resting on the black trunk.  





Glasser was obviously a big fan of his candles.  Throughout the years, the candle popped up in picture after picture during different photoshoots of her house.



In the first photoshoot of Glasser’s house, she lit two different Turner candles in the living room.  I always loved this version of her living room with the blue and white striped rug and toile fabrics.



During a visit to the Stone House HERE, I noticed the homeowner had a Kenneth Turner candle on her coffee table.



She also had a Coldpiece candle – another wonderful scent available in a refillable terra cotta tub.  Get it at Indulge, HERE.  Indulge also sells Kenneth Turner products, HERE



When visiting the Bennison House HERE, the homeowner had the 5 wick Kenneth Turner candle.  I told you it was popular in Houston!!!



I Spy:   Can you spot my Kenneth Turner candle?



There it is – on the Wine tasting table in the corner.  The used up candles are on top of the basket.   I guess I should throw them out and switch to the glass container now.  Get more current!  Lots of changes are going on in my house.  I switched out the open basket of books in exchange for the closed basket, less cluttered I think.   I can’t wait to show you the changes coming.   hehe.  I hope you like them, actually I hope I like them!!!  Scary times coming.



So, I was really bored last night and thought I’d light up the candles to show what they look like burning.  The tubs are really so pretty and atmospheric when burning. 



Another look I love:  I’m still stuck on the classic hurricanes.   Here, at Oscar de la Renta’s Punta Cana house, they use hurricanes everywhere. 



When I entertain, I use my antique candleholders and lots of votives everywhere.



I’m hooked on lanterns now too.  I put a few burning votives inside the lantern, or just one large candle.  Lots of changes coming to my breakfast room too!  hint, hint.





  I’m fickle when it comes to candles!  Right now my favorite new candle is The Nest: Bamboo, pictured here.  It’s a large glass 3 wick candle.  It’s too expensive, although it burns forever it seems.  The scent is fabulous.  I walked into Mecox and bought it immediately – the store smelled that good!   Another note – if you do like the Kenneth Turner Original scent, but don’t want to spend that much, try Trapp Candle #2.  I’ve found the scent to be very similar and when my budget is tight, I buy the Trapp candle instead.   To visit the Kenneth Turner website, go HERE.


So, how do you use candles?  Do you have a favorite scent?  And, like me,  do you have a favorite product that has been discontinued and you have never gotten over it?  Leave a comment and we’ll make you feel better!




Artie, writer of the blog Color Outside The Lines, is having a huge sale HERE.  Be sure to give him a visit.  I’m loving how cute everything looks in the picture!!!

A Few of My Favorite Bargains–Updated



Several bargain buys caught my eye this week:



Who doesn’t love a lit a la polonaise?  This picture is from World of Interiors via Trouvais (thanks Trish!)  The problem with these beds is you need quite a lot of money to recreate this look.



The French just do design better than anyone.   Recreating this bed, though, is out of the budget for most of us.




So beautiful – new or old.



From The Selby HERE, Herve Pierre used a checked fabric, a relatively inexpensive choice, to decorate his bedroom.   Of course, the bed is pricey, but by choosing a reasonable fabric, you can keep the expense down.  Gorgeous?  Not him!  The bed!!!!




If the lit a la Polonaise is definitely out of the question, a less expensive choice is the Italian Campaign bed.   I first fell in love with this bed when I saw Mimmi O’Connell’s work.  She’s been using variations of this bed, with and without the draping, for decades. 




The Group Sibuet hotel in Provence uses an assortment of campaign beds in their rooms.



While original campaign beds are hard to come by, Niermann Weeks has two new versions.  Here, Phillip Sides used a beautiful Brunschwig and Fils blue check to decorate this NW bed.



And Mario Buatta used the same Niermann Weeks iron bed here in an luscious room, typical of his opulent style.   But, what if NW is out of your price range?


Anthropologie HERE makes this wonderful copy – at a fraction of the cost.  Here, the frame is left bare which shows of its beautiful oval top.




And, if you are really on a strict budget, Pottery Barn Teen HERE has this version.  Here, Grant Gibson uses the PBTeen bed in his own apartment.  He installed a back headboard to rest upon.  Unfortunately, to everyone’s distress, PBTeen discontinued this bed for a year or two.  Recently, they brought it back.  I wonder if they listened to the blogger backlash over this discontinuation?




Recently, my partner on the Skirted Roundtable, Linda Merrill, used the Anthropologie bed in this young girls room.  She also installed head and back rests for safety reasons.   Read the story of this adorable makeover HERE.



For my own daughter’s makeover, I also used the Anthropologie bed, in the twin size.   At the time, the PBTeen bed was discontinued.  Truthfully, I would have saved the money and used that bed had it been available, although I do like the Anthropologie bed better.



I did not install the head or foot board.   The pillows do a good enough job to keep Lizzy in the bed, but it’s a nice sized gap and the headboard is probably a good idea.



The Pottery Barn Teen bed runs from $699 to $999, for the queen – no king size available.  These prices are crazy cheap!  What a chic look for not a lot of money!



The Anthropologie bed runs from $1,250 for a twin to $1800. for a king.  Still reasonable, but more expensive than the PBTeen.





Niermann Weeks – this iron bed retails for around $9,900.00.  Now, that is retail.  Depending on your contract with your interior designer, you may pay a lot less or even more.



This Niermann Weeks bed retails for around $12,000.00   Hmmm.   It is beautiful, no doubt.  It is probably much sturdier too.  The gap in the headboard is no issue here.  You get what you pay for.  But, before you ask, I am very happy with the quality of the Anthropologie bed.



Ektorp Slipcovered Furniture: 


If you read this blog, you know I think that Ikea’s Ektorp slipcovered furniture line is the best bargain out there.    For those with almost no budget at all, this furniture gives you a great look and leaves you with no excuse not to have a well designed space!  Case in point, these Ikea Ektorp chairs paired with two wicker PB chairs look wonderful.    I love when I spy Ektorp furniture on the internet or when people send me pictures of their spaces using these pieces.   The white slipcovered sofa is just $399 – an unheard of price.   I also like the new gray slips, slightly higher at $599 for the sofa.   I would mix the gray with the white pieces, but all gray pieces is great, also.




Jenny Grumbles from Uptown Country, the cute online shop HERE, used the Ektorp sofa and chairs in her pink and white Dallas apartment.



Recently, while looking at houses for rent in Provence, I was surprised to come upon the Ektorp gray slipcovered furniture in Provence – one of the chicest area in the world to live in.   Now, I do realize this house could use some styling:



Like this one.  This rental in Provence shows the same gray slips with styling.



An Ikea Makeover:



A few weeks ago, the blogger Holly Mathis HERE from nearby Hempstead, Texas, showed a redo she had just completed for an online client.    The client lives in Austin with a hodge podge collection of family room furniture she was ready to repurpose.      Since they were on a tight budget, Holly came up with some cost saving ideas. 



BEFORE:   Some of the furniture was reused, and other pieces were moved out the of living room.




Holly had her client buy the Ikea Ektorp slipcovered furniture and the change was drastic!    The curtains were made with fabric bought online.   The chairs were moved from another room and the ottoman/coffee table is new, as is the rug.   Notice the chandelier – that’s from Ballard Designs for just $299!  Yes! 





Holly had the client paint the armoire a blue gray which makes all the difference.    To read about this redo, see Holly Mathis Interiors HERE.



The fixture they used in the living room is new from Ballard Designs and comes in two sizes for just $199 and $299.   HERE.     Holly used the bigger size.  I was surprised to see how large it looked in the room.  It’s a lot of look for just $299.




Holly also recently redid her dining room.  For a while it was being used as a bedroom after her new baby arrived.   I love how it looks now and how she tied it in with the kitchen by using the printed curtains and repainting the kitchen the dusty pink which is found in the curtains.   But what really caught my eye was the lantern!   It’s fabulous.




Holly’s kitchen.   So charming!



Her office space off her kitchen and next to the dining room.   I love her desk with its linen skirt.




So, where DID Holly buy her new lantern from?    The yoke is what makes it really authentic looking.



It’s from  Pottery Barn for just $349.   Amazing!   While the lantern comes with a copper top, Holly painted hers all black.  I would use this lantern everywhere – in the foyer, the living room, the dining room, kitchen, bedroom or library.   You can tell from Holly’s dining room picture that the scale is big enough that the lantern makes a statement.  Personally, I love the copper detailing, but Holly didn’t. 




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Another great Pottery Barn lantern is this model for $499.   Slightly more expensive, it’s still so much cheaper than the antique versions. 




Until the PB Lantern came out, this was my favorite budget lantern.  Shown here in Lauren Liess’ office, this lantern is just $139, HERE.


If you  have any great budget favorites or makeovers – email me! 





Last week, I showed a house that Pam Pierce designed 8 years ago, that is now for sale.   One of the CdT sponsors, Bonny Neiman Antiques had some fun with that story.



She took every picture from the Pam Pierce designed house and showed how her own antiques tied in with the story.  So, if you were interested in recreating that look, please read this story – it’s really interesting and informative and fun!   Go HERE to read it.




Another CdT sponsor, The Bella Cottage is having a sale.  Go HERE to read all about it. 



These chairs are new addition to the Bella Cottage and I just love these!!!!  They remind me of the chair in Elisabeth’s room.  I really like just a just of gilt in living room and bedrooms. 




And finally, I was sooooo excited to see that Charlotte Moss has a new book coming out in April.  I love the cover picture – all the green is so trendy right now. 

To pre-order your copy from Amazon, click on the title to the right of the picture below: