A Material Girl Before & After in Dallas

73 comments

 

image

Before and After:  Exterior of the duplex located in Dallas.

Through the blog, I get a few emails requesting design work.  Unfortunately, many requests are for houses not located in Houston.  Since the blog takes up so much of my time, I no longer am able to travel far from Houston for design work.   When a reader doesn’t live here, I try to recommend a local designer, if I know of one.  If not, I’ll recommend a designer who does online decorating.   Such was the case with this one reader who wrote that she was moving from Houston into an 80 year old duplex in Dallas. 

 

image

The homeowner sent me these pictures before she moved in to show me what she had to work with.  The duplex had a lot of character - there were hardwood floors and a painted white brick fireplace.

 

image

Additionally, there were lots of windows and arched doorways, along with a health addicted former tenant.   Despite the exciting challenge, I didn’t think it would be in her best interest to work with me – she needed someone in Dallas that could take her out shopping and then return to the duplex to bring it all together.

I referred her to fellow designer Emily Johnston Larkin of the very popular Material Girls blog HERE.  Emily and her friend Lauren started Material Girls around the same time as Cote de Texas.  Emily wrote about Dallas, while Lauren wrote about Houston.  Today the blog has grown - there are now six Material Girls who write for it from all over the country.   Emily and I had a special bond – both our spouses are named Ben and both are rabid University of Texas fans.   We would email each other with tales of our respective Ben screaming into the TV over some football loss or win.   So, when thinking of a designer to recommend in Dallas,  I knew the homeowner would be a perfect fit with the beautiful Emily.   A positive was that Sarah, the homeowner, and Emily are closer in age and probably closer in design aesthetics.  After I made the referral, I didn’t think of it very often.  I didn’t even know if they ever connected until a few weeks ago when Emily emailed me with photographs of the finished living areas!  I was very pleasantly stunned – to say the least.   Emily said she wanted to keep it all on the q-t until the job was over so that she could surprise me - and surprise me, she did. 

 

image

Here are the before shots of what the duplex looked like after Sarah had moved in and before Emily was hired.  She owned a cute settee, along with a persimmon painted chest.

 

image

There was a green sofa in the living area.

 

image

After moving in, the one change Sarah made was to paint the walls a soft khaki color.  Notice the pretty cove ceiling.

 

AFTER:

 

image

And here is what it looks likes today – thanks to Emily!  What a transformation!!!!   Wow. 

 

image

Another view of the living area and into the dining room.  I love the color scheme – the white upholstery mixed in with pops of chartreuse and bright orange.  The color choices makes the room look youthful and hip.

 

Here’s what Emily had to say about the design scheme.  The homeowner, Sarah, didn’t have a huge budget, so Emily mixed high and low elements to get as big of a bang as possible.  The cowhide rug was Sarah’s, so that was a plus.  It was layered over a new sisal rug.  Emily says that Sarah said she liked a “Cote de Texas” look – so she knew Sarah would love the sisal and cowhide mixed with a new white slipcovered sofa from….IKEA!   Yes!!!  The famous IKEA sofa.  Look how good it looks here – at first glance, I didn’t even realize it was from IKEA, I thought they had slipcovered her existing sofa.  But as Emily knows, slipcovering an existing sofa is twice the price of a new $389 IKEA sofa.  Great choice.   She added two new French inspired chairs from Palacek, along with off white curtains from Restoration Hardware.   The French bench also came from Restoration Hardware which was recovered in a chartreuse velvet from Pindler and Pindler.  

 

 

IMG_0345

The artwork above the sofa are old handwritten notes from Sarah’s grandmother, mother, and teachers that she has kept all these years.   First, she enlarged the notes on a copier, then she placed them in frames bought from IKEA.  The notes are a wonderful idea – they add a personal touch to the space, plus they look like a big piece of art when framed and hung like this.  Great idea!!!

 

image

Sarah really wanted a bricklayer’s table but didn’t want to pay a fortune for what is essentially a rustic piece. Her father came to the rescue and made it himself with the help of a welder.

 

image

The modern gold bowl came from Stephanie Anne – a favorite store of Sarah’s in Dallas.  This was one high priced accessory – most all other accessories came from Anthropologie and Home Goods. 

 

image

Emily added glass knobs to the orange chest to dress it up a bit.  Notice how all the greens tie in together.  The orange of the chest is repeated in the pillow fabrics.

 

image

Restoration Hardware curtains soften the window side of the room. 

 

 

image

The gold and glass console adds a contemporary touch, as does the white lamp.  I love the touch of lilac found in the shade.

 

image

More contemporary touches is the gold mirror from Horchow.  The vase brings in another touch of bright chartreuse. 

 

 

image

The bright pillow fabric ties in with the other pops of color.  Behind the chair is a commissioned work of art.

 

IMG_0699

One special touch is the commissioned canvas by Dallas artist Lindsey Meyer HERE.   The art work brings in all the colors used in the duplex.

 

image

Sarah collects antiques at Round Top and had inherited some from her beloved grandmother – these were used to give the room patina and character.

 

 

IMG_0823

More personal touches are the antlers resting in an old silver tray.  I love this juxtaposition between fine and rustic.

 

image

I really love monograms – a bowl of matches like this is handy for lighting candles and is a great guest gift.  Other items to monogram are paper napkins, soaps and guest towels.  Pottery Barn has a great selection of gift items that can be personalized with your monogram.

 

 

image

A glimpse into the dining area shows a skirted table with a painted white case, sconces and an unseen chandelier.

 

image

The burlap skirt is dressed up with X stitchery and white painted Chinoiserie style chairs.  Cute black and white tiled floors lead into the kitchen.

 

image

Emily added this following story about the homeowner:  

Sarah was very close to her 101 year old landlord, Katie, who passed away this past summer while we were working on her living room (Katie had lived in the unit above Sarah since the 1960’s!) At the urging of Katie’s friends, Sarah took ownership of both duplexes. The décor in Katie’s unit hadn’t changed since the 60’s so Sarah and her dad (through blood, sweat and tears J) renovated it. Once they were done, Sarah buried a letter that she wrote, under the floorboards of Katie’s former duplex that told Katie’s story. Her hope was that fifty years from now, another landlord would find it and know how special the duplex was to both Katie and Sarah.

 

To contact Emily Johnston Larkin, please visit her web site for all the details HERE.   A huge thank you to Emily and Sarah for sharing the story of their before & after!

 

Dogs and Birds and Carol Sheehan: Oh My!

33 comments

 

image

My all time favorite coffee table book is “Living With Dogs.”  While I do love its contents, it’s the cover that really does it for me.  I have two copies of the books, because with time, the original cover got damaged, and so I replaced it.  Of course!

 

image

The reason why I love the cover so much is this girl, Georgina (Georgie), my English Springer Spaniel.   This picture is from the story of my house in Houston House and Home magazine.   Ever since this photoshoot,  Georgie has been terrorized by cameras and won’t pose for them anymore.  Even if I just pretend to take her picture she goes scampering away.   We couldn’t get these two to pose together, so the photographer took a picture of Sammie Jo then, photoshopped Georgie onto to it.   Look how good they match my décor and the book!

 

 

image

The Webbs have long loved springers and Ben’s parents’ last dog was a very overweight gentleman named Duke.  When Ben’s father died, his brother Kirk went out and bought this beauty, Quila.  Later that week Ben’s older brother Pat got Zorro from the same litter.  Of course, a week later, Ben brought home the last of the litter, our Georgie.   All three springers are healthy and are still with us.   Later, Kirk and Shannon got 3 more springers from the same mother.  So – you can understand why I love that book cover so much.  It looks like it was designed for my house – it perfectly matches my dog and my décor!   Inside the book is just as good – it has everything about the sport of dogs including dogs in design.   Written by the husband and wife team, Laurence and Carol Sheehan, this is just one in a series of sporting books these two have written, along with Kathryn Precourt and photographer William Stites.

If the name Carol Sheehan sounds familiar – she has had a long career writing design books and editing design magazines.  She was the editor-in-chief for County Homes when it was at its best.  She and Mary Emmerling are friends and together they made that magazine great.   Carol and Mary also wrote many books together – wonderful titles such as this:

 

One of the many books that Emmerling and Sheehan collaborated on.

 

image

Once the Sheehans married, they began writing the series of sporting/design books.  There is one on fishing, sports, and gardening.   What I love so much about these books is that they combine the subject with design – thanks to Carol’s first love.

 

 

image

The Sheehan’s newest book, The Birding Life,  was recently released.   It’s actually quite topical since birds have been showing up everywhere in design – on fabrics, wallpapers, and framed prints.  Sheehan got her start in Houston as editor of a very early design magazine, Houston Home and Garden.   In this book, she returns to her roots – photographing several Houstonians who collect birds or nests.  One beautiful feature is Kay O’ Toole’s house, a French enfilade located behind her antique store.  These pictures are worth the price of book!  Gorgeous!

 

image

A vignette from Kay O’Toole’s house – with a bird on the stone epaulet. 

 

 

image

Another pretty spread is the home of bird lovers in Florida.   A big surprise was to see famous bloggers Hollister and Porter Hovey’s incredible New York apartment, filled with trendy taxidermy. 

 

image

Birds in design are quite popular today – you can see this here in wallpaper and fabrics.

 

 

image

This week, we were honored to welcome author Carol Sheehan to the Skirted Roundtable.  Carol talks about her books and magazines and her long and varied career.   To listen, please go HERE to the Skirted Roundtable blog.

 

image

To order Living With Dogs, go HERE.

 

image

And to order the new The Birding Life, go HERE.

 

 

So……what title is up next for the Sheehans?  Listen to the Skirted Roundtable to find out HERE.

 

The Casita at the KW Ranch

133 comments

 

 

image

The KW Ranch front gates.  The main house where Kirk and Shannon live is seen at the end of the gravel drive.

 

image

And looking back on the front gates.  Across the street is the Southern Rose Ranch where we stayed this past Christmas.  Though we usually stay in the casita at Shannon’s ranch, it was booked up with other family members.

 

 

image

The long gravel drive divides the front lawn into two sides, left and right.  Past the lawn  are the left and right pastures for the horses and donkeys and Bella the cow to roam on.  In back of the house is another large pasture for the animals.    Here is the right side lawn looking back towards the front gate.  This is the view that the casita bedrooms look onto.

 

image

And looking the opposite way on the right front lawn, the casita is hidden behind the large Live Oak tree, right next to the red barn on the right.   Cutting the grass is a major event!!

 

image

The left side of the front lawn with its red swing and chairs under the Live Oak tree is my favorite private spot.

 

image

My niece and nephew on their horses.  I took this picture a few years ago, Caroline is so grown up now!  Here you can see part of the main house.  The casita is to its right – across the gravel drive.

 

image

A BEFORE shot of the casita.  The prefab building was on the property when Shannon and Kirk bought it.   It was one room, which started out as Kirk’s office.  The other side of the building was used as a tool shed.  Connecting to the casita was a covered car port.   Once Kirk relocated his office downtown, the casita was turned into a guest bedroom.  Several years ago, the tool shed became a second bedroom and a weekend house for Shannon’s mom, Dottie Wills.   Shannon and her mother always had big plans for this humble building.  Since there was no bathroom, guests had to walk across the drive to go inside the main house.  Try doing that on a freezing Christmas night!  Not fun, I can assure you.  After living here for many years, the final renovation took place this past year. 

 

image

BEFORE shot of the carport.   Now, all the bikes and lawnmowers, etc. are stored in the red barn.  Today, this carport is the living room, bathroom and kitchen of the casita. 

 

 

image

Another BEFORE picture of the casita.  Shannon painted the walls gray and the doors, red.   A sign reads “Dottie’s Casita” in honor of Shannon’s mom.  In the renovation, this red door was removed.  Now the entrances are on each side where two porches were built.   The right side porch leads to the bedrooms and the left side porch leads to the living area.

 

image

The new porch on the right side.  This porch looks onto the front lawn and the gate.  It was screened in the day I left.  The building remained gray to match the main house, but the doors are no longer red.  Shannon’s mother likes a much quieter décor palette than Shannon, as you will see.  Plus, she is not into Mexican folk art, rather she loves French antiques.

 

 

image

This side porch has doors that lead into each bedroom.  All the porch furniture was recovered in new green Sunbrella fabric.  Dottie loves gray-green, it’s her favorite color.

 

image

Sconces flank each door.  Here you can see the vintage iron porch furniture that is painted gray-green.  This side overlooks the pasture and barn where Kirk’s vintage red Coca-Cola truck is parked!  You can get a glimpse into Dottie’s bedroom here. 

 

 

image

The new porch on the left side overlooks the back yard and the red barn.  The furniture here is more in keeping with the ranch theme.  This door leads to the new part of the casita, the living areas.

 

image

The main living area.  The walls and ceilings are beadboard – there is no sheetrock in the new addition.  The floors are a bronze colored concrete.   The dining area and bathroom are seen on the back right. 

 

 

image

Here you can see the tall vaulted ceiling.  There are two ceiling fans (this is Texas!) and the wood chandelier from Aidan Gray in between them.   The kitchen is located past the living room area along the back wall. 

 

image

A night shot of the casita shows the slipcovered sofa and chairs – and the two French chairs that wear a yellow toile fabric.  Here you can see the stained glass window in the kitchen.  This window has traveled between Wills houses for the past 30 years.

 

 

image

Above the TV are two urn prints with a deer head in between.

 

 

image

The kitchen is an accumulation of furniture – not cupboards.  An oval shaped island separates the kitchen from the living area. 

 

image

A rustic cabinet with a wood top and metal drawers acts as counter space.   The refrigerator and stove are not built in.  The dishes are stored in the corner pine cabinet.

 

 

image

The oval island is topped with a thick stone slab.   It holds wine, pots and silverware.  Along the back wall is a wood cabinet that hold the sink.

 

image

The nighttime view from the other side.

 

image

One of the bedrooms is located of the kitchen area.

 

image

This old, rustic piece holds the sink with its gorgeous nickel Perrin and Rowe faucet.

 

image

On the opposite side of the addition from the kitchen, the bathroom is located through the double door.  The sink is located in a gray painted vintage piece with fleur de lis knobs.  That’s moi in the mirror!

 

image

Another vintage wood piece holds the towels.

 

image

The casita is really a home away from home for Shannon’s mother, Dottie.   It has everything she needs here and it is totally independent from the main house.   There’s even a washer/dryer located here behind these closet doors with glass knobs. 

 

image

The shower was designed for wheelchair access if it might one day be needed.  The shower entrance is flat to the floor so that the chair could be easily wheeled in.   The shower is completely tiled in subway sized tiles.  A window looks onto the porch and the red barn.

 

image

There also a hand held faucet outside the shower – for the future, if need be.

 

SHANNONCLOSET 444

This bedroom is the original office.  Over the years it became a guest room.   When the renovation happened, it was painted this dark brown with a light French blue ceiling.  Wall to wall seagrass was installed over the linoleum tiles that were once the office’s floor.

 

image

Blue accents are found throughout the room.  Candlestick lamps came from Indulge.

 

image

Across the rice bed is this antique French day bed for extra guests or for a sofa.   The windows have burlap shades.    Two French styled chairs are covered in light linen. 

 

 

image

Taken at night, in the corner is an antique Oriental chest atop a wooden base.  The TV is located inside here.  This door leads to the front porch that faces the lawn and the gravel driveway. 

 

image

Here you can see into the kitchen and living area.  All the space located past the bedroom door is new.  That is the space that was once the carport. 

 

image

I love the day bed with its tall sides.  It looks so inviting!  The outside fabric is a damask while the interior fabric is a solid.  The lamps has a cute slipcovered shade.

 

image

Dottie’s bedroom is located on the other side of the guest bedroom.  This was once the toolshed part of the original building.  It was converted into a bedroom several years ago.   The ceiling was raised to the rafters.  Outside the door is the front porch which faces the lawn and gate.  The walls and ceilings are beadboard, the floor is wall to wall seagrass.  The color of the room is a soft nude/peach.

 

image

The bed and chairs are French.   Dottie loves Oriental accents and accessories.   The shades are also burlap, as in the guest room.

 

image

I think this chandelier is so gorgeous and I love its medallion. 

 

image

Dottie uses the French desk to put her make up on.   Through the door is the living area.  Again, everything past the door is new – it was added onto the two bedrooms just this past summer.

 

 

image

Just like in the guest room, Dottie’s room has its own French day bed, ready for a grandchild or an afternoon nap.  I love that highboy.  I think it’s gorgeous.

 

image

At the head of the daybed is a French armoire and a tiny French side table.

 

fleur8 

Did you know that there is a connection between the KW Ranch and the White House? 

Shannon’s father and Dottie’s husband,  J. Anthony Wills, was a respected and very talented portrait artist who painted many notables from CEOs to politicians to Presidents of the United States.

 

grand-stair-1975

If you have visited the White House and used the grand staircase, you have probably seen two of Shannon’s father’s portraits that are hanging there.

 

image

J. Anthony Wills’ portrait of  Dwight D. Eisenhower is part of the White House permanent art collection.  Notice his hands – they are so lifelike,  just incredible.  Wills was in total charge of the sitting, from choosing the backdrop and posing position, to even helping his subjects pick out their clothes for their portrait. 

 

image

Besides Eisenhower, Wills’ portrait of Richard M. Nixon also hangs in the White House. 

 

image

Here’s a photo of the young artist on the left – J. Anthony Wills – taken in 1945.  He had painted this portrait of Charles W. Nash – founder of  Nash cars.  You might be too young to know about Nash cars!

 

image

Prints of Shannon’s father’s four most famous portraits hang in the red library of the main  house on the KW Ranch.

 

026

Also hanging in the library is this portrait of Shannon – her father painted her and her sister Anthea as a surprise for their mother.  Who would have known looking at this young innocent teenager wearing three thin bracelets – that one day she would own hundreds more bracelets that she stored in a Mexican themed closet????

I’ll bet she still owns these three bracelets and ring.

Just kidding!!!  No more comments about the closet, please!!!!

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing the guest casita at the Webbs.  As of right now, it’s not a B&B, but I bet one day Shannon will decide to become an innkeeper and open its doors.  It’s so close to Round Top, it would make a perfect place to stay while antiquing at the fair.

 

 

image

Pancho says adios from the KW Ranch.