12 April 2012

DEAR MISS COTE DE TEXAS…

 

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I get a lot of emails from readers asking questions, so I’m starting a new series called “Dear Miss Cote de Texas.”    No promises, but if I get some questions that I feel others can benefit from the answer, I will post them.  Anonymously, of course. 

 

So, today, our first Reader Question asks:

Thanks to your blog, I've been keeping myself quite happy until now. This most recent blog on Pamela Pierce really got to me. I utterly hate my house now.  I have two large love seats.   Everything is custom. The fabric is also on the window in the kitchen and it's a print. It's got a reddish color in it and one wall in there is that reddish color. I hate it. I NEVER should have done that. It has to go NOW! I want everything light. What am I going to do? Where do I begin? The walls? The slipcovers? The skirt for the dining room table? I have to find a fabric.   I'm not in a great financial position. I'm not working.  I retired early because of a disability.  I never planned to stop working in my 50's! I also never expected to be looking at beautiful pictures of Southern homes the way I do. Who knew? Let me know what you think. Here's what I think:


All I want to do is fix this house. It is making me miserable. I know you understand but I'm sure you never would have been in this situation because your house is so gorgeous (snort!!!) I used to love my bedroom but now I'm sick of that too. Everything needs to be changed.   My bedroom set is beautiful but I'm so tired of it.


If you can, please tell me anything you can that might give me a starting point, like a nice color to paint or what kind of linen would be good for slip covers or how much fabric might I need for two love seats (the basic type) with two cushions on the seat and two cushions on the back and rolled arms, very comfortable by the way. They are perfect for slip covers. I wish you were available as a consulting decorator. That's not possible, is it? How much do you charge? Talk about a dream come true .... I cannot wait to make the change. Thank you, Joni, for enriching my life in the way that you have.

 

OK, so I didn’t REALLY need to add how much I’ve enriched her life!!!  It actually sounds like I have driven her crazy.  And poor Pam Pierce – so many people love her work!!!   I can totally relate, I’m her biggest fan.  This reader’s email is one that I’ve received from quite a few readers, so I thought I might tackle her question first:  

What do you do when you have a house full of furniture and fabrics that you no longer like?   And especially, what do you do when you don’t have a big budget to work with?   The budget here is key.  If you are stuck in a houseful of reds and blues and yellows and you want a lighter, more up to date look – AND you have a large budget:  hire a decorator!   The decorator will steer you in the right direction.  He/she will  stop you from making costly errors.  The decorator will have more sources and more experience in dealing with total makeovers.  If you can afford a designer – you should go that route. 

If your budget doesn’t allow for a decorator, there are several steps you can take to turn your house from one with dated colors and fabrics to one with a new look that should take you into the next decade. 

 

Pamela Pierce Design, Photography by Peter Vitale

 

First, study pictures of what you like.  As simple as this sounds, and as often as it is repeated, it really is a good exercise.  Go on Pinterest and collect images of looks you like, rooms that appeal to you, and colors that move you.   Once you have amassed a collection of pictures – look at them together and try to ascertain a pattern.  Are the walls all gray or white?  Or are the walls painted a bright color or wallpapered?  This should get you started on what look you really want for your house.

 

Pam Pierce Designs

For this particular question, the reader is implying she definitely is interested in a lighter look.  She names Pam Pierce, so I’m assuming she likes the “Houston look” – linen slipcovers, seagrass, white walls, and Swedish and French antiques.  But how do you move from dark colors, reds and blues, to white - on a budget?

 

 

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How do you get from this look to this look without breaking the bank:

 

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Munger Interiors

The first thing I would do if I wanted to change everything, on a budget, is paint.  This way – you could live with what you have now, but the new, light walls would set the background for changes to come.  Paint over those red walls in the dining room, the dark taupe or brown walls in the family room.  Choose a warm gray as opposed to a blue gray, a warm white, or a light celadon or blue.   Do what Munger did here – paint the bookshelves a darker color to highlight your books.  I love the repetition of color and shapes in these bookshelves.   You could get a similar look by going to places like Home Source and Pier I – look for large, white items with interesting, but simple, shapes.

 

 

 

Here a few of my favorite Pratt and Lambert colors:

 

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China White

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Brevity

 

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Mirage Gray

 

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Feathered Gray

 

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With new paint, editing, and a sea of white slips with simple curtain panels, this room could be completely updated.

 

After the walls are painted – remove all accessories that bring out the wrong color.  Take away the red plates, books, and lacquered trays that went so well with the older décor.  Remove the smallest of the smalls.  Today’s look means bigger, yet fewer accessories laying about. 

 

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While most high end Houston designers use French olive jars, large and small, their price is out of the reach of many.

 

 

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Instead, substitute white ironstone in place of the antique olive jars.   Ironstone, vintage and antique, is very price friendly.  Buy a set of white ironstone plates to hang on the walls instead of paintings.  Try EBay for a great price.

 

 

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Ballard Designs has a collection of these four shapes by Suzanne Kasler. Two or four sets would fill out a double bookcase, when mixed with books.

 

 

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Once the walls are painted and the small and colorful accessories are removed, take down small and large oil paintings that don’t match the décor you are after.  It’s better to have blank walls than paintings that don’t quite seem right.   Try your hand at making herbariums, like these shown here, or search for a reasonable Louis Philippe antique mirror.   These mirrors are quite reasonable compared to other antique ones – and they look wonderful behind a sofa or atop a console.

 

 

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Ginger Barber Design

With the backdrop cleaned up and edited,  I would next replace the rugs you have with seagrass.   If the budget doesn’t allow for custom cut seagrass,  buy the largest one that will fit your room on the internet or through a catalogue.  Striped rugs are an alternative.   Consider layering a zebra or cowhide rug atop the seagrass.  Ikea has cowhides for extra cheap.  Or try buying a zebra rug on EBay.  I did – and it was a great price. 

 

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Ginger Barber Design 

Once your walls are painted, your accessories and paintings are edited, your seagrass is laid, start thinking about replacing the furniture.  Today’s reader says she has two custom love seats that are high quality that she wants to slipcover.  The problem with slipcovering is that it is NOT cheap!  First, your old fabric has to be removed and then the sofa is reupholstered in muslin, and THEN, the slipcover must be made.  You can always buy inexpensive linen to keep down costs, but if I were you – I would sell my sofas, and buy one or two sofas from Ikea in white.  You can later always buy a nicer slipcover for the sofa in Belgian linen from Bemz.   If your budget is not so limited, then think about remaking your sofas with new cushions and slipcovers.   You don’t have to have white slips – you can have linen colored slips made or even light blue or aqua.  

 

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My daughter’s first college apartment – with her Ikea sofa.  She added the chair and the chaise and the ottoman.  All these pieces were around $1,000.  Amazing.  And they look great.  We added dark brown linen pillows from Restoration Hardware and a large sunburst mirror from Wisteria. 

 

 

 

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Now that you have white or linen colored sofas and chairs – think about your other furniture.  Cover a dated console with a slipcover, add several large accessories on top.  

 

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or use as a bar, as seen below. I found these pictures on www.Joyus.com.

 

 

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Dated end tables or coffee tables can be sold and baskets can be used in their place.

 

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Shop at stores like World Market for a rare bargain, like this cute chaise for $449.

 

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Or this coffee table, a copy of a popular design for only $199.00

 

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Martha Stewart has a Swedish line through Home Decorators.  These chairs are only $169.00.

 

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This darling chair from Home Decorators – is only $199.00. 

 

 

 

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Add a light fixture at some point during the redecorating.  After discontinuing their great lantern, Pottery Barn just introduced this new, wonderful one – for just $399.  The size is nice and big enough for a family room.  Beautiful.

 

 

 

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Cynthia Davis Design

Don’t forget about the Kooboo chairs, which are a great way to add texture to a room.   I’d rather have a few Kooboo chairs in a room than an outdated chair with bad upholstery.   Buy a round table with a skirt from Ballard Designs.  This would be much cheaper than replacing it with a new table.  The bad news though is World Market and Pottery Barn are no longer selling the Kooboo chairs.  Why?  So stupid.  I know World Market was selling them like crazy.   They are still available from wholesale companies and on the internet.  If you find a source, let us know.  Hopefully World  Market will refresh their supplies for the summer??

 

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Consider this settee, only $449 from World Market, instead of chairs around a dining table.  Or this would be great as accent seating in the family room or entry hall.

 

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Ballard skirted tables come in all sizes and there are a myriad of fabrics, including ikats and burlaps.   This is a great alternative for the dining room, especially if your table is dated.

 

 

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Consider painting Grandma’s dining room furniture.  I painted this reddish brown suite of furniture for a client and it came out beautifully.  It’s worth painting rather than replacing especially if your furniture is well made.  Shop around – some tradesman will repaint furniture for next to nothing. 

 

Finally, these steps, taken one by one, as budget permits, should bring your room up to date, and within budget.  I think if you make the changes in the order I listed, the changes will be subtle, yet effective.  By the time you get the slips on your sofa, you should be well on your way.    Hope this helps answer your question!!

 

If you have a question for Cote de Texas, consider asking it.   If I can answer it – you might see your answer here.  

 

248 comments:

  1. Joni,

    The cavalier and mindless way you refer to and use "cowhides" and "zebra skins" makes me a bit ill. Yes, absolutely, the beautiful design God/Nature imprinted on the skin of a zebra is exquisite. Does that mean the precious zebra's life should be taken so you can have its hide as a rug?

    I know that in our culture we are accustomed to using leather for a myriad of purposes but, for some reason, this is stomach-turning to me.

    Personally, I attempt to minimize my use of animal products and especially those items that depend upon the death and/or slavery of the animal.

    I am no purist so I don't mean to preach but I have long found the numerous references on your blog to zebra skins and cow hides to be horribly offensive.

    I hope you and others will become more sensitive to the implications of using such products in design and look to more life-enhancing products in the future.

    Please don't just "react" to what I write. Please think about it first. I don't mean to offend you or anyone else but I have to admit that I am offended. We can do better than this, can't we?

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    1. To Francene,
      I understand your feelings. I too love the look of skin rugs and I understand Joni point of view esthetically speaking but I cannot bring myself to use them in my house because of my love for animals.I do use Joni other suggestion and copy her design without shame.
      She has a great eye and great style.

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    2. Hi Francene,

      I understand your feelings too as I'm an animal lover as well but the “cowhides” and “zebra” rugs sold at a place like Ikea aren’t the real thing, they’re manmade. The real thing costs a hundred times more so for the look you get a great FAKE product at a lower cost and nothing harmed. I hope that helps.

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    3. Hi Francene, I too am sickened by the use of animal hides, there are so many good fake ones available theses days, there really is no point having the real ones.

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    4. Francene, Cavalier and mindless are hardly words that describe Miss Webb. It takes a lot of gall to post a comment like this on someone's website. You apparently know nothing of Miss Webb's love of dogs and work at shelters in Texas. I really don't know who you think you are.

      You're obviously a great hypocrite. Are you a vegan, Francene? Before you answer, I mean a TRUE vegan, because unless you are, you are just as guilty as anyone who may choose to have an animal rug in their home or in a picture. You are vial.

      Do you wear leather shoes? Do you eat honey? What is your home furnishing made of? What about your clothing or your lawn food? All of these things come from animal products so you are using products that come from the killing of animals, even by eating HONEY!!!! HYPOCRITE!!!!

      Don't you ever come here again until you publicly apologize to Miss Webb for your disgusting and insulting and out-of-place remarks. Miss Webb so generously took time out of her very busy schedule to give us help we all so desperately wanted and free of charge I might add. This was so nice of her. She painstakingly went through step-by-step a total room renovation after receiving that e-mail from that woman who retired early from a disability. Poor sole, Miss Webb is so empathetic. But you had to come on here and denigrate her! Step up to the plate and apologize.

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    5. Take a deep breath, PiePie-89.

      There ya go. Breathing again? I hope so.

      In the United States of America, it's actually okay for people to disagree. Especially when they do so as respectfully as I did. I'm a great fan of Joni's and that doesn't mean I have to adore her every choice or opinion.

      Joni is strong enough to deal with disagreement. And open-minded enough, I suspect, to learn from others. Just as I have learned from her.

      What is shameful is for someone, such as you, PiePie, to call names and make baseless accusations. How sad. For you, especially, but for all of us.

      For me to ask that others be more mindful is neither hypocritical nor disrespectful. I ask it of myself every day. I would ask it of you but I might find myself very disappointed, I think.

      I too love dogs. But I also love cows and sheep and rabbits and zebras. Yes, I do. And I'm not one of those folks who espouses the "I love animals; they taste great" philosophy. No.

      And, no, I am not "vial". Did you mean vile? I'm not vile either.

      Poor sole? As in shoes? Did you mean "Poor soul"? Oh, dear, PiePie.

      Joni isn't looking for our pity, PiePie. She really isn't.

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    6. a day late, I'm afraid! I was busy today and didn't think there would be a lot of comments here - so wrong I see!
      I must say this - I do think a lot of us might be immune to what zebra rugs and cowhide rugs really are. When I think about it - well, it isn't a pleasant thought. I tend to put my head in the sand about things like this. I mean - I wear leather shoes, eat hamburgers, eat bacon (which at one point i SWORE I would never do again!) - one thing = i quit eating veal about 30 years ago. I don't wear fur. But, I do have a cowhide and a zebra rug in my house - guilty as charged. You do have a valid point. Maybe one day I will be as against these rugs as I am about veal. touchy subject for sure. Can't think of how to justify it.

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    7. Thank you, Joni, for your honesty. I think that particular quality is one of the essential characteristics that so attracts many of us to you. And your blog.

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  2. Wow! That was a great post! Thanks for taking the time to do this. I'll be using this post while I'm re-doing my living room.

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    1. i would say do not sell the quality sofas. i doubt you would get what they are worth. have them slipcovered. i have done so many times. the old fabric does NOT have to be taken off. Slipcovers, if done proberly, will look like upholstery.

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  3. Joni,
    I am sending this to my daughter, who while not exactly in the same situation, would love advice on how to begin decorating her first her home. As usual, you have great insights and sources.
    Keep these answers coming! You are the best.

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  4. This is a great post. I think it is helpful to almost everyone---limited budget or not. Thank you!

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  5. Joni, I do believe you literally read my mind! Truly! I had planned to send you my first email, suggesting a new series in which you answered readers questions! Imagine my delight and surprise to find this new post! Now I just have to figure out which of my MANY questions to send you! I do believe this will be a popular series!

    Loved the first question and your detailed reply.

    Jennifer

    p.s. Just something to consider . . . I am having an older, lovely chair reupholstered in a creamy white fabric and was surprised to find a man who reupholsters for a reasonable price (and has decades of experience.) Depending on where the reader lives, it is worth looking into.

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    1. yes! there are always people who do work for less than usual. sometimes a client will tell me about someone whom i have never heard of.

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    2. I've found that where I live, quality reupholstery is much less expensive than quality slipcovers. It needs less fabric too! I still love my slipcovers though...

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  6. Great post. I felt the same way 2 years ago when I was force into retirement with too much time, too little money, and out dated walls that I hadn't had much time to look at for many years. Your blog really helped inspire me and taught me a lot about figuring what what I loved abut a room. I agree with you about the impact that paint can make, not only on walls, but on furniture too. There are great tutorials out there on making slip covers, simple drapes and pillows--I did my dining chairs first by sewing with painter's drop cloths from Home Depot. Believe me, I am not a DIY person, put so many creative people are doing things in their blogs, I figured that I might as well try. Even moving things around and clearing out the clutter made my home look so much better, and people bought lots of that clutter!

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  7. Joni - Great post! Two questions: 1) I'm building a new house. What is the order of choices? Is it basically the same as the re-do you describe here (without the editing)? and 2) Said new house is not in the town I live in. Nor a town where I know anyone for a referral of a decorator. I haven't found that great decorating blog that Houston has in you. I'm not finding any show homes on line. Where would I find a decorator and how would I know our styles are simpatico?

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    1. well, your paint and flooring choices would be first of course. then you could always move in with what you have and see how the furniture fits in the space. unless, of course, you can read a floor plan and lay out furniture to scale. otherwise you would have to wait to move in. i would get the furniture first - the big pieces like one sofa, two chairs, one accent chair, then add tables - coffee table, end tables, console - as needed. then, i would add the rug. next the wall decor and last the accessories.

      you can always contact the asid in your state for referrals. ask to see their portfolio first. google your state, hometown, interior designer and see what pops up.

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  8. I love this post: practical and simple techniques, yet elegant and stylish!

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  9. Very good information Joni, as usual. Your blog is just precious and your information on point for a timeless space.

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  10. Joni, This is such a wonderful post. There is no other decorating blog in my personal opinion better than yours. Your blogs come from the heart and I do think that you try very hard to help us all whether we are poor or rich. I believe you try and treat us like we are all equal people. I love your honesty, and at times I get a chuckle while reading your blog. I have also driven by certain houses numbers of times, because I love something about the house, that I want to print in my memory and when my husband slows down, I say to him, don't drive so slow as the owner might see us looking and get suspicious of us. One question, I have a Charleston Reproduction Chandelier I bought in early 90's that has a stained wood center and the brass sweeping arms that have crimped brass tins that is electrified. It looks simulair to the chandeliers that are painted and so popular and pricy now. This chandelier is in storage and I would be so pleased if I could transform it. I don't know how difficult changing out the candle cups would be. I bet there are lots of people out there who have these Colonial ones. I have searched for wooden candle cups that look like the present day ones but cant find them. Do you know of a source for the wood candle cups like on your sconces in your dining room. I love being creative, but at times my ideas are frustrating when I can't make it work. Thanks, Judy

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    1. yes! the charleston chandelier DOES resemble the ones so popular today from Italy. any lamp repair place that works with chandeliers should have the wooden cups. you might try calling Alcon in Houston. They have a lot of different merchandise. if not, look for a chandy repair shop in your town and talk with them.

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  11. Joni, great post as always. The only thing I want to say to your reader with the question is that I had to stop reading so many design blogs, because it was making me feel discontented with my home. Even rooms that I had recently redone, suddenly I wanted to do them again. I realized that the pretty pictures on the blogs, and the talent of very creative people making it sound so easy was causing me to feel like I had to have that, too. And yes, I'd love a Pam Pierce house as well, but I once again love my home just as it is. There's always room for continued improvements and it's fun to do, but when the budget is limited, it's better for me to stop reading the blogs rather than redo the living room.

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    1. You have chosen a good name, getgrounded. The problem with so many design blog readers is that they are not. While the look most often touted on this blog may look good in some homes, the author continuously editorializes that reds, yellows, blues are passe' and only grey and white are in. If that we true, the showrooms of the fabric manufacturers at the design centers of New York, Atlanta, L.A., etc. would be bare but for grey and white. If you ever have the privilege of shopping with a decorator, you will see for yourself that color is in except on this blog. Let your design magazines be your guide along with your instinct and the region of the country where you live. The letter writer honestly should be embarrassed at the quality of writing and the sense of desperation the letter exudes. We all love to update and change, but we should do it for ourselves, not to be in lock step with a Texas design blog. Pathetic.

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    2. I agree with both of you wholeheartedly. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to refresh your home, or improve upon what you have, but I do think it's wrong that people's homes are making them miserable!!! I thoroughly enjoy looking at design blogs and magazines (this beautiful blog included), but I think there's something a little off in our lives if we are consumed and obsessed with our homes. Our homes are for us to enjoy, not to be a slave to. Maybe the woman who wrote in to Joni should take a step back and find something else to do with her time like volunteering somewhere. It's interesting how re-directing our focus can sometimes make us appreciate what we have a little more.

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    3. Holy Cow! ...and I'm not talking about the rugs. I can't believe how unbelievably rude you, Anonymous Apr 13, 2012 04:28AM are. If you dislike Joni's design aesthetic and the pale Houston style palettes championed in this blog…don’t read it. I am a person who is drawn to strong, bold design and colour palettes but have noooooooo…trouble appreciating the soothing, exquisitely executed rooms that are to be found in this blog. Equally exquisite are Joni’s expert analysis of the projects she posts and her chatty, girlfriend-friendly running commentary. I feel like I’m pouring over a magazine with her in her own home; that’s the kind of gracious host she is. And you just stomped all over her generosity, her love of design that she communicates so well to us and her time in addressing a distraught reader’s very real need for help in an environment that she is forced to sit in, day in day out. Kudos to you Joni, for having the fortitude to tackle such a challenging question.
      And as for Anonymous Apr 13, 2012 07:43AM, although it is without question that we would all benefit from more philanthropic work (God knows our world needs it), it’s condescending of you to make assumptions on the reader; how she should spend her time and what would be best for her. Both of you “Anonies” should get over it...it’s a DESIGN blog with a very specific design aesthetic and Joni was asked for her DESIGN expertise...not to counsel people on how to better spend their time.
      And one day if you find yourselves sitting in a room that brings you no joy and have no money to remedy the situation, you can ask Joni for help.

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    4. Well, this IS a problem, I know. It's MY blog, so I tend to show design that I like - I know that isn't everyone's taste. For instance - my sister has a beautiful house - which I showed a few years ago and her colors are rusts, blues, mustards, - certainly not grays!! and I love her house. I do find that most of the readers seem to like the lighter look. for those who like the newer bright colors - they would probably read the blogs written by younger girls or tobi fairley - who champions the brighter look. Still, I don't go on Tobi's blog and tell her I don't bright colors and how boring her blog is because she only shows bright colors and greens and reds and oranges, etc.. That's HER style. One isn't better than the other. Personally, I have found that most people reading my blog like a more muted color scheme.

      and yes, there are other more important things to dwell on than design. I get that. I'm sure there are 1,000s of blogs that talk about that subject.

      Get Grounded - it probably is best if you take a break from design blogging if it is making you feel upset about your life. I know that your recently updated your house and did a great job with it (I showed it here on the blog) - so, I'm sure you don't want to change anything. a lot of people who do read blogs are thinking about change and want ideas or they just like looking at pretty house or diy ideas. I feel bad that you are feeling the way that you do. I hope i'm not the cause of it!!!!

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    5. I stand by my post that the writer who may be having all of the angst enumerated in her letter to you, should also be embarrassed that she allowed it to be published. I like design as much as anyone, but I try to see beyond my four walls to realize there are greater problems in the world than achieving someone's "look". This person is not a young adult just starting out and suffering from information overload. She is middle aged and presumably with enough life experience to have thought out the letter and written it without the emotional content which was embarrassing to read. She may be pulling her hair out over design decisions, but does she really want the scene to play out on the internet? With respect to color, I think there are great designers who use it effectively. Perhaps, design is easier for you when you use only a two color palate rather than thinking about how colors play against each other and ways in which texture affects them. As to Tobi, her fabrics are fresh and lovely, but also not the look one fills their home with unless it is to achieve a coastal or cottage look. The advice you gave the reader was all good provided she can now execute it. I am sure you receive all kinds of letters, but should you receive any that you want to publish and give advice to, I would strongly recommend that you edit them down to questions if the reader/writer seems to have no filter of their own.

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    6. Joni, I didn't indicate that I was currently unhappy with my home. And I dislike that anon jumped on my comments and took it in a direction that I didn't intend nor say. I was trying to diplomatically say that your reader MIGHT be feeling so unhappy with her home because she has read too many blogs showing too many pretty pictures. It can become a source of discontent for many, not just me. It's something that's been discussed in the blogosphere. As I said, I'm very contented with my home and I no longer read a lot of design blogs. I do, however, read yours and love it. It upset me that anons put in their two cents worth, making it seem like your guidance was wrong. Your guidance was exactly what she asked for and you kindly gave her. I'm not upset about my life, Joni, but thanks for caring.

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    7. getgroundedApr 12, 2012 10:05 PM

      Joni, great post as always. The only thing I want to say to your reader with the question is that I had to stop reading so many design blogs, because it was making me feel discontented with my home. Even rooms that I had recently redone, suddenly I wanted to do them again. I realized that the pretty pictures on the blogs, and the talent of very creative people making it sound so easy was causing me to feel like I had to have that, too

      Your words, not mine. I made my own comment. I wasn't attempting to redirect yours or explain yours. Some of you women here really need counseling. "Thanks for caring" . . . is this some kind of housewives support group?

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  12. Fantastic post... I learned so much!! Loved all the photos and ideas... BUT, I disagree with one point. Is it okay to tell you without sounding negative?

    Yes slip covers are expensive but to trade out a quality sofa you may have (that can be updated) for an Ikea couch?

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more, AntiqueChase! If the writer truly loves the style and comfort of her old sofa, she should NOT trade it for an Ikea sofa! She should keep it in its current form and perhaps update it a bit with several neutral pillows and a throw until she can afford to have it reupholstered in a colour/fabric more closely suited to her new style.

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    2. I agree in principle, but listen. for two love seats, to buy fabric and pay for upholstering then slipcovering, it could cost her $2000. Just saying that if you really want the look of a slipcovered sofa and are on a tight budget - consider buying a new sofa rather than redoing an old one. people think slipcovering is cheaper - and it's not. unless you can sew it yourself. the budget was the driving force behind this.

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  13. *** WOW, Joni! How WONDERFUL of you to take so much of your valuable time, energy, thought & experience to reeeally THINK about the question asked, AND to provide such delightful, sensible, easy-to-understand n' follow "solutions" for not only the reader who asked the questions, but for those who may have similar ones...

    Yep!!! Definitely a WONNNNDERFUL "10" on today's blog, my friend!!! Many thanks too, as I am also in the process of "lightening up" (altho nothing's really "dark", buuuuut... there's ALWAYS room for improvement to ensure a "happy woman"!!!)...

    In our house, as in so many, it's "Ain't MAMA happy, ain't NOBODY happy", for sure... BUUUUT, W*E always jokingly add "And ain't PAPA happy, NOBODY CARES"!!! (Ya just HAFTA have/keep a sense of humor about it all, right?!?!?!?)...

    Thanks again and warmest wishes,
    Linda in AZ *
    bellesmom1234@comcast.net

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  14. Thansk for this post!! Wonderful!! I love those pics!! :)

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  15. Should I get rid of my $25,000.00 Persian rug and get seagrass to be trendy?

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    Replies
    1. I don't think anyone is suggesting that one get rid of an expensive, and I'm sure very beautiful, Persian rug!

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    2. No, you shouldn't get rid of it to be trendy - but you should get rid of it if the look no longer suits you and you really want seagrass. I don't think one should live indefinitely with a look that no longer reflects them or makes them happy just because they spent a lot of money on it at some point in the past; a lot of people would never, ever change their home decor if that was the case. A rug can be rolled up, stored and re-used in the future if your taste changes again...

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    3. @ Donna - 25k rug? WHOA!!! I decorated my entire house w/10k!! You must have a BEAUTIFUL home!

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    4. very funny. I once had a client who wanted seagrass but her husband didn't. instead she bought two VERY expensive rugs (light colored) for her living and dining room. still, she really wanted seagrass. a year later, she bought the seagrass and layered her two rugs over it. truthfully, she could have saved a ton a money if she had just gone with the seagrass. some people just LIKE that look. you can't explain it. if iyou love your PErsian rugs then use them, of course. In that house that I showed by Ginger - in the living room, they used a red rug - with all the light slipcovers. You can mix white with Persian rugs, if you want. Remember - I was addressing this ONE question. The reader WANTED a lighter look.

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  16. Fantastic post....one that I think will apply to many wanting to update or freshup up a home which they feel is tired. It is SO important to walk into and out of a home everyday that you love and really think of as your personal sanctuary. Great job!

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  17. Great tips for most of us that read your blog or just want to add a few updates to any room. Thank you!

    About 3 years ago, we went from the darker "reds" to a cool, lighter palette. I followed most of the advice you just gave. However, I found that after the first 3 - 4 steps, I generally had the look I was seeking. My other pieces seemed to work or were good enough : )

    I am the type that once I decide the look is over, I will really get rid of it. I'd rather have nothing, than the wrong thing. That may mean, like you said, empty walls etc.

    May I suggest selling your items. I had a garage sale and guess what? People wanted my old stuff. Now that I had made money, I could begin the process. Spend. Also, for me, craigslist and thrift shops became regular places to visit.

    Slow, but steady. I have found that when my budget is limited, I tend to make better choices and not just purchase a bunch of "littles" Also, like you mentioned.

    Thanks again for this article. You are going to have a steady stream of letters and Dear Miss is going to really take off. Congrats in advance!

    Dee

    Dee

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  18. ...what a wonderful wonderful post...we would expect no less from our "miss cote de texas"!

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  19. I love this post Joni! But also to keep things fresh in your home I have a suggestion..move things around so they look fresh. Once a year I take everything off the walls and down from bookcases and place them all in one room. Then when I start hanging things again I move them to a new room or location. Not only will this give the room a new look but you'll be seeing your treasures with a new eye. Wonderful post as always.

    XX
    Debra~

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  20. Joni, if you want to give your online client some sage advice, why not be honest and post up to date pictures of rooms using color rather than download some 1960s photographs for effect. Why not download pictures of rooms done by Charlotte Moss, Bunny Williams, Miles Redd, and a host of other nationally recognized designers or design firm that are up to date. That way, your online client has a more accurate perspective of the look she wants to achieve.

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    Replies
    1. You are so rude! I'm sure the reader isn't a total idiot, if she wanted to look at those kind of pictures, she could find another blog! She was able to find Joni's! Why don't you just not read Cote de Texas if you think it is so bad!

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    2. Look at the pictures of the living room with the red sofa and the chairs with cabbage rose fabric. Has anyone seen this look since the 1960s? Seriously, to be honest with your readers show up to date photographs. Show rooms with higher than 8 foot ceilings. Naturally, your readers will have an aversion to something so obviously out dated. Color is not dated, it's just a choice. If this is the only blog the letter writer reads, she may not know this. From the sound of the desperate letter published here, I doubt she can find her way around the blogs.

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  21. Wonderful post! But is slipcovering really that expensive? There's a guy in my area who will make a sofa slipcover for $300 plus cost of fabric. He doesn't strip down the original upholstery and his slipcovers look great. Just another option!

    Also, what paint color did you use to paint grandmas dining furniture? Thx!

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    Replies
    1. Leena, where are you located? I would pay $300 for a slipcover in a heartbeat!

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    2. 300 is very cheap, but i would never slipcover a sofa without taking off the original fabric first. unless, maybe it was a white cotton or cream cotton? everytime i see that done, it never looks right.

      ok - my refinisher did the paint color himself mixing it up. not sure what he used? sorry!!!!

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    3. I'm in the Orlando area :)

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    4. Leena, I'm in the Orlando area too! What's the name of your slipcover guy? I have a den full of furniture that I would love to have slipcovered.
      Rebekah

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  22. I have to agree with Francene's comments on the flippant way people use zebra or cow hide rugs. If more people knew what went into the whole process of obtaining the skins from these animals, they would be abhorred. You being an animal lover, Joni, I am always surprised when I hear you recommend using these for design. There are so many great faux animal skin rugs out there that look terrific and are a great option. Please check into these and maybe recommend these instead?
    Also, there are some good online slipcover stores that I have used for very good prices. I have found that to be cheaper than buying new furniture. Of course you have to do the measuring of the piece, but it is still well worth it. Something to check into.
    Otherwise, great post & terrific ideas, Joni!
    Kat

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    1. The cows are not dying in vain, people are eating them. Don't you think it is prudent to use the skins as well rather than sending them to the trash heap? Are you a vegetarian?

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  23. Joni,
    Gorgeous idea about this new series!!!
    Happy weekend!
    xx
    Greet

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  24. This is a fabulous post and helpful to everyone, on a budget or not. I've become a Pinterest fan and have amassed a nice collections of kitchens and dining rooms that I love. After reading your post, I'm anxious to see what the rooms have in common. You've given us excellent advice and I'm saving this for future use.

    We've remodeled dozens of houses over the years and recently redone a 27 year old Florida condo that was in very sad shape. I like to study catalogs and stores such as Pottery Barn and then look for substitutes with lower prices. PB has a fabulous Mexican vase with a heavy bottom that makes a wonderful vase for fresh flowers or shells. I found a candle holder at a quarter of the price at a big box retailer that makes a great substitute. My inexpensive substitute doesn't have as thick a base and the glass isn't as pretty, but from a glance no one knows the difference.

    Again, many thanks for this and I hope it will become a regular event. We all need help and you're the one I would choose to consult because we all trust your taste.
    Sam

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  25. This has been my favorite post so far! My frustration is finding the candlesticks, urns, lamps and small items that finish a room. When you live in small towns it is hard to go for a day to Dallas or Houston and know what stores to purchase these items. Online, I am afraid the quality will not be as it appears. Any suggestions? Thanks for the post! Linda

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    Replies
    1. if you buy online- save the wrapping and ship it back if you aren't happy. ive had to do that recently with a client over lamps. we keep sending them back. i buy a lot online - from ebay and 1st dibs. also, a lot of bloggers sell items from their house. do you go to round top? that's a GREAT place to find finishing touches for the house! try that!!!! I also look at Ruby Lane online for antiques to finish a room. your only alternative may be to buy online and then return the item if unsatisfied.

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  26. Thanks for the nice post. I really like the suggestion to use bigger accessories and cut the small ones. The good thing about the monochromatic scheme is it will be so easy to re-encorporate prints when people tire of the solids. I am crazy about prints and color. I see how pretty the more subtle rooms are but I could not live with those. I think others will tire quickly of the solids as well.

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  27. Joni,

    This post was just the thing I was wishing you would do! I devoured every word! A real sensible game plan and such great advice! I look forward to your posts and appreciate the time and energy you put into them. You will be getting a decorating question from me soon :)

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  28. Joni, you made some excellent suggestions to get things going. Often just painting and decluttering go a long way toward achieving the look my clients are after, without making expensive changes. And sometimes just switching the floral drapes for plain linen works wonders.
    One thing I would NEVER do, though, is suggest a client sell a custom sofa or love seat and replace it with an IKEA one! Especially if she is happy with the comfort and style, as this person is. We would set a plan, simplify the throw pillows, etc... Then slipcover as money allowed. I think unless one is, as you were, furnishing a young adult's first apartment, I would always recommend buying good quality upholstery first and saving money on the case goods and accessories.
    If a client really hates the sofa she has, we look for replacements at the upscale consignment shops, and have those either reupholstered or slip covered. I found my own sofa for $100 at an estate sale, and while I'm perfectly happy with it now, eventually plan to slipcover when I totally redo that room.

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    1. it was just a suggestion if budget is the main concern. and i do stand by it. sometimes you just want the look but can't afford it. she could always put the love seats in the garage or attic until she could afford to recover them later. $399 is the price of an expensive meal for a family at a restaurant. instead you could have the look you want but cant afford.

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  29. What a generous thing you've done for the reader. I'm sure there are many who can relate to her situation, who hasn't wanted to burn their house down after seeing some of the beautiful images on Pinterest. Loved the post and look forward to reading more answers to readers' questions.

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  30. Another suggestion to someone on a budget is to sew their own drapes. It is easy. Directions can be found on the internet and that custom full look at the right length can be had without the custom price.

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  31. QUESTION: I desparately need a replacement recliner for the leather mushroom recliner in our den. Our move to a new home means I can no longer hide my husbands napping spot in the back of the house (out of sight). I have shopped locally in Houston, but all the tailored recliners are not tall enough in the back when you recline to support your head! This ugly thing has to go! I would appreciate any resources you could give and it doesn't have to be leather. Any chance of getting a post on the Ginger Barber designed home on Sunset Bld.?? LOVED IT!

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    Replies
    1. Have you considered changing the colour of the chair? There are leather colour products you can use which are inexpensive, and would make a huge difference.

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    2. i HEAR you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My parents had the same exact same problem. my dad loves a recliner and they had these awful contemporary ones that were sooo ugly. but all the cute recliners had a short back. we bought two caramel leather ones from baker, that had tall backs but they weren't great. recently i DID come across a recliner that had a tall back and was sorry they didn't make it then. now, I can't for the life of me remember who made it. let me think for a minute to see if it comes back to me!!!

      ok Ballard has a decent one that is really tall. but i just can't remember if this is the one i saw!! I'll try to remember if it comes to me, i'll let you know.

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  32. I agree with so many of the others who have commented....this is a wonderful post! It is so helpful to know where to begin in the process of lightening and updating my home! Thank you! I do have a question for you! My wall to wall carpeting is a dark olive which was lovely with my reds and golds, but without the budget to rep,ace it with the wood I am longing for, would you recommend putting seagrass over the existing flooring? Thanks for all the wonderful ideas you share with us!

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    Replies
    1. over the carpet? no! but i would consider laying seagrass wall to wall instead of wood - in a heartbeat. it looks fabulous and is so inexpensive. do it!!

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  33. This will be a fantastic series added to your blog!

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  34. Joni, you're great. You have always answered my questions about decorating with patience and inspiration. I'm so glad you're starting this column. I'm glad your last comment was about PAINT! As a upcoming senior living on a budget I've known about the miracle of paint, paint, paint! I painted my dining room table and chairs and then splurged on gorgeous fabric to reupholster the seats. Everyone though I had bought a new expensive set. Thank you for your support throughout the years. I love your blog.

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  35. Thanks for such a great post. I am definitely saving it. You obviously put a ton of work into this, and it is much appreciated.

    What do you think about lining slipcovers for better coverage, instead of reupholstering the piece in muslin? I have done this to save $$$$. Also, it gives you the option of returning to the original (if you like it) on a seasonal basis.

    Ellen

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    1. I guess that is ok - if the original fabric is flat. is it really that much cheaper? i've always found that lined slips are only to be dry cleaned, not washed.

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    2. When is it okay (if at all) to layer a rug over carpet? I've always wondered... A friend gave me a very very large rug and I would like to layer it over the carpet in the master bedroom, under the bed... is this okay or a big NO? TY :)

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  36. Great ideas.Painting the old dining furniture intrigues me.Did you do this or have it done? I am not sure where to look for "tradesmen" to do this.Do you mean professional painters?

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    Replies
    1. google faux painters in your area. your painter could possibly do it too. ask around - talk to furniture refinishers. that's who does mine and he's really reasonable.

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    2. I have done both . . . painted furniture myself, and had it done professionally. I'm a good painter, but I have to say that I far prefer the work done by professionals! I've used both a painter and a refnisher for painting projects.

      Jennifer

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  37. Great post Joni, you are the goddess of this look!
    x
    Maria

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  38. This is SO fun and helpful, Joni. I agree that it would be wonderful for you to have a Dear Miss Cotedetexas series. Thank you for sharing your expertise and time. Cotedetexas is my favorite!!

    Julie in Fort Worth

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  39. A few thoughts:
    1) Regarding the use of hides in decorating: I am not a vegetarian. I eat beef. Until the day I am willing to give that up, I have to accept that cows are slaughtered for the food I eat. Should I then just think, hey, discard the hides of those beautiful animals - throw them out to rot? Or should I think, we kill these beautiful animals for our use, let's at least use every part of them we can. It's more respectful to try to utilize the entire animal, at least to me. I would not display a hide from any animal that was killed ONLY for it's hide, such as a zebra (well, I, at least, don't eat zebra meat!), nor do I wear fur. But until I am willing to give up beef, I feel it would be rather hypocritical of me to decry the use of the hide, which is an inevitable by-product of killing them for their meat.
    2) Several comments have criticized the post for "pushing" the use of only white and neutrals, and are protesting that colors are in, too; in the original question, the woman clearly stated that that was the look she wanted, and the post was merely responding to her directly on point. Was Joni to assume that the woman really doesn't know what she wants and try to talk her into something else?
    3) Tastes change, no doubt about it. Years ago, I was very traditional - floral fabrics, gold framed mirrors and paintings. Then I went more to the neutral/seagrass look; these days, I find myself shifting to a more casual, cottage-y feel - adding beadboard, some more color, cozy book-lined spaces. Somewhere, EVERY look is "in" for someone; there is no one "right" look - it's whatever reflects us as individuals and makes us feel happy in our home at a particular stage of our lives...

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  40. As always, an excellent post! If the reader wants to keep her high quality loveseats, another option is using a drop cloth fabric from the hardware store. It is stiff until you wash it. I made slipcovers for a sofa and a love seat for under $100. It covered dark mossy green-colored sofas, and the fabric is sturdy duck cloth.

    Sue

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  41. I loved this post, and I hope you continue with the Dear Miss Cote de Texas, it was so informative!

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  42. Charlotte DesFleursApril 13, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Hi Joni - as always, love your posts. Great suggestions for alternative, inexpensive sources for decorative items. Bellacor, Overstock and Home Decorators Collection are other good on-line resources. (Not suggesting that their products are top quality, but sometimes they can surprise you! Shipping and returns are usually free.)

    Your "Reader with a problem" did not mention where she lives or the quality of light her home receives. Both of those details are VERY important when choosing colors. Also, your Reader is clearly in emotional distress about being disabled AND suddenly retired. There is an old addage: "Act in haste, repent in leasure." It is very possible that her dissatisfaction with her decor is actually a dissatisfaction with the sudden changes in her life. The fact that she now hates red which apparently charmed her until recently suggests that she is very emotional right now. Red is the color of passion!

    May I suggest that she first remove all her red accessories, paint and curtains. If a chair or sofa is upholstered in a red color, remove it from the home. If it cannot be removed, drape it in white, ivory or another color from her room. At this point in time, because they are soothing colors, green or blue will be her best choices. The key is to make her rooms monochromatic and avoid contrasts. To help her get an idea of what REALLY bothers her, she can temporarily use simple bed sheets to cover the offending pieces.

    Once she has made those changes, she should go away for a weekend or longer, perhaps visit a friend or relative just to get out of her home for a while. When she comes back, she will be able to see if the changes I have suggested make a difference.

    If she lives in Southern California, I will be happy to come over and help her with "pro bono" decorating assistance.

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    Replies
    1. This is exactly what I would have suggested as well. Perhaps it is the desperation in the reader's letter that stands out more than her request for new design tips. Joni's tips are excellent, except for the IKEA sofa part - it's so easy to get non-structured slipcovers that would make do better than that sofa. And I love Joni's idea for Dear Miss Cote de Texas, because after all, many of us want a similar look. I think she just started off with the wrong reader question! Whenever I have inner turmoil, I start changing everything around me, not always making good choices. Suggesting a few temporary changes is a great idea until she gets her bearings again.

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    2. Good advice. Often we opt to assuage our disappointments and frustrations with change. We see this often after divorces when people immediately throw themselves into a new relationship hoping to heal their wounds. It works infrequently. When you begin to value and love yourself, you look at your surroundings through a different lens. It was very nice of the reader in So. Calif. to offer design help and the advice she has already given is perfect and buys the reader time to really get to know herself and what she really wants.

      We all like change. Our homes are just a larger replica of the playhouses we enjoyed as children. It does come a time, however, that one must define their "own" style and not be a slave to the design preferences of others.

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    3. After reading one of Maria Killam's posts titled "White Will Never Come Alive in a Dark Room" on her blog, Colour Me Happy, I think one should definitely consider how much light they get in the room before going with neutrals. I love that neutral look, but I have a darker home and it just looks blah with just neutrals. Also, those Pam Pierce homes have lots of architectural elements going for them as well, i.e. stone, great big wooden windows, etc. That also makes a huge difference in how good those rooms look when doing neutrals.

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    4. good comments - a little at a time - or maybe she might be depressed? her letter was much longer, but she seemed to know what she wanted. i did too - 8 years ago when i started my color change.

      you can go neutral with color imo. white slips and light blue wALLS or aqua walls or creamy walls, etc. - doesn't have to be white walls exactly.

      and yes, Pam's houses tend to be gorgeous empty too.

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  43. Wonderful decorating tips here Joni! I think I shall make a trip to IKEA and check out their sofas... you mention them often and I am in need of a more comfortable sofa to replace the gorgeous uncomfortable sofa I have now.. looks are one thing, but comfort for your guests are quite another....

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    1. Hi there, before you head to IKEA, I wanted to share my experience with the white slipcovered EKTORP sofa I owned. It is not comfortable enough and won't last as an everyday family room piece. The cushions are firm and on the thin side and the whole piece is light weight making it "feel cheap". The slips do look great and wash (and bleach) nicely, but this is not a piece that will last very long. I would only suggest it as a temporary solution, like for a teenager or college student. Or perhaps to stage a house for sale. I think you would be better off spending a little more for a slipcovered Pottery Barn sofa (or one made with hardwood and better foam) that can take more wear and tear and provide more comfort and longevity. And as Mrs.Howard suggested, use a thick cotton, not linen for slips. Great post, Joni. Love those striped dining chairs you found!

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    2. I, too, passed on the IKEA sofas. I'm a huge IKEA fan, but their upholstered pieces are not very comfortable, imo. When you sit down on them, they just feel "dead" - not springy or cushiony at all. I bought two Pottery Barn fin arm slipcovered sofas instead and love them to death. However, I quickly decided I had better go ahead and buy an extra set of slipcovers to have just in case - and guess what? That style of sofa had been discontinued, mere months after my purchases! So, word to the wise: buy extra cover sets right away if you want them...

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    3. I have cotton slips and linen slips. Both were prewashed and get put back on before going in the dryer, per Joni's suggestion. The linen looks and fits so much better--it has a little give to it, while the cotton has none. I'll never buy cotton slips for any large furniture again.

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    4. Mitchell Gold makes wonderful cotton slipcovers - they launder like a dream.

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    5. yes - put the linen on slightly damp and it can be ironed with your hand. i had cotton slips too and hated them. the linen gives a lot more. i find the ikea sofa comfortable. no, it won't last forever - but you could always get new cushions made. i stand by it - under $400? it's a steal = if you want the look but can't afford PB or Quatrine, etc.

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  44. Wow Joni, you are just full of helpful information. I am going to love this new Dear Miss Cote de Texas. You are a wealth of information for those of us so interested in furnishing our homes beautifully, but on a budget. Thank you once again for all the time you spend spreading your knowledge!

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  45. I love the idea of painting the furniture.Did you do this or have it sprayed? Do I look for professional painters to do this?

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    Replies
    1. a lot of people spray it. i think my guy paints it by hand. yes - ask your painter for sure or look for a refinisher in your area.

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  46. Joni Excellent post! I feel for your letter writer, as you know I have some serious health issues. I have to work full time, health insurance is important and it gets my mind off of ME, so does Volunteering. We are here for a reason.

    I say take it a bit at a time. Paint is the best 1st change that is least expensive. Then just take down window coverings that are outdated. Wherever she lives, there might be a designer like Charlotte who would help her put a plan together. By the way what is that paint color on the dining set.

    Oh and this is the season where moving, estate sale, etc begin!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  47. Bemz!!! Where have you been all my life? How have I never known about this company? And why didn't I think of it as my business idea? Thanks for the tip Joni!

    As you mentioned, custom slipcovering can be very expensive. For anyone looking to slipcover an existing non-ikea sofa on a budget, I had great luck with a $100 cream colored loose-fit slipcover from pottery barn to cover my husband's bachelor sofa with good lines but not so great pattern. While it will not look as tailored as a custom fit of course, it is a great relaxed look for a transitional piece.

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  48. I agree with those who compliment you on your generous nature and your wonderful ideas for the "Houston" look. I am concerned about the blog world turning decorating into a neutral so much the same landscape. I read your blog because I like your writing and your sass, but I am not throwing out my house filled with my family's antiques, or things that tell a story or tell my story. I second sentiments like Karena's and others that explore the idea that this woman needs to find her inner peace, to find ways to take her outside of herself and to focus on decorating her most precious interior—her mind—with self acceptance.

    Having said that, color and pattern relax me. All neutrals would bore the hell out of me. Trying to imitate someone else's style to make it my own would cripple my imagination. I cringe every time some one wants to take the "red" out of a room. Red is the color of life. It is my neutral. Which is why no one would me for decorating advice LOL!

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    Replies
    1. well, i teeter between the two looks. have you seen the latest Arch Digest? OMG. there is an English castle that is to die for and in fact, it's a fabulous issue. the houses are layered with antiques and possessions. i love that look. i would never go for minimalist. get the newest arch digest - you will drool.

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  49. While the letter writer says she finds the Pam Pierce look appealing, it might be more satisfying for her to spend time on Pinterest and hone her personal aesthetic rather than try to copy a designer. Also, bear in mind that every Pam Pierce interior is within the context of an architecturally significant space. Most of us do not have that luxury. Boxy and unremarkable spaces tend to need a rich looking neutral on the walls. Adding textiles and greenery also help. I have found numerous lanterns at my local Restore in 90's polished brass. Painting them black and adding edison bulbs is an easy and inexpensive way to get the lantern look. Looking at her space with a creative and joyful view towards making it HERS will ultimately be more gratifying than trying to copy someone else.

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  50. While not currently fashionable making things for the home for yourself, using a sewing machine to fabricate or alter slips, drapes, bedding, or pillows is very cost effective. Since I was taught as a child both machine sewing and fancy handwork by my grandmother I have made or customized many of the furnishings in my home at great cost savings while using the finest fabrics. I have taught my own daughter this skill as well as many friends and relatives. While not of the finest workroom quality my work is better than most simply from trial and error and effort. Buy a simple machine, take the dealers instructions, start small and the skill and confidence will come.

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  51. Joni~ Thank you so much for your step by step, thoughtful posts. I look forward to each and every one. Truly, my heart skips a beat when I see that you have posted. I like to think that my home, along with myself, is always a "work in progress". Not to be taken too seriously, but with joy and a little grace. I hope that you just bypass all of the critical comments ... it's not brain surgery, for heaven's sake! AND I am an animal lover, too!
    Jamie

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  52. What a grand idea, Joni! Most home owners I have met have a piece of grandmother's, mother's, aunt's or ect. furniture, they can not part with. Thank god we all have different taste! But try painting those different pieces the same color, or similar color + avoid IKEA sofa's, they may look good but are sooo uncomfortable and wear out easily. The IKEA sofa is great for teenager or college students however sofa or matching chair don't hold up very well. Great idea- visit a thrift shop or consignment shop to look for a sofa-then it can be slipcovered. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  53. Hi Joni,
    Love your bog!
    Question: I'm considering buying a 8 x 10 seagrass rug. Pottery Barn doesn't offer seagrass but they have sisal and jute. Which look is the closest to the seagrass rugs you use?
    Or, if I can afford it, what is it about seagrass that makes it preferable?
    Thanks!

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    1. They do still sell seagrass. It's called color bound seagrass rug. I bought this for my dining room and loved it until the dog messed on it. I'll probably buy the exact same rug from pottery barn again. My carpet cleaner said jute is even worse with stains.

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    2. Pottery Bard DOES have seagrass rugs--I was looking at them the other day and trying to decide what size I want to order.

      http://www.potterybarn.com/shop/rugs-windows/rugs-by-material/natural-fiber-rugs/

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    3. I wrote about this - http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2009/07/cote-de-texas-top-ten-design-elements-3.html
      sisal stains terribly. get the seagrass instead. Jute is pretty if you can't get seagrass. seagrass is a wonderful product - cheap and long wearing, stain resistant too.

      Delete
  54. Jodi,
    This recent post was so informative. I love, love your taste and the way you write is addicting...I want to read your blog all day.
    My question is this: what is the material you used for your dining room skirt? If I can recall, was it possibly taffeta?
    A very faithful reader,
    Christine

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    Replies
    1. yes, it was rogers and goffigon matte taffeta. a huge splurge.

      Delete
  55. Enjoyed reading your suggestions to this reader on a budget, but think you overlooked an obvious and enjoyable source of inexpensive decorative items and that is thrift shops. Even though one blog I read today referred to thrift shopping as a "sub-culture experience," almost making it sound as if it were a "sub-human experience," it is one of my favorite hobbies and relatively inexpensive although you can get carried away doing this as you can with any shopping. Thrift shops would be a wonderful place to look for the large, white vases and containers, for example, and many such shops have 50% off days as well as senior discounts. Half the fun is creating the look without the high price tag. Have fun!

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    1. Just check out Mr.Goodwill Hunting (http://www.rashoncarraway.com) if you doubt that great things can be found in thrift stores - he's amazing! You can see him on the Nate Berkus show on occasion... He found a sideboard for $100-$200 one time that Nate said was worth something like $15,000!

      Delete
    2. you're right. i should have mentioned it. i love to thrift too and i love to visit antique malls looking for alabaster grapes and lamps, silver, etc.

      Delete
  56. Dear Miss Cote de Texas...I love this series. Sometimes the comments are almost as entertaining as your posts (well, not really but you do get a lot of heated dialogue). I love your suggestions of paint and de-cluttering (trays help with that, too) and larger accent pieces. It's true that the whole design world is not doing all white/grey...but that is the look your reader is drawn to and must find soothing...and it IS an elegant, comfortable style.

    I'd like to hear your answers about painting the dining room furniture (I had some bedroom tables professionally sprayed off white) and finding the leather recliner replacement for that lady. Finally, thanks for all your comprehensive work on your posts...always a bright spot in my day to see you in my inbox.

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  57. Hi Joni from Ontario, Canada! Love your new series - great coaching tips as we can all learn from this post. Thank you for breaking it down into simple steps. NB

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  58. This is a wonderful post as usual. You are so generous to offer such practical steps. We all have the choice to follow all or none as we see fit! I'm going to try out my seagrass rug in place of my red oriental to see how I like it.

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  59. Joni -- How generous of you to share your knowledge and resources. I'm the type of person that gets a lot of peace and joy if my home is the way I like it. Nothing wrong with that. And it sounds as if your question person is feeling somewhat the same. Another resource I use is the Restoration Hardware Outlet Store. It's in Vacaville, CA, and I'm fortunate to live closeby. Their prices are great. And when the retail store has a sale, so do they. I think the greatest gift you gave this person was a plan -- a focus. I can't wait for more from Dear Miss Cote de Texas!! I know I'll be asking some questions, too!

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  60. Joni, great post, as usual.

    Find inner peace first, decorate second does not always work well for people who are attuned to their environment and surroundings.

    The quest for inner peace can take a long time, I should know, I've been questing for decades! As time goes by things are added to my list to seek peace about, and thankfully some get crossed off! I am not marginalizing Joni's reader's situation, I'm laughing at myself. However, I am a firm believer in the effect our homes and environments have on us.

    I am not suggesting redecorating solves any personal problems or can put us on the path to inner peace. A room, a house, a place that makes us happy (or relaxed, or whatever effect is wanted) at best or has a neutral effect, is one less stress, repeat, one less stress, for those of us who are constantly and completely aware of their surroundings.

    "Stress Alleviation" plain and simple, is a major design requirement in healthcare design.

    In residential design, stress alleviation is often a design requirement but expressed more eloquently : "I want my bedroom to be a sanctuary of quiet luxury surrounded by subtle textures and soothing colors". In short, she wants to de-stress, and stylishly so. No client has ever said this to me, just wishing. But I have heard, my bathroom is making me crazy I can't stand it any longer.

    I don't think reducing some of the stress Joni's reader (or anyone's) experiences as a result of her environment should be delayed till she finds inner peace and acceptance.

    Joni's advice is a great starting point and I will add, very gracious of her to share it.

    Have a great weekend!

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    Replies
    1. I forgot to add that my remarks are in reply to the anonymous readers not Joni's post!

      Delete
  61. Dear Joni,
    I, too love love your blog and have to admit that there are many times, I wished that I lived in Houston! I save most of your blogs and look at them over and over. I am down-sizing and am trying to figure out which pieces I will take with me..and...have decided to paint some of the furniture. This in order to "lighten" up my rooms. I am so drawn to the Swedish look in painted furniture. I have two questions for you....1.what color of paint was used in your client's room with the painted dining room furniture...2.I am another person who wants to know the color of the paint on the furniture. Thanks so very much for all your suggestions to us out here in blogland!! Deeply appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ok - i don't know what color he used on the dining room, but for other times - I have picked out a color on the paint chart and told him to paint it that color. then he adds other colors in for depth. mostly it's a mix of two or three colors. i am doing a job right now and we have painted so much furniture, including lamps!!!!! the person doing it = we just told him "gray" and he mixed it himself.

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  62. wonderful post as usual Joni-! Thanks so much. Darn I knew I should have bought the kooboo chairs last year when you featured them and posted pics readers had sent you of theirs. WHY would World market stop selling them?

    morethanteak sells 2 for $905 and shipping is free :

    http://www.morethanteak.com/sag-harbor-dining-arm-chair-p25562.html

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    Replies
    1. ugh. that is sooo much more. even pb is not selling them. ARTESIA does. try them. not sure how much they are, but they are cheaper than that!! it's wholesale though, not sure if they sell direct. worth a try though.

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  63. I am currently redoing a sunroom in my home. I had the option to choose a lot of different looks, fabrics styles and colors. I chose a beautiful blue woven Scalamandre, a color I haven't used in years. Suddenly, I want to use this color in more places in my home because of the energy I get from it. Some times we don't know what we really love nor how a particular color affects us until we bring home a lot of options and live with them for a few days. The blue gave this room the sparkle it needed, but also a fresh and calming atmosphere. Remember the story about kissing a lot of frogs before you find a prince. I think that principle is true in keeping one's options open to color, style, etc.

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  64. Hi, Joni,
    Is there a full moon??? I cannot believe all the grouchy comments. I, for one, was thrilled with this post and quite impressed with the level of your generosity. You shared so many of the trade secrets that, I am sure, took many years of experience to develop. I appreciate all your advise and will keep this post as a guide for current and future projects. I hope you will not be discouraged by what I consider a lack of appreciation expressed in some of these comments, because I hope to see more of your answers to other followers questions. Of course, not everyone wants the style you explained in this post, but you were answering questions from a particular reader who asked for some specific advise. I know, having read your post for some time now, that you are perfectly capable of creating designs for clients that meet their particular needs. That is what I think you were trying to do for this reader AND for FREE, need I point out.
    All the best...Victoria

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    Replies
    1. I have read every post and response here today. There is not one that could be considered "grouchy". So if you don't agree with Joni, you are grouchy? Well ,we have seen that before, but no so far today so I will defer criticism of the author until I see this.

      I think the responses have been carefully and methodically worded to help the person who posed the question. Sorry that some readers didn't get 'it".

      No apologies required. Good question originally albeit based in an emotional state not conducive to logical and clear thinking but nevertheless a legit question.

      Delete
    2. well, the very first one was kind of grouchy i guess, but yes, this has been mostly mild compared to some stories!!! sometimes i like when it gets heated here - it brings out the passion. certainly it's more interesting that 'I love this' - no one loves everything. what does drive me crazy is when people insult homeowners. i want to hide my head when that happens.

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  65. I agree with Victoria--too many people are out of sorts today! I’ve about had it with people who leave negative responses to a GREAT blogger like Joni who puts time, effort, and thought into sharing information with readers, asking for nothing in return.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Put your pom poms down little cheerleader and read the comments. There has not been one negative comment made today about Joni except a vague reference to the use of animal skins and that comment died of natural causes. I think the comments have been a combination of design advice from several readers and concern for the letter writer's emotional state. Since when does that constitute being negative to Joni? Grow up!!!

      Delete
    2. oh of course it's YOU again --the nasty anon poster. I was the one telling YOU to grow up the other day !!! Ha ha hilarious that you have all this time to be obnoxious and spout off. – if that’s how a person gets their kicks, pretty pitiful!

      Delete
  66. What a great post! One of my clients pointed me to it today. I just did the same thing to my family room / foyer / and dining area. I had red, yellow and some green from 10 years ago. I didn't change out a huge amount.. but started with paint, Benjamin Moore Titanium. I painted almost my entire first floor with it. Love it! Don't forget floor samples... they are a great bargain.. I got my linen and burlap chair for $499!! I have the before and afters on my blog and list what I changed: www.muracadesign.com/index.php/site/detail/finished-living-room .

    Love the Pottery Barn lantern. I actually bought the long side table in the same picture for my foyer. It's great! Yes, Ebay is a wonderful vintage resource. Don't forget about Etsy Vintage! I have my foyer before and after on my blog as well.

    On a side note to you, Joni.. I'm a long time reader and not always so good at leaving comments, but want to say how generous this was of you to put this post together for so many! And, I've been loving your other blog.. The Skirted Roundtable. Thank you for all the great converstations and allowing us to get to know these designers and decorator on a whole new level.

    Sandy

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  67. This is one of the most informative blog posts I have read! I love all of your examples and detailed answers to the questions. We have been in our house for 13 years and if I could, I would be doing renovations all the time...of course my husband thinks everything is "just fine the way it is" so it can be somewhat of a struggle. Your post really made me think about things I can do to start out. It's funny that you mentioned the red dining room because I have been wanting to repaint our red dining room for a couple years now and I keep stalling! I have a lot of darker, earthy colors on my first floor that I would love to change. I really feel like your post motivated me! Thanks and have a wonderful weekend!
    -Shelley

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  68. Yikes, Joni! Do some of these posts make you want to run for the hills or do you see it more as "lively debate"? I hope the latter is the case. It would seem a blogging girl needs pretty thick skin, these days. There's a bit of ugly going on here and I really hope it doesn't affect the quality of your day. You and your blog bring so many of us pleasure. You're a talented woman with great advice. Keep on keeping on and don't go changin'. Debra

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  69. Thanks for a great and informative post! I too am a lover of white/cream/ivory/straw and khaki layered in my rooms, but I also love the touches of cinnabar and mustard - even that touch of turquoise - that enliven them.

    Without adding to the acrimony, I'd like to note re the comments on the letter writer's need to find peace within, then her decor won't be so important. As a former globe trotting professional woman who found likewise myself disabled in my 50s,I beg to differ. When illness strikes, very often the walls of the house become the extent of our world. Having a satisfying home environment can go a long way to keeping a bright outlook, (not to say keeping me sane when it's my whole world for sometimes weeks at a time). And then there is the matter of temperment. Some people are very sensitive to their environment. Individual needs differ.

    This may not be well written, but I'm just trying to say that adjusting to a disability can be a devastating experience and a fresh environment can go a long way to getting through it.

    Have a heart, people. Joni, I don't say that to you. Yours is evident from your reply to her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen a comment yet from anyone who has not been extremely sensitive to the reader. Go find another dog to beat.

      Delete
    2. i dont' get what you mean - I think she has a valid point. if you are disabled your house may be important to you than if you were out working 40 hours a week. she might be right. i tend to dwell on my house when i'm home a lot. I think you misread what Reeci-T was saying.

      Delete
  70. Well done, Joni! I like this new series and I look forward to seeing more. I am also trying to lighten up our home and appreciate your tips. xo, Sherry

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  71. Who knows what other questions Joni has received. Having published this one, we don't know if this constitutes the worst or the best of questions.

    Joni attempted to help the reader walk through a land mine of ideas and options to give her resouces to work with. I am not a fan of the Houston look as Joni describes it, but it may be perfect for her reader if we knew her environment. I am more concerned with her emotional state than I am her decorative state. No one should expend this much emotional capital on a design as this reader. That is what should be a foremost concern for her.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. what? why shouldn't she care about the design of her home simply because she had to retire early? i picked this question because i thought people could relate to it - changing out a whole household because you are tired of the decor, but can't really afford to spend a lot of money.

      Delete
    2. The point was that this person seems to have bigger problems than her design problems. Her retirement or disability as she describes it seems to be at the root of her dissatisfaction. That's not to say that she did not voice some legitimate design needs, it's just that her priority would appear to be her emotional needs at this point. Changing her interior design may not change her emotional and mental state.

      Delete
    3. You may or may not be right, Anon, but the question posted to Joni was about decor, not mental health. While we designers joke that we sometimes play psychologist with our clients, we aren't mental health professionals and shouldn't try to play one online. Joni provided the information that was asked of her. Calling out someone's underlying mental state in a public forum isn't very helpful either.

      Delete
    4. Linda, if you reread my comment, I never suggested that Joni invoke a virtual couch and have a mental health session. I did OBSERVE as did others that there seems to be more going on here than design displeasure. I along with several others have again OBSERVED (NOT CALLED OUT AS YOU ARE WANT TO SAY) the reader's EMOTIONAL state NOT her MENTAL state. Some things are too obvious to ignore. May I suggest you go back and read the beginning of this post and render your own conclusions from the letter that was published. I believe Joni said she did not publish the entire letter. I wonder why not???

      Delete
    5. Anonymous, you say that "changing her interior design may not change her emotional and mental state". My life is currently in turmoil - I recently lost my job, I'm helping care for my elderly mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's, I'm lending emotional support to my sister who is going through a rough patch and I'm coping with diabetes. But the one bright spot, the one thing that keeps me going, is waking up every morning and seeing my beautiful little house that I've slowly decorated the way I want and filled with things I love. While changing her interior design may not change her emotional or mental state, it may go a long way to helping her cope.

      Delete
    6. Good points and best of luck to you. You are facing a huge challenge with your mother. I've been there and I know how difficult it is. I am glad your surroundings give you the joy you deserve.

      Delete
  72. That was a fabulous and really informative, helpful post. I hung on every single word. You totally nailed it... and did a great job showing really attractive alternative choices at affordable prices!

    Thanks!
    Cindy

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  73. Did you see the honey catalina chairs at world market? They look similar in shape to the kooboo ones that they carried before, but they seem to be different tone - less gray/more honey brown. http://www.worldmarket.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12479267

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    Replies
    1. it's not real and it's not kooboo - but it's the same shape. i just wish they would bring that chair back. it was a STEAL.

      Delete
  74. Thanks for the entertains education! You are able to verbalized your point of view in such a charming manner. You are a treasure Joni and I am most appreciative.
    Margaret

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  75. JONI, you nailed it!! I am sure there will be many readers that will be rushing to the paint stores, Ikea and World Market to accomplish this look you have outlined so beautifully, Great Job Miss Cote de Texas,
    Kathysue

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  76. Sorry... Entertaining
    Margaret

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  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  78. Joni, You have mentioned a couple of times that painting interior doors black adds interest. I would like to see some examples. It sounds intriquing, but I'm not able to visualize it. PS. love love love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. check out rooms of my house - in the kitchen and my bedroom - all my doors are painted black. also - think about painting them a darkish gray for a similar effect. this is a good tool when your doors are cheap builder grade.

      Delete
  79. Dear Joni, Please don't forget to mention that finding a wonderful local drapery workroom will often enable the homeowner to obtain those gorgeous billowy silk or linen drapes at a better price than the poorly-made ready-mades from PB or RH and the like. Gorgeous custom-made drapes need not cost a fortune, but they are the finishing touch to well-designed room.
    Thanks for an ever-inspiring blog!
    Lee

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    Replies
    1. God, yes. yes, yes, yes. those curtains are not the best - unless you want the unlined ones from RH. and they are expensive too when you start adding panels to get depth and weight. a total waste of money. i agree.

      Delete
  80. WOW what a great post !
    May I suggest that to get rid of furniture ( and also to buy some) it's a great idea to use craigslist. And also shop in estate sales and antique shops which some times have great deals. I have bought many things on ebay also. The nice thing about creigs is that if you get tired of it you can sell it. Maybe your blog could include this type trading ?? just and idea. I live far from you but - you never know
    thanks for having this great blog. I just wish you could post more often, since I check it every day !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to post everyday, but i usually spend too much time getting a post ready. i could always just post a picture and say "love it." but i prefer to spend a little time and make it worthwhile.

      Delete
    2. Marcela - I see you are in San Diego--so am I. When you use craigslist to sell items you no longer want, how do you do it? Allow strangers to come inside your home?

      Delete
    3. Charlotte Des FleursApril 14, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      I have bought a few things on Craigs List as well. I always take at least one other person with me, sometimes two. Many Craigs Listers (is that a real word?) want cash. Never carry the cash with you. I get a receipt and a copy of their photo ID (or at least copy down the info.)before any money changes hands. Have never sold anything on Craigs List. Usually consign things out. You make a little less money but it is much safer than having strangers come to your home.

      If you are buying or selling things to a stranger and you get that "spidey sense" that someting is wrong, pay attention. If you are buying, you can always excuse yourself to "go to the bank". Then call them from a safe distance to say you have changed your mind.

      By the way, if you have an Estate Sale or a garage sale, always have at least 2 other people with you - one to help watch the merchandise and one to watch the money. It never hurts if one is a big, burly guy!

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    4. Thanks Charlotte for the tips. Yes I know what you mean about if you have a moving or estate sale have some "watchers". My aunt had a moving sale years ago and she let people walk through her house. The library door was closed with a sign saying "please stay out" as there were items in there she did not want to sell. Well some woman went in there and stole her mah-jong set! So that is why I am wary of letting strangers in your home.

      Delete
  81. Hi Joni, This is a fantastic post. You even gave us your favorite paint colors. And I picked up some new sources. Thank you. Mary

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  82. I am so glad you started this series. I know exactly how your reader feels and I think you gave her wonderful and obtainable suggestions. One of your recent posts also outlined the changes you made in your own home over time which really made me step back and realize Rome wasn't built in a day and sometimes we want to create a look and act in haste. I would venture to say many women are trying to turn their homes into a haven, especially those who are finding themselves spending more time in them if they are no longer working. It sounds as though she is making many emotional adjustments and having a beautiful home is important to her and will give her solace. Last year I did an online design with a well known designer and although I am happy with it, I implemented without considering she had never seen the space in person and some of the things she suggested that I carried out just don't work and unfortunately they would be extremely costly to redo. I recently contacted an architect to see just how small of a project he would take on to give me ideas on a master bath redo because the bath designer was full of costly ideas that scared the beejeebers out of me. He was so nice and pointed out why the things I found "wrong" with the house were wrong but also provided simple solutions to go from a builder 90's grade to a more custom look with paint and mouldings and more importantly why knocking down a wall in the bath would never work unless major expensive demolation occured in the hall and adjoining bedroom. Also realistically what tub would work and why I should just keep existing one though I hate it and spend my money on countertops. Spending $750 to $1000 for a consultant with him (www.mullinarchitects.com) is money well spent and will help me stand my ground with the designer. I can use blogs and pinterest to define my style. I have had to remind myself over and over that I try to recreate a look but it won't truly work for me because I don't have the architectural details I admire in those designs, my sow's ear can't be made into a silk purse!

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    Replies
    1. i would love to see your bathroom when you are through!!! send the pictures!

      Delete
  83. Charlotte Des FleursApril 13, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Next to diamonds, paint is a girl's best friend!

    If you can look at the "bones" of a piece of furniture, you can find some fabulous things to buy at a reasonable price. Just yesterday, I stopped in a junky consignment shop in Austin and found a grayish, wooden mirror with wheat sheaves at the top. It had a very "Gustavian" look and would have been perfect in one of the pale colored rooms so many people admire these days. Only $50 and I bet I could have gotten it for $35. In the same shop was an "Early American" wooden bed. It was a double or perhaps a queen size. The awful orangish shellac finish was scratched in several places. However, the head board shape had the signature compound half-arch curves that say "French". Painted a light color it would have looked great in a "Swedish" house. Painted black, it would have been great in a Country French home. It was only $120 and again, I bet it could have been bought for $100 or less. Less than an hour later I found a pair of French style sconces loaded with the "spagetti" crystal just like the ones Joni bought from 1st Dibs in LA. You better believe I bought those - only $300 for the pair!

    All kinds of great things are out there. You just have to know what to look for!

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    1. Charlotte, i hate you! $300????? i spent more on those sconces than on the furniture, I hate to say. wow. lucky you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
    2. I'm a thrift shopper and have found many thing that are "Frenchified" quite easily with paint. I love this artical about changing things over on a budget. There are so many tips I was unable to put together in my head. I've added this tp my faves in order to use it for a reference, as I'm "in the process".

      I have noticed in many deco publications how the "southern" French look frequently seems to be very over done. Everything matchy-matchy with print fabrics, trimmed to the hilt, to a point that the room is too visually busy to allow the eye somewhere to rest. I personally don't understand it but can recognize it immediately. Sure enough, when I read the article, the location is Southern. I'm pleased to see your eye is off that road!

      Thank you

      Delete
    3. Charlotte Des FleursApril 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM

      Hi Joni,

      One of the most valuable things about your blog (and some others) is its educational value. Your advertisers may not like hearing how those of us with DIY and extreme shopping skills are able to create the "look" without the bucks. However, many people cannot afford even $10K to decorate an entire home. Yet, they are lovers of beauty just a much as the person who has $100K just for the kitchen or for the living room. Typically people spend 10% to 15% of the cost of their house on furnishings and decor. That means that a $5MM home would be decorated for $500K to $750K. That is what many of those gorgeously decorated homes have cost.

      Knowledge is power. I have a 1928 Baldwin Grand that I bought at auction for $2,000. A new one (not a even a Baldwin) would have cost at least $10K. This particular piano is worth over $30K. Most of the people at the auction did not have the courage to bid on a piano that old. It was between me and a piano dealer. I had my son play it (it was WAY out of tune and sounded a bit tinny) while I crawled under it (in my very nice silk suit and heels) to check out the sound board. (For those of you who do not know, a tinny, honkey tonk sounding piano just needs to have the felt hammers fluffed.) The piano does require some babying and I had to learn how to tune it because it must be tuned every 6 months.

      The point is that I knew that the piano dealer would have had to charge at least 3 times what she paid in order to make a profit. I also knew that I could tune a piano. Armed with that knowledge, I was able to get a great bargain! I have shopped at some of your advertisers so I am not opposed to buying "retail". Sometimes saving time is more important than saving money.

      The late, departed Duchess of Windsor once said, "You can never be rich enough or thin enough." To that I would add, "or knowledgeable enough." Thank you, Joni, for helping all of us acquire the power of knowledge!

      Delete
  84. Very interesting. http://www.homeandstyle.com.sg/

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  85. I've been thinking about this for a while which can be a dangerous thing. While I still stand by my comment about trying to solve the inner issues before emptying your house in search of the answer, I am also reminded of the energy, will power and sheer do-it-ness of what happens when women of like minds join together for a project. Empowered by the idea that someone above said if this woman were close to her geographically, she'd do a pro bono consultation. Maybe it's time for a Cote de Texas extreme/or not so extreme do over for a sister who needs a new view on life. Just planting the seed. I know if it's not a good one, it will get smacked down and how!

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    Replies
    1. the joke is that I do alot of my work pro bono. friends and family, bad bookkeeping practices, etc. my issue is time, i can't do both - the blog and design full time. i just don't have the energy. but yes, i wouldn't mind doing a pro bono job if it was close to my house. i don't think i could do a good online job though, and this woman lives in another state. truthfully, i'm not that talented.

      Delete
    2. It's hard to make money in any profession when you work for friends and family. As though you aren't busy enough, why don't you consider conducting shopping tours for your readers in the Houston antiques market. Houston seems to have its wealth of dealers, both large and small, and you seem to know all of them. You have readers from all over the country who would find shopping this market and meeting you for a day or two really worthwhile and you could collect your fee in advance. Think about it.

      Delete
  86. PiePie89 says to Francine:

    Don't you ever come here again until you publicly apologize to Miss Webb for your disgusting and insulting and out-of-place remarks. Miss Webb so generously took time out of her very busy schedule to give us help we all so desperately wanted and free of charge I might add. This was so nice of her. She painstakingly went through step-by-step a total room renovation after receiving that e-mail from that woman who retired early from a disability. Poor sole, Miss Webb is so empathetic. But you had to come on here and denigrate her! Step up to the plate and apologize.

    Could I kindly ask if anyone knows this comment Nazi, this little subservient mouse who refers to Joni as "Miss Webb". Should we click our heels for you,PeePee oops, PiePie?

    Perhaps you and Shell should meet for tea. Put both of you together for an afternoon and maybe a coherent thought might be born.

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    1. Oh it's you again you old goat--you think you are so clever. Does it give you a sense of IMPORTANCE to spew out put-downs on a public forum? What a loser you are.
      You probably have not had sex since Eisenhower was in office. Go soak your ugly dried up old head!

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    2. "You probably have not had sex since Eisenhower was in office. Go soak your ugly dried up old head!"

      OMG, you cannot be serious. I actually thought you were an adult, but obviously not. You are spending far too much time on Facebook and MySpace, shell. Grow up, act your age. That comment tells us a lot more about you than you might have been willing to expose. What in the hell does "sex" have to do with comments on this blog? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING unless you are some mental midget who cannot get attention for your comments otherwise.

      Again, grow up and if you can't there are hormones that might help. You are pathetic!

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    3. If you were able to have sex once in awhile you might not be so crazy and uptight you old goat you-! ha ah haahahahh
      I don't care one teeny-tiny bit what you think of me. You're an obnoxious & disgusting & boring old toad. barf-!

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    4. i think Pie Pie was calling me Miss Webb because I said Dear Miss Cote de Texas. I happened to think Francine had some valid points, actually. Made me feel guilty to tell you the truth.

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    5. shell, having used your blast off engines, you are now going for the after burners. Your comments are incoherent and totally off topic as usual. Like I said earlier, have a cup of tea with PiePie and perhaps the two of you will generate enough energy to turn on a 7 watt light bulb.

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    6. shell, your commentary would suggest that you are a regular among the bottom feeders at My Favorite and My Best blog or you should be. You would fit in perfectly there.

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    7. what a joke - this is not your favorite blog at all - you complain and make negative remarks on here every time you post.

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  87. Joni, I love the Vermeer you posted to set the theme of your post. No other Dutch painter captured women the way he did.

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    Replies
    1. Pietro Rotari is the painter. I found another one that I like better and I might use that one in the future. I do love Vermeer like everyone else!!!

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    2. I actually searched for the artist and googled Dutch painters of women. There were so many similar to the one you chose that were painted by Vermeer that I just assumed it one of Vermeer's. It is really cool as your theme.

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    3. Charlotte Des FleursApril 15, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      Hi Joni, The painting you choose for Dear Miss Cote De Texas is perfect! Very thoughtful and classically beautiful. However, if you ever decide to change, please consider Elisabeth Vigee-Le Brun. She was a very accomplished French painter who did many wonderful portraits before, during and after the French Revolution.

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  88. Joni, I ahve to say thank you. Because it is obvious that you spend a great deal of time and effort in each and every post. This is a great idea for a series. I really think if you weren't SO GOOD you wouldn't get the negative comments:):) Keep up the good work......SO many truly appreciate it. XO, Pinky

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    Replies
    1. Pinky, no negative comments have been made about Joni. Put your reading glasses on, dear.

      The comments which you may deem negative have essentially been about the person who wrote the letter. However, the majority of comments have shown a lot of concern for this person, not criticism. I suppose when you need to climb on a high horse, you can always find one. You may have more fun at the local rodeo. Go for it!

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    2. If there is one strength this blog has it is allowing dissent. Direct your attention, if you will, to the number of blogs that must approve every comment. Count the comments and you will see that many of these blogs don't have 10% of the comments that Joni gets. Why do you think that is??? I read them and several of them are quite popular in blogland. Look at the comments and for several, including one highly recognized blogger who writes for AD, you will find less than 10 comments on any one post. You tell me. Why do you think that is the case? Is it content, or is it the ego of the author who cannot stand to be disputed or challenged. We have all kinds of blogs, including one where the author has walked us through her design build scheme and now that the project is finished, all we read is trivial matters like selecting a garden bench = Really??? When she touted her big name designer for the past year, why do we now have post on garden benches? Maybe the logical answer is that having paid the big name designer, there wasn't enough money left to furnish the house properly.

      I give Joni credit for not playing these games and as a result she has a lot of commentary, both positive and negative, but it does make for a conversation. Isn't that what makes this blog more fun than the ones that want their egos fed on a daily basis? You decide. Traffic is recognition, like it or not.

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    3. first, let me say I ADORE the blogger you are talking about. and no, money is NOT an issue, snort. if you only knew. I just think she is busy and not as into her blog as much as she once was. A lot of people are like that. ok

      this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine - the comment censoring. i wonder about bloggers who post their work and never get a negative comment. you know they are getting them because the negative comments are alluded to time and time again. I think it's so dishonest, but that's just me.

      Some negative comments have made me crazy sometimes, they have been really, really hurtful to me and my family, BUT at least the readers can read them and not be led down a primrose path. There's a houston blogger who features my stories a lot and those commentors are not design people, but Houston city people - and whenever he features my design work, boy the comments are AWFUL!!!!!! Makes me realize I don't have much talent. You think I think i am so talented, but I'm not, by far and I KNOW IT. I can put a room together and accessorize it and hang pictures and arrange furniture, etc. but I look at some of the greats and feel so inadequate.

      I will NEVER moderate comments here. EVER. My only issue - and I know I've said it a million times, but I do wish that when we have a guest homeowner, people were nicer. That's when it really gets dicey. Remember the HOuston house that was all white and sparse - I was so depressed that weekend over all the hurtful comments. thankfully the homeowner wasn't and took it all with a grain of salt. thankfully.

      I am glad that you appreciate the comments not being moderated. I remember when Decorno's comments were better than the blog - "discuss" was a running theme and boy did we all "discuss" - still it was so interesting. I hope that's what this will become. Less personal Bs, but more discussion pro and con.

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    4. The design build blogger referred to above would be more accurately named if titled: A Tale of Two Sisters or Me, Me and Me. It is a true tale of self absorption sprinkled occasionally with interesting home tours from the author's area. Now that she and her "favorite designer" have completed the project, she has nothing left to share. The blog was written solely for the purpose of showcasing her new home. It was never about design. We have seen every nail and screw - seriously asking readers about the most insignificant tripe. I think the only discussion never put forth is what the color of the bidet should be.

      Delete
  89. I got a 6x9 rug, like the one you show with your table and Koboo chairs pictured above, at Sam's Club for $29. I don't know how they get them so cheaply, but they're great.

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  90. Dear Joni,
    I love the idea of offering questions by bloggers to post for decor assistance.
    You have great style and it is kind of you to offer suggestions to your readers.
    Keep up the good work.
    Always enjoy coming by for inspiration.
    Have a lovely Sunday,
    A

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  91. Joni,

    I don't think you should moderate comments but it would be so great if you would not allow anonymous comments. If people have to call themselves
    something they are less inclined to post negative nasty snarky remarks. On other blogs i read I skip over the comments of the negative nellies and normans
    because I can identify them by what they call themselves. It can be a made up name but it's an identifier!

    The nasty anonymous poster who haunts this blog and stalks me says MY comments are off topic and ridiculous
    and yet he posts things with references to "poo-poo" & "pee pee" & "Nazi's" !! He's beyond crazy! His negative, condescending
    high & mighty know-it-all attitude is totally out of place. If he hates everything on your blog so much why does he bother reading it?

    Blocking anonymous comments isn't that big a deal these days, though. Pretty much everyone should have either a
    Google account or an OpenID, or simple ways to get one or the other.
    Please consider not allowing anonymous comments. The nastiness and negativity is now way beyond boring and tiresome.

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  92. shell, no one said "poo-poo"; however, you seem to have interjected sexual content into the discussion. I didn't see this anywhere else on this blog. I think it may be useful to reread your comments and take some of your own advice. It's clear you are a control freak.

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  93. Quit stalking me - I think you are the control freak and a nasty one at that.

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  94. oh and YOU are the bottom feeder - not me--all you can do is throw word rocks. That's pretty low down!

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  95. Joni keep the Miss Cote De Texas advice column- I really enjoyed it! I confess I still love pattern and color but still appreciate the Houston look.
    Kris in Seattle

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  96. No one can get your goat unless you tell them where you tie it, shell. It's way to obvious that your chain is too easily pulled. Whose fault is that?

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    Replies
    1. no one has got my goat dearest - i find it amusing that YOU-- nasty old goat that you are, take the bait every single time. i'm laughing at you !

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    2. shell, actually they do. Otherwise you would not be responding. Has that 7 watt light bulb turned on yet? Didn't think so.

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  97. Joni, timely topic as always. How do you do it? Have been spinning around in circles, not knowing where to start. You must have felt my distress all the way out in Texas, lol. I did start with paint, so check that off the list. Thanks for the next steps! Btw, I have been trying to reach you via email -- I NEED to order a halo styles repro mora clock. Do you still order furniture for blog readers? I'm sure you get far too many emails to count & hope you can find mine! subject is "halo styles inquiry." Thanks again for all you do! Suzanne in NY

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