A Little Bit of This and That

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Today, is a smorgasbord of several different topics: 

First, there are quite a few new Sponsors on Cote de Texas and I hope you will take a minute to visit their web sites.   First, there is Trove’ which sells French antiques and items for the home and garden. Then, there’s EI Home, which sells an assortment of home décor items, Kate Designs – an interior designer who creates wonderful chairs and Best Prices for Furniture – which sells furniture from North Carolina at great prices.  Lacefield Designs sells textiles – pillows, bedding, and lamp shades and Gabby – Décor with a Story sells furniture and other items for the home.  And these are just the newest sponsors!  If you have time,  visit all the others who have been sponsors for a while now.  Many of the great giveaways have been donated by the sponsors and we have several good giveaways planned for the next few months.

I get enquiries almost every day, asking about ads on the blog, but I try to choose those that I think are a good fit with the readers.   I resisted having ads on the blog for three years, thinking it would mess up the design of the blog,  and frankly, I didn’t want to lose editorial control over Cote de Texas.  Neither of these things have happened.  In fact, I think the images of the ads actually add to the look of the blog and are a resource for the reader.  Most important, having the ads allows me to thankfully take less outside design work which gives me more time to spend on research and writing the articles.  And, paradoxically, having the sponsors inspires me to make the blog better and more appealing. 

Most of the sponsors are from around the United States, but a few are local, here from Houston.  One of these local sponsors is Memorial Antiques and Interiors.  I was thrilled when they wanted to be a sponsor because I love their shop.  MAI has over 15,000 square feet of antiques – spread out over two buildings.  There are 55 handpicked dealers and designers who show their wares here – a few of their dealers are from France and other states around the country.  Their dealers sell things you see in magazines – which I love, they are on top of every trend.  They always have a great collection of painted furniture and whitewashed garden items for the interior.  I have never MAI left empty handed – never!  There is always some item I just have to have – or a client has to have.  Here are a few photographs from the dealers to give you an idea of what’s in shop:

 

 

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Yum.  Those sconces!!  I want those.  Wait – seriously I do.  Remember when we saw some similar ones???

 

 

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Remember this image from a house Pam Pierce designed?  I thought this was the prettiest sconce I ever saw.  The ones at MAI look very similar!!

 

 

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I love the chair and table here – but my eye goes straight to the alabaster grapes.  I don’t think you can have too many of them:

 

 

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I have 5 bunches – here are two in my living room.  I love these particular ones because they are so white!

 

 

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I could buy this entire booth at MIA.  I love all the yellow confit jars.  This booth is a great one – I’m seeing a lot of customs tags which means it was bought in France and brought back to Houston.

 

 

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A French armoire that would go great in a Belgian inspired room.  Again – love that tell tale tag.

 

 

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You can’t have too many mirrors – that’s for sure.  And the shutters.  They are so in right now.  Look how Velvet and Linen’s Brooke Giannetti uses old shutters in décor:

 

 

 

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Here the Giannettis used shutters to hang art work from in their beach house breakfast room.

 

 

 

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And at the beach house’s garden – more antique shutters were used to hang pots from.


 

 

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At MAI, more crusty shutters and a park bench.  But, I’m eying the balls.  I just posted a picture of these same ones that Amy Howard collects:

 

 

 

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In Amy Howard’s house, she puts the balls in a crusty garden urn.

 

 

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That wire metal piece would be great to combine an industrial look with an antique look.  Love it.  Great lamps too.  Swedish styled barrel chairs.

 

 

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This booth at MAI is jammed packed with goodies.   I’m noticing the clocks – two French station clocks on the back walls.  The Visual Vamp has one that I’ve always loved:

 

 

 

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The Visual Vamp changes her décor more times than I change purses.   I swear.  It NEVER looks the same from month to month.  But, one thing always remains – her set of old shutters (that hides an unbalanced window) and her amazing station clock.  (Confession:  I was the one that told her to put the clock on the shutters and lo and behold it’s been there for years.)

 

 

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More from MAI – I’ll take it all – the cane settee, the arched window!, the cabinets, the trumeau, the statue, yes!  I love cane – especially settees like this.  The blogger Trouvais has a similar one that I’ve always loved:

 

 

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Trish, of Trouvais  found this settee missing an arm and she bought it for just $400.  When she got home, she found it was signed, and made in the Paris in the 18th century.  Arm restored, here it is in all its glory!

 

 

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If you live in Houston or are just passing through, take the time to visit Memorial Antiques & Interiors at 8719 Katy Freeway.   Just do me a favor, give me a chance to buy those sconces tomorrow.  ok? 

Their web site has photos and prices of much of what is in store – so if you are looking for something special, check it out:  www.maihouston.com 

To call MAI:   713.827.8087To email: info@maihouston.com

 

 

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Next up today - take a look at the blog Splenderosa.  She is hosting a by invitation only linky party where bloggers show their hometowns.  Splenderosa is from Houston and presents a beautiful look at our great city.  She was sweet enough to include me in her story - just disregard the horrible, huge picture, yuck.  At the end of the story – be sure to visit all the other bloggers listed who show their hometown - they are from all over the world and most took incredibly,  gorgeous photos.

 

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The link to the story on Splenderosa is HERE

 

And lastly today, there is a video that is making its way across the globe via www.youtube.com.  It’s amazing how much the internet has changed the world – and for the better – and this video is an example of that power.  It’s about one man – Joseph Kony.  If you’ve never heard of him, you aren’t alone.  NO ONE had heard of him, until this video came out.  After you watch this, you will be stunned that no one had ever heard of him before.  It’s about 20 minutes long, so sit down, and watch it when you have the time to be undisturbed.  It starts off slow and then builds and builds – it has a very important message that no one should ignore – or can ignore, after they watch this. 

 

 

 

You can watch it here – or go HERE to see the video. 

 

 

 

The Beautiful World of Amy Howard

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A reader emailed me suggesting I write a story about Amy Howard – the uber talented furniture and interior designer and artist.   I’ve loved Amy’s work for a while now – so I was thrilled when the reader said she could talk with the powers that be and maybe get them to send some special photographs to show on Cote de Texas.   I love my readers – especially those bearing gifts of high res & huge photographs.  Those are the best kind.

Amy is a southerner – from Memphis Tennessee.  She is an artist by training and began in the business teaching decorative arts, along with painting murals for clients.   In 1991, Amy and her husband started their company, The Amy Howard Collection, by painting room divider screens which they then sold to antique shops and individuals.   The business quickly expanded and new pieces were continually added.  Their motto became:    “If we can’t find it, then we’ll make it.”  Today, she has over 300 pieces in her collection which is sold around the country in decorative showrooms.   There is also a retail store in Memphis, along with an outlet store in Nashville.    The Amy Howard Collection is diverse and represents many different design eras – from the 18th century to Moderne, 30s Glamour, and even Belgian inspired.  

 

 

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The invitation to an Amy Howard At Home seminar

 

An artist and teacher at heart,  Amy continues to give seminars in her field and has branched out with a second company, Amy Howard At Home. This collection is for DIYers and professionals and includes materials for different applications such as antiquing mirrors, gilding, zinc applications, stripping, and a host of other products. Her seminars are hugely popular and quickly sell out.

 

 

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This photo in a design magazine showed two of Amy Howard Collection’s chest – Serpentine.

My first awareness of the collection was with the Serpentine nightstand which I had seen in a magazine.  In fact, a lot of people took notice of this piece.  The blogger Things That Inspire wrote a lovely story about the collection HERE.   I thought these were the prettiest chests I had seen, and even encouraged a friend to buy them for her own bedroom. 

 

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The Serpentine chest – such a beautiful finish!!

 

Despite having an extensive catalogue, The Amy Howard Collection still does custom work – in fact 70% of their business is custom.  Here is a drawing for a custom cabinet for a client.  And, all furniture is made in their factory in Memphis – 100% American made, which is a rarity in the furniture business today.

 

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And a snapshot of the finished cabinet.

 

 

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Interior designer and blogger Tobi Fairley used the Darnell Demilune Commode in this entrance hall, as shown in House Beautiful.

 

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Not all product is fancy or from the 18th century -  here is a Belgian inspired coffee table with a zinc top.  This Sonoma table is also available as end tables.

 

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The outlet store in Nashville gets great merchandise – here the Serpentine chest was for sale at a significant savings.  I wish we had an outlet store in Texas!!!  Such a beauty!

 

 

 

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The Howards live in this gorgeous French styled house in Memphis.  The elegant house is filled with antiques and furniture from The Amy Howard Collection, of course! 

 

 

 

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Close up of the front of the house, decorated with gourds for Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

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Entering the house, there is a long hall that runs from one side of the house to the other.  The living/dining room is in the middle of the hall – just past the arches by the potted urns.  Notice the stone statue at the end of the hall.    The floors throughout the house are Campania stone, about which Howard says she has never regretted the choice of this flooring – mainly for the ease in keeping them clean.

 

 

 

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Blogger and designer Brooke Giannetti and her husband architect Steve stayed at the Howards’ house during their book tour.  They took this photo of the house decorated for Christmas.   Here you can see the statue          flanked by Italian altar sticks – so beautiful!!

 

 

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Looking the other direction, you can see the stone staircase with its iron railing.  I love stone stairs!  So elegant.  The Salon – half living area and half dining area – is through the arches on the right.  For a beautiful view, these arches are lined up with the arched French doors in the grand hall and the Salon.

 

 

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The Salon is an oversized room that fits the living area and the dining area.  It is divided into three sections – the dining area, under a gorgeous chandelier, is in the middle of the arm.   Decorated in creams, ivories and golds, the furniture is from the Amy Howard Collection, along with antiques the Howards have bought in Europe.  The door to the right of the fireplace leads off to the Howards’ master bedroom suite.

 

 

 

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The dining table, set for dinner.  The pair of trumeaus seen here flanking the sofa are from AHC.

 

 

 

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Notice the crusty garden urn mixed with gilt finery.

 

 

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Notice the sconces on both sides of the room.

 

 

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Taken from an antique putti that Amy found in Paris, the collection now carries these beautiful sconces.

 

 

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Close up of the trumeau and fireplace. 

 

 

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The powder room is an old fountain.  Where do you turn on the faucet?

 

 

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Do you see the foot pedals on the floor?  That’s how you operate the water flow.  This picture is from a magazine photoshoot – quite dramatic compared to the first picture of the powder room!

 

 

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The library has dark painted walls.  This is how the room was decorated several years ago.  It’s totally different today!

 

 

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Before, there were chartreuse curtains, like the velvet settee.

 

 

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Today, the library is done in whites – with an antique rug replace the sisal one.  The curtains are Schumacher’s Kelly Wearstler’s fabric, which Howard adores.

 

 

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So pretty – I love the white against the black here – and all the fine antiques in the shelves.  Nice juxtaposition of the contemporary fabric against all the antiques!

 

 

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In the front window – a desk made out of pedestals.    More of the Wearstler fabric.  Gorgeous altar sticks.

 

 

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A close up of the desk in the window.  Amy loves flowers and says her house always has three things – music, lit candles, and flowers.  (Mine is the same, except instead of music my house is always blasting sports!)

 

 

 

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Close up of the antique tie backs that Amy loves to collect.

 

 

 

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Another item Howard collects are antique gilt laurel wreaths – once given as a trophy of sorts.  While Howard’s are 18th century, the company is now offering hand made replicas of the laurel wreaths!!

 

 

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Howard also likes to collect documents and seals.  Love this vignette!!

 

 

 

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From the magazine shoot, the back entryway shows a collection of Amy Howard Collection furniture.

 

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Today, charming sconces and an elegant mirror replace the lamps and more casual mirror.  The console is gorgeous with its fluted legs and hardware.

 

 

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The kitchen shares the space with a large family room.  Notice the screened  cabinet.  Bar stools have Lucite legs.  AHC has several pieces of Lucite furniture in the line.

 

 

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Another view – showing the black subway tile backsplash.  Notice the fluted legs on the island!

 

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The breakfast area – with a match to the kitchen’s cabinet.

 

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Another view – showing the cabinet.  Table and chairs from AHC.

 

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A few years ago, the room as shown in a magazine looked like this with white walls and dark wood console in the window.

 

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Today, the walls are somewhat darker.   I love the set of prints framed and hung to act as one large piece of art.  The coffee table is beautiful with nailheads and mirrored.

 

 

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Today, the walls are a bit darker.   Howard replaced the dark wood  c0nsole in the window with a Lucite one and industrial styled stools.

 

 

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Closeup of the front window now.

 

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On the console, garden urn, old book without binding, coral.

 

 

 

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Picture from the magazine shoot.  There are two chests with sunburst mirrors above in this room.  Howard loves symmetry and it shows in her house.

 

 

 

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The second cabinet fits snuggly in a small niche.   These are all items found in the AHC catalogue.  The lamps are especially darling.

 

 

 

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Off the kitchen is the laundry room.  Perhaps they can hire me to be the maid?  This laundry room is beyond functional – it’s beautiful!!  Notice the mirrored cabinet doors and the antique French clock. 

 

 

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The Howards’ bedroom is their private retreat – meant to be quiet and cozy.  The Juliet bed is stunning and is of course from  The Amy Howard Collection – as is all the furniture in this room.  The sitting area has since been completely changed – shown below.

 

 

 

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The walls are upholstered in creamy linen – matching the curtains exactly.

 

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Close up of the elegant mirrored nightstand – notice the fluted legs that run up the sides.  Just beautiful!

 

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Today, the sitting area consists of the AHC backless sofa with a pair of Lucite contemporary tables.  Old world Fortuny pillows in gold add a classic touch.

 

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Close up – notice the floor lamp!!!!

 

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In the vanity – the skirted table and bench are covered in more Fortuny fabric!   The walls are covered in a raw silk.  Notice the antique Venetian mirror found in New Orleans.  In her blog, Howard adds these tips:  “Remember light floor and dark walls... or darker floors and lighter walls. That is what can create the most impact when you have monochromatic color themes. I also hung a very contemporary painting in this room for visual impact. I am very careful to not stay with one period of design. It is best to mix all styles and periods for the most impact.”

 

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And the master bathroom – whoa!!!  Look at the mirrored vanity with marble countertop.  And notice the interior shutters.  The toilet is hidden behind a mirrored French door – while the chandelier adds even more sparkle. 

 

 

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On the upstairs landing, Howard created a sitting area for her children to read and study  – something she says they never did!!   The walls are papered.

 

 

 

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Close up view – taken from the magazine shoot.  More Fortuny pillows.  Fortuny is that kind of fabric that you can never have too much of!!

 

 

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Howard took special care in the design of the bathrooms in her house.  This one is her son’s bathroom.

 

 

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And off the family room, another old fountain – this one was found in Rome.  The wood door is also an antique. 

 

 

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The back of the house is just as pretty as the front.  The Salon is seen in the middle of the house, under the covered porch.   The master bedroom is to the right. 

 

 

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A side view of the swimming pool with its fountain on the right.  Notice the vine covered fences.

 

 

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Gravel and box and topiary – so French.

 

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Howard said growing the hedges and vines took many years – but was worth the wait for the privacy they provide from the neighbors.

 

 

 

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And though Amy Howard concentrates on designing furniture for The Amy Howard Collection and giving teaching seminars for Amy Howard At Home, she still has time to decorate.  On Facebook, she recently posted this teenager’s bedroom she had just installed and I can’t resist showing it here.  Charming!!!  Notice the mirrored edge on the headboard.  Love the wallpaper and fabrics, too.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Amy Howard’s world.  It is so gracious and generous of her to invite us inside her home.  Amy is so open with her knowledge – which  she shares at her teaching seminars and on her blog.  She is the true epitome of a Southern Lady!!!   Be sure to visit her web sites to see pictures of all her collection:  HERE.

 

To visit the Amy Howard At Home web site for all the furniture refininshing products and to read about her upcoming seminars, go HERE

 

AND, finally, Amy has several pages on Facebook AND she writes a wonderful and very informative blog, Amy Howard Daily HERE.