Bloody Marys and All the Latest News!

66 comments

 

image

Olivine’s old fashioned storefront 

I stopped by Olivine the other day looking for accessories and lamps for a client.  I love Olivine – with its overflowing and layered displays.   You have to go around the store two or three times just to see everything – so much merchandise is hiding about.  I found some great sconces from Aidan Gray and a white female bust for my client – along with tiny glasses in rattan shelves just for me!  And, not stopping after a few glasses,  I bought some new candles too. But… what really caught my eye was a big display of Bloody Mary mix!  WHAT???? 

 

image

The mix is called Garden District Bloody Marys and it’s been gaining fame after it was recently featured on Marlo Thomas’ Huffington Post blog HERE.  It’s such a great story about how the mix came to be. Naturally, it features a flamboyant Great Aunt Gladys from New Orleans whose mix was quite popular in the Garden District. Fast forward several decades and Aunt Gladys's great niece Stephanie Sonoja found herself out of work after toiling away in the advertising and marketing business.   Her mother had somehow finagled from Aunt Gladys the super secret recipe with its 21 ingredients.   The long trip from idea to grocers shelves took several years.  Stephanie learned that there are 8 ingredients in a Bloody Mary mix that when mixed with vodka causes it to burn and turn bitter.   Once Stephanie’s chemist was able to overcome that hurdle (Garden District Bloody Marys is one of the few mixes that does NOT turn bitter!) the next roadblock came from the bottler.  A large order from Costco had to be turned down when the bottler wanted to put the mix in a typical decanter.  Of course, the marketer Stephanie had other ideas.  In the end, she designed a beautiful carafe for the mix that is as useful empty as full.  It even has a illustration of the infamous Great Aunt Gladys.

 

image

 

Since Olivine’s owner, Helen, is from Louisiana, she was naturally drawn to the mix, which she drinks while visiting her restored historic Galveston house.   What a perfect place to drink Bloody Marys since the architecture of Galveston’s historical districts is  so similar to New Orleans's Garden District.   AND being such a huge fan, this Friday, the 20th, Helen is hosting a party at Olivine to introduce the mix  to Houston.  The event is open to the public, so please drop by for a taste of what is promised to be the best Bloody Mary you will ever have!!    Along with the Bloody Mary mix, Olivine is also hosting a trunk show for Petite Bohemians jewelry.   

 

 

image

The invite to the party this Friday!

 

Now, if you can’t make it to Olivine,  Garden District Bloody Marys and Petite Bohemian jewels will also be at the Gypsy Market the following Friday, April 27th.   The Gypsy Market is Houston’s newest antique/decor market hosted by 2620 at 2620 Joanel.   Ideally, you should probably make it to both events.  Go Houston!

 

image

And here is the invite for the Gypsy Market at 2620 Joanel – NEXT Friday, April 27.  

 

 

image

Of course, I want to show a few of my favorites in store right now at Olivine.  They have so many headboards and these great coronas.  Some are old and some are new.  Too cute!

 

image

Great chandeliers – like this Italian style that is so popular right now.

 

 

image

These lanterns are great for the tabletop or outside.  BUT BUT BUT – if I were looking for an electric lantern, I would buy this for under $300, and take it to a lamp man and have him electrify it.   For under $500 – you could have a fabulous lantern.  And if you didn’t want it black – paint it!   This is a great buy.

 

image

I liked this pair of lamps.

 

image

This gray gate leg table would be great in an entry hall piled with books, or as an end table next to a sofa.  It would also make a cute high coffee table.

 

 

image

There is so much to see – this isn’t even 1/2 of the store!!

 

image

Cloches and birds and rattan wrapped candles.

 

image

Vintage kidney styled dressing table.  I wish I was doing a bedroom now.

 

 

image 

I bought the prettiest angel there awhile ago.  Now, she has a Joseph in stock.  At least I THINK this is Joseph!

 

image

And the prettiest Madonna.  Look at the base and her crown.

 

 

  image

  I wish my baby was still a baby!  This tulle and silk dress in blush pink is to die for.  It also comes in blue.

 

image

  NOW, don’t forget to join Helen at Olivine for a taste of Garden District Bloody Marys this Friday, from 4 to 7 pm at 2405 Rice Boulevard.  For more information, see Olivine’s web site HERE.

 

 

image

 

 

Leon Max in England by Henrietta Spencer Churchill.  Minimalist?  NEVER!!

 

  A little news from the publishing world.  Have you seen the new May issue of Architectural Digest?  What is going on with this magazine?  It keeps getting better and better and better.  Margaret Russell has really turned this once tired publication around and made it so elegant with the most outstanding houses and photography.  The pictures are big and clear – no more small, boring pics.  Russell is a genius.  If you have ever doubted the importance of the Editor in Chief – the new Architectural Digest should settle it for you.   There is a world of difference between the last editor and Margaret and boy, does it ever show.

 

The master bedroom sitting room at Easton Neston!  Must be nice.  Notice the desk with the attached clock.  Photography by Oberto Gili – a master with the camera.  His own recent book is gorgeous HERE.

 

  This month’s Architectural Digest issue is called “Grand Tour – Ravishing Homes Around the World.”   If you are a minimalist, don’t bother.  The interiors are filled with clutter and antiques of the best kind.   The cover story – Easton Neston by Mitchell Owens is drop dead gorgeous.  OMG!  Talk about just bring a toothbrush and move in, I’m ready!!!    I loved this sentence from Leon Max, the owner of Easton Neston:  “All the tables should be old and the chairs should be new if one can help it.”    Spoken like a man.  Men HATE antique chairs because man is so much bigger today than man was a few hundred years ago.  (Which is so weird when you think about it.  Why are we so much bigger today? I mean, I know why I am bigger – too much candy and cheeseburgers, but why is man – the species – so much taller than man was just a century ago?)

 

Interior designer May Daouk’s Beirut Villa – photography by Simon Watson.  Notice the console on the left piled high with blue and white porcelains.  

 

There are EIGHT houses featured this month.  EIGHT.  When was the last time you saw a magazine that featured EIGHT houses?   The funniest thing is at first I counted seven and thought that was incredible.  But I went back and recounted and was stunned to discover it was EIGHT!    Now, if only they would change the font, I’d never say a bitchy word about AD again.  

 

  Timothy  Whealon in Monte Carlo.  Simon Watson.

 

And on top of all this – there is a new AD web site with huge photographs.  Hear that House Beautiful?  Vogue and Architectural Digest (both Conde Nast) have finally embraced the digital age and have given us these beautiful images online.  Thank you!

 

  fleur5

 

 

image

  And finally, I received the best package in my mail yesterday.   From Amazon.  The new book by Lisa Newsom:  THE HOUSES OF VERANDA.

Pick me up off the floor, I’ve died and gone to heaven.  Drool is collecting on my chin.  My eyes are in bugged out so far they may never recover.  I look like I have Graves disease.

OK – people, listen.  I’ve told you about some of my favorite books this year – Phoebe Howard’s and Segreto’s – both gorgeous.  AND now, add a third one to the list.  If you like Veranda, get this book.  That’s all I will say.  RUN.   There’s nothing really new here.  It’s all your favorite houses from past issues.  But that’s the point, isn’t it?  To have all your FAVORITE Veranda houses together in one HUGE book – with extra large photographs, without all the writing over the pictures like it happens in the magazine.  Just clean, huge, beautiful photographs of your favorite houses. 

  

image

Like this.  The most beloved cover story ever – it is the cover of the book and the first house featured.  This house is the home of clothier Edourard Vermeulen. From Belgian (naturally) – it is a stunner.  I’ve always loved that urn filled with roses.  And that table – so hot right now in America, but this house was designed years ago. 

 

The photographs are so much bigger than they are in the magazine!  I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!     Each house featured – almost each single house in the book was a favorite of mine.  Did I edit this book?  I was wondering???   Ha!  Seriously, Newsom picked out each house that I myself would have picked out for the book.  There are tons of houses, 30 in all,  and I think there were only two that weren’t absolute favorites over the years.   And even those are beautiful.

 

 

image

The next house is a classic by Dan Carithers (my favorite of all his houses – well one of them!) I’ve always loved the curve of the sconce – it looks like sculpture. 

 

image

The next is a house by John Saladino.  Oh my.  And on and on it goes.  It’s a feast for the eyes.

 

You can throw out all those dog eared, yellowing and torn clips from Veranda.  It’s all here in one place now – in this book.   Some of the pictures were fresh again – it had been a long time since I’d seen them.  Others were more well known.  A real bonus - there are two gorgeous houses by the Houston great Babs Watkins, including the first house I saw of hers that made me fall hopelessly in love with her aesthetic.  Such great memories.  And that is what this book represents – memories.   Memories of falling in love with design and designers.  Remembering the first time you saw Bobby McAlpine’s work.  Or those gorgeous aqua beach houses.   A reader emailed me saying “I wish you lived here so we could sit and look at the book together.”  Yes – I understand what she meant.  If you do too – this is the book for you.

 

 

image

Babs Watkins – the first house of hers that I had seen – Love at First Sight!

 

My only complaint?  At 288 pages, it’s still not enough.  Do it again, Lisa, come on, one more please!!!  Volume II. 

AND hint, hint, someone at Southern Living should do the same thing with all the great  Southern Accents houses.   If that would only happen….

 

Order the book from Amazon HERE!

   

Segreto Finishes Does Joni Webb

63 comments


image
Sitting area of bedroom in a house I designed.

A few years ago I worked on a house (above) where Leslie Sinclair painted some of the finishes.  Her company, Segreto Finishes, provides some of the most beautiful paint finishes you could ever find.  At this particular house, her crew changed plain cabinetry into a work of art.  The finish had depth and texture – and added so much to the rooms!  I was hooked and became a huge fan of Leslie’s.   And why not?  She is one talented lady.  She is also an incredible businesswoman – today she employs over 25 people who help her run Segreto Finishes.  Her specialty is a plaster finish that you have to see to believe how gorgeous it is!  
Besides the paint finishes business, she has an art gallery.  Recently, we had Leslie on the Skirted Roundtable to talk about her latest endeavor – her new book.  If you haven’t ordered it – DO!  It is absolutely gorgeous, page after page of the most beautiful interiors that Leslie has worked on over the years.  It is remarkable.   I can’t remember seeing a design book that is so big, and so lush, and just so wonderful.   On top of all her accomplishments, Leslie is also a wife and mother to three grown children, some in and some out of college.   But, most importantly,  she is a nice person, one of the nicest that I’ve been truly blessed to have known.
SOOOO, imagine my delight and sheer excitement when Leslie called to tell me she was having her photographer Wade Blissard take pictures of the house I designed that Leslie had worked on.  And imagine my further delight when she informed me the house might be published soon in a national magazine!!  I am still reeling from the news.   And, to top all that, Leslie has featured me on her blog, Segreto, The Secret to Beautiful Living, HERE where she shows pictures of that house!!    

Will you please click over to Leslie’s blog and read her story “Classic Design – Joni Webb?”  I would really love for you to help me show support for her story! 


Also, starting today, you can now order Segreto on my blog.
image
Leslie’s book – large and lush.  Page after page of beauty!


image
The book is filled with images like this gorgeous kitchen. Kara Childress design


And this beautiful foyer with its faux walls. Joyce Horn Antiques


To order Leslie’s book, please go to the upper left corner of my blog for the link.   Look for the cover, pictured above.   When you order the book, you will be asked “How Did You Hear About Us?” – please write “Cote de Texas” there.  
Note:  Leslie will be signing books this April 19th in Baton Rouge.  More information about the signing can be found on her blog.


If you missed it the first time around, please listen to Leslie Sinclair on the Skirted Roundtable, HERE.

AND,
to read the story “Classic Design Joni Webb” on Leslie’s blog – please go HERE.

image
I know I don’t say this enough, but I truly appreciate all the love and support you have shown me through the years!


DEAR MISS COTE DE TEXAS…

248 comments

 

image

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?

 

 

image

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

 

image

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:

 

image

China White

image

Brevity

 

image

Mirage Gray

 

image

Feathered Gray

 

image

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. 

 

image

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

 

 

image

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.

 

 

image

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.

 

 

image

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.

 

 

 image

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. 

 

image

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.  

 

.image

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. 

 

 

 

image

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.  

 

image

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

 

 

image

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

 

image

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

 

image

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

 

image

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

 

image

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

 

 

 

image

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.

 

 

 

image

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??

 

 image

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.

 

image

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.

 

 

image

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.