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Sunday
Oct192014

A Lovely New Start!

There are a number of defining moments in life. Some are unexpected while others you can see coming from a mile away. Some will tear you down or strengthen you or both. Following the sad and untimely passing of her husband in 2005, Anita, designer and dear friend, was faced with such a moment. We are so happy to be able to share her story of love, family, and coming home. 

Following their engagement in 1985, Anita and Jim began their life together with the purchase of a home. Situated on a corner lot surrounded by 80 year old oaks, what the house lacked in terms of ceiling height was made up for in charm and fresh air. As Anita describes,” … I fell in love with it immediately … Jim swore that I left him no room to negotiate because I was jumping up and down saying, “This is it!””.

In 2000, Tropical Storm Allison caused significant damage to the older home. Anita recalls, “I sat at the window disheartened at the 1930’s wallpaper flapping in the wind and assessing the damage.  All I could think was “We need to start over””. With the decision to rebuild made, Anita and Jim set out to create their dream home! 

 

While still maintaining the same footprint as the original, their new family home featured high ceilings and loads of windows for natural light. The neutral palette and stark white casework served to highlight the beautiful hard woods and wrought iron details throughout.

With two growing children and a penchant for entertaining, Anita and Jim’s kitchen and breakfast areas were designed to be both cozy and light-filled. I just love the French country look of the skirted chair slip covers and mirrored chandelier – so charming    

From the masculine, built in, black bed combo storage piece in their son’s room to the serene and feminine feeling of their daughter’s, each bedroom maintained its own personality through furnishings and palette. How unique and gorgeous is the ivory, upholstered encasement bed?!

Newly widowed with her children away at school, Anita found herself at a crossroads. The decision to sell the family home and embark on yet another fresh start emerged, this time with a decidedly Parisian air…

Modeled after Winfield House, the Georgian styled mansion built by American heiress Barbara Hutton in London’s illustrious Regent Park, the townhomes of Winfield Gate stand at a soaring 4 ½ stories  and emit all of the English charm and European refinement of its namesake. 

Anita’s new home, reminiscent of a Paris apartment, creatively features a paneled accent wall and plaster inset into the decorative molding of the ceiling; which will pair beautifully with her eclectic assortment of antique fixtures and decorative pieces collected throughout the years.  

In the custom designed kitchen, three pairs of stunning, antique doors sourced from Chateau Domingue front the refrigerator and two pantries.

Here, Segreto’s own artisans worked hard to create a sample on the new casework to match the reclaimed doors – The first step of many, it now looks like found pieces built in!

The pièce de résistance of Anita's master suite has to be her dream dressing area! The closet boasts floor to ceiling, built-in clothing cabinets with a coordinating, marble topped center island perfect for displaying treasures and laying out accessory options!

When not inclined to utilize the elevator, residents and guests can ascend the sweeping, spiral staircase to the rooftop terrace complete with outdoor kitchen, fireplace, and potting station.

Connecting the homes is a Parisian style courtyard featuring a cross shaped fountain and pool surrounded by greenery. A feast for the eyes, the exterior details are evocative of a place and time far from Houston’s River Oaks.

We are so happy to be taking part in the creation of this beautiful new chapter in Anita and her family’s life and cannot wait to see her newly finished home this fall!!        

“Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”  ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. 

To pre-order our new design guide, Segreto Style, click here or contact books@segretofinishes.com !!! 

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.

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Sunday
Oct122014

Bedroom Update - Time to Move In! 

Having started my master bedroom and bathroom renovation seven months ago, you would think that when I was finally told ‘it’s ready’, I would have all of my fabrics, bedding, lighting etc. on stand by to move in!     

Only the finishes are done!  I started with a light colored plaster and then stenciled a faded champagne leaf design atop to create subtle striping.

With time getting away from me, I found myself shopping in the wee hours of the morning for bedding. For those who know me it has, unfortunately, become an addiction! The lure of the flash sale and the panic that it may soon be sold out if I don’t hit the purchase button is too much for me to resist!  My favorite sites are Rue-LaLa and Haute Look. They have incredible deals and feature hard to resist items, but buyers beware, some things are not returnable.  Scarily, the bedding and coverlet I purchased months ago fit into this category so I really hope they work! I can't find the coverlet that matches the shams--hope it is in storage!

In need of fabric for drapery, accent pillows, and upholstery, I found some great options in the sample bins at the Design Firm, Nest & Cot. When finishing the cabinets and front door of their new offices, sweet Whitney allowed me to borrow a few!

Our new mattress arrives on Monday! Because they are so heavy, I wanted to get my rug down first. With such little time, I chose to stop at two Houston stores which I know have beautiful, in house selections and such wonderful, helpful attitudes. The first stop was Madison Lily Rugs; they specialize in transitional and contemporary rugs ranging from bold to soft and everything in between.

Such stunning options! Here are a few new ones from their showroom! This husband and wife team juggle family, designing rugs and running a business at the same time - amazing!  To read more about their story see the blog post I wrote about them here.  

My next stop was the Oriental Rug Gallery of Texas! Howard and Joseph are always smiling and are so helpful towards the regular visitors of their Houston showroom.

Having been more traditional in their selections in the past, I was very impressed with their newer, more contemporary line! As a bonus, they also offer great care in cleaning your rugs, making them one of my go-to shops!!   

After seeing the final two rug options in my space , I realized that whichever choice I made would heavily dictate my furniture and fabric selections.

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How beautiful is this chandalier from BROWN in Houston?! This five arm fixture features vintage Murano glass!  

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Similar in style but smaller in scale, this lighting fixture is a more narrow option and features only four arms.  I think both would look just perfect casting a soft glow onto the newly finished walls! What do you think?

 

 

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Now on to the most important feature of the room – the bed! Both options are so beautiful, each combining painted wood and natural fabric for a pretty look without being too formal. Pictured above is a bed I found on One Kings Lane. It features a concave curve on the corners of the headboard with a flat expanse of upholstered linen at each end.

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On the lighter end of the spectrum is this beautiful bed from Eloquence. I love its combination of curved edges arched middle accented by wood carvings and plush ivory upholstery.

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I just love the stunning reproduction French furniture pieces from Eloquence. Their large bedside dressers, or commodes, combine form and function beautifully, with each finish lending so much character to the design of the room! Do I go with the distressed, white stone finish with circular drawer pulls …

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Or should I choose the antiqued natural oak finish with curved legs and oblong drawer pulls? Eloquence offers exceptional quality at an irresistible price point which is why we are excited to have begun carrying their pieces in our shop! Just pull up their website and let us know what you like.

 

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Finishing touches – I love these inspiration drapes I found via the Horchow catalogue. A great neutral option, I liked the inverted pleats.

Which style board would you choose for your master? Would love to hear your comments!! Joyce Horn Antiques, who is so sweet to host my Book Launch on November 4th is getting a wonderful new shipment this Tuesday October 14th! 7065 Old Katy Rd--Its worth the visit!!! Till next Monday!!!!

  

 

 All that Glitters at the Shop! no returns on sale items.

Beaded barcelets in varied gold, rose gold, and copper with rhinestone accents and mixed, gold plated charms - $10.00 ea sale $7 each

Ridged metal cross bracelet in silver or silver & gold combination - $25.00 ea Sale $20 each

Two band, ridged metal bracelet feature gold and rhinestone band - $69.50--sale $45

 Oxidized citrine necklace, 26 inches long - $160.00 --sale $110

Skinny, large cubic zirconia hoop earrings shown in gold & silver -$69.50 -- sale $45

Moss aquamarine tassle necklace with diamond nugget; 33 1/2 inches long - $615.00 -- sale $415

 

 

 

To pre-order our new design guide, Segreto Style, please contact books@segretofinishes.com !!!

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.

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Sunday
Oct052014

Shopping for Lighting on Ferndale!

If the room is a lady and the furniture her clothes, then the lighting is most certainly her accessories.     

While shopping for my own home, I knew that my choices in lighting would set the tone for each newly renovated space and I could not wait to visit my favorite shops on Ferndale Street to see what gorgeous items they had to inspire!! 

My first stop was at BROWN. I always look forward to seeing sweet owner, Jill Brown, and all of the hand curated items she offers! Having spent four years in Belgium with her husband, Jill was able to combine her love of “thing-finding” with the exploration of a new country which resulted in an enduring passion and a keen eye for collecting unique and beautiful lighting and decorative accessories from around the world!

Upon entering her beautiful store, I was immediately greeted by an eclectic mix of chandeliers, sconces, and furnishings! From the exposed rafters to the floors, every nook and cranny is filled with something interesting, and beautiful. Talented Jill designs many of the pieces herself, resulting in truly unique fixtures exclusive to BROWN!! 

From industrial to ornate, primitive metal to cut crystal, the options were endless! How stunning is this Murano glass chandelier? Circa 1950, it features folding textured leaves and a ridged bowl to house the bulbs. It would make such a statement in the right space!! 

Mixed in with their beautiful fixtures is an assortment of paintings and vintage diagrams, mirrors, accessories and gift items. I just loved the framed jewel toned butterflies.

These beautiful sconces really caught my eye! Each features two curving arms constructed of vintage Murano glass.  Definitely a contender for my home! 

Continuing my shopping trip down Ferndale, my next stop was through the lovely antique convent entryway of The Gray Door

Having set up her new shop on the first floor of her spacious town home, owner Donna Brown displays her gorgeous variety of lighting fixtures, home accents, and antique furniture vignettes throughout the industrial space. 

I loved this basket line perfect for home office organization! With such a large variety of shapes and sizes, I could organize all my stacks beautifully!!!

Having come for sconces I was not disappointed by the selection! Each set of fixtures was unique, dripping in beading and crystal swags, ready to shimmer and glow with light.  

Success! I found a second great option for my bathroom sconces at The Gray Door. It is a three prong, antique, burnished gold fixture. I would consider refinishing them to better match the style of my master bath and removing the pointed protrusion at the top.

With antique items sourced from France, Sweden, Italy, and beyond, The Gray Door provided so much to inspire!

How adorable is this little dog bed?!  Even Donna’s dog couldn’t resist its Parisian charm and made himself quite at home.  

Unsurprisingly, Donna’s impeccable taste extends to her own home. An image from her former kitchen, and gratefully borrowed from Cote De Texas’ wonderful blog on Donna this year, I simply love her mix of old and new, industrial and antique. The result is welcoming, unpretentious, and always interesting.

Yet another amazing find on Ferndale! These antique paneled doors have such a stunning finish. The inset panels were left unpainted to display their natural beauty a lovely French blue on the surrounding frames. Well-worn and distressed, these would make a gorgeous addition to someone’s home! 

Right across the street is Kirby Antiques. A bit more formal in flair they have a beautiful assortment of carefully curated items to admire. 

Their collection of stunning accessories makes it difficult to choose but these gorgeous candlesticks sure would look beautiful atop my dining room table. … 

My daughter Kirby, not happy about being woken up in the wee hours, assisted me by holding the fixtures to the wall so that I could get an idea of how they would actually look in the space. 

Which led me to choosing this gold and glass fixture from BROWN to install!! Piece by piece, this renovation project is finally nearing completion!!

Although the sconces I found at the The Gray Door didn't work at my house they found a home in this lovely powder we stenciled for Sarah Eilers of Lucas Eilers Design Associates. The faucets and wonderful old sink are not installed yet. Will be a beauty when all done! 

   

 

What's Aglow at The Shop! no returns on sale items

(2) Aidan Gray Corinthian Fragment Lamp in Antiqued White on Lucite Base (shade not included) - $495.00  Sale $295 each.

Aidan Gray Antique Silver Candlesticks  - $195.00ea  Sale $125 each

Drio Lace Ceramic Lamp in Turquoise and Brown on Silver Base (shade included) - $350.00  Sale $165 each.

Wall Sconces from Top to Bottom: Silver Scallop -$750, Silver Mirror Scallop - $750, Silver East Sconce - $795, & Clear Pagoda - $725  We can order sets at same price a piece.  To buy one, they would be half off. Call for information, they are really cool made from acrylic and some silver leafed and painted on back!!!

 To pre-order our new design guide, Segreto Style, please contact books@segretofinishes.com !!!

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.

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Sunday
Sep282014

A Week With Segreto!!

With fall just around the corner we have started our holiday crunch; trying to get all of our sweet Segreto clients finished in time for holiday entertaining! Here are a few projects we have been working on this week!   

 

With the orange stained ceiling beams trend falling in line with avocado green shag carpets, we are constantly busy transforming these architectural elements to a weathered gray antique look! Here is Jerry applying the first step to kill the orange undertones. Who says blow dryers are only meant for hair?!     

Adding cracks and distressing, these beams now read like age old, built in elements.  No stripping required, our trademark technique transforms newly constructed features into worn wood remnants of centuries past!

Beginning our work in this kitchen for Gabirel Custom Home Builders, our task is to age the cabinetry so that it marries well with the plastered walls, reclaimed beams and counter top, and stone range hood, all of which are statement pieces. But wait.....

 

 

 

Like a piece of fine jewelry for the kitchen, the first item the homeowner’s purchased was the Chateau 120 from La Cornue in pebble blue!! To die for!!!   

Wanting to extend the colors to the refrigerator doors, we applied an age old finish onto the newly constructed ones!!! 

Here are the doors as they sat previously in our shop awaiting the final dry brushing and edging. Taking place on site, this step will lend further aging. Believe it or not, this paint is made from cottage cheese and beer!  Fitting for refrigerator panels don't you think? 

 

This homeowner wanted to change the existing dark mahogany paneling to a color that would showcase her French canvas which was built into the wall. This 17th century beauty is really 14 feet tall but they ingeniously incorporated a scroll device which allowed them to keep the top portion rolled, protected and uncut in the event they decide to move. Choosing one of the teal colors from the painting made the piece come to life! Our sample can be seen to the left of the canvas. 

I cannot wait to see the room cleaned up and featuring her newly upholstered chairs!!! What a change!! 

While at the same residence, the homeowner showed me her collection of framed artifacts from the 15th century! Still wishing to have them displayed, she wanted to change the gold trim on their frame to silver.

An easy DIY task for all to try, I told her about a product we love, Rub and Buff!!! Shown above in pewter, their silver leaf would be a better color for what she is hoping to achieve!

 Although the directions say to apply directly with you finger, I suggest using a rag with a bit of paint thinner on it which will allow for more control of the coverage desired!  

Elsewhere, the plaster crew is busy coating this entire home! I just love the curved ceilings and the sublet depth the plaster lends to the space! This home will be a draw dropper when furnished!!

 Have you been wanting a metal hood but are stuck with a wood one?  No worries!  We transformed this one to reflect a sheet metal look with metal banding and grommets for designer Sarah Eilers!

Even I had to do a double take when I saw the banding complete!  

 

This little mahogany side table got a complete make over at our furniture refinishing workshop! Although this client decided to leave the original hardware intact, often times we will paint right over them like you see in French or Italian painted pieces.   

 

Fit for a princess, we have glazed this door and are painting tufting on the ceiling to make a grand entrance to this little ones closet!!!  

­­And the most exciting thing to happen this week – we received the prototype of our second book, Segreto Style, in the mail! So many stunning homes, I cannot wait to share them all with you! We are taking pre-orders for advance purchase at books@segretofinishes.com and via Amazon beginning October 1st. Hope you all mark your calendars for the opening party at Joyce Horn Antiques November 6th. It will be so fun!!

 

Accessorize for Fall at the Shop with our Fall Sale!(no returns with sale merchandise)

 The Royal Standard Chevron Scarves-perfect for monogramming: Shown in Gray & White and Orange & White (Infinity) and Burgundy & White: $29.50 Sale $20

 Gold Plated Gem Stone Earrings.  Large: $205.00, Sale $165   Small : $149.00 Sale $110

 Italian made natural cork Handbags: $359.00, Sale $295 

 Cork and Gold Lace Cuff w/ magnetic clasp: $89.00-Sale $50

  Leather Multi-Strap Bracelet with Gold Beaded Accents and Citrine Gem: $150.00  Deal of the Day $50 

 Yellow, Genuine Leather High Fashion Handbag with Gold Clasp Detail: $259.00  sale $199

I hope everyone has a great week! 

To pre-order our new design guide, Segreto Style, please contact books@segretofinishes.com !!!

 

 

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.  

 

 

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.

 

  

 

  

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Wednesday
Sep172014

Renovation Update - Flooring! 

An integral feature of any home, flooring choices are limitless and crucial to the overall look of your home. From packed dirt to tumbled marble, its history is as extensive as the materials it can be made from. As you may know, my summer has been made all the more exciting (and exhausting!) by my home renovation.

 

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The use of more refined wood flooring didn't become standard until the early 19th century. Historically, many homes featured unfinished, rough-hewn planks with the intent of covering them with decorative rugs. Following the industrial revolution, new machinery resulted in the ability to cost effectively produce elaborate wood flooring options thus establishing their use throughout the home! 

Ari with AR Floor Designs had done such a great job helping me with my offices three years ago that I made a trip to his warehouse to check out their enormous collection of finished and unfinished wood! This is a sample that he had made for sweet architectural consultant, Sarah West to show the many reclaimed woods he had in stock for use in flooring. Wouldn’t it make such a cool inset in an entrance way?

Established in 2005, Ari and his team have become an invaluable resource for all things flooring! With so many beautiful options to consider, how could I ever choose?

I really loved their reclaimed wood with a European oil finish on them as well as the beautiful walnut samples! Although I am getting new floors in the front three rooms, the rooms adjacent have existing oak flooring throughout. I so loved all of your comments and suggestions about using stone in the entry and, though I was torn, decide to stick with all oak to keep the house feeling open and cohesive.

 

From the lumber yard to the showroom floor, a variety of wood species and stains are hand chosen, carefully milled, and expertly arranged to create the flooring custom to your home. It was so fun learning about the process! He also had a large selection of engineered floors, some made from reclaimed wood. Something I didn’t know was possible!

Ari also had a large selection of reclaimed beams to admire and just look at that fab antique red barn siding! What a statement piece it would be in the right setting. So it got us to talking…….

Remember this California home designed by my friend Ohara Davies- Gaetano featured in the summer issue of Veranda? I adore the concept of this ceiling. Seeing his wonderful supply of reclaimed planking, Ari agreed to select some for me and install it on my own dining room ceiling! Fingers crossed my little Segreto elves are up to the challenge of creating a design just as spectacular!!!

I had told the guys that I was quick and easy when creating the samples for my living room. I guess I underestimated how many options I’d have! Sweet Ari never seemed frustrated and custom mixed my vision of the perfect brown.

Now his guys were left to mix the same color for the wood floors in my living room. These floors connect to both the foyer and the kitchen as well as the den. I had been told prior that they were mesquite inlaid in oak. Yet, in their stripped form, it was easy to see that they were red and white oak, cut like bricks and framed within a red oak grid. These floors, probably installed in the home in the 1970’s, have always been my favorite!

With the den and kitchen finally complete, I was able to move all of the furniture back in just in time for John to come home from his California Dreaming vacation! Although waxed finishes are the rage now, I decided on a oil polyurethane finish in the main parts of the house for the sake of durability! My dogs really give the floors a beating! With this sealant all you need to do is clean as needed with Bonax wood floor cleaner!

In my master bedroom, the floors are pine and had been previously stained dark. I have to admit, I kind of loved the way they looked natural. Yet, when the sealant was applied they turned a bit too yellow for me.

To counter the gold tones a series of European oils were used which added a grey hue. This is the first of four washes that he applied. According to Ari, “We are using a lot (of European oils) to achieve gray colors, light creamy, or Earth tones yielding a natural look with low sheen”.  In terms of maintenance, the floors need only be mopped with the same brand of soap and, bonus, it is a green product!

 I just love the transition between the old stone floors in the hallway from Chateau Domingue to the white Carrera marble in the bathroom from Materials Marketing! The cleaners came yesterday to do the final clean on the bathroom! Yayyy!! We are getting close to moving back in!  Thank you, Ari, and all of your great guys that worked on my project! I love my floors!!!

I can not tell you how thrilled I am to share such exciting news!! My dear friend and fellow design blogger, Kristy Woodson Harvey of Design Chic, has just released her much anticipated novel, Dear Carolina!!! Such a talented story teller, Kristy writes of the defining moments and difficult decsisions that make a family.

One baby girl.

Two strong Southern women.

And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.

 

Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…

 

Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…

 

“Kristy Woodson Harvey weaves a story around characters with rich, complicated lives we all identify with…beautifully shows how a family comes to be.  Not only by blood, but also by choice.” --New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas

 

And because we know you'd like to get your hands on it too, we're doing a giveaway! Not just any old giveaway, either - simply by sharing the cover of this book you will be entered to win a collection of 10 amazing, new novels from a bevy of talented authors! Participants simply need to share the Dear Carolina cover by clicking the contest link below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck and I hope you enjoy Kristy Woodson Harvey's new novel,  Dear Carolina - I know I will!!! Please check out her blog Design Chic too for a real design treat!!! Until next week!

  

To pre-order our new design guide, Segreto Style, please contact books@segretofinishes.com !!!

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.

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