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Monday
Apr212014

And the Renovation Continues... Master Bath Edition!

Well my house renovation is in full force and underway!!  My bathroom is gutted and I am trying to finalize all of the selections. Marble is the topic today!!

Here is my inspiration picture!  I love the way the marble comes down onto the cabinet!!!  As you can see, we are going a totally different direction than the original floors —from brown to white!! I have been shopping the globe for slabs and finally realized it is best to find your flooring first. It is easier to get a sample of the floors that you can take with you to make sure your slabs match! With the help of architectural consultant, Sarah West, we purchased the Calcutta flooring from Materials Marketing, a 12" x  24" tile that we will run as a running bond pattern. The smaller tiles will be used in the shower floor.

I originally wanted a quartzite. It is a more durable material than granite but has the soft veining look of marble, perfect for a bath!! Here are some beauties!  Princess White, Sea Pearl, Taj Mahal to name a few!!

I ended up getting This Calcutta slab from Walker Zanger. Stephanie was a great help and so patient with my back and forth decisions!!  I love the veining in this piece, it's very irregular with soft tones of warm grays and gray greens.

Then there are all the decisions about finish. Should you hone the marble for a matt look or polish it for a higher sheen? My bathroom previously had polished marble which has been slated as a no no but I never had issues with it scratching. After researching the web and getting so many varied opinions this is what I found: A polished marble is beautiful and gives you that sleek look but can be slippery on floors(this is true) It is recommended to hone  your floors, which gives you a bit more traction when getting out of the bath!! 

As for countertops there are pros and cons to the different sheens. Polished is more durable as far as withstanding stains, however it scratches more easily and the scratches are visible. The good thing is that most of the time natural stone responds very well to restoration and repair. It is, after all, a natural material and not a surface with a laminate top.  A honed surface is more susceptible to staining, but it doesn’t show scratches as much.  All natural stone should be sealed to protect the look and installation and sealing honed stone can help to protect from staining. It should be resealed periodically. I went with honed countertops this go round, mainly because I thought that it would look better with the fixtures and mirrors I purchased.  

When cleaning any stone, you should only use products that are specifically manufactured for natural stones, sometimes even products that are nature friendly contain ingredients that can harm your stone (like vinegar and lime juice)! I guess I will need to be careful of that makeup and toothpaste! Walker Zanger recommends Ocean Care sealers and cleaners and Berings recommends "Intercare Cleaner" by Marblelife and the "Marble, travertine, limestone & slate cleaner and resealer" by "Custom Building Products". 

I am so excited about the mirrors I found at the Marburger Farms Antique Show from Art and Antique Hunter. Such a unique design, I was so excited that they had a pair!!!  They are a bit large for my space but oh well!! I purchased a matching pair--How lucky was that!!!!!

.......AND THEY ARE HAVING A WAREHOUSE SALE IN DALLAS--  Tuesday the 22nd and  WEd. the 23rd 10-5

 My gorgeous new mirrors were not the only great piece at the Art and Antiques Hunter booth! Owner and hunter, Mitra Kilburn started the business when she was ready to leave the corporate world and follow her passion for hunting for beautiful antiques! She is known for her exceptional pieces, especially mirrors, lighting and decorative arts. She travels to Europe several times a year and her collection is mainly Italian but includes pieces from Sweden, France and the Netherlands! If you're in Dallas, you can visit her brick and mortar location at 1130 Dragon St., Suite 170.  I wish i was in Dallas to go!!!!

...and WE are having a Trunk Show with other vendors at Back Row Antiques!!!!   Come see us to find one of a kind mothers day graduation and wedding gifts!!!

 

I am so looking forward to sharing the completed look with you and having my bathroom back in order!! The project continues!! Until next week... XO Leslie 

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.

 

Sunday
Apr132014

Hunt for the Best of Easter!

Spring is in the air and Easter is not far behind! This special holiday, filled with religious meaning, is the perfect time to gather with family and friends and celebrate the fresh start of the Spring! This year I think all my kiddos will be in different places and spaces but I will enjoy seeing my Mom and Dad on this special day!!!

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I miss the days when my little ones would wake up so excited for the Easter egg hunt before church.  I wonder if I will get the same smile from my husband with these fun Easter breakfast ideas!!

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I am not a big cook but I love to decorate the table for special holidays.  Easy and fun, I think I will try these floral egg arrangements as place card holders this year!!!

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This DIY bunner runner would be a fun craft and a great piece to keep for years to come! You hardly need any accessories to make the table display look complete, just some yummy and pretty Easter food! Learn how to make your own here!

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Seasonal and colorful, carrots are a great addition for every Easter table! 

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Love these cute little peeps!!  Easy to make, these would really make your bread basket chirp!!!!

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What a cute idea for a festive chicken or egg salad sandwich!!  This looks easy to do and could be made with homemade dough or premade crescent roll dough from the grocery! Either way, I think this would be a big hit! 

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I may need these just for me!! Just shape the krispie treats along the inside (or outside) of each side of the egg, then pop them out. Fill them with candy or toys and put your two krispie halves together. 

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You would certainly win any deviled egg competition with these adorable little chicks! By far one of my favorite Easter foods!

The Egg Hunt is On...

The iconic Easter egg! So many beautiful and creative ideas, here are a few favorite finds to inspire your creative egg decorating!

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Hope you all have a beautiful and blessed Easter! 'Til next week! XO Leslie 

 

Don't forget about Mother's Day, Graduation and Wedding season! Come by Segreto to find perfect gifts for all your Spring events! 1414 Antoine Dr. Open M-F from 9:00-5:00

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.

Monday
Apr072014

A Week with Segreto!

 I hope everyone had a wonderful week! Last week I went to a preview of the Marburger Farms Antique show in Roundtop!!!  As usual, the wonderful dealers have totally outdone themselves with some fab finds!  Here are some of my favorites! 

We have certainly been busy at Segreto! Over the last year, I have hired and trained new people to try to get to my WONDERFUL clients in a timely manner.  We have finally done it!! Now on a larger job we can typically get to you in 3-6 weeks vs 3-6 months!!! Thanks to everyone for your patience while we were going through growing pains!!! I so appreciate your business and support, so keep on calling!!!  Here is a small sampling of some fun projects we are working on!   

This finish, done like the olden days, is made from homeade paints, waxes and yes even beer and cottage cheese. Gives you that very rustic feel, perfect for this kitchen full of reclaimed woods, antique doors and fireplaces dating back to 1702! Sarah West, architectural consultant, was the sweet person we worked with on this one!!!

Formal and refined, this nook behind the master tub needed a finishing touch.  This dogwood design for designer extraordinaire, Sarah Eilers really did the trick!

Wanting to add a bit of "Frenchy" blue to her island, we applied a furniture quality finish for this homeowner, to give the kitchen a bit more pizazz!!!

Just in the midst of it--this mural is coming to life on a powder bath wall!!  Full of drama, it is a true conversation piece! 

In this kitchen, there was a wooden relief above the cabinetry that seemed a bit bare untouched.  We did a glaze to give it some depth and then stenciled a design to add an extra special touch! 

Love this kitchen we have started for Designer Tami Owen!!  The hood is already plastered and now we are starting on the cabinet work. Love those lanterns!

This client wanted to create a special space for grandchildren visits and the door to the toy closet just seemed to lack fun! We painted a fireplace scene on top including handpainted delft tile, brick molding and a painting of this special grandmother with her little one! SO cute!!!

I love the transformation that applying glazes over raw wood can make.  This study built with pecky cypess felt dated to this owner.  They wanted to transition from an orange tone to a light gray. We applied glazes directly over the existing finish, which eliminated the the need to strip the woodwork and start from scratch!

 

 

I always love to see the transformation that our workshop creates with the furniture pieces they work on!  What a change, I wanted to keep this one!!!!


Even before the final clean these floors are full of fun and whimsy!!  This design, inspired by a fabric, makes a big statement in this home office we did for Designer Bobby Farkas.

AGAIN - Thank You all for your patience in waiting for your jobs to be completed!  Spread the word that we are caught up and ready to quickly get to your job!!  As an appreciation to our customers, we are offering you 20% off on any item at our store during our trunk show extravaganza next Thursday April 10th from 10:00- 7:00PM!! Just say you saw the discount on the blog,  Stock up for graduation and for Mother's day!!! See the invitation below!!  xo  Hope to see you next Thursday!!! Leslie 

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.

Monday
Mar312014

Picking out my Fixtures at Acero Bella

Well, I am busy shopping for plumbing fixtures for my new master bath makeover!! Located at 8560 Katy Freeway, Acero Bella is super close to my offices!!! They are in the same office warehouse as Back Row Antiques, behind Home Depot.

We first met Chas and designer, Desiree Guillory last summer when they called us to do a few special finishes in the new space including their logo right as you walk in! The name “Acero Bella”, which translates to “ Beautiful Steel” in English, came from one of their neighbors over a breakfast brainstorming session. Love that!!

Their beautiful showroom, which opened summer of 2013, has so many built in displays that make it easy to visualize what a tub sink or shower head would look like in your own space. I don't take baths--don't worry I do shower-- but my husband who is super athletic loves a tub to soak his sore muscles after a tennis game. After talking to them in depth, it seemed that the new rage-- air jets-- wouldn't do the trick, and that he needed an air/ whirlpool combination!!!

We settled on a Jason 635 white undermount tub. I hope he likes it!  I couldn't get that husband of mine to go and shop for it with me!!!!  Anyone else ever have that problem?!  Now off to Faucets!

 There are so many to choose from!!  This is just a few of the many displays. The incredible selection makes the decision so difficult!!  

Even though I tend to lean more traditional, I just fell in love with the contemporary plumbing fixtures.

 Thank goodness Acero Bella centers around customer service! Poor Sarah West, a friend and  consultant who specializes, in selecting fixtures, ligthing, surfaces and architectural elements and Beth, the wonderful Acero Bella specialist, had to watch me go back and forth back and forth. And the winner is?!!!! 

 


A wonderful collection from Newport!!!! This was my splurge! I really liked how the old world feel of unlacquered brass would mix with old stone, mirrors and other elements in my bathroom!  Let's see if I can pull off my antique mixed with modern concept!!

Here is the entire collection I purchased-rain head and all, shown in polished nickel. The silver tones are much more popular in todays design, and also very beautiful!

We are also renovating the two upstairs baths!  Both girls are girly girls so I chose this faucet and shower tub fixture for both of them in polished nickel, their most popular finish.

Going through the showroom it's easy to get distracted!  They carry many appliances including Fhiaba, a line of Italian refrigeration with uniquely customizable temperature zones.  It has an all stainless steel interior and you can change all the drawers and compartments from freezer to refrigeration!  What will they think of next?

 

I also fell in love with  the Italian cooking line, Bertazzoni, shown here in red.  What a statement piece for any kitchen! It's got to be good!  Those Italians really know how to cook!!!

Another Segreto cameo in the showroom- We plastered the hood for their kitchen display on the left!

Now off to sinks!!!

With so many to choose from I felt, I needed to stay simple with the sink design and let the plumbing speak for itself.

With so many to choose from I felt, I needed to stay simple with the sink design and let the plumbing speak for itself. 

Acero Bella carries all types of hardware for doors, baths and cabinets.  Some of their most popular lines are Rocky Mountain, Van Morris and Ashley Morton. Chas says contemporary trends are still the dominating style but recent clients are very open minded to ornate and un-lacquered brass finishes, too. She says it’s easy for clients to get overwhelmed by all of the choices so they have each piece of hardware mounted individually so it’s easier to narrow down selections and choose the "jewelry" for their home. LOVE THESE DISPLAYS!

Chas's vision is to create an environment that is enjoyable for both the customers and the staff. She says “ The construction world is challenging and customer service is a dying art. I wanted to create a nurturing environment for homeowners that allows them to enjoy the process of creating their dream homes.”  I certainly felt that walking in and throughout the process!!! Thank you sweet Sarah and Beth for helping through the process!!!

Acero Bella is located at 8560 Katy Frwy, suite 160. You can find Acero Bella, Segreto Finishes and our other design resource friends in the neighborhood in our new maps! They are complimentary and available at our shop 1414 Antoine Dr or any of the other participating businesses!

Until next week! XO Leslie

 


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.

 

 

Monday
Mar242014

Ken Newberry - An Architect Extraordinaire

Although I love my home, we've lived here for 27 years, and I really wanted to make some changes to the areas that have been bothering me for years. 

 This room will stay intact but the front elevation and the staircase are two things that I've never liked.  Spurred on by our old galvanized pipes bursting, we decided to revamp our bathrooms and tackle the front elevation and staircase issues.
 

Ken Newberry, the founding principal of Newberry Campa Architects, is an architect whom I have always truly admired!  Working with him on the most amazing projects (see above), I honestly was a bit nervous to approach him about helping out. Here are a few more of the gorgeous homes that we've done together:

Designer: Cathy Chapman

  

Designer: Kara Childress

Seeing him at a job, I took a moment to discuss my small project and see if he'd be interested in taking it on. He said "YES" enthusiastically!!! We started with the interior, and I was simply amazed by the outcome. 

 

We have a narrow entrance and a very large staircase that ends 3 ft from my front door. Ken immediately explained why it's been troubling me all this time... our staircase is backwards or upside-down!  Most of these "Gone with the Wind" staircases are placed in grander entrances so they start smaller at the top and then curve out at the bottom. Ours, however, is the reverse - it starts very large at the top and gets smaller at the base.

 
 
 
Here's the plan. By taking the staircase across and down and widening the entrances to the living room and dining room, Ken visually increases the size of the entrance way. The staircase balustrade forms a wall going into the music room. To downplay the huge ceiling differences between the entrance and the neighboring rooms (which have 9 ft ceilings), he suggested raising and widening  the openings to the living room and dining room. If this isn’t brilliant enough, he also opened up the area behind the music room and turned it into a study, complete with sliding barn doors on rails. This way, you can look straight through this side of the house to a garden he designed beyond the new iron doors.
 

Here is his drawing of the front of my house--They drew me in younger and thinner!!! Told you they were nice!!!

 
Here is the house!!  The exterior is the most drastic of all the changes!!! The front, in my opinion, seemed very tall with a sloping roof line on either side. Please don’t look at the landscaping... we've let it go because of this project. Yikes!!!

The after is just stunning! He took my 60s home and transformed it completely! I told Ken and gang how much I love the architecture of the 1930s and how I wanted an updated slant. When they went over the final plans with me, I teared up... Ken and his team, sweet as they are, thought I didn’t like what they had done, but I LOVED it!!! What a drastic change - turning the home I love because of all the memories held there into a home style I have only dreamt about!!!!!!!! Ken, Will and Gina are all soooooo nice and just incredibly talented!

 
A bit about Ken!

After receiving his bachelors degree in Architecture from the University of Houston, he attended the University of Rome in Florence and Rome, Italy. He's a licensed architect in the states of Texas, Colorado, Florida and Virginia, and he's also a LEED Accredited Professional for New Construction with the US Green Building Council. Recognized for his progressive use of traditional and modern construction materials in both new construction and remodeling projects, Ken's work includes custom residential, commercial, restaurant, and retail projects.


Ken is as nice and generous as he is talented!  As the founding board member of Starfish Kenya, he travels to Kenya and works with his firm to design of all of the buildings and facilities at the House of Hope Orphanages. He also serves on the executive board for the AIDS Foundation Houston, and he's a member of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and the Houston Heights Association. A founding member of the Boys to Men Texas Chapter, Ken has also helped to bring this mentoring program to Texas.

Well, I think everyone is just as enamored with the phenomenal change to my home's front elevation as I am. Ken Newberry and his team at Newberry Campa Architects were not only responsive and creative, but they really took my home, built in the 60s, into the next generation. Nice, down to earth, extremely talented, and just brilliant! I highly recommend them!!!!!!!

The Master Bath Renovation has begun......... see below!!!!


I am taking the renovation in stages, and we're now starting on the bathroom portion of the project, so I'm excited to send you some updates along the way! We are gutting and revamping the master bath and the two upstairs baths!! 

'Til next week!
xo Leslie

Segreto Trunk Show!!!!!! Mark your calenders!!!!

Order custom monogrammed gifts for all your Spring Graduates! Makeup bags, slippers, scarves and more! Open M- F from 9-5 at 1414 Antoine Dr.