Today I wanted to take you on a shopping trip to one of my favorite Houston stores, Chateau Domingue, and introduce you - if you don't already know her - to one inspirational woman, Ruth Gay. Juggling the roles of wife, mother of three and entrepreneur, she has developed an amazing business bringing unique European and reclaimed elements to the states. Growing up in Europe as a missionary's daughter and having a mother of European heritage, Ruth always appreciated the area's history, beautiful architecture and its century-old flooring, tiles, mantles, stones and furnishings.
On my visit, I ran into Houston designer Cindy Witmer, who was meeting with her client to pick out flooring and mantles. Chateau Domingue, known to be one of the top sources for European reclaimed building materials is a 15,000 square foot warehouse tucked away on 3415 West Alabama Street. Ruth took over a space formerly owned by Dorner Plastering, one of Houston’s premier old-style lath and plaster companies. It is so appropriate that Ruth now has the space of a company that once plastered the walls of Houston's historic residences! Marian Saylors is the most knowledgeable plasterer I have ever known. Now in his 80's, he was my guardian angel when I first got into the plaster business!!!
When Ruth and her husband, Jack, renovated their home, they wanted to incorporate the charm and historical elements that she so much adored in Europe. They grew frustrated though once they discovered how hard these pieces were to find in the states.
Thus, her business was born! With the modernization of Europe, Ruth is able to scout out and bring back amazing finds to the US that we would otherwise not be able to easily acquire! For those not shopping in Houston, she now has an online store!!
This is one of my all-time favorite homes that Segreto's worked on (featured on pages 110-119 of my book) All of the reclaimed elements from Chateau Domingue infuse it with such character and authenticity. From the fireplaces to the old stone and brick materials, this space is a true European Inspiration!
Ruth carries the most wonderful selection of stone, concrete and porcelain antique tiles. I have seen them as the centerpiece of so many beautiful bathrooms, kitchens and patios that I have worked in!!
In this space, designer Cindy Whitmer used these charming, old French concrete tiles from Chateau Domingue to dictate the character of this quaint powder bath!! (See the rest of this French Style home on pages 22-31 in my book.)
Here is a great example of how designer Janet Gust made a little can go a long way! Simply inserting a few of these wonderful concrete tiles made a beautiful impact on this gorgeous kitchen in which Segreto glazed the cabinets!
They have an equally large selection of old flooring - the warehouse boasts a lovely selection!
I love how Kara Childress used these old stone pieces from Chateau Domingue as counters to transform this renovated kitchen! (This home is also featured in the book on pages 80-87.)
Here is another selection of reclaimed flooring. It was so hard to stay focused with the beautiful iron gates fountains, furnishings and garden elements surrounding me!!
Wow!! I adore this display of what a powder could look like! From the flooring to the amazing gold antique marble basin to the lighting, it's just breathtaking. I think the concept of hanging a mirror over a mirror (and in this case over another mirror) is brilliant!!
Can you imagine this wonderful wall built into your home!?! I wonder where the door originally lead to - everything here has a great story behind it!
Ruth travels to Europe 6 times a year visiting France, Italy, and Belgium with occasional trips to Spain, England Sweden and Holland. She carries art, furnishings and look - even dishes! - anything that she finds unique, one-of-a-kind and full of charm!
These old portraits are wonderful!! I'm always curious about who these people were. What were their lives like? Whose mother, sister or brother were they?
Ruth also sells lovely things for the garden that really brings the feel of Europe outside. She recently has created beautiful inspiring gardens in her warehouse yard! I love how she planted in between the stepping stones!!!
Just beautiful! Whether you are installing a fountain, constructing a pool house, or just buying a pot to lend a bit of character to the garden - this touch of century-old antique really creates a certain mood that new just can't.
Then, there is the outside warehouse - this has to be my favorite part! It's so fascinating to walk through the rows of old stone basins, reclaimed doors and wonderful statues. It’s almost like I am there in France at a flea market searching for my perfect find!!!
Ruth, who has such a passion for what she does, has transformed her own home (above featured in May-June 2011 issue of Veranda) using reclaimed elements. With the help of designer Pam Pierce, she has created an enchanting chateau for herself and her family that is full of warmth and character. It was so fun to work with them both on this project!
Look how cute Ruth is here, featured in a September 2008 article from traditionalhome.com. Thank you, Ruth, and your entire wonderful staff for the amazing tour of your one of a kind shop, Chateau Domingue!! I am constantly amazed by you and your dedication to following your passions, while being a wonderful wife and mother, as well as a generous gal who gives to others and her community. Thank you for bringing a bit of Europe to our homes!
Thank you as well to Nancy of the MARCUS DESIGN blog for a great review of the book! I have been following this cute young blogger for years!! She has a great eye and fresh commentary. Check her out and have a wonderful week!! xo Leslie
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