Subscribe to Segreto Secrets!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



Search Blog
Blog Archive
This area does not yet contain any content.


What does going green (low VOC) mean?

Trying to go green sounds good, but diving into the technical jargon and milling through companies marketing claims can be overwhelming! I am reminded of when the low fat craze began and the constant struggle to lose a pound or two. I pored over the marketing claims of low fat foods in the grocery store, spending way more than the hour I had allotted to do my weekly shopping. I went for foods with the lowest possible fat content trying to stick to the rule of thumb - nothing over 30% fat calorie ratio. 

From the Wild Mountain

Loaded with my arsenal of foods and complete with my favorite healthy choice cookies—I was ready to lose weight!! Of course, later many of these products were exposed as having twice the amount of sugars and carbs in them and more preservatives and chemicals in each bite that the military has in their arsenal.



I have felt the same way going through the volatile organic compound (VOC) ratios in paint products that claim to be green with one exception—this time I had to pull out my readers to read the fine print. The VOC’s are the harmful emissions that paint, glues, stains, fabrics, furniture, cleaners and other things in your home emit. VOC levels are typically expressed in grams per liter or g/l.   Up until 1999, the content in paints was pushing 1000 g/l but federal regulations have since set the VOC content limit in paint at 250 grams per liter.

Green Seal, the developer of environmental standards, certifies interior paints as low-VOC if the content is below 50 g/l for flat coat or 150 g/l for non-flat coat. Zero-VOC paints are paints that have a VOC content of 5 g/l or less. Most major paint companies now produce low VOC paint. If you are really interested in the guidelines make sure the pigments put in the paint are low VOC as well.

Watch out!!  Many companies will use low odor in their marketing to portray that their products are meeting the green standards when they are not. Basic rule of thumb—products that smell more have higher VOC’s.


Slow Fashioned

The new green movement is highlighting the fact that the older, more natural, ways of doing things are not only healthier for us physically but also healthier for a longer living planet. Green isn’t only considering producing new products with low VOC’s, but also reusing materials that we have to save the environment and reduce the amount of material we send to landfills.

Some ways are easy and can even help save on your decorating budget. Recycle! Recycle! Recycle! Look around your home at what you have. Do you have furniture, light fixtures, hardware, mirrors, kitchen cabinets or built-ins with great lines that just may need a face lift? With specialty paint treatments as shown above, these can be transformed at a fraction of the cost of purchasing new items.

During a past visit to Tuscany I noticed many restaurants served only fresh, preservative free foods and wines.  The food was so beautifully presented and delicious that I found myself indulging in 3 course breakfasts and 5 course lunches and dinners complete with wine and dessert.  I was amazed that I didn’t gain a single pound! I became a believer that chemicals and preservatives which so much of the food we consume in the states contain, can’t be broken down which not only prevents our bodies from metabolizing the food as efficiently, but also puts a strain on our organs when doing so. 

Food analogies help me relate to so many things-haha. Chemicals that surround us in any fashion, if they can't break down naturally, are unhealthy to our bodies and to our earth. Well, after all of my research, I find myself definitely on the road to a greener way of life! Recycle, reuse and refurbish what I have when possible, pay close attention to labels and buy lower VOC paint when it makes sense financially and aesthetically.


Just In at the Segreto Boutique!

Druzy and beaded earrings.

 Unique necklaces.

Get ready for parties at the ranch or a Father's day celebration with these Deer emblazoned styrofoam cups and cocktail napkins and the gorgeous antler chargers.

New work by Darlene Wall written up as one of Texas best landscape artists. If you would like more info about any of these items come visit us at 1414 Antoine or email a great 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 Segreto Blog, click here.To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook, click here



Defining Spaces

The latest issue of Antique Shops & Designers-a must read magazine- is out and I thought I would share parts of my article, using projects we have just completed. Thanks to my blog friends for the topic!!!

In today's open floor plans, creating interest and definition can be challenging. Do you paint selected areas a different color or elect for one color throughout? By using paint colors effectively, you can open up spaces while allowing the home's architecture, furnishings, accessories and art to shine.  In this entry, we wanted to give a bit a of personalty without having to go down the hallway with the pattern, so we opted for a handpainted panel design.

The colors used complement the cabinetry and accessories in the home so everything flows together.

In the same house this lovely homeowner wanted to define her master bath area while leaving the walls the same as her bedroom.  We decided to apply a treatment that is used in Europe. We painted the ceiling and continued the color 3 inches down onto the wall and then handpainted a pinstripe to add definition to the space, while leaving wall colors consistent. A panel done in colors that coordinate with the tiles adds an extra element to the inset tub area. 


Accent walls typically refer to one wall in a space that's painted a different color. While this technique works well in offices or ultra-contemporary settings, accent walls can feel a bit severe. Your eye falls on the shape they create, where the walls and ceiling end, making the space appear more confined. A successful twist on this trend is to use the same background color throughout the room and then apply design in a complementary color on the wall you wish to highlight. This enhances the space's flow by keeping a common thread in your surroundings.


Painting a beautiful medallion around a chandelier can do the same, like this ceiling medallion design we implemented over plaster. 

Crown moldings can also receive a special treatment to define spaces. In a home with open living and dining areas flanking the entranceway, Segreto crafted a finish on the moldings to replicate old, worn picture frames, bringing a bit of the past to these newly remodeled rooms and setting them apart from other spaces.

Distressed beams, wood planked ceilings and plaster ceiling designs lend wonderful texture to a room. The right finisher can affordably transform boxed beams or pine two by fours into sensational, reclaimed lookalikes.


 Painted floors can take the place of inlayed stone or tile to delineate an area. They bring interest and distinction to a kitchen, dining room or foyer and allow for easy cleanup of spills or dust.

Giving cabinetry its own unique finish is another way to differentiate one space from another while leaving the walls and ceilings in the same color. Since den and kitchen cabinetry tends to cover the majority of the wall, custom finishes on large pieces remove the need for different wall colors. 


 Paint is one of the most budget-friendly ways to break up the spaces in an open floor plan. In this hallway, which leads from the back of the house to the kitchen, cherry blossoms painted throughout over the same painted base color gives personality to this walkthough space. 

 By using these paint techniques, you can create accent floors, walls, ceilings and cabinets that both customize rooms and provide a sense of spaciousness and continuity throughout your home.  To see all the issues of Antigue Shops & Designers go here

New shop items!!!


The Well Dressed Man is always welcome! These individual pages from a vintage men's catalogue from 1930 would be perfect framed in a grouping! We have a whole catalogue of originals available by the page! $99 each.

Family friendly paper table runners and placemats  from Kitchen Papers are perfect for all of your summer parties or just for everyday! You can even place an order with us for custom monogrammed placemats! Under $30's!

These gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, lamps are made out of antique printing cyclinders for wallpaper and set on acrylic bases! It will be hard to let these go, but they deserve an amazing home!!  $950 each, shades not included. 

Handmade in Italy, these eco-friendly and chic cork pieces make the perfect accessories for the Summer! They are lightweight, stain resistant and come in so many different designs-starting at 48$. For more information on these items email Thank you so mych to my friend Karena who writes the fab blog Art By Karena for publishing a wonderful post about Segreto. Please give her a visit and have a chance to win a free copy of my book!!  Hope everyone has a happy Memorial Day and a great 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 Segreto Blog, click here.To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook, click here



Art that Inspires

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." - Pablo Picasso

 Cy Twombly

Art, an important element that can completely transform the feeling of a space and the people who inhabit it, characterizes the personality and taste of the residents making their house a home. 

Veranda Magazine-April 2012

“Collecting art” is not exclusive, we are all collectors of some kind. Today’s art market is enormous and varied and although there are many beautiful investment pieces, such as this painting Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (below) . There are many options for affordable art which inspire.

Anything from a drawing by your children, to an investment painting, a find at a flea market or grouping of favorite things can be worthy of being a part of your personal collection. 

Framed shopping bags as art Loft and Cottage 

Kid's Art featured in Cote de Texas

This Ivy House

House Beautiful

My Design Chic 

So how do you pick your perfect piece? Choosing art to live with should be exciting and personal. The most important thing to remember, when seeking out art, is to buy what you love! If you stick with that philosophy, the chances are pretty good that you will choose things that will naturally complement your own unique surroundings.

Here are some wonderful pieces that have inspired our clients—all are from Segreto’s Gallery!

Artist Kiah Denson

 A commission piece for designer Sandy Lucas , this abstract actually is painted on wooded louvered doors which fold back to uncover the TV.


Artist: Kirsten McLean

Artist: Leslie Sinclair

Artist: Rachel Schwind

Artist: Leslie Sinclair 



 Artist: Debbie Moseley

Artist: Kiah Denson

Artist: Christina Graci

Artist: Leslie Sinclair

A great place to look for art is right in your own backyard. There are tons of great local artists in your area. Segreto represents first time gallery artists as well as seasoned ones and right now we are on the search for new talent to add to our gallery. Over the past 5 years Segreto Studios has become a go–to for designers and homeowners looking for the last special touches to complete their home.  Each year we hold several highly successful art events and we try to keep our walls full at our studio and boutique. We are happy to say that we have a hard time keeping things in stock because our incredibly supportive community of designers and clients keeps our artists busy!  We specialize in high quality, affordable art. 

If you know of an artist who you love or are an artist interested in showing at Segreto, please send images of your art to We had some wonderful photoshoots this week of homes we have finished and I'm so so happy to show you some fab homes soon!!!!

Thanks so much to Maryanne Flaherty of the Beadboard Upcountry blog for doing such a wonderful post of the trunk show we did together. Check out how she transformed our sample showroom into a bedding wonderland!!  Brilliant!!

 Have a great 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 Segreto Blog, click here.To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook, click here


A Week with Segreto and Me!!

My weeks are so fun working with clients to make their homes their own - I love finding new ways to bring in the homeowner's personality. I wanted to share a few of these projects with you and give you a glimpse of what I did last week!


Homes 1 & 2: Floors!!!

For this floor design, I worked with homeowner Alicia and designer Lisa Rowe to create a statement in her new entry hall. They wanted something with a contemporary edge to set the tone of the rest of the home.  Since there are wood floors throughout, we decided to do something bold and paint the floors in the foyer in a rich gray and cream graphic combo! The beautiful landscape painting by artist Darlene Wall, purchased from Segreto Gallery for Alicia's previous home, looks great in its new setting. 

The newly laid wood floors were painted BM OC-53 first with an acrylic floor paint. A sticky paper was applied to the floors so we could hand draw the pattern.  Segreto artist, Debbie Moseley, who also has artwork in our Gallery, is calculating the math to layout the design.  I never thought I would have to remember those high school geometry classes in my line of work!!!

After the pattern was drawn on the floors, we used an exacto knife to cut out the design, leaving areas of the basecoat exposed.  A coat of BM-HC-166 floor paint was rolled over the entire surface. 

Here is Alex, my main decorative artist, pulling the remaining sticky paper from the floor to reveal the white undercoat of the graphic pattern. This home is simply wonderful - I hope to take you on a tour of the house in its entirety once the gals have finished!

In the second house, which has a more traditional style, we worked with sweet Melinda to create a border in her entrance that would set it apart from the open floor plan of her home. Taking inspiration from a beautiful tile mosaic, we added a shadow line to the custom painted design for a beveled effect.


Homes 3 & 4 - Shutter Doors!!!

I just can't get enough of antique shutters! Ever since I first took the shutters from my dining room and figured out how to give them a beautiful aged look, we have been mastering the subtle art of antiquing new or existing shutters for many of our clients.

These newly built and aged shutters designed by Steve (who is both the homeowner and builder on this one) and designer Darla Bankston May, add so much character to this butlers pantry! The architect of this home is none other than the famed Kevin Harris - can't wait to show you more of it at a later date!

These 200 year-old distressed shutters from France that I found for display at our shop served as our inspiration to transform the shutters in our client Jill's master bedroom suite. 

Jill's 35 year-old shutters, previously sprayed a 70s gold color, were stripped and then layered with paints and glazes to emulate the antique ones we have. Designer Lindsey Herod, who just opened a Houston branch for the New York firm, Celerie Kemble, is spearheading the master suite makeover.


Homes 5, 6 & 7 - Wine Rooms, Stone and Brick!!!

What a cool feature for a wine room - old barrels embedded in the brick! I had a lot of fun creating a mural for designer Janita Lo that would complement this unique element of the home! 

For the Tuscan countryside mural (still in progress), we framed the beautiful scene with painted bricks to emulate the real brick in the room.  I would love to share a glass of my favorite Chardonnay in this interesting and inviting wine cellar! 


This is a close up of another brick feature wall that we had applied in a boys room for designer Sheila Lyon. Seeing the whole wall painted with the trompe l'oeil brick really tricks the eye!

For this kitchen, homeowner Nita wanted to pull in some of the Austin stone that they had used in the adjoining den. The painted version we did really ties the two rooms together!

Painting the label of a favorite wine onto a cabinet or wall is always a great personal touch for a wine cellar or bar area.  The curved cream element of this wine cabinet seemed a bit out of place.  But by aging the cabinets and painting a soft design, we were able to pull everything together in a charming fashion.

While we were busy painting in the cellar, talented homeowner Gwen was getting ready for a dinner party! Look at that table, just masterful!!!


Birthday Wishes and a Graduation Extravaganza!!

I also turned 51 this week, and it wasn't so bad!! I started the day with a company meeting that evolved into a birthday surprise and ended the evening with a wonderful dinner with my family. This huge bouquet is just one of the thoughtful gifts my Segreto team showered on me!

Then we were off to College Station to celebrate my daughter's graduation from Texas A&M University. So proud of her!!!!!!!! Congratulations, Kirby!  I hope everyone has a wonderful week!  'Til next Monday - 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 Segreto Blog, click here.To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook, click here



Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!!  Mom.....

I love you for all the times you picked me up when I was down.

 For all the times you traded your warm smile for my frown.

For all the times you brushed my hair and tucked me into bed... Or needed something for yourself and put me first instead.

For all the dreams that we have shares, the tears and laughter too. I love you mom with all my heart.. there is no one quite like you!!

I had so much fun going down memory lane remembering all the special things that my kids did for me or my favorite gifts to my sweet Mom!! Here are a few......


Create a Card or Coupon gift book!!

I made a twist on this for my Mom and was thankful my kids did it as well for me.  Make each flower or page a coupon of chores you would do for Mom or time you would spend with her or special surprises you would give her.

Send an invite  to the big day in advance!!!



Make an "I love you " jar!

An “I love you jar” is a perfect gift that the whole family can do. Filled with reasons why their family loves them this is a perfect place card for Mother’s Day brunch or a special addition to a breakfast in bed tray.  You can combine it with photos, memories’ of the past and pampering gifts.


Craft a handmade gift!!!


Make your Mom some adorable cork coasters as they have done here in Marthat Stewart Living. Create stripes with masking tape and initials with vinyl letters or stickers. With a stencil brush, apply craft paint. Let it dry, then remove the tape or letter. Tie together with ribbon and give with a bottle of her favorite drink! 

Cork coasters, 4" round, $15 for 24 by Hygloss, 800-444-9456

Formulate your own Aromatherapy. Find step by step instructions Here. 

Fashion some creative decorations for your celebration. These recycled containers are super easy to make and would be great placecard holders, votive holders or vases. Just save your tuna and chicken cans and clip the clothespins around the whole side. A perfect, simple craft for kids of all ages! 


 Find her that perfect gift!!!

If you are looking for a special present for Mom, The Segreto Boutique along with fab jewelry and art has wonderful gifts as well! 






  I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day and lovely week!  We are headed down to Collage Station on Mother's Day weekend as my middle Daughter Kirby is graduating from Texas A&M University. All the siblings and my Mom will be there. The perfect Mother's Day for me!!!  Till 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 Segreto Blog click here.To follow Segreto Finishes on Facebook click here.