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Sunday
Dec022012

You're Invited - Our Shop is Open!

So many of you have sent me emails wanting to see us completely moved in to our new space... And, we're ready for the grand tour! We are getting geared up for our Holiday Open House, and you are all invited!!! Come in comfortable clothing - the back is gravel. We will have lots of great food, drinks and live music. RSVP to the Wednesday night event here.

I am so excited about the charity, Family Legacy Missions, that Segreto is supporting this season! We'll be donating a portion of our sales from the Holiday Open House to this non-profit organization which helps the orphaned children of Zambia.

Here's one of the design team at my office- little Leslie as we call her - with a group of Zambian boys she helps by sponsoring!  Due to extreme poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Zambia has the largest percentage of orphans in any country in the world. There are over one million orphaned children in a land of 12 million people with almost half the country's population under 16 years of age. The money raised will go towards education and housing.  Read more here

We'll also be donating to the organization's Tom's House project which will house 12 orphans in the Tree of Life Children's Village. Tom was a wonderful, full of life, giving man in our community who recently died in a plane crash. We hope to honor his life and his legacy this holiday season through supporting a mission dear to him.

Our Holiday Open House will be hosted at our new studio, gallery, and, yes, store!!! Come on in! The entrance showcases an assortment of furnishings and the work of Segreto's artists.

In our store, we have beautiful art, geodes, corals, candles, jewelry, tableware, unique gift items and even some furniture, both old and new!!! 

Check out the pretty lamps and table from Bliss design. Debbie Mosley's art that's hung above the console is so beautiful!

Our sample showroom and conference area is such a great place to meet with all my wonderful clients and create unique designs and finishes for their homes!!!  It even has a little TV so I can pull up photos on a large scale and share new ideas!

I love this antique door from Joyce Horn AntiquesFrameTek replaced the orange glass with an antique mirror to better blend with the space!!!

We adorned the bathroom with a hand-painted design in a pale "blaygeen" - my favorite color.

This office has my new passion - painted floors - as well as the refinished shutters from my dining room that now serve as the doors for the approved sample bin.  I got the one desk from an estate sale and painted it! You can sneak a peek into Karen and Isai's office, but, oh my goodness!, we missed it when the photographer came! Karen is so sad - she loves her new office!

Here is my office that I share with Leslie Carrigan!  The best part - look up!  By mixing pine 2 x 4's with 1 x 4's and then adding a plaster finish, the wood truly looks reclaimed! Thanks to my sweet client, Beverly, for donating your lantern to the space!  It is so perfect here.  I combined desks and acrylic chairs from IKEA with an old French writing desk from Joyce Horn Antiques and a lovely piece by Segreto artist Kiah - I thought it was fitting for two ladies!  Needing a few bulletin boards for each office space, I bought $5 ones from IKEA and stenciled them.  I think they would really make fun gifts! To see the before and afters of the office, go here and here.

What do you think of the antique balusters I made into lamps?  I wish you could see the fun acrylic bases I put on them! Can't wait for you to explore the whole space at the Holiday Open House! I wanted to give a big thank you to the wonderful subs I used on the project!  I would highly recommend them all!

Goodchild Builders for doing such a fabulous job on the renovation; I absolutely couldn't have done it without them!

Steve Henry for doing amazing work on the landscaping and hardscape design - he so impressed me!

AR Floor Designs of Houston for the oh-so-lovely job they did patching and restaining the original 1950s floor.

Gunnells Concrete Design for patching and staining the old, oil-soaked garage floors.

Olympus Marble and Granite for the gorgeous quartzite slabs.

Framtek for the antique mirrors.

Joyce Horn Antiques for giving me a bit of old with the new!

Rudy Colby Designs for the wonderful plans!

My Segreto Team for all the beautiful plaster, decorative and cabinetry finishes! Great job - I'm so proud of you!!

Don't forget to join us on December 5th, 6th and 7th! Come do your holiday shopping, listen to music, and enjoy some drinks, food and fun, while helping support Family Legacy Missions - a great organization that changes the plight of Zambia one child at a time. If you would like to attend the event, please RSVP here

I have a busy week at Segreto! Along with our big open house, I'll also be giving a lecture in Dallas at the Dallas Design Center - so exciting!   Then, off to a booksigning on Thursday at Maggies in The Woodlands, Texas. See below for all the info! Have a great week!!  Tis the season!  xo Leslie

Dine+Design Luncheon- Dallas Market Center- December 4@11:30--For designers only!   For more information contact Pat Zajac | Dallas Market Center. P (214) 583-8792 pzajac@mcmcmail.com  

December 6th : Book Signing at Maggies in The Woodlands, Tx Time: 11:00 am- 3:00 pm

Join us for some holiday fun, shopping, and meet Leslie Sinclair who will be signing her book, Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Maggies is located on Market Street at The Woodlands Town Center. 9595 Six Pines Drive, The Woodlands, Tx 77380 www.maggies.com

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

 

Sunday
Nov252012

What Segreto Did This Week - Part III And Book Give-A-Way!

Whenever I bump into friends and colleagues, they're always curious about any exciting projects I'm working on. And lately, we've done so many beautiful finishes that I wanted to share a few of these with you! It's incredible to see how finishes can change the look of doors and cabinetry. In this first home, we've taken all the new, wooden elements and given them a reclaimed look and feel.

Designer Mary Nell Corson designed these exquisite doors for the entrance to the dining room. Once constructed by Goodchild Builders, they were given to us in the raw wood state.  Even though they were brand new, Mary wanted the doors to have an old look as if she had found them and retrofitted them into the space. Jerry's beginning the layering process here!

 Wow, I just love how they turned out! They have an old, antique quality without looking contrived.

We also aged the custom-made, wrought iron insets - what a spectacular detail for a dining room!

In the kitchen, we started with an island that had been primed, and then used a layering and staining technique to create a rustic, pine look.

The first step was to bury colors underneath the glazes to produce a darker, more worn effect in certain areas.

It takes several glazes and extra detailing to achieve the perfect finish! In the panel, you can see the finished look, while the surrounding, lighter portion of the cabinetry shows our progress after the second glaze. By applying layers of paint and adding dimension, the island really becomes an interesting focal point!!!

The breakfast room attached to the kitchen has wonderful built-in cabinetry!  As the first step in the glazing process, we distressed the originally pale blue cabinets and added a few cracks.  You can see the final sample in front.

It turned out beautifully! I love the black grate insets and hardware that Mary incorporated to finish off the piece.  Steve's Goodchild Builders carpentry team does magnificent work!

For our next project, we were tasked with embellishing the walls of this gorgeous entryway. Because the entrance is connected to a hallway leading into the master suite, there wouldn't be a natural stopping point if we did an all-over, wallpaper-like stencil. Instead, we highlighted a few areas with a beautiful pattern.

The homeowner, who's also named Leslie, loved the floor graphic we did at our office, so I suggested we create a paneled version of that design for her entry.

This was all done by hand using a template, not a stencil! Notice how the hand-highlighting and embellishments give it so much more dimension!

I adore the finished look!  We added the same paneled design to the opposite wall as well as to the wall with the door, achieving a sophisticated, dramatic entry without having to paint all the way down the hall.

In the next home, we plastered the walls and vent hood and then painted a special motif on the hood inspired by the tile. This additional touch really ties it all together and complements the wonderful work of builder R.D. Allen and designer Mollie Mercer.

This custom, built-in piece in the same room is a showstopper!!! Designed by Mollie and built by Rick, this cabinet was textured and gold-leafed, making it a statement piece in the space.

One of my favorite tasks each week is meeting with designers in my showroom and developing a finish design to match their fabrics and surfaces.  Designer Bobby Farkas picked out some beautiful fabrics, and I'm so excited about the color and finish choices we made!

I also carved out some time to create a few commissioned art pieces for my clients and art gallery. Now that Segreto is completely cleared out of my garage, I'm so happy to have the additional space to work on my art!  This piece was created to hang in our gallery. I think all the lavenders of today are so beautiful!

This work "A Happy Home" found its way into a lovely den, adding a bit of contemporary flair to the room's traditional decor without being too out there!!

I also revisited a home where we had done all the restoration stain work in this grand corridor - so fun to see it years later!!! I can't wait to do more work in this amazing, historic home!

 

 In this dining room we plastered the ceiling and left the walls to flow in this open floorplan--but wait!

 To complete the look we hand painted a custom medallion complementing the old world style of the fixture but bringing in the contemporary elements of the sconces. Soft but sophisticated I may have to have this design at my  own home!!

 To the right we plastered the range hood around an old plaster fragment the homeowner had built in. We didn't like the transition of the fragment and the hood so to make it look seamless we hand painted corners and a molding to create a seamless transition. Sometimes little touches make a world of difference!!!

 

Here is our neighbor's little dog ready for our big trunk show event at MAI building 2!! We will be bringing all sorts of Holiday gifts from our new store!  I hope to see you all there!  See below for the Book-give-away contest!!

November 29th: Holiday Trunk Show and Book Signing at Memorial Antiques& Interiors Building 2 Time 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Segreto will be premiering a sampling of the unique items carried at our new store. Great gifts for the Holidays--come see one of a kind minerals and corals, candles, tabletop, hand carved candlesticks, jewelry, art and of course the book Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Coupled with many different vendors this will be a Holiday shopping extravaganza!!  Located at 8731 Katy Freeway, Houston, Tx 77024. ( MAI Building 2) www.maihouston.com

Dine+Design Luncheon- Dallas Market Center- December 4@11:30--For designers only!   For more information contact Pat Zajac | Dallas Market Center. P (214) 583-8792 pzajac@mcmcmail.com

Now for the book give-a-way!!!  It is time for me to write another article for the oh-so-fabulous magazine Antique Shops and Designers. I will send the book Segreto:Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors to any idea for a story that I decide to use!!  Just write a suggestion on a topic you may find interesting that relates to what I do!! I constantly have to write these articles so there may be more than one winner!!  Thanks so much for your help with this!!  xo  Leslie

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

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Monday
Nov192012

Thanksgiving Centerpieces!

On a hectic Thanksgiving day with far too little oven space and far too many herbs and shallots to chop, my favorite thing to think about is setting a pretty table. So this year, I've found an abundance of tablescape ideas using squash, acorns, leaves and other fall materials that can be made days (if not weeks) in advance! I hope these autumn centerpieces and crafty arrangements will help you prep for your Thanksgiving feast!

This table-long centerpiece is gorgeous! Fill a tray with some moss or leaves and then artfully place a variety of squash, branches and candles on top. I love the idea of mixing different candle sizes and heights for added interest!

What a great, simple arrangement! Wrap branches around a few pumpkins to create a "nest." The little pumpkin baskets/favors are lovely!

If you still have some carved pumpkins after Halloween, keep them preserved and prevent molding by using silica gel packets! Just place a packet on the bottom of the pumpkin or dot several beads in the interior. Your pumpkins will last for weeks!

Love this idea!  Add more textural interest to your pumpkins and candles by glueing seeds or beans in a band or decorative pattern.

Or if you want something less permanent, surround your candles with corn, peas, beans, or acorns in a hurricane glass. You can alternate layers of dried materials for a unique look.


Leaves add a delicate, elegant feel.

Or try the same thing with nuts, instantly elevating these dollar store glasses! I love how different types of nuts were used.

A blend of burlap, linen and white pumpkins and gourds is great for a shabby chic take on fall entertaining!


It's always the little details that make a big difference! Bundle up some mismatched silverware with a ribbon for a special addition to each place setting.

Gotta love this engraved, "thankful" pumpkin!

Similar to one of the photos I shared in my Halloween post, these pumpkins spell out a Thanksgiving message with old keys. They'd look beautiful on the table as well!

Arrangements that function as both food and decoration are wonderful. A Tom Turkey centerpiece is fun for the kids table! Notice how it creatively uses an upside down pear for the face - love it! And this little one looks so excited to eat his fruit!

This Provencal table is casual, rustic and cozy! Layers of candles, wine, fruit and other appetizers atop burlap makes for an organically autumn harvest table.

This tablescape was created for one of the former Pink Ribbon Homes. A bowl of little squash and pumpkins adds to the traditional, festive ambience. Segreto of course plastered the walls and painted the fall inspired mural!!

Each place setting gets special treatment with these pumpkin flower arrangements! Once you carve out the pumpkin, remember to use a small glass of water in each to hold the flowers; otherwise your pumpkin will get waterlogged.

Pumpkins are a perfect, fall-themed alternative to your typical glass vase. This one takes the same idea to a larger scale!

Great idea to use leaves for a one-of-a-kind placemat!


Yummy! Can't do a Thanksgiving blog without sharing a few recipes… this pull-apart pumpkin bread from Sunny Side Up looks delicious!

These apple and brie tarts are a wonderful, savory-sweet appetizer. Bloghungry also suggests substituting any other cheese and fruit combo you have on hand!

If you're looking for a less sweet alternative to your marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, try this sweet and white mashed potato swirl from Salad in a Jar!

They always say the secret to a beautiful table is adding different heights... so I love, love, love the way this serving area uses pumpkins as the stands!

You can also use squash and gourds for your nut and olive bowls - so cute!

Or as candle holders!

And for an extra little bit of holiday meal stress, check out these adorable, mini "pumpkin" cheese balls from Kitchen Simplicity! If you already have a beloved family cheese ball recipe, just shape into tiny balls, dust with paprika and top with green onion or celery "stems".

 I'd like to give a special thanks to my family, friends, blog readers, colleagues and clients - I am so grateful for your friendship, support and the trust you've given me over the years. Happy Thanksgiving! 'Til next week when i will be showing you some new projects we have been working on!!! 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.

 

 

Tuesday
Nov062012

Thanksgiving Place Card Ideas

For fall entertaining casual or formal, creating the perfect "tablescape" has become all the rage!! One of my favorite parts to add to the table to give it that personal touch are place cards!   Just like a handwritten letter, they have a bygone quality that's so special! Here are a few place card ideas to integrate into your Thanksgiving tablescape:



This couldn't be simpler - beautifully rustic yet so chic! Just write each name on an autumn leaf using a marker or even chalk.



Cut out strips of cream-colored card stock or manila folders and write guests' names in gold, brown or any other color. Then tack to a Bartlett pear or any other fruit of choice using a sewing pin. Be so cute to affix a photo of the person with their name on the fruit as well!  I love how Country Living incorporates family photos into the tablescape above!!! 


Beautiful-these napkins are easy to make! Using a medium, round-tipped ink marker, like Uchida's DecoFabric Marker, write each name on a folded linen napkin. Be sure to practice your script! Tip: first use the Prym Dritz disappearing ink pen and then immediately trace over the name with your bronze, copper or gold marker.
Read more: http://www.countryliving.com/cooking/entertaining/thanksgiving-table-settings-1108#slide-13

I always have an abundance of wine corks lying around-so I love finding new ways to recycle them. Check out the Mint Design Blog to see how to make these pretty cork place cards. 


These pinecone placecards have a great fall feel. super easy to make, and perfect for Thanksgiving. Here's how to DIY!

This would be ideal with the right tabletop!  Wrap an apple in twine and tuck in the name card!



Love the same idea using mini pumkins and cutting out pages from a book for the name cards from decorator Holly Mathis!

Using the same basic concept, I think the kids would enjoy making these!!



Kill two birds with one stone with these ribbon napkin holders that can also function as a place card! On a small piece of card stock, stamp a design or write out a message and punch holes on either side. Thread a coordinating ribbon through the holes and voila! To see the full how-to, visit Country Living.

Looking outside your door can be the best source for place card decor like this gum berry with ribbon and cardstock idea from New England Fine Living.




There could be so many wonderful different versions of this idea from Good Housekeeping.


I absolutely adore these plant place card holders! They not only create a beautiful tablescape, but they also make wonderful favors or take-home gifts. You can use popsicle sticks to mark the names of your guests if you don't have any wooden plant markers on hand!


So cute for the kids' table and a perfect craft project for the little ones to work on while out of school the week of Thanksgiving! Just add the guests' names on the turkey's body and wala.


And, of course, it's not Thanksgiving without dessert! Here are two versions of sweet potato cupcakes - yum! On the left, you see Cooking Classy's cupcake with a marshmallow and brown sugar topping; and Annie's Eats version with a toasted marshmallow frosting is on the right!

I am so thankful for each of you!  I hope you all have a peaceful day with your friends or family and are able to take some time to thank God for life's blessings.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 'Til 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.

 

Friday
Nov022012

Ceiling Love!!!

In previous centuries, the ceiling was the most decorated surface in a room. Carved beams, exquisite plaster moldings, and elaborate mural work were used to adorn the "fifth wall," creating a truly unique space. The latest trends in ceiling finishes harken back to these centuries-old techniques, and I couldn't be happier that this formerly forgotten surface is getting special consideration! From hand-painted medallions to gold and silver leafing and plaster treatments, here are a few of my tips for treating the ceilings of today!

First, let's take a look back! This palatial room - Vladislav Hall in Prague Castle - has gorgeous architectural details! The definition in the ceiling allows the eye to follow the shape of the room - you instantly feel its height. By keeping the color consistent from wall to ceiling, the eye is not restricted by changes in color where angles meet but drawn to the wonderul stone or plaster molding design.

I absolutely love how the plaster encases this staircase, highlighting all the moldings and details - no need for any painted ornamentation. It feels rather current and fresh, even though it's part of an old Swedish castle. To read more about it, go to the Remodelista blog here.

 Here you see our new twist on an old art. The ceiling in this dramatic dome is plastered like the walls rather than painted a flat paint. It really accentuates the beautiful architecture and fabulous light fixture that designer Cathy Carabello designed with Alcon Lighting out of antique fragments!!!

With its intricately applied plaster moldings, this spectacular ceiling's details were gilded in silver, bringing the wallpaper and fabric tones up onto the ceiling. 

This idea can be applied to flat ceilings as well. In this powder, we created a jewel box effect by gold leafing the ceiling tying in the Fortuny-inspired design that we stenciled in gold on the walls - so glamorous! 

In an open floor plan, I always think of the basic colors in the space as being like foundation makeup. Just like foundation makes your complexion consistently even, one color or finish on all the walls in an open area will make the whole home flow together. Then you can go back and highlight the home's best ceilings and other features with special finishes, just as you would when enhancing your eyes and lips like we did in this ceiling in this Spanish inspired Villa for designer Nicole Zarr.

source via

The open floor plans and rounded corners of today's architecture, while desirable, do not allow for as many good stopping points for color changes. Ceilings are a great place to use color in a way that sets the room apart and establishes defined spaces. For a room without crown moldings like this one, keep the wall and ceiling color the same for a clean design and only treat the center pop-up ceiling. The molding was applied in this beautiful room to frame the distinctive ceiling treatment! 

If you want to add architecture to a space, go European! You can create a three-inch faux architectural border by wrapping the ceiling color down onto the walls. Hand-painting a thin line adds a bit more detail and dimension while dividing the two colors.  To create wainscoting, paint from the floor up 36-42 inches, paint a line to seperate the two, and then paint the rest of the walls and ceiling another color.  

source Annsley Interiors

I love this fun home office featuring a wallpapered ceiling that pulls out the green accent of the pillow and drapery trim. A similar look could be achieved by an artist with an all-over stencil design. While this bright pattern could easily overpower the space, this room works because the white from the walls is the background color of the ceiling design.

If you want to have coffers and beams on your ceiling but construction wise it is infeasible--paint them in as we did in this trompe l’oeil mural. This master bedroom ceiling was transformed from ho-hum to fab at a fraction of what the real think would have cost!

 

 Segreto created a garden feel for designer Sarah Eilers this sitting area off the master bedroom.  Notice how a few of the vines hang down on the walls, giving a more realistic perspective. A perfect place for morning coffee or snuggling up with a glass of wine and a good book at night!

In many rooms, you may not want a special finish, stenciled pattern or mural on the entire ceiling, but you can still use a few embellishments for a personal touch like this ceiling in an entryway we painted for designer Sandy Lucus. Handpainting medallions around chandeliers is a wonderful way to customize the space and add personality –  so much more so than a plaster-applied medallion.

Corner treatments are great for low ceilings - they lift the eye, making the room appear taller. In this room, we painted a special flourish at each corner and connected them by a simple line detail to further define the space.

Painted designs are also great ways to enhancing groin ceilings- highlighting both the architecture and the light fixture!

One of my favorites is this one we did for the 2010 Pink Ribbon House fro Designer Katie Galliano. The plaster on both the ceiling and the walls allows the architecture to really be highlighted. Instead of painting along the groins, we hand-painted a design in each of the vaulted sections, perfectly complementing the antique lantern  from Tara Shaw. 

 Sometimes subtle changes on the ceiling create just the right effect as in this ceiling we did for designer Bret Duhon where we waxed over the plaster on the ceiling nset only causing the effect to be slightly richer in tone and sheen than the walls. Whenever we do ceilings for our clients, it's always amazing to see how much impact the fifth wall has - it truly transforms the space! I hope this assortment of ceiling treatments gave you a few ideas to use in your own home.  

 Thank you so much for the gang at Patina Green in Mckinny Texas for such a fun  book-signing event! Look at for a blog post on their store and restaurant!  It is truly a place to see go and experience!!

November 8th : ASID Social Network Event at Segreto Studios Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Join us for drinks and light bights and mix and mingle with ASID Members while touring Segreto’s new studio. Leslie Sinclair will be talking about the inspiration and design of the new studio at 6:15 pm. This will also be a great time to take care of some Holiday shopping in Segreto’s new store. Shop one- of- a- kind minerals and corals, candles, tabletop, hand carved candlesticks, jewelry, art and of course the book Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Cream ranch with gray doors and columns to the right of a pink house across from St Regis School.

RSVP to andrea@329-design.com    Located at 1414 Antoine Drive, Houston, Tx 77055.www.segretofinishes.com

Hope t see you!!  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.