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Elizabeth Garrett DeWitt--Eclectic Design

 I have been working with Designer Elizabeth Garrett DeWitt for years and am so excited to feature a home we worked together on. Designed by Travis Mattingly of Architectural Solutions, and built by Richard Price Custom Homes, this eclectic French influenced home is a wonderful mix of clean lines, color combinations, comfortable transitional and contemporary furnishings and art with a splash of antiques.


In designing this home for a young family with two small children, Elizabeth wanted to bring in a grey pallet but not make the house feel cold. Knowing that the couple would need to furnish and accessorize the home, she brilliantly chose color combinations that were interesting on their own, only picking finishes in areas where the biggest impact would be made. In the entrance which sets the tone of the home, plaster was a must, accentuating the groin detail in the ceiling. It is a great complement to the Italian porcelain tiles from Casalinea that everyone fell in love with!!  

The office which leads from the entrance is just too pretty to close off. By using an interesting paint pallet Elizabeth was able to achieve a high end look. Because the cabinet doors are flat, the color combination of SW Agreeable Gray on the walls and SW Knitting Needles in high gloss on the cabinets give a contemporary expensive look on thier own, leaving more in the budget to spend on these wonderful furnishings and fabulous artwork by Mel Dewees.

In the dining room Elizabeth wanted to combine the clients existing antique buffet, as well as antique sconces from Joyce Horn Antiques with more modern elements.

Originally the group had discussed painting cherry blossoms as an accent wall, but me not being a big fan of accents suggested the idea of a contemporay allover pattern. We all loved the way it turned out--dramatic and a nice play off of the antique elements mixed with the ball gown like silk drapes and Circa chandelier.

The chairs were inspired by a photo that the homeowners had shown Elizabeth.  Making adjustments to give them a one of a kind look, Elizabeth had the chairs made.

Leading from the dining room to the kitchen is a chic butlers pantry. Keeping the flow of SW Agreeable Gray from the rest of the house, the cabinet colors was changed to SW Dovetail in high gloss which looks great with the antique mirrors and marble counters. If you look through the mirrors you can see the contemporary design of the door leading to the wine cellar.

The homeowner spends a lot of time in the kitchen so both functionality and beauty were important!! The cabinet color carries throught he main trim color SW Pure White from the rest of the home creating a nice flow throughout! 

 Classic Calcutta marble was used on the perimeter counters and backsplash, combined with a white quartz island. The island was designed to allow for the countertop to turn and run down the sides to the floor--stunning!!!

The homeowners had done an amazing job furnishing their previous home which gave Elizabeth a starting point in the kitchen, breakfast area. She already had four of the breakfast chairs, two barstools, and the smaller version of the classic Saarinen table. Although they added to the chairs the homeowner owned, they did decide to go with a new oval shape table due to the layout in the room and the fact that we were using a round table in the dining room.

What a beautiful eclectic comfortable family room!! There are so many details in this room both in architecture and design. The use of the antique armoire and sconces at the fireplace with the more modern pieces and artwork created a great balance of old and new.  

 Elizabeth, the homeowners, and myself really enjoyed working with builder Richard Price. He and his team were so organized.  Richard pays great attention to detail and goes above and beyond to instill the clients happiness, which makes him not your average builder.


The homeowner always had a vision for the formal powder.  The custom cut marble herringbone floor combined with polished plastered walls, antique mirror and sleek hardware and bowl is exactly what she envisioned.  

  Stunning how beautiful the chandelier plays off the rich color of the polished plaster!!

Moving upstairs Elizabeth wanted to create a master retreat for the busy homeowners.  The beautiful sleek freestanding tub acts as the star of the bathroom.  The grey and white pallet is very soothing and sophisticated.  I love the way the hand-painted dome turned out, just enough detail to enhance this architectural feature in the room.


When there is no trim detail in a dome, a painted border feature is the perfect way to define a space.  I had so much fun working on this project with the fun homeowners, designer Elizabeth Garrett DeWitt and builder Richard Price. I so appreciated being a part of this project.!!  If you are in Houston please join Segreto on Friday March 1st premiering a wonderful new fabric and pillow line! Hope to see you there!  xo  Leslie

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Atelier Fifteen-O-Five

I'm sure many of you have beautiful, well-built furnishings that were expensive when purchased, but no longer fit in your new home or design scheme (I know I do).  My clients are always asking me where they can take these former treasures.  Luckily, a friend and client of mine, interior designer Dianne Josephs, saw a need for a place like this and recently opened a fabulous consignment store, Atelier Fifteen-O-Five.

Before the September grand opening, Dianne renovated 2,000 square feet of a warehouse and created charming vignettes of dining rooms, dens, and formal living rooms, in a chic, upscale fashion. Each little area is accessorized, giving wonderful examples of how these pieces can be arranged in a home. Love those alabaster lamps! 


The store has a wide array of high-end furnishings in different styles. Dianne personally selects every item, searching for pieces that are of high quality and excellent condition and that also possess a certain uniqueness. She constantly receives new merchandise thanks to other local antique dealers, like Joyce Horn and Carl Moore, who refer their customers interested in consigning to Atelier Fifteen-O-Five. Dianne is able to obtain such quality pieces because many of the empty nester set, including herself, don't have room for their beautiful antique furniture and great vintage pieces after downsizing to a smaller home.

Dianne draws from over thirty years in the design business. She has such a talent and passion for what she does, and it certainly comes through in the way she thoughtfully displays and arranges the lovely pieces she offers.

This beautiful birdcage was one of Dianne's favorite things in the store (sadly, it just sold). Since I've been figuring out exactly what kind of boutique I want mine to be, I always love asking store owners what their ideal shop would have. Dianne said she'd love to serve and sell delicious nibbles and have flower arrangements from Johnathan Andrew Sage, a floral designer who she worked with years ago.

She has so many pretty items - it's hard to choose a favorite, but I do love this large, 18th century Italian buffet/etagere, circa 1770.

I'll take any chance I get to study finishes on older pieces. The distressed, antique paint treatment on this buffet would be so fun to replicate!

If you're thinking of reselling some furniture or accessories, remember to choose items that are close to flawless, with no rips, tears, stains or broken legs. Atelier Fifteen-O-Five doesn't only carry large furniture like tables, seating and chests; they also accept lighting, art, mirrors, statues, vases and other decor. I think her selection of light fixtures, chandeliers and lamps is especially wonderful!

The shop carries a fantastic assortment of architectural fragments and carved moldings as well. Dianne has always loved architecture and grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, near incredible homes and estates designed by architect David Adler.  Her design outlook was greatly influenced by her time working at The Merchandise Mart in Chicago in the 70s.

While in Chicago, Dianne got to explore the architecture of H.H. Richardson, Mies Van de Rohe, and
Louis Sullivan and visit all the great buildings in the area.  "Just taking in the exterior and interior of Marshall Fields was a tremendous experience!" She's been so fortunate to meet interior design legends like Vesta V'Soske, Countess Lee Gozzi of Fortuny, Ed Wormley, and Angelo Donghia. I'm sure these opportunities gave her the wonderful eye she has for diverse and varied styles!

If anyone wishes to consign pieces, just contact Dianne ( or 713-864-2112). Be sure to include photos and any background information you have such as dimensions, manufacturer, designer and approximate age. And definitely check out the website or shop to see all the fabulous pieces Atelier Fifteen-O-Five currently has in their collection.

Thanks, Dianne, for sharing more about the consignment process and your shop with me. You're such a sweet and interesting woman with exquisite taste. 'Til next week! xo Leslie


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Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!!! In celebration, enjoy my Pinterest collection of all things pink, heart-shaped, and handmade!

Saint Valentine, for whom the day commemorates, was supposedly known for performing secret marriage ceremonies for soldiers who were forbidden to wed.

It wasn't until Geoffrey Chaucer's Parlement of Foules poem in 1382 that Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic and courtly love.

The tradition of exchanging flowers, confectionaries, and handwritten cards became popular as early as the 15th century.

I adore this idea! “I love you” in different languages fashioned into a heart shape.  The same thing could be done with a personalized poem, a love letter, just about anything! For a website that does this for you and also has lots of fun Valentine's Day games, go here.

source Weddingbee

My favorite valentines have been handmade! This fun twist on a scrapbook - a CD holder - would be a wonderful V-Day present for that special someone!

 Put a laminated or UV coated picture inside a mason jar and fill with olive oil. Voila - a sweet, romantic gift!


Or... print a picture, modge podge it to a glass container, sprinkle glitter, and wrap a charm around the top for a personalized candle, flower or candy holder.


These would be fantastic for kids who want to bring a valentine for each of their friends. Bow Ties & Bliss has the full tutorial, plus ideas for other pops – pie pops, cake pops, marshmallow pops and more.

HOW CLEVER IS THAT! Just add a glass marble to the tin for heart-shaped cupcakes or muffins.

I wish I had known how to do this when my girls were little - I wonder if they would let me fix their hair now?


Time for romance… pink flower petals sprinkled up the steps! I'm sure this is what my husband has planned!!!


Or maybe this!!!  One can only dream!!!

Give all your loved ones a hug and hold that special someone especially tight. Hope everyone has a Happy Valentines Day!!!!  ‘Til next week! xo Leslie

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Rusty Arena - Couture Fabrics and Wallcoverings

What a treat for me! One of my "heroes" in the art field - renowned fabric designer Rusty Arena - gave me a private tour of his studio!!!

We met recently at Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries when I was doing a book signing and Rusty was launching his new rug line. Although I've admired his custom couture fabrics and wall coverings in clients' homes for years, for me, his legend began when I started my business over 17 years ago... I would see his fabulous Trompe l'oeil murals and wonderful faux finishes in homes.

Starting as a muralist and faux finisher, his career evolved into fabrics and wallcoverings. Today, his work is featured in so many beautifully designed rooms and is seen gracing the pages of all the premier design publications. 

Rusty is the creative (and unpretentious) mastermind behind his company Arena Design. Born and raised in Houston, Rusty attended Houston’s High School of the Performing Arts, one of the first of its kind in the U.S., which gave him confidence in his abilities and a true appreciation of people, art and culture. Even though he received scholarship offers from California Institute of the Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, and Parsons, he decided to get started pursuing his dreams, traveling the world, and creating and painting along the way.

The intricate designs and depth of color he obtains on these velvets is truly remarkable!!!  Designed entirely by Rusty, his fabrics are not only made in America, but created only by him and his long-time staff of 4. He's dedicated to preserving and developing new hand printing techniques that are impossible to replicate through computer generated imagery.  Some products take up to 9 layers of dye to achieve their richness!

This is a collage of the color swatches and layers that were needed to create the one fabric he's pointing to. What amazes me is how, even with all the different dye lots of fabrics, he somehow matches each of his current designs from his collection to perfection! Rusty definitely has a keen color eye and a commitment to quality!

Simply beautiful!  This detailed bottom piece has a 9 step production process!!!  Rusty says his parents were big supporters of his art - “I remember my mother liked to sew. At around the age of five, I was busy gathering bits and pieces of fabric from under her sewing machine. I glued my favorites to paper for no apparent reason, and then added a little paint and crayons."  His first creation!

Rusty draws much of his inspiration from Mariano Fortuny, who made some of the most gorgeous fabrics in the world until his death in 1949. A Spaniard living in Venice, Fortuny was known as "the magician of Venice" for the way he transformed Egyptian cotton into ornate reproductions of 17th-century, handwoven silks. With a similar commitment to quality, Arena Design aims to make the finest, most unique handmade products on the market.

Fortuny fabrics are still produced in Venice, many years after his death, on machines he invented in the early 1900s. Many in the interior design world consider Arena to be a latter-day Fortuny, and I would have to agree... just look at his creations above!

Specializing in classically inspired patterns that can be customized with different shades and colors, Arena Design also fashions designs on linens, jutes, cottons and silks that are first hand-painted and then silk-screened. 

Rusty has a special talent for experimenting with non-traditional techniques and manipulating wet ink in a way that can be applied to different surfaces. This talent certainly hasn't gone unnoticed! He's been approached by Jim Thompson in Bangkok, Vakko Textiles in Istanbul, and Hermés in Paris. Even Fortuny continues a dialogue with Arena as to how the two textile legends can collaborate!

I adore this headboard! The Arena Design signature fabric, crafted on linen, is just fabulous!

Here are the 100-foot production tables where Rusty and his team create all their wonderful fabrics and papers. The technical capabilities of Rusty’s facility can be attributed to the engineering brilliance of his brother who designed and custom built the curing units that improve the durability and colorfastness of the textile products. The materials are layed out to dry, and while drying times may differ, the pieces are enhanced only by fans and the addition of more and more layers since there's no climate control in the building. Rusty and his staff are literally running around the tables to ensure that each section gets its own special touch.

I loved the Arena Design paper in this wonderful dining room that was featured in a recent issue of Veranda, so it was fun getting to see it up close and personal in Rusty's studio.

 The textures and dimensions really pop off the paper - I had to touch it to feel if it was flat!

A true artist in every sense of the word, Rusty has worked in every medium imaginable.  This beautiful abstract painting he created was displayed in the 2010 Pink Ribbon House in Houston!

I have been honored to collaborate with several designers who coordinate my plasters and hand-painted finishes with custom Arena Design papers for a gorgeous outcome.  In this bold and lush bathroom designed by John Kidd,  we handpainted a chinoiserie design on the cabinetry.

For this elegant dining room, we pulled out a background color in the paper and then plastered and waxed the ceiling to bring the look together.

This lovely dining room features a hand-painted medallion we did over the Murano glass chandelier. Rusty's designs in the wallpaper served as our inspiration!

Rusty's panels were framed as art in this stunning entryway. To complement the beautiful paper, we plastered the walls and handpainted a motif on the table.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this talented artist and designer as much as I did.  A successful, yet down to earth entrepreneur, Rusty has rebuked today's mass-produced products in favor of beautifully designed,  rich and luscious wallcoverings and fabrics that can't be found or replicated elsewhere. Rusty will always be such an inspiration to me, and now more importantly, he'll be a friend as well. To learn more about his designs and where they can be purchased, visit his website at Arena Design.

Be sure to come by our shop  for our special Valentine's Day sale. And that next weekend is the Urban Market Houston Antique Show!

February 9, 2013 - 3pm-6pm
February 10, 2013 - 9am-4pm

The NEW Location: 9401 Knight Road, Houston TX 77045 - Just South of 610/Reliant Stadium.

For information on The Urban Market Houston Antique Show, please go to their website HERE


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The Dallas Market

Well, the Dallas Market was so much fun!!!  This was my first trip there, so there was a lot to look at. We met with so many wonderful people and loved seeing all the creative ideas and designs. Arm in arm, my office manager Karen and my daughter Kirby were on a mission to see the whole market!

This was one of the pop-up showrooms they had set up on the first floor of the Trade Mart.  In the main building, showrooms went up 15 floors, and then there was an entire building of cash and carry. With thousands of vendors, choosing what to buy and what was unique was a bit overwhelming!!! Actually, it was challenging just deciding what kind of store I want mine to be. You will see with all my crazy purchases that I was struggling!

The first purchase of the day!  These wonderful linen aprons were so cute I couldn't resist. They come in three colors and three designs - even a kids version - and I love the way they were packaged in a vintage bell jar. Such a fun gift!!!


 Amy Howards showroom had a fabulous mix of contemporary accents and nicely finished, painted furniture pieces.


She has a new line of furniture refinishing paints and materials that I was just enamored with! Beautifully displayed, there were pigments, supplies for antique mirrors, and much more.  I think this would be a perfect addition to my store, but unfortunately I missed Amy herself giving demonstrations on how to use her products.

Here is Karen on the left and Kirby on the right. Mark, the handsome man in the middle with the bunny ears, is a chocolatier that we fell in love with! After taking over his father’s small chocolate company in the 90s, Mark's been growing the business to a footprint of 60,000 with over 250 employees. Made in America, his yogurt-covered pretzels, as well as all the other chocolates, were divine. I never thought I would have purchased any food items for the store, but his seasonal Valentine candies were too delish! Let’s just hope I don't eat them all before I can get them on the shelves! Visit South Bend Chocolate Company which is now the fastest growing chocolate company in the USA.

And, of course, how could you go to market without visiting the Aidan Gray showroom! They always do an incredible job designing and finishing reproduction furnishings, lighting and accessories. I have been lucky enough to meet owner Randal Weeks and his beautiful wife Cathy... getting to know them makes you love their furnishings even more!

It’s a real treat to follow Aidan Gray through the Cote De Texas Blog, which has featured not only Randal and Cathy's personal home, but also hosts contests in which the lucky winners receive total Aidan Gray home redos with their furnishings!

I adore these chair cushions with the ties down the legs! These reminded me of a chair in a home that we plastered for designer Eleanor Cummings that was featured in Veranda!

Although different, the ties really add a unique detail to both styles. To see the entire house, go here

I really loved meeting this pretty lady and hearing her story of how she developed this partyware line. Nora has designed interchangeable, ceramic decorative pieces that can change the style, mood and theme of a single serving dish. One platter instantly becomes perfect for any occasion!!! This is such a fun idea - you can start the collection for a loved one and then add more to their collection every year! Nora started the company, and then hired her brother when he graduated college... now her Dad is also on board. Although I didn't purchase her wares, I think they'd make a great gift! To see more of Nora Fleming's designs and find out how to order, go here.

Starting at about 6 p.m., the showrooms start serving champagne and light bites which made the evening so festive! I really loved this display with cactus leaves and antlers on the tray - I think I may have to copy this for my next soiree!!!

Many showrooms, like the McEvoy Group, house several different lines.

One of their new lines is from Belgium and consisted of some really unique, reproduction accessories and dishware of that style at very reasonable prices. I also purchased some beautiful jewelry boxes and decorative containers from another line, Tios. My daughter fell in love with the sherbet-colored boxes.

OK, I really went off on a tangent here, but how could I stay away with such a pretty model! This straw hat and bag line was exceptionally well made, and I really loved the color combos and designs.

An end to a tiring day, we met one of Kirby's friends, Kristen (on the left), for dinner at SFUZZ - a fun atmosphere with amazing food. It was certainly a hip place - I was the oldest one there!!! 

I just couldn't resist picking up this jewelry line! Their necklaces have antique metal crosses and medallions, most from the 1800s and all with unique stories. My favorite was a cross that was given to a nun when she finished her training! The necklaces are made from sapphires, laborite, leather or pyrite. Simply exquisite!!

We stayed at the Warrick Hotel which was close to everything. The service was great, room spacious, and the air conditioning stayed really cold - we all loved that! The breakfasts was fantastic, but the dinner... I would recommend going elsewhere. Loved how they hung the frames and paintings over each other - Great idea!

We also bought a Portuguese linen line, some baby gifts, candles, vases, lamps, purses and hair accessories. Hopefully through this process, I will have a better idea of what kind of store I want mine to evolve into... or what I want to be when I grow up - haha! I would love to hear what kind of store your dream store would be!!!

This Saturday, February 2nd, I will be giving a lecture and booksigning at the Villa De Lux Designer Showhouse at 2 PM. The home, located at 1 Longfellow in the prestigious historic Shadyside community, is one not to miss.  All the proceeds benefit Preservation Houston. Hope to see you all there!! xo Leslie

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