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Stairway to Heaven

I have always had a love of staircases.  Maybe it’s because they seem to be full of romance or maybe it's because they bring me back to my high school days when the last song at every dance was inevitably "Stairway to Heaven" by rock legend Led Zeppelin.

Source: Galerie Vivienne by Vincent Montibus in Paris

I hope you enjoy this collection of staircases alongside the lyrics to the 1971 hit - which, by the way, aren’t what I remembered!!!

Source: Myriamseb

There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

Source: The Life of Polarn Per

When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.

Source: Brooke Astor's Westchester estate, Holly Hill, from NY Daily News

Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.

Source: Georgiana Design

There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings,


Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.

Source: Design Public

In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.


Source: Houzz

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.

Source: Michael Sissons' Flickr

And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.

Source: Life of Polarn Per

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.

Source: Belle Maison

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on.
And it makes me wonder.

Source: Inspired Design

Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know,
The piper's calling you to join him,

Source: Bunny Williams

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

Source: Cote de Texas

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.

Source: HGTV

There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show

Source: Jar of Elixir

How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard

Source: The Da Vinci staircase in La Rochefoucauld, Charente, France

The tune will come to you at last.
When all is one and one is all

Source: Sweet Dream Escape

To be a rock and not to roll.

Source: FFFFound!

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.  Hope everyone has a great week!!  till next time!  xo Leslie

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Joyce Horn Antiques - Grand Opening at the New Location!!!

This Tuesday, March 12th, at 10 AM, Joyce Horn Antiques will unveil not only their latest shipment of French antiques, but also their new, 10,000 square foot location for the first time!  Join me for a sneak peek preview of the store, located at 7065 Old Katy Road in Houston, and a glimpse into the renovation process.

A challenge for most, Joyce had no problem sculpting a French gem out of this commercial, metal building! Once my team finishes these 19th century French Louis XIV doors built into a new surround, this grand entrance will set the tone for all the treasures that lie within.

Hiding most of the commercial windows, the beautiful, green antique shutters really add a charming feel to the store.

This area was formerly an 8-foot tall box in the back of the space housing a kitchen and powder bath. Joyce transformed it into a two-story mezzanine, complete with a wonderful spiral staircase that's full of character and Parisian flair! 

Blending the new staircase with the hundred-year-old, iron railing installed on the second floor proved quite a challenge.  Starting with a black sprayed finish on the banister, we applied a series of gray and brown glazes to lend an antique look. 

Joyce created a bar area out of the previous opening in the wall by installing a set of antique French shutters and a ledge made from a a 19th century French fireplace mantel.  The honed Lagos Azul from Walker Zanger is the perfect bar surface, blending the old with the new.

Joyce's daughter, Reid, was in charge of the kitchen redo.  The former prefab oak and formica kitchen was updated with an old marble stone sink and wonderful tile from Walker Zanger. We're going to age the cabinets, and Reid has wonderful shelving and a linen skirt on its way to complete the renovation!

Pulling up the purple carpet and building these vignette walls were the first steps in transforming this showroom space. We plastered all the central walls for an age-old look with depth and character.

With the antique railings as inspiration, my team hand-drew a design to give some personality to the vignettes.

Joyce installed the most amazing antique doors, shutters, railings, sinks and mantels into the new space! Her integration of these elements provides a wealth of inspiration and ideas for using similar materials in our own homes.

Continuing the tradition they've maintained for years at the old location, the new shipment will be in a separate section closed off by shutters until opening day's 10 AM reveal! I got to take a quick look at some of her finds - so exciting!

I love this accent wall that we did by stenciling over blaygeen plaster - a perfect backdrop for Joyce's selection of antique treasures.

Joyce's eye for unique one-of-a-kind items is unparalleled! I adore this vignette, composed of a French trumeau mirror made from 18th century boiserie panels, a painted 19th century Louis XIV style commode and a pair of Swedish fauteuil chairs in Louis XVI style.

This 20th century faux bois cement table from France would be stunning under the arbor at my new shop!!!

This 18th century Louis XVI style bow made from hand-forged iron would make such a fabulous cornice. I can just picture the fabric attached and hung over a little girl's or guest's bed!

To demonstrate how antiques can beautifully complement more contemporary design, Joyce coupled a wire-front, 19th century French enfilade and pair of 19th century French Louis XV-style framed mirrors mounted on old paneling, with this allover stenciled wall!!! The backdrop provides a modern edge while the antiques bring a sense of history and character. 


Wonderful! I always adore Joyce's mirrors, and this French Baroque piece mounted on an old boiserie panel is no exception.

This pair of mounted mirrors on old panels from France are definitely statement pieces!  Paired with a carved Louis XVI-style gueridon and French Louis XVI-style bergere, I could take home the entire vinette!

Such a lovely display - a portrait of a woman, attributed to Therese Debains, a Regency-style settee in walnut, a painted 19th century armoire from the region of Alsace, and a French bombe commode with "fun knobs" - they all work together beautifully!

I love how the golden tones play off each other in this arrangement of a Picardie enfilade in wild cherry from France (circa 1820), grouping of 19th century French altarsticks and a classical-style trophy mounted on old boiserie panel. Such a great mix of periods!

Magnificent finds everywhere you look! I spotted quite a few, truly unique pieces in this shipment.

I have my eye on these altar mirrors made from 18th and 19th century elements. Perfect for my bathroom!

This late 18th century Gustavian settee from Sweden is stunning! It even has its original paint!!!

Seeing this collection of 19th century gold leaf beauties, it's no wonder why Joyce is known for her large array of mirrors, and the new space has a whole room filled with pieces like these.

I just can't get enough of the old patinas on her amazing pieces.

What a find! This Swedish classical clock with original mechanisms and paint is a conversation piece.

I spied this lovely 19th century overdoor panel just before it was hung!!

These framed herbiers and water mill buckets hung above a 19th century Louis XIII-style enfilade would create the perfect focal to any room. Can you wrap it up please?!

Here is Joyce posing with long-time manager Chris, daughter Reid, and Beemer at their old store. Too busy prepping for opening day, Joyce and her team couldn't stop for a new pic. When you visit Joyce Horn Antiques, you're likely to also run into Joyce's husband, Will, and the newest addition to the family, Reid's little baby, Cooper!  The business is certainly a family affair - Reid's husband, David, handled all the construction and renovation aspects of the new store.

Don't miss the big reveal! Join the gang at their new space this Tuesday at 10 AM for the grand opening. Across from the Houston Design Center and sandwiched between Walker Zanger and a gold apartment complex, the new location at 7065 Old Katy Road is easy to find. And there's lots of parking in the back!!!  Till next week!  xo Leslie

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Villa de Luxe - Designer Showhouse 

I was thrilled to be a part of Houston's Villa De Luxe Designer Showhouse benefiting Preservation Houston. Love the Promo piece below that Muffy Buvens who also is my graphic designer created for the event.

With so many new constructions cropping up in Houston, it was a real treat to work on this historic 1924 Italian Renaissance Revival home that Preservation Houston chose for the 2013 showhouse.


Located in the gorgeous Shadyside neighborhood near the Museum District and Rice University, the house, designed by architect William Ward Watkin, was originally built for hardware magnet F. A. Heitmann and stands on two acres of land!

Designers Jane Page Crump and Bill Stubbs (you may recognize him from his TV show, Moment of Luxury) were the two oh-so-gracious chairs of the showcase.

Entering the estate, you're greeted by these very rich, traditional wood-paneled walls that designer Peggy Hull offset with some contemporary elements like the bright pink chair, patterned pillow and modern accessories.

I adore the dining room that the talented design firm, Lucas Eilers, created! Applying Farrow and Ball Churlish Green (donated by Boxwood) over a tan grass-cloth wallcovering gave these walls a marvelous texture that I just love! The lush chairs are piped with a deep chocolate brown, pulling in the table color while also accentuating the beautiful lines of the chairs. Segreto was honored to paint the details on the ceiling to complete the room's beautiful backdrop.

Here's my team, hard at work, preparing the ceiling to be glazed and hand-painted. On the right, you can see the original rendering for the mural detail! We decided to simplify the pattern on the rendering, so I taped over a few of the areas we needed to omit.

The table was set to perfection with amazing orchid centerpieces, pretty china and crystal, and monogrammed napkins with the Preservation Houston icon! The painting by Hunt Slonem, represented by Gremillion & Co., brings a great pop of color and sophisticated whimsy to the room.

Jane Page Design Group did a wonderful job - as usual - with the design of the formal living room, combining a feel of old Hollywood glam with contemporary furnishings.  To respect the history of the estate, the original fireplace remains the focal point of the room. The abstract painting commissioned by Joyce Combs, really  marries the old with the new in a fabulous way.

I was so excited when Jane Page purchased two chairs from my shop! These 1930s beauties had a worn French blue finish on them when bought. To blend with the room and fabrics, she coated them in black lacquer - so perfect.

It was such a joy to work with the incredibly gifted (and prolific) designer, Bill Stubbs, and his wonderful assistant, Phyllis. Named to the AD 100, Architectural Digest’s list of the World’s Top Designers and Architects, Bill Stubbs is an inspiration.  I was excited to add the painted, carved detail to the ceiling that pulls the tone of the wall panels up and highlights the interesting shape of the ceiling. 

Heading upstairs, Montgomery Roth Architecture and Interior Design turned one of the bedrooms into a modern, functional home office. I love the color combinations and, of course, the well-executed ceiling finish from Imago Dei that brilliantly features the greek key design on the window treatments. 

Tokerud & Co. transformed a bedroom suite into a pied-à-terre and studio. Known as one of Houston's top contemporary design firms, they incorporated some unique furnishings like these chairs with novel excerpts written on the fabric.

I truly adore this fabulous light fixture - slick and glossy on the outside, white plaster floral relief on the inside. Beautiful!

The upstairs master has a soft romantic feel thanks to designer Donna Vining who incorporated a lavender damask stencil, linens and an eclectic assortment of antiques. I really liked the concept of having an upholstered poster bed. Although this bed is new, what a great way to update those beds that many of us bought in the 80s! Donna also writes a blog, Donna's Blog-A Designer's Perspective, which also featured many of the rooms in Villa de Luxe. 

Lynne Jones put together a bright, fun artist's studio with comfortable seating and a place to work.  If I hadn't been dressed up for my lecture there, I would have dived right in and started painting!!!

Darla Bankston May would definitely get the "Most Transformed Award" for her work converting the cinder block basement into a media sitting room.  Covering the walls and ceiling with Kravet fabric brought so much warmth, comfort and romance to the space. Her selections of clean line, yet comfortable furnishing from Mecox and Vieux Interiors look wonderful on the Madison Lily rug.  I have worked on many projects with Miss Darla, and I must say, once again - job well done!!!

The team at Laura U designed the interior of the estate’s Writer’s Cottage. They made a genuine design statement here, complete with a hanging bed and brass finishes.

I thought the teal screen was such a clever way to cover the air conditioning unit and add a decorative element at the same time!  What a fun room!!!  Laura U also writes a blog - check it out here.

I would love to have this bench at my new place - exquisite!

McDugald-Steele and Articulture Designs collaborated on this exterior wall, creating an interesting, one-of-a-kind backdrop out of the white stucco wall. The flower arrangements throughout the house and at the special benefit event were all stunning.  

Look for this home to be featured in its entirety in Luxe Interior+Design magazine soon!!! For those of you who couldn't attend, I hope you enjoyed my partial tour of the grand estate. Sadly most of my pics didn't turn out well enough to post.  Kudos to all of the talented designers selected to participate - you did such a fantastic job!  Have a great week, everyone!  xo Leslie

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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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