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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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Making Small Offices Beautiful

This week I wanted to revisit offices and share a few more ideas on storage and accessories for any size workplace. From desk areas integrated into other rooms to offices housed in converted closets, a gorgeous, efficient workspace doesn’t always have to be spacious! Designing a home office is all about making the most out of the space you have and bringing in your own personal style.

Love this idea from House BeautifulThere are actually two functional work surfaces – the large desk and the white shelving behind. Plenty of storage space! You can close off the second one with drapes for a softer, less cluttered look. This person is so organized though…you would never want to hide the artwork or beautifully stacked books on the shelves.

Hidden behind closed doors, this closet office from Elle Decor utilizes every inch of the space. The shelving provides plenty of storage, and the bright magazine butlers and using walls for message boards  keeps it fun and organized!

Here’s another converted closet! Love love love using the insided of the doors for pinboards - a great space saving idea! The mirror adds a more spacious feel and hanging it higher is smart.  I don't think I could look at myself all day when working-haha

Niches are perfect places to create home offices. Tucked away and private feeling this one has it all with its double work surface, drawers, storage, a window and beams!! I really woulnt mind the pretty purse as well.

Another niche example and another wonderful handbag, the arch and window really make this space beautiful! Adding home accessories to offices, like the two lamps and flowers here, adds the homey element to home office. 

About the size of a closet, this cozy office incorporates a reading nook. Although I would need to exchange the accessories for work supplies, the pillows and collage of framed art makes this space a fun décor element to the room!!

This office has the one thing I love and need most in a workspace – storage! – and a lot of it! Baskets and magazine butlers are a great way to hold large, oversized pieces or rolls of paper or binders while still being pretty.



I almost bought one of these vintage mail sorter desks for my office but thought the chair may not be comfortable enough. Love the industrial chic look they add to a room!! 

  To incorporate an office in a multipurpose room, skirting the desk gives it a slip cover feel. You could hide filing cabinets, a CPU or other less attractive items underneath!

I love this skirted desk as well!  So smart that the linen matches the less attractive functional desk behind. It then just blends in!  I found this one on Heirloom Philosophy.


Brilliant!!  An office under the stairs!!  Tucked away and beautiful the art and acessories really create a charming addition to the room.

Kitchens are the heart of the home, so they’re great spaces for study areas. The pretty framed art in the center really incorporates this area into the room. 

This lovely French-inspired built-in desk area is so nicely integrated with the bedroom. Adding decorative moldings to built-in elements really gives them a custom furniture feel.

This would be great for a kids’ homework area!!! A bookcase converted into two desks – wonderful idea for storage and such a clever use of space.

Stunning! When lots of storage isn’t necessary, this combination of drapes, antique mirror and floating desk would look great in any bedroom or living area. I think I would love to do this in a guest room or if I had a fab closet as a dressing table.

I have always loved hand-painted paneling since I stayed in a boutique hotel in France which had it adorning it's walls. This painted detail frames the space creating the perfect framing for the art collage and desk--which I love the lucite legs of!!


Here is a more elaborate panel idea. The green hand-painted panel design, pulls the desk color and is a perfect way to keep a white space but add that fun pop of color!!

Who doesn't like Tiffany blue?  From Domino: The Book of Decorating-this office has lots of personality. From the Asian furnishings lacquered white, to the tree mural with fab black and white photography collection to the closet panels used as memo boards, this office would definitely be a wonderful destination.


This workspace in a Parisian apartment is a fun mix of patterns with the wallpapered wall and message boards. Just because an office has to be functional, doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty – adding lamps, artwork, chairs and accessories spruces up drab spaces and provides lots of style and character.

This home office gives that European flair-love the finishes on the furniture pieces here!!  Incorporating antiques into an office designs lends so much character to the stuffy office feel--this one makes me want to redo my office space!!  

Hope a few of these offices inspired you... If you'd like to see even more office ideas, check out my pinterest page!   I am headed off to the Dallas Market to buy for the store.  I have never been before so it will be so fun and I'm taking my daughter Kirby and right hand Segreto gal Karen with me.  I'll share with you what I found for next weeks blog!! ‘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.



Pretty Offices for Two

Whether you work from home or need a place to organize your family’s various meetings and activities, a functional yet pretty office space is a must.  I’ve always loved having workspaces that can accommodate more than just one person…originally so when I was working at home the kids could be with me while doing their homework, and now to create a more collaborative environment with my staff. When I was redoing my new offices, I found so many fun design ideas for multi-person offices. Here are some of my favs!!

First I was searching for the right layout!! I like working in an office that has an extra table that you can turn around and use as an adittional work space.   I drew my drapery inspiration from this pic!

Should I have an oval table that is angled? Took up too much room in my space but I can’t help but love  the monogram on these chairs! I wanted to monogram something but I couldn't work it into the design.


I adore how this space works behind closed doors! Another desk could be on the opposite wall, plus you can close off the room whenever it’s too messy– big secret – I’m not that neat!

The desk space between the two workstations is a brilliant way to create the feel of separate offices but still have a two table feel. The acrylic stacking bins and file sorters really help cut down on clutter... I got some similar ones from the Container Store for our office.

Drawers can also serve as a functional divider. These were built specifically for this room, but Ikea has wonderful, reasonably priced desks that you can customize to fit your space!  I purchased chairs just like these from the discount website Haute Look. Even though the site mainly focuses on clothes, they have some furnishings, and I got these for 50% off what I’ve seen in stores.

This beautiful home office for two is inside one of the house’s we plastered. I thought they did a wonderful job adding interest with the unique chairs and floor!



This office marries rustic with contemporary in a beautiful way… I love the acrylic chairs paired with the floating reclaimed wood counter. I did a similar look in our conference room, placing antique metal barrels under an old top. We added a few Ikea cubicles in between the barrels for storage. I always need more storage!! Although I couldn't afford these chairs for my office I did find some I liked from Ikea for 79$ each.  

Message boards are a must in any office.  The corkboard behind the computers is awsome to pin reminders and pictures on. It can be painted to give it a more decorative look. In my old home office, I painted and stenciled the corkboard backsplash. It holds up well and is a great alternative to a fabric pin board!!

Painted with chalkboard paint, this old door I found on DigsDigs makes a wonderful weekly calendar and place to post messages. 

Instead of using normal black paint, you could use chalkboard or whiteboard paint on the wall behind your desk and write messages directly on the wall – so great! They also make a wipe board paint which I purchased but didn't use that is a great alternative.


This pin board can be hidden by closing the shutters - such a creative idea!!!


Here’s a beautiful fabric board example! The antique frame became a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind message space – I love how it feels more like an art piece than an office necessity!

Ballard Designs is a great place to find framed bulletin boards! I bought one of the large ones for my conference room and painted it – I love how it looks in the room! I also have one at home in my daughter’s room. She used it for all of her pictures and school things – so functional.

While I love the ones from Ballard, the sizes and cost wouldn’t work for the other 5 desk setups I have in the new office. Again, Ikea saved the day – I bought several bulletin boards for $5 each and painted them. They turned out great and really fit the space.


Finding the rignt desk was my next mission. I loved this look and almost bought a similar one for my office, I needed a little more storage and a place to hide the CPU so I decided against this desk. Criss cross or chrome legs are so popular right now! This one from Vielle + Frances is $1250, but I know West Elm and Williams-Sonoma have some like this around the $500-$600 mark.

Partners desks have always been a favorite style of mine. Sometimes old tables can make the perfect desk creating a workspace on each side! I adore this old, red trestle table that serves as a great workspace in this Peter Dunham designed room.



I love vintage or antique finds mixed with contemporary elements. This old 1950s partners desk sold me on doing an old desk in the middle of the room. Looks like it’s been revamped with some leopard print on the side!

Love the shelving wall behind the desks! It might make up for not having any drawer space.  All from Ikea, which also sells great baskets that you could put in each cubby making it a bit more decorative. I decided against the desk but bought lots of these shelving units.



In the end, I chose this desk from Ikea for my new office. It’s both versatile and functional… and it was only $145 – the perfect solution! I think the design of this area would be great for a kids room. The painted heart is so fun, and the chair looks like one I’ve seen in Pottery Barn Teen – they come in lots of colors!

Doing something special and unique like this with the fifth wall is always really important to me. I featured this office by Annsley Interiors on my post on ceilings, but I love the room so much I can’t get enough of it! Although I didn’t choose to emulate this graphic treatment, I definitely wanted a very cool ceiling in my office!

And here’s my office - the finished look with the Ikea acrylic chairs and desks, antique drawing table from Joyce Horn Antiques, painted corkboard and beautiful ceiling! It has all the elements I was looking for!  Next week we will look at wonderful home offices for one!!

What do you think makes a great office space? ‘Til next week! xo Leslie

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Ohara Davies-Gaetano on Sophisticated Neutrals

Monochromatic, tone-on-tone designs seem to be all the rage right now. When this trend uses whites, creams, and neutrals, I think it's especially alluring - a beautiful way to bring a sense of tranquility, sophistication and classic style to a home. I love the way my sweet friend California designer Ohara Davies-Gaetano played with this concept in two homes that she recently shared with me. Ohara created incredibly soft and inviting spaces using various layers, textures and subtle differences in materials and elements.
This Newport Beach home has a casual, comfortable feel with multiple seating areas and the warmth of the sun flooding in from windows and doors. Soft layers make this gorgeous living room feel so spacious, great for these homeowners who downsized when moving to California from their previous Virginia residence. Ohara said, "I wanted all areas of the home to feel like a continuation of the next, ensuring a very open feeling overall."
I adore the way that Ohara has accessorized these shelves, drawing out the palette of the pillow fabric in a curated way. Most of the objects are the client's own collection of finds, mixed with some antiques and collectibles that Ohara integrated. The antique mercury bottles are so pretty, each one with its own special shape and patina. The Baker floor lamp and Oly end table have a great simplicity that balances rather than competes with the built-ins.
The mix of antique pieces and modern lines adds so much interest to this area! The custom-made pillows with a graphic, diamond design are a beautiful foil to the 18th century Italian altar stick and the antique French frame that Ohara used to showcase art from the homeowners' collection.
Ohara custom-designed these fab end tables based on an antique Gustavian cabinet she saw on a recent trip to Europe. She's incorporated so much character into this assortment of old-world pieces like the drawer pull and modern elements like this stunning lamp made from Selenite mounted on a lucite base. "I love the juxtaposition created by combining, the old, the new, the polished and the more organic."
Notice the subtle differences in the chairs surrounding this dining table… Ohara matched a Saladino-inspired, slip-covered chair with an exposed leg chair based on a South of France antique she'd found.   This Italian chandelier that was recreated from an 18th century altar stick - beautiful!
One last glimpse of the chairs! Ohara offered some great advice if you want to accomplish a similar look: "Since I used two completely different styles of chairs around the round table, I wanted to unite them by using the same upholstery and the same trim. The eye discovers the variance in shape and scale, but it isn't jarred by a contrast of various tones of fabric."
This next home in Southern California also has a tone-on-tone design, but here Ohara plays off the French Provencal architecture throughout the outdoor and indoor spaces. By creating a very classic and neutral backdrop, Ohara could incorporate the English antiques that the homeowners collected when they lived in London without the pieces seeming too abrupt or out of place.
As you enter the home, this antique statue that Ohara found on a recent buying trip adorns the hallway and offers blessings.
The great room is the epitome of elegant sophistication. Creamy plaster on the walls, the room has a warm and embracing quality of light that Ohara used as an inspiration for the color palette. The furnishings here - everything from the pair of chairs from Baker and the mirror over the fireplace to the custom-made Tibetan rug and Amy Howard cabinets - are just gorgeous!
The outdoor areas of this home are truly spectacular! I can just imagine spending my mornings here surrounded by fountains and antique and reproduction planters that were imported from the South of France and Italy - heaven!
The vines and archways invite you into the wonderful loggia.

What an enchanting patio! All of the outdoor furniture is from the Andalusia collection of Century and then customized with these beautiful embroidered outdoor pillows from Bliss Studio!
I love the irregular stepping stones- they give the outdoor areas a more European and older feel.
This modern meets old-world sitting area outside of the master bedroom is so cozy! The little window with shutters is my favorite! Ohara chose these great Giati metal chairs and matching end table to play off the beautiful black and white tile design. The custom-made pillows are also fab!

Thanks again, Ohara for sharing some more of your incredible design projects and sources with us! You are truley talented!! Hope everyone has a great week! xo Leslie

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Can You Live in White?

Happy New year Everyone!! Full of new beginnings and new resolutions! I thought white which represents new beginnings and purity would be a great start to the new year!!

White is such a staple seen in nature and used in everything from fashion to decor.  It's capable of complimenting every interior style from the most modern to minimalist to a more old-world.  But how much white is the right amount for your home and what meaning does it lend to your spaces??

Technically, white can be understood as either the absence of all color or the presence of all color. It has come to represent wholeness and completion, openness and truth.  

With its connotations of purity and innocence in western counties, white is traditionally worn by brides. Illustrating how different the world's cultures are, in eastern countries the color white represents mourning and funerals.

 Because of its tranquil and peaceful qualities, it's an ideal color for places where you'd like to meditate or bring about mental clarity.

Here are some instances where I love the choice of white in home interiors. These white plastered walls are the perfect complement of this homeowner's wonderful colorful art collection. According to Leonardo da Vinci, "the first of all single colors is white ... We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen."    The white really makes the art pop while the texture of the plaster adds so much depth!

Associated with low-fat foods and dairy products, white's a great choice for kitchens. Who knew?!  My personal taste leans towards mixing colors and textures with white for heightened contrast like in the photo above from Décor Pad, but maybe an all-white kitchen would subliminally encourage me to change my grocery store purchases!

Though white can have a cold and sterile quality, when mixed with worn textures it comes to life creating instant charm and character as in this vintage style kitchen.

My new love is accessorizing with white dinnerware from the old to the new!!  The interplay of different versions of white in the dishes, cabinetry, marble counters is wonderful here! 

Mixing white with clear colors gives this kitchen such a fresh feel, pairing white with the warmer tones of the floor and the soft, sea foam of the light fixtures and accessories. 

White’s association with cleanliness also makes it a popular choice for baths. This one featured in Veranda feels so elegant with the pretty bench, and mosaic marble floors.

Here is our version of an almost white bath. We plastered the walls and ceilings of this luxurious bath in subtle shades of beige to pull the warmer color in the veining of  the solid marble slab floors and wainscoting. The gilded silver tones in the mirrors and vanities add glamour and depth. It's a beautiful example of how a mixture of off-whites and creams can create a rich and sophisticated look, give you that white feel but in an inviting fashion.

Adding beige to this all white child's room adds interest and a bit of fun!!  This monochromatic girl's room is so cute! I love the flower lights and the various fabric textures work together nicely.

These two spaces both use the same color white - BM White Dove! The difference? The bar to the left is painted, and the entrance to the right is plastered. Plastering gives whites a bit more warmth through subtle variations in tone. Which do you prefer?

The best thing about white is that it has the potential to blend well with every other imaginable color, making it a beautiful choice for home interiors. More shades of white are commercially available than any other color so how to choose the right one?  Some of my personal favorites from Benjamin Moore are Sea Pearl, White Dove, Feather Down, and Creamy White.  From Sherwin Williams Creamy, Alabaster,  Egert White and Natural Choice. From Farrow and Ball Strong White, and Pointing.

Are you more comfortable in white white rooms or spaces that mix white with other colors? Where do you use white in your home? (The pictures that are not of Segreto's work came from Pinterest - take a peek at all of my pins or visit my White White White!! board to view more white interiors!) Best wishes of happiness, health, family and prosperity as we welcome 2013!! '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.