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Sunday
Oct212012

Blaygeen [bley-geen]- The Perfect Shade of Blue-Gray-Green

The new Addition of Antique Shops and Designers Magazine is out which features the article I just wrote on how to find that perfect shade of blue, gray, green. Here is a sneak peak-- Hope you enjoy!!

Discovering that perfect shade of neutral “blue” can be rather difficult. My clients are often looking for the ideal blue, gray or green - not too blue, but a little muddy; sophisticated, not depressing. I have to take a deep breath just listening to their descriptions, and to reassure them I recommend what I’ve come to call “blaygeen.”

 

Whether on walls, cabinets, trim or accessories like pillows, tableware and art, every design magazine, book and blog seems to be incorporating this elusive but much sought-after shade. It may appear as your favorite French blue on an accent island in the kitchen. It could adorn the family room walls as a beautiful “greige” with a hint of blue - or that “just right” tone that complements Calcutta and Carrera marbles. 

Yet how do you find this picture perfect paint color? Blue is always a tricky color to work with - it can easily be too bright or too childlike. In my experience, blues intensify when painted on the wall so I typically suggest muddying them with green and gray. 

The genesis of the term “blaygeen” stems from countless times when I have picked the softest shade of blue,  but the client  fears that it is too green or reads gray.  However, once this color is applied to the wall - no matter how large the space - its tones magically transform into the ideal color that meets their wishes. Blaygeen is that perfect color - blue tinged with subtle notes of green and gray in equal parts warmth, serenity and depth.

 

The base of blaygeen is blue, appealing to both men and women, and overwhelmingly cited as many people's favorite color. It reads as trustworthy, dependable and faithful. Soft shades of blue calm us, keep us feeling cooler, and have even been said to connect us with our intuition.

The color of the ocean and sky, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives.  Kept in its softer variations, blue invokes rest and enables the brain to produce chemicals that relax our bodies and minds. In this computer age overloaded with high technology and a bevy of daily tasks, coming home to a peaceful color palette is an enticing and inviting choice.

Blaygeen's second and third components - gray and green - also contribute largely to the creation of a peaceful mood.  Gray gives the blue a bit of elegance and subtlety, creating a neutral slate to stand up against the more intense accent colors in the room. Green, on the other hand, means growth, security and harmony, lending a sense of tranquility to the other two colors.

I custom mix my own blaygeens for each client, when plastering or glazing cabinetry, however there are ready-made colors that you like as well for painting walls and wood a solid color.

 A few of my favorite commercial colors that present as a beautiful ready-mixed versions of blaygeen are Sherwin Williams' Silverpointe, Lattice, Tinsmith, Repose Gray, or Mineral Deposit; Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl or Silver Lake; and Farrow and Ball's Skylight, Borrowed Light, Light Blue, Lamp Room Gray, or Blackened. For a bit clearer tone, try Sherwin Williams’ Sea Salt, Rainwashed or Tradewind; Benjamin Moore offers Woodlawn Blue or Pale Smoke.  Going one shade lighter of any of these colors gives great results, and these hues are ideal for blue ceilings or porches as well.

 

In any space, with the perfect blaygeen shade, we can add a new dimension to the color blue which has been so well loved for centuries by royalty and commoners alike. Blaygeen’s tints of gray and green add a quiet sophistication and serenity, while still highlighting treasured accessories.  Go ahead and give it a try –you may become a blaygeen believer too!

To visit Antique Shops and Designers Magazine go here.  This new publication isn't up yet but their other 8 volumes are!! It’s worth the look!! Thank you so much to Julie of the blog Belle Maison who wrote such a wonderful review on the book-she is also giving a book give-w-way.  Visit her blog here to find out how to win!!  I will be doing a book signing at Twenty-Two Fifty in Sugarland on Thursday and at The Urban market at the VIP early buying event! Hope to see you there.

October 25th : Book Signing at Twenty- Two Fifty in Sugar Land, Tx Time: 12:00-3:00 pm

Join us for a Holiday Open House at Twenty-Two Fifty! Enjoy light bites and drinks, shop their fabulous collection, and talk to author Leslie Sinclair who will be signing her book, Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Located at 2250 Lone Star Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77479. http://twentytwofiftyinteriors.com/

Oct 27th: Urban Market Houston Antique Show 3-6

Come join me for the opening event of Houston's premier antique fair hosting dealers from around the country. Sat. Oct. 27 - 3-6. Sun. Oct. 28, 9-4. The Bayou City Event Center 9401 Knight Rd. Sat. night's show is a VIP Early Buying Event: $25 per person entry fee includes early buying, wine/drinks & hors d'oeuvres, and re-entry on Sunday

 

Sunday
Oct142012

Two Laguna Beach Homes with Ohara Davies-Gaetano

I was so in love with the thoughtful accessorizing and beautifully arranged spaces that designer Ohara Davies-Gaetano had created in her store, Bliss Home & Design, that I was dying to see some of the stunning homes she's worked on. Lucky me, sweet Ohara gave me some photographs of her gorgeous designs to share with you! Two Laguna Beach abodes really caught my eye - they have entirely different styles - one rests on the hillside, the other by the beach - but both relay a relaxed California style.

Ohara originally designed this Spanish-style house five years ago for the previous owners. The new owners fell in love with the design, but unfortunately purchasing the home completely furnished wasn't an option. Instead, they enlisted Ohara's services to re-design it - she gave them a unique look that reflected their lifestyle and interests while incorporating the remaining elements from the previous owners - like off-white plaster, reclaimed wood beams and the beautiful drapery. This den is so cozy with the Baker ottomans, custom-designed sofa and Holly Hunt coffee table. I love the color combination of pale blues and warm terra cotta… gorgeous with the painting over the mantel!


These homeowners had an amazing collection of artwork for Ohara to use in this "raveled and storied" design. By blending pieces like these African tribal masks with slightly more contemporary touches like this vintage lamp from a local flea market, Ohara captured the homeowners eclectic style. "I wanted to tell a story of their life, their travels and explorations."


Here's another intriguing blend of old and new! Ohara purchased the butterfly sculpture from an artist in Belgium and situated it on this 1850s antique sculpture stand from the South of France. I love how Ohara paired these two antique elements with the contemporary art from the homeowner's collection - truly unique!

This custom-made headboard is absolutely wonderful! The Suzani pattern fabric from Donghia adds so much personality and a great pop of color.


This living room is so bright and airy! Though the design is vintage-inspired, the yellow sofa matched with the custom-made silk pillows and dark chairs is such a modern look. I love the Tibetan area rug - this room has such a beautiful blend of patterns! To frame the space, Ohara created a symmetrical feel with the table lamps made from French architectural elements purchased in Paris. The agate slab between them reminds me of the gorgeous ones I saw at Bliss Home & Design!


This close-up view of the custom-made coffee table ottoman showcases the Moroccan tray and lends a touch of the beachy feel with the coral and book. While this home has breathtaking views of the coast from high on a hill and a few hints of the beach, the next Laguna Beach house that Ohara shared is the epitome of a beach home. Purchased in 2007 by a Dallas couple, this vacation home went through an extensive remodel. To contrast their hectic lifestyle in their primary residence, Ohara "wanted their beach home to be a breath of fresh air."


Ohara selected the palette, textures, furnishings and fabrics to embrace the sense of place - the sheer magic of being at the beach! I love the open concept!!! The shelf to the right was one of the first pieces the homeowners purchased for the home - it's an art deco bookshelf that Ohara found in Paris. She now has a very similar piece in the Bliss Studio furniture collection! The dining chairs, which were custom-made, will also be added to the furniture collection soon!


This contemporary side table from Oly is such a fun, statement piece! I just adore the way that Ohara plays with contrasting elements like this table and the stunning antique chandelier and blends them together seamlessly!


The shelves of the family room are adorned with large pieces of lettuce coral! Ohara created a study in white, mixing the elements from the sea with an antique and vintage collection of plaster pieces she bought in Europe. Notice the sea foam green tone that backs the built-ins - wonderful!


In this detail shot, you can really see how the European plaster elements pair with the lettuce coral. A local artist made these interesting little bugs using vintage broaches.


This tabletop sourced from Bliss Home & Design is beautifully set with nailhead studded placemats and wonderful shell napkin rings. The styling of the wicker chairs keeps the whole look modern and casual.

The downstairs family room is the perfect hang-out for the kids with the large amount of seating provided by the custom-made sectional and chairs. Ohara integrated a large custom-made mirror on the wall which provides the illusion that the room continues forever reflecting the beauty of the daylight and the color of the sky.
We can't leave before seeing this posh bedroom retreat! The soft color palette with hints of blue is so relaxing.

Ohara, thank you so much for sharing these two gorgeous Laguna Beach homes. It's been so fun getting to see how you integrate a wide variety of elements from different sources to design these spectacular homes! You truely have a gift!! 

Oct. 17th: MAI's annual Celebration Open House! 6-9

I will be there at MAI2 along with their main event and special guest Bryan Batt at MAI, from TV's Mad Men series on Bravo. He is also an interior designer with a store in New Orleans and will be signing his book, Big Easy Style.  You don't want to miss this one!! 8731 Katy Freeway.

'Til next week! xo Leslie

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Sunday
Oct072012

Book Signing at Lam Bespoke (formerly Hien Lam Home)

It's going to be an exciting week! I have a book signing this Thursday, October 11th from 11am to 3pm at Lam Bespoke, formerly Hien Lam Home, in Houston-- a wonderful store!!

I first learned about Hien Lam while writing my book and seeing their gorgeous, high quality work in client's homes - both the parent company, Hien Lam Upholstery, and their latest endeavor, Hien Lam Home, were widely cited as the places for upholstery and beautiful customized furnishings.

Hien Lam Upholstery has always been a close family business since it opened over 20 years ago. Within the past few generations, the Lam family immigrated throughout Asia, moving from China to Cambodia, and then to Vietnam as a war refuge and finally to America.

 They settled in Houston in 1983 and started their upholstery business in 1990. Hien's son Patrick could be seen as early as elementary school sweeping and helping his father at the small shop!

In 2010, Patrick left his original position in the family business to start Lam Bespoke (Hien Lam Home), which opened its present retail location in April 2011. While there are a handful of amazing boutique furniture stores, Patrick felt that Houston, as large as it is, didn't have many options for truly custom, design-led furniture. They now fill that niche, providing a wide range of services and offering a "to-the-trade" look.

The upholstery shop is affiliated, as the primary upholsterer for custom, bespoke pieces, but they are separate entities. Just like Hien Lam Upholstery, the new company is also centered on family. Patrick's wife, Cathy, along with her younger sister, Lily, join Patrick at the store!


 And of course, we can't forget Lily's dog, Elsa - a golden retriever, chihuahua, dachshund mix that serves as the company mascot! - and Cathy and Patrick's 21-month old daughter who helps out every evening during closing time. How cute!!!



Patrick, Cathy and Lily make an incredible team. Both Patrick and Lily have business degrees, which has certainly helped them in this entrepreneurial venture. Cathy, on the other hand, was formerly in the pharmacy industry, but has always loved design and decor. The collective customer service is really unparalleled!

At the book signing event, the official rebranding will be announced as the company changes its name from Hien Lam Home to Lam Bespoke, and Elsa's ready!!!

Upon opening the retail store, they wanted to pay homage to their roots by honoring Patrick's father as the namesake, but both Hien Lam Upholstery and Hien Lam Home would receive calls, deliveries and orders for the other company. This confusion, as well as the difficult pronunciation, has lead to the switch. "We feel that Lam Bespoke is a simple and fluid name, still honoring Hien Lam while acknowledging our specialty of custom upholstery," said Cathy.

Lam Bespoke provides so many amazing components for a well-tailored home. They have a gorgeous curated look that blends an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories! I love their work on slipcovers - they are completely bespoke, with each project having a dedicated pair of hands to work solely on that piece. Their skillful measurements and sewing creates a custom dress for furniture.

The business is known for their custom upholstery, whether it's creating a completely customized piece or revitalizing older furnishings. I'm so amazed by their selection of design-driven items in almost every style, whether contemporary or traditional!!! The craftsmanship of this tufted ottoman is absolutely amazing!

Lam Bespoke also have a few unexpected services. They can special order beautiful, pre-washed fabrics from Rachel Ashwell's reasonably priced Shabby Chic collection including soft cotton, linen and velvet. They're also the only store in Houston representing the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams upholstery line! In the near future, they hope to offer custom casegoods to complement the upholstery offerings.

Lam Bespoke carries a large selection of designer fabrics, including hanging swatches from Duralee and books from Kravet, Duralee, Barrow, Maxwell, Pindler & Pindler, and Schumacher! This way, if you're not working with a designer, you can still special order these fabrics at retail!! Designers also love this section of the store because they can borrow these swatches and books and save a trip to the Decorative Center.

This special book signing will be a fun event with lots of prizes - I really hope you can make it!!! Lam Bespoke will not only be serving light bites and wine, but they are also giving away five $50 gift cards hidden inside my books! I'll give away one signed copy of Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors to a lucky winner!


Thanks, Lam Bespoke, for hosting this special book signing. Your custom, tailored offerings are exquisite, and I'm truly honored to take part in your official rebranding. If you're in the area, don't forget to swing by Lam Bespoke, 2032 West Alabama in Houston, on Thursday, October 11th - I'd love to see you there! Have a great week! xo Leslie

Sunday
Sep302012

A Renovation with a Fresh New Look!

When the homeowners found this gorgeous house, originally built in 1937, they loved its close proximity to school and activities for their three children. But to accommodate their family of five, the home needed some updates and changes. They enlisted the help of seasoned designer Sarah Brooks Eilers of Lucas/Eilers Design Associates, architect Marsh Porterfield and builder Jim Bob Taylor with Doyle Construction to transform this abode into a calm, serene living space that counterbalances their hectic lifestyle. Going back and forth on whether to tear down or remodel, the design team and homeowners eventually settled on the latter, crafting this remarkable, timeless home with the authenticity of the past and the modern conveniences of today. I think the extensive remodel over the course of 18 months truly paid off!

The warm, neutral tones give such a welcoming feel as you enter the home! Sarah worked on this project with her project designer Kiley Jackson. Instantly inviting, this space was furnished with a pair of chairs from Adams Furniture , a wonderful console of antique iron railing and reclaimed limestone from Chateau Domingue and great antique iron leaf fragments turned into lamps that Sarah found at The Gray Door - fantastic!

With over 30 years of design experience, Sarah believes that it's best to always start with the rug. This new Sultanbad from Matt Camron Rugs sets the tone for the room with its subtle greenish blue hues. The wonderful Fortuny pillows atop the Kravet sofa bring a little hint of something special to the living area and add an elegant pop of color! Sarah and Kiley incorporated some of the homeowners' existing furniture while still managing to create a new look - the antique chairs from Joyce Horn Antiques had been purchased for their previous home and the secretary was inherited from their parents. The homeowner was in college when Sarah first met her while working with her parents, so it's no wonder that she's able to really understand and translate this homeowner's personal tastes and style!

The bar is such a successful blend of textures, with grass cloth wallpaper, handmade terra cotta tiles from Country Floors of America LLC , countertops from the Cosmos Collection and glazed cabinets by Segreto!

The homeowners wanted their kitchen to be a warm and casual environment to enjoy with their young children. This dream kitchen serves as the hub of the house - perfect for cooking, entertaining, homework and family gatherings! The Calcutta White marble on the counters are also used for the cutting boards by the sink. "With the natural properties of white marble staining and scratching, it's great to have additional prep surfaces," Sarah said. The lovely custom drapery treatment adds so much personality. Sarah used a Carlton V fabric backed in a Chelsea Textiles check fabric to create this soft pleated valance on the iron rod and ring with a bit of the Hunter Douglas grass shade peeking through underneath. Loving the furniture finish look that Segreto had handcrafted in their previous kitchen, the homeowners wanted me to come up with a cabinet finish to blend with these new selections.

This shot of the butler's pantry really shows the cabinet finish we did! This glaze technique brings in an antiqued character to the new cabinets and defines the lines of the doors so that the cabinetry becomes an extension of the living area! Sarah heightened interest by changing the pattern of the tiles from that of the kitchen, differentiating the two rooms.

The breakfast area is so charming! I love the chairs from Pearson Furniture Company that lend a bit of that French Country feel. This one-of-a-kind zinc top table with a white-washed trestle base from Vieux Interiors is fab! Lucas/Eilers always does such a beautiful job incorporating classic forms into their imaginative and forward-thinking designs.

The kitchen was created by combining several smaller spaces while still maintaining the integrity of the 1930s house. The remodel transformed it into an open interior with a large archway connecting it to the den. Sarah enhanced the light and airy feel with a 50% formula of BM HC-83 Grant Beige on the walls and SW 7012 Creamy for the trim and ceiling. I adore the two light fixtures from Brown - they complement one another perfectly!

The den with its relaxed, casual style is absolutely beautiful. I love the patina on these amazing antique doors from Chateau Domingue - a brilliant way to hide the TV! Sarah chose to use the same finish in all white for a softer look in this family area. I can just imagine curling up and reading a book or watching a movie with the fam!

The artwork above the mantle from Gremillion & Co. integrates a contemporary flair. The homeowner found these beautiful pillows at Boxwood Interiors - they perfectly draw out the tones from the Oushak rug from Carol Piper Rugs. Sarah's favorite thing in the room is the coffee table she found at Brendan Bass, a Dallas antique store… I have to agree! I've always been impressed by the way Lucas/Eilers creates dynamic spaces that revolve around their clients' lifestyles.

These built-ins were constructed during the remodel and glazed like the kitchen. They're beautifully accessorized with old books and antique white pottery from Barrevald International! The drapes are operable Roman shades in a Lee Jofa fabric with a Duralee flat tape trim. Wonderful!!

This powder room mixes old world with a bit of shimmer!! Stenciling with a thinned layer of metallic paint over plaster gave the walls a worn look that's subtly glamorous. The French Louis Philippe silver gilt mirror and pair of Italian sconces both from Joyce Horn Antiques are a perfect balance to the Lagos Azul limestone counters and sink from Hollywood Builders Hardware - just lovely!
Thank you, Sarah and Kiley, and the sweet homeowners for letting me showcase this incredible renovation… I always have such a fun time working with you and the rest of the Lucas/Eilers team!

Please help with my first Arkansas booksigning in Little Rock. Would so appreciate my blog friends passing the info on to anyone you may know there who might enjoy!  October 4th at Cobblestone and Vine 2-7 at the 5100 Kavanaugh Blvd  store. Thanks!! Till next week! xo, Leslie 

Sunday
Sep232012

Ohara Davies-Gaetano of Bliss Design

I always love working with different designers for the first time, especially when I feel they are talented, innovative, and fun!! Ohara Davies-Gaetano of Bliss Design in Corona Del Mar, California, has been one of those designers to work with. She is not only the Head of Design for the entire Bliss Enterprise, consisting of  5 retail stores, a thriving design firm, and a wholesale furniture business, but this 30 something beauty has a fascinating story and a beautiful retail store, both of which I wanted to share with you all!!


Of course, how could I not love the store with this gorgeous hand-painted floor which, by the way, her artist father painted for her!  Ohara originally dreamed of being a food writer and obtained her college degree in anthropology of food - What???  After graduating and following her then boyfriend, now fiance, Matt, to Atlanta, she got a job helping a design store bring in new products and make the space look pretty.


And PRETTY she did!! A customer, impressed with the store’s transformation, asked for help designing her house. The family had just moved to Atlanta from Europe, and even though Ohara was not a licensed designer, she ended up helping them with their entire home. “We took our time, I would go home at night and study options, and in the end, the house turned out amazing!”


Since that first project, at age 21, Ohara has gone on to help create a design empire over the past 13 years. There are two Bliss Home and Design stores in California, three sister stores in Dallas, a wholesale company called Bliss Studio, and her own firm, Bliss Design. It’s amazing to me that she has time for it all! You’d never know she was juggling so much from her big smile in this picture. And she always has a big smile!!!


Her daily focus is on her design firm, Bliss Design. Ohara and her 8-person design team work tirelessly to translate their clients’ lifestyles into the design of their homes. “Each project that I design needs to be unique to the client, becoming essentially a portrait of those who live in the home.”


While Ohara loves the challenge of creating spaces in entirely different, varied styles and seeking new resources, she thinks the most rewarding part of her job comes when the client sees their home after completion.  

“Watching a client come into their home for the very first time, that sense of overwhelming joy, is a moment that is so precious - knowing that I, along with my team, have executed on the design that allows this new backdrop for life and memories to come is a truly wonderful feeling.”


It’s no wonder that Ohara was drawn to design - I think creativity must run in her genes! Her father was an illustrator who became especially well-known for his work in all of the Ayn Rand books, and her brother is an artist in New York who is part of a group that masterminds large, multi-media installations around the world. Her mother, who formerly worked in textile design, now helps Ohara with the Bliss Studio wholesale company.

 



For Bliss Studio, Ohara conceptualizes the initial designs for a line of products that’s sold nationally and will soon be available abroad as well! I think she’s so talented at designing timeless pieces by blending old-world aesthetics, timeworn patinas and a current point-of-view. The Bliss Studio line is simply wonderful and - lucky me - I am now carrying her furnishings in my new store!! The designs are beautiful, finishes surperb and price point is very affordable!  Just gorgeous!



Her style of layering the old with the new really comes across. I love the way she’s able to take an understanding of modern daily life and root it in classic beauty. In addition to larger furniture, the stores also have pillows, dishes, accessories, gifts and more.


A sucker for antiques, Ohara searches for products that are unique and have an interesting past. Traveling nationally and throughout Europe, she finds compelling and unusual items for the stores. 

Along with her own product line, Ohara tries to showcase one-of-a-kind antique furnishings and accessories. The Dallas stores in the early 2000s. Then in 2005, she moved to California opening the first Bliss Home and Design store in Corona Del Mar.

I think her love of nature has really plays a role in her design aesthetic... I adore all of the geodes and fossil fragments displayed throughout!--oops I got caught in the mirror!!


I was so enchanted with the way the spaces thoughtful arrangements create a sense of soul in their design; each area is very inviting. The wonderful bookcase here is one I am carrying--I almost hope it doesn't sell it looks so beautiful in my space!!

Ohara believes that the furniture, fabric, lighting and other design elements within our homes help to tell a story of time gone and time to come. “It is easy to make a home beautiful, but I strive to create a home that is layered with intrigue and depth." Even down to the smallest details, she creates a sense of character and charm.


Ohara’s constantly evolving the business and expanding into new directions. In addition to attending the New York Gift Show twice a year, she will be doing her first Maison Objet show in the fall. Many retailers across the country, like me, carry her line.  If you are in an area where no stores carry the line, no worries, she just launched an e-commerce site in June... be sure to check it out here!  I am truely honored that Bliss in Ca. is carrying my book!! Thanks, Ohara, for letting me feature your beautiful store and tell your story! I’m so amazed by all the incredible work you do, and it’s been so fun working together!  I can't wait to see how the home we are working on will look when finished!!

I am having my first booksigning in Little Rock Arkansas on October 4th at Cobblestone and Vine. They were the very first out of state store who carried my book! If you are in the area then I would love for you to join us from 2-7 at the 5100 Kavanaugh Blvd  store.  Till next week! xo, Leslie