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Segreto Style is Done!!!

 Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!! My next book Segreto Style, due to be released in November has finally shipped off to print!!!  With 524 pages I found I had too much to share for just one book,  so I separated the material into a series of two publications and Segreto Style 2, slated to be published in Spring of 2015 was born.  I am blessed to have so many amazing projects to write about and share with each of you.


With so many beautiful rooms, it was nearly impossible to pick the cover shot of each book.  This dressing room from a historical Houston home, designed in the early 1900’s by architect John F. Staub was chosen for Segreto Style.  Photographed by Terry Vine, with interiors by famed designer Kara Childress, the illustration showcases a new finish on the rooms original paneling.

 Segreto Style is a tour of 39 homes in which we have had the honor of providing the finishes for. Similar to the format of  Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors, Segreto Style (304 pages) gives more tips from the talented designers, architects and builders whose wonderful creations are featured, as well as more information as to color and technique styles from me. The book includes some incrediable before and after transformations which are so fun to see!!


 The cover of Segreto Style 2, photographed by Blake Mistich, features a plastered entrance hall complimenting the wonderful interiors of Talbot Cooley, principle of TC Interiors. Focusing on the  boutique vignettes of decorative finishes, this 220 page design resource, highlights a wide range of finishes with chapters on painted walls, painted floors, plastered rooms and furniture finishes as well as extensive sections dedicated to kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.


I can’t tell you how grateful I am for each of you, who have truly supported me during this project.  Big hugs to the The wonderful homeowners, designers, architects and builders who entrusted me with their finishes and allowed me to share their homes and projects with you. Lots of love to my amazing staff who have really worked double time to compensated for my time away working on the books, and my family who I have learned really miss me when I work such long hours. 

 Segreto Style will be here for the Holidays!!!  With two books to print we are only printing a limited quantities of each. If you would like to pre-order, 85$ for Segreto Stlye and 65$ for Segreto Stlye 2, or give your email to be notified when the books arrive please contact

If you know of any stores in your area that may be a good fit to carry the book, I would love the recomendations. We self-published these next two books as well, so your help and tips are so appreciated.  Feel free to email me at  Thanks again for all of your support!!!  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 the Segreto Blog click here.


Unexpected Cleaners!!!

I have been reading so much on Pinterest on natural ways to better clean your home. I searched the blogosphere and pulled some of my favorite to share!



Rub it on dulled copper, rinse with water, and polish clean with a soft rag.



Douse the spot with white wine and blot with a clean rag to absorb the spill.


Just slice open a lemon, rub the lemon on the faucet and rinse!



Hydrogen Peroxide, a magical cleaner!!

Wonderful for cleaning windows, mirrors, toilets and bathtubs, replace the cap with a spray bottle head but keep the liquid in its dark container or it will lose its powers!! Just spray on and wait 30 seconds for the streaking to go away and for your windows or mirrors to sparkle!

It also is the best fountain cleaner of all time. Green, murky fountain water will transform to crystal clear in 24 hours. Because hydrogen peroxide turns into oxygen within 24 hours its safe for the wildlife!



Before you begin, double check that the bottle of hydrogen peroxide is a 3% solution. Anything higher and you've accidentally stumbled into purchasing industrial strength and it is NOT safe for your mouth. As with most things teeth related, check with your dentist (because I'm not one) before letting children under the age of 12 use this solution and discontinure if you experience any discomfort or redness in your gums. There are all the same warnings you'll find on any theeth whitening product.

  1. Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste
  2. Rinse with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide for 30-60 seconds. There are dilution directions on the bottle, but is is usually half water and half hydrogen peroxide. When the hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with your mouth, a chemical reaction will take place and it will begin to foam. Start by swishing with a small amount so you don't end up foaming at the mouth and scare your roommates into thinking you have a plague.
  3. Spit out the rinse, do not swallow hydrgoren peroxide
  4. Don't eat or drink for 30 minutes
  5. Again, I am not a dentist, but according to my dentist (who is, in fact, a dentist), if you follow the previous directions this can be done every day.
  • For whiter whites, add one cup of hydrgoen peroxide to a load of white laundry
  • To prevent wilting, spray a mixture of 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup water on lettuce, drain, cover and refrigerate
  • Kill weeds by spraying with hydrogen peroxide


Clean the grout on your floors!!

Here are two cleaner recipes for cleaning very dirty floors!

  1.  1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 gallons tap water, very warm
  2. 7 cups water, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup vinegar for-the-home



 Its smells heavenly, and avoids exposure to toxic chemicals



Clean your silver!!

Line your sink with aluminum foil, add 1/2 cup table salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, fill with hot water. Put in all your silver and let sit for 30 minutes, while the tarnish transfers to the foil!


Protect your marble!!

Clapham's Salad Bowl Finish- typically used as a food-safe coating on unfinished wood- adds luster to honed marble and granite, and boosts their resistance to water spots. Its butter-like beeswax formula is easy to apply. About $20 for 8 ounces.

 I am busy trying these tips at my house!!  Let me know how they work for you!!!Till next Monday!! xo  Leslie

Come see us at the Segreto Boutique!!! 1414 Antoine m-f 9-5. Unmarked house across from St Regis School!!!


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

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.



A House Update!

Well my house is really moving along! With my dream team of Newberry Campa Architects , Goodchild Builders  and architectural consultant Sarah West, my master suite area is really taking shape!!!

I found this picture of the master bath when we purchased the house in 1987! 

 Here is how we changed it way back then! What you can't see is the shower across from the tub.  We tore down a linen closet and made it into a shower so the shower was very very small.

At a later date we built on a Master closet addition behind the doors and made the old small master closet into this sitting area in the bathroom!

Our house was built in the late 60's and our old pipes started bursting so we had to replace them all leading to a master bath redo!!! Tired of a very small tub and shower, we hired Ken Newberry and his team of Will and Gina from  Newberry Campa Architects to help us out! The bathroom was gutted and the three small areas it previously held was made into one larger space.


Here is the new Jason tub from Acero Bella, which is where the sitting area used to be. Ken wanted a window there looking out to gardens lending the illusion that the space was larger and allowing more natural light to flow in.  This would have been beautiful, but my husband who is so concerned about break-ins didn't want exterior access to this part of the house.  Soooooo... I found this wonderful piece at Joyce Horn Antiques. I posted on Facebook should I put a mirror there, hand a painting, leave it as is or paint something decorative on it.  What do ya'll think?  I hope I can keep those open shelves (not yet painted) neat!! 

Here is my inspiration picture which is a piece from Tara Shaw for my sink cabinets.  Remember the beautiful mirrors which I found from Mitra Kilburn at Marburger Farms Antique Show, I thought they would look amazing over pieces like this. 

With the mirrors hung, faucets installed, walls plastered and counters on, I was getting excited!!! Now for the paint!

Here is Jerry, my head cabinet guy putting up the samples, and the finished sample. 

With the paper pulled off the floors and the counters, I could really start envisioning the space.  I did change my faucets which I had posted in the original blog on my house. These mirrors were so large that I had to drop my counters to 34 inches and there was no space for wall mount faucets!  I love these French Gold, New Port Brass Victoria faucets I purchased from Acero Bella, the marble from Walker Zanger fabricated by Olympus Marble and Granite, and floors from Materials Marketing. The old faucets are for sale at a great price!!!!!!!!!!!

Opposite of the sink vanities is a dressing table for me! I loved this piece of furniture from Niermann Weeks and used it as my inspiration. 

Goodchild Builders  did an amazing job building the pieces-now for the paint!!

Here is Ricki, one of my furniture refinishing guys working on the piece. It’s not done yet, but I'm loving the gold accents. Any ideas on sconces?

Because the space has a lot of elements in it I didn't want to visually break it up with marble tiles in the shower.  Instead we plastered it with a water proof plaster.  All the walls and ceilings are coated with the same material!!  All I need now is the glass!  Note to all. The finish on the hardware that I purchased is not available on handles and brackets needed to install the shower doors.  I am having to re-plate them which is an additional cost.  Same with the drain.

Stay tuned for more updates, there is lots going on around my home!!  Til next week!!  xo  Leslie

What's new at the shop!!!!


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

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.



Where Once Were Cows 

I found this article in the New York Times about a renovated farmhouse and barn in southern Germany that was turned into a family home and wanted to share it with all of you! This couple, a fashion texile producer and actress, bought the home for $857,000 and spend about $612,000 on the renovation, which was achieved in just 9 months. Hope you enjoy the home as much as I did! Photographs by Benjamin Antomy Monn and written by Nick Amies.


In the town of Moorenweis, in southern Germany, there are a number of imposing Alpine-style chalets. But the house that Michael and Bernadette Schnabl chose to make their own was a 19th-century Bavarian farmhouse that they integrated a rundown barn on the property.

Instead of feeling cold or cavernous, said Mr. Schnabl,38, the 3,100-square-foot home he shares with his wife and children, Josephiner 4, and Julian, 6, is surprising cozy. "Every person has their own area, we can meet in different rooms."

The farmhouse's attic was opened up to create a loft space, and the wooden beams were exposed and sandblasted.

Inside, the aestheticis modern and the furnishings are spare.

A living space in the renovated catthle barn.

Throughout the barn and the farmhouse, modern elements like a black steel staircase stand in contrast to the white walls and light floor.

Ornate wrought-iron grilles protect the farmhouse's original doors and window frames.

The minimalist kitchen epitomizes the traditional- farmhouse-with-a-modern-twist aesthetic.

In the adjoining dining area, a chandelier by Louis Poulsen hangs over a steel-and-pine table.

A black steel ladder leads to a sleeping area in what was once the attic space of the farmhouse.

A bathroom in the old barn is outfitted with a Keramag tub and Villerory & Boch sinks.

From the outside, the farm house retains its original appearance.

Hope you enjoyed this unique home! We can't wait to show you all the beautiful renovations in our new book-sneak peak of the cover next post! Until 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 the Segreto Blog click here.


Segreto Goes to Boca Grande Florida!!!

Being so busy in Houston, it is rare that we accept a job out of state! When a designer/client Kathy Johnson with KB Designs asked us to go to Boca Grande Florida to help restore a 1920’s Spanish style home it was just too hard to say no. I was so charmed by this town, with its architecture, beautiful beaches and historical homes that I wanted to share a bit about this little gem tucked away in Florida. It will be my next family vacation spot.


The Historic Village of Boca Grande is on the island of Gasparilla, known for its quaint downtown, sugar sand beaches, blue water and world class fishing. Located at the southern tip of the Cape Haze Peninsula on Florida’s Southwest Coast midway between Sarasota and Ft. Myers, this lush barrier island has been blessed with seven miles of powdery white beaches and cerulean waters—the colors of the ocean one would typically find in the Caribbean.


Known for fishing and shelling, the shoreline is both pristine and productive and contains one of the most enriched ecosystems in the world.




Boca Grande’s 2nd Street, also known as Banyan Street, is lined with century-old banyan trees.


These trees which reminded me of the tree of life in Disney Land are natural works of art!!!!


Where to stay!!!!!!!!!!!!

Originally built to appeal to wealthy Northerners who could go anywhere, The Gasparilla Inn & Club is one of Florida's last remaining exclusive family-owned Gilded Age resorts. This establishment is even listed as a National Historic Landmark and among the Historic Hotels of America! Walking through the Inn’s pillared entrance and into the lobby, you experience the feeling of Florida as it was meant to be. Guests are instantly embraced with the tranquil civility of a time that once was.  A premier destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast since 1913, It offers 137 rooms, suites, and cottages in a pristine environment at the tip of Boca Grande Island. Owned by the William S. Farish Jr. family, The Inn has had many notable guests throughout its storied history, including Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, Katharine Hepburn, the George H.W. Bush family as well as members of the DuPont family.


Accommodations are located in vernacular cottages surrounding the property extending from 250-slip waterfront marina to the championship Pete Dye Golf Course golf course to the beach front cabana club and tennis courts.

The Resort's Decor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love the Florida style décor which has remained in the same style for the generations of annual visitors have been able to call home for family gatherings.






 Picture source 


Boca Grande’s wonderful architecture……………


 The house we were working on was designed by Frances Burrall Hoffman Jr., who is best known for his design of Vizcaya, the Biscayne Bay mansion of industrialist James Deering.




Hoffman, from an affluent New York family, was born in New Orleans and spent the early years of his life on a plantation in Louisiana.  Graduating from Harvard he enrolled the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, then the preeminent architectural training program in the world.  Having homes in Europe and New York, he left his mark on Boca Grande.


In 1938 Hoffman designed the Cowperthwaits' house for his brother, William Wickham Hoffman a New York Banker. Being located in the town's historic district, the main house was designed with a high-ceiling in the second-floor living room, now the master bedroom.



 I love the ceiling in the den  and living rooms with the hand stenciling!  What a beautiful room to take in the beach views!!!


Built in 1940 the Shaw House has two separate wings separated by a central courtyard and connected by a covered walkway. These lovely pale aqua shutters have become our inspiration for the home we are working on.


Hoffman designed a Southwest Santa Fe-inspired compound in 1938 for Mrs. Michael Van Beuren, the daughter of Standard Oil president John D. Archbold. What an entrance!!!!

Hoffman's Renaissance-styled chapel was the first Catholic Church on the island! A small bell tower rises above the Spanish oak doorway.


I love the plaque which is right outside the door!!


Another beautiful home, the Crowninshield studio, was designed in 1927 by Albert Ely Ives for Francis B. Crowninshield and his wife, Louise DuPont. Tarpon fishing aficionados, the Crowninshields first bought a beach front cottage before World War I. They rapidly were joined by other  DuPont family members and Boston friends.




The town is pristine, clean, quiet and has a charisma all of its own.


I fell in love with this home which we are helping to restore at first glance!  Its charm and beautiful beach side views created a magical work environment.   I hope you enjoyed the fun tour of my new favorite town!!!  Stay tuned for progress pictures of this historical home's revival.  Till 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 the Segreto Blog click here.