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Staircase Renovation & Boutique Labor Day Sale!

You always hear that working for someone in the design business on their own home is the hardest. I’m sure the team on my project feels the same way since I am constantly changing my mind! The day we moved the girls back upstairs I decided to proceed with redoing the staircase. Since it is the only access to their bedrooms and baths, the girls are sleeping in John’s office while John and I are still camping out in the media room.  


As you can see, my staircase literally originated 3 feet from the front door, beginning narrow and widening at the top. I have had numerous architects look at the project during other renovations, but due to the narrowness of the space combined with its steep slope, none could come up with a solution which appealed to me.

Ken, Will, and Gina of Newberry, Campa Architects gracefully solved the problem! 

Bless Steve, Henry, and the wonderful crew at Goodchild Builders who thought they were almost done!!! Goodness, it looked so much better with just the railings gone! Having the whole staircase removed made such a huge difference!

When they first started building the stairs, I was a bit confused as to how it would work. The back right and left walls used to end the same at the top of the stairs. By removing an upstairs closet located on the right side of the hall (say goodbye to storage!) they were able to create a landing to walk down from. Initially, I was worried that it might look odd for the left wall to go back farther than the right one...

But it didn't look off-balance at all! Not only was a landing created but the hallway upstairs also looks much larger!!! There is Sammy, sad she can't get to her room.  

In the new design the staircase shared the music room's wall, blocking majority of the entrance. Ken's plan widened the entryway into the music room and dining room, solving that problem and giving me a much more open feel which I love!!! As is the nature of renovations, one thing leads to another which leads to so many different decisions. Help!?

This is the view looking from the living room through the entryway. Look at the big hole where the staircase used to be! Yikes - new floors! Decision 1: Wood or stone? If wood, what type? What pattern? If plank, how wide?

                  The cased openings in the living room and dining room previously had more substantial trim which interrupted the crown moldings in the rooms. When removed, an 8 foot gap in the crown was created. Not able to patch it, the crown in both rooms needed to be removed. Goodbye worn gold finish! Decision 2: Do I put crown back up or have the cleaner look of no crown? If crown, what style?


I have always loved the way Joyce, owner of Joyce Horn Antiques, accessorized this vignette by placing antique French crown in the olive jar, so I asked the Goodchild gang to save mine. Not sure 1960's American molding I have will be as pretty but I'll give it a try!


Decision 3:  What type of railing do I want? Having decided on wrought iron, there are so many choices and so many beautiful staircases to choose from!


Should the banister be wood or wrought iron?



Decision 4: Do I want the sides of the steps to show as seen in the picture above......


..... or do I want a runner of wood or plaster on the side with the step inset like this staircase?



Would stained wooden treads look best?


Or stained treads and painted risers?


This one is pretty incredible -- plaster stairs!!! My dilemma - I love them all!!!  Thoughts, my friends; what do you think?

I saw this picture in Veranda and loved how it was very open and simple with such a graceful air. I sent the picture to Bill Pena of Alba Custom Iron to make a sample. We also decided to refinish our existing floors so all of the furniture is currently out of the house. Unfortunately, this now means no access to the kitchen, den, or breakfast area confining us all to an even smaller space.  Lucky for Sammy, she just left for school! I would love all of your comments and suggestions on which direction I should go in the choices I have to make.  I hope you have a great week!  xo.                       

 Labor Day Sale at the Boutique! One week only. All sale items final sales

Lollia Luminaries: Wish, At Last adn In Love $38.00 - Sale price $25.00  


Kitchen Papers Assorted Placemats: $30.00 - Sale price $ 19.25

Austrian Crystal Crosses on Cut Crystal Pedestal: $75 each Sale price $ 48.50

Good Works Make a Difference Leather Wrap Bracelets: $26.75 - Sale price $ 19.25 each

I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me....

For I know the plans I have for you declairs the Lord....

Because you believed, it has happened....

(left) Black & Bronze Leather Handbag: $79.00 - Sale price $ 48.50   

(right) Brown Suede Handbag: $159 - Sale price $ 115

 Bracelet: $150 & 135 - Sale price $ 89

 Tuquoise, Druzzy and Vintage Gold Medallion Pendant Necklace: $450.00 - Sale price $ 325

  Fresh Water Pearl  and Champagne Diamond Pendant Necklace: $665 - Sale price $ 450

Immaculate Conception Medallion and laberadite necklace: $425.00 - Sale price $ 300

Onyx Bead and Gold Plated Amber Stone Necklace: $325 - Sale price $ 250

To inquire about these items email 

or vist us at 1414 Antoine.


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.




Organic Home Gardens!!!

With the healthy eating craze focusing on organic and fresh I am loving the idea of incorporating a small organic garden into my new landscape plans.



When I was little my father thought it would be a fun activity to have a garden.  Plowing an acre, my brother, Mom and I were left to hoe, weed, and pick. I began to not think gardening was not so fun.  After 40 years, I am ready to give it a try again. Searching the Pinterest sphere, I found so many ideas which would if scaled back, be manageable and beautifully work into my yards new look.      

This stunning outdoor garden has a beautiful combination of vegetables and flowers and is featured on the cover of  photographer George LeVeque's book French Garden Style, available for purchase here!)          



How pretty is this herb garden combined with stepping stones?


Planting vegetables inside boxwood patterns and mixing them with flowers really creates an artful impact!  


This beautiful garden has some wonderful elements which could be used on a smaller scale like mixing dark and light wood tones, using metal arbors, or creating planter boxes from basket weave.   


Foregoing traditional boxes and planting within the limits of existing pathways allows you to get creative without too much commitment!  

This herb and vegetable garden designed by Statile and Todd Landscape Contractors is lovely!  

Here is a garden at one of my client's houses. I love the gravel around it and stone surrounds!  So French!

A full producing garden, it also adds so much to their exquisite landscaping!

Here is another client's home who is just beginning her raised garden.  By raising the beds it is easier to get the proper irrigation.

Here is the same client's charming rose garden in its beginning phases.  When complete it will feature a French fountain.


If you want something with little maintenance this kitchen counter herb garden is beyond adorable.  What a great gift this would make!


Need a bit of inspiration before you begin? Check out these Garden Box Layout Ideas published by Better Homes and Gardens !  One of my besties son’s, Matthew, and his friend Jacob started an agricultural development company in Houston called Old School Produce. Drawing upon their shared passion for organic eating and Jacob's degree in biological science, they now sell fresh vegetables at a farmers market, provide organic, exotic produce to restaurants, and help people set up their own organic gardens! He and Jacob were the perfect ones for me find out a bit more info.  

I was most interested in the rare and unusual varieties of plants which they grow. Right now the ghost pepper is their favorite; a real pure heat to kick up anything without adding a pepper taste. The scorpion and purple cayenne pepper they produce may be too hot for your liking.  If so, let them sit in a jar of olive oil or apple cider vinegar then remove the seeds. Wonderful flavor without the burn

They grow their produce to sell out of their trademark hydro planter - an automated raised garden that utilizes water in a closed loop to minimize water loss. Mixing this with innovative composting methods, they are able to grow almost anything all year-round.  

This would be a wonderful sized garden to start with and pretty on the patio, especially with the right finish on the wood. If you are in Houston, visit Matt and Jacob at their Old School Produce booth every Sat from 9-1 at the Farm Stand at Petrol Station or you can visit their website by clicking here 

Source  If you don’t want to grow your veggies but want home grown and organic, check out Farmhouse Delivery!  I had a client tell me about them and I am now getting fresh, locally grown, organic produce and dairy delivered to my home once a week. I have found that it is no more expensive than the grocery and it saves me a trip to the store! I know they deliver to Austin and Houston, but to see if they are available in your area check out their website. My favorite purchases were the vegetables, eggs, and milk.  I hope everyone has a great week!  Next week- a house update-promise.  We are now living in two rooms—so fun!!!  Xo  Leslie  


What's on sale at the Shop! 

 Aidan Gray Croix Framed Mirror: $650.00 - Sale price $500

Ice Milk Aprons: Adult $75.00 & Children’s $34.95 - Sale price $46 and $25                   


Aden & Anais Swaddle Blanket Gift Pack: $45.00 - Sale price $35


 Jolie USA Jeweled Headbands: $22.00 - Sale price $12 


Geode on Lucite Base: $385.00 - Sale price $295

To inquire about these items email

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 Spotlight on The Urban Electric Co.

Looking for lighting for my new home remodel, the timing couldn't be more perfect when Lauren, the daughter of a sweet client of mine called to ask to come in and give a presentation to my staff about The Urban Electric Co - a premier lighting firm based in Charleston, SC. which she works for.  I was so impressed I wanted to share!! 

Each light fixture is bench-made and then hand-finished by local craftsman and artisans in their 65,000 square foot warehouse right here in the USA. Their commitment to quality craftsmanship is amazing - all of their products carry a lifetime warranty and I must say personal pride. I love the industrial twist to this classic lantern.

Add a different color to the inside and chrome to the outside and the fixture totally changes.  So fun!!!!!

Notice the bulb on this one-half is frosted. Customizing large pieces and giving little tweaks to other fixtures is one of their specialties. While many finishes are available, you can also provide a color from a paint deck or even give them a fabric swatch and they'll match it to perfection.  How great is that!! 

Purchasing an existing lighting firm which made much of Charleston's exterior lighting, they've expanded to have more than 300 different fixture designs for both indoors and outdoors!

I think their pieces go with pretty much any decor. This pair adds a whimsical, French feel.  Love the color!!

Adding so much to this oh-so-chic kitchen, this fixture can be a single, or constructed as a double as shown here.  This glass finish, just one of the many to choose from, gives a lovely illumination when lit.

Many of their pieces are new twists of historical styles. The "Malplaquet" style above reminds me of an industrial factory or warehouse, but the pop of green certainly brings it into the modern age.  This one was made originally very very large for a well know hot-spot restaurant and then scaled back for residential use.  Any one been there and recognize the place?

Another great fixture--so original! For this eclectic dining room,  the basic "Belmont" style lantern was redesigned and made into a much larger three light fixture.

Here are a few more of their hanging fixtures. Single or double-stunning!!

They also make beautiful sconces. Look at that patina-well done Urban Electric!

Another thing that really impressed me was their customer service! They work one-on-one with you to make sure you get an heirloom quality piece. "We believe that our designs are not simply fixtures, but a vision specific to the project - a vision that will create value for the owner for decades to come."

So versatile, this sconce design works just as well in this staircase area as it did in the bathroom above.

A few more wall fixtures from their collections. I'm kind of in love with the brass and acrylic one on the right.  The mirrored one top left also caught my eye!

They also make table and floor lamps. Look how perfectly they matched the color to the fabric!

This video tells you all about their Made in America approach and takes you behind the scenes. I loved the pride their craftsman and designers take in what they are creating.  To see their entire collection, go to The Urban Electric Co. website  or contact Lauren who is very well versed on her product line!! Let her know Leslie sent you!! We also have a catalog and finish choices at our shop is you want to browse.

I was so excited to see that the up an coming blog to watch Portobello Design picked up the story about Segreto's new books being released!!!  Please check out the blog--a great source of information and presented so beautifully!!!!!! Thank you so much Portobello Design! 

Hope you all have a great week! coming back from California tomorrow! xo Leslie


So Proud of Kirby!!!

One of the home renovations we've been working on is redoing the kids' bedrooms upstairs. My middle child Kirby, almost 24, works for TC Interiors and was up to the challenge of redesigning her own room.

Her bedroom has a little nook for a sleeping area and a larger space for a sitting area! This a before shot of her room which we had done when she started high school. Nine years later, she was ready for a change.

We plastered her walls and painted the trim in BM 0C-19 to match. This is a great gray white! Wanting a very dressy bedroom, she custom made this beautiful headboard. On a budget (ha-ha sorta), the fabric was from High Fashion Home. I love the tufting!!!

This chaise lounge, originally purchased for her "jungle" room when she was in elementary school, came with a leopard print on it. I bought it for $350 from Costco, and it didn't have a skirt. I guess it's handy that I have a hard time purging! Kirby recovered the piece in a linen from High Fashion Home and added a gentle ruffle! What a change!

She was so excited when all the bedding came in that she, believe it or not, immediately made her bed!!! The bedding from Longoria Collection pulled in the warm pearl and champagne tones she wanted. Searching high and low at the Decorative Center, she designed and had all the pillows custom-made! The B. Viz pillow from my boutique was a graduation gift from her godmother!!! But wait........

The final touch to her bed wall was a cornice she found at 2Lucy's in Back Row Antiques. Kirby worked with my finisher to change the original gold finish to silver. Look at the detail on those drapes! The silk in front from Interior Fabrics looks wonderful with the sheers in the back that she found at a fabric store on Harwin Drive for $10 per yard! The blue trim really was the perfect detail. 

Wow!!! It's certainly fit for a princess! Borrowed from my dining room, the starburst mirror from Joyce Horn Antiques added the finishing touch!!! I had found the (VERY INEXPENSIVE) chair at Denny Register Antiques, a fab store from a guy who buys up all sorts of things from estate sales. Originally covered in orange velvet and stained in mahogany, the piece was painted and recovered using a reasonably priced velvet from High Fashion. Notice the lamps and side tables of my grandmother's, which we had painted years ago, were also part of her old room's decor. 

Another view! The drapery treatments were repurposed from her previous room. 

Here's a shot of her sitting area! (Sorry for the very bad pic!!!) The rug from Pottery Barn was used in both her last room and her college apartment! I just love the Aidan Gray coffee table, purchased at Segreto Boutique! And the chair to the left - what a transformation!!!

Formerly used in my bedroom, this chair was bought probably 20 years ago!!! Kirby's vision totally transformed the piece! Like mother, like daughter, she loves what finishes can do!!!


We had repainted these two pieces of my grandmother's for Kirby’s room about 10 years ago.(another bad pic-forgive!) She took them both to college, and now they are back home!  Still loving the finish, she wanted them just a bit softer, so we washed over them with a whitish glaze to blend with her new room! Oops, looks like the vanity needs a new drawer pull!

Having very little closet space, we use curtains instead of doors. We hired Programme Martin years ago to get the best use of the closet! They are sheer genius when it comes to closet design!!! And, since her brother is no longer at home, Kirby has taken over his closet as well!


We found this jewelry box which hangs on the wall and looks like a mirror when closed. It's been a great way for both my gals to keep their pieces organized. 



Here's Kirby working at her first trunk show for TC Interiors! Talbot not only beautifully designs interiors, but she also has her own jewelry line. Kirby really was blessed to find a job in which she gets to work with two of her favorite passions!!! There I am in the mirror - the proud momma taking a pic! 


Kendall Boggs Artist

A big thanks to the blog Design Chic (one of the best design blogs out there!!!) who featured me on their blog about artist bloggers!  With such a wide range of talent I was truely honored to be mentioned!!! Please check out thier blog if you don't follow it! The mother and daughter team that puts it togehter are as sweet and nice as they are TALENTED!!!!  You will become hooked!!!   I hope everyone has a wonderful week! We're headed to California for a little vacay with my husband's sweet family!!! 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 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.