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Gray in the Home 

Thanks everyone for the sweet supportive comments about the limewashing at my house!!!  I will send you pics when we are done!!  The new Antique Shops & Designer Magazine is out and I wanted to share a portion of my latest article about the Color Gray and give you a sneak peak of my upcoming book Segreto Style!!!!

The room below, one of my all times favorites, is from the talented Talbot Cooley From TC Interiors!!! I loved the soothing polished plaster we applied in this bedroom!!!  This house and the ones below will all be featured in their entirety in Book #2  Segreto Stlye which I have been working around the clock to get to press so it will be out for the fall, fingers crossed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I love all the gray rooms and accessories that are in home design today. With the busy lifestyles of working parents and children juggling countless activities, I hear repeatedly during consultation with homeowners that they want their home to be a retreat – a relaxing haven separate from the hustle and bustle of their schedules. I almost always point these clients to tones of grays. After reading the definition of gray from the dictionary, though, I’m a little perplexed as to how the color became the chosen neutral of designers and homeowners alike. The Dictionary by Fairlex defines gray as “ Dull or dark: a gray, rainy afternoon. B. Lacking in cheer; gloomy: a gray mood.”

We glazed this amazing kitchen for the ever so talented Munger Interiors!!  What a transformation it was!!  

From this description, gray communicates a void of movement, emotions, warmth of any identifying characteristics. So why do I find homes using gray as a background color serene, soothing and elegant? I think this very lack of emotions is what makes gray so calming! Because gray isn’t expressing much of anything, it remains simply restful, quiet and tranquil. It not only allows different colors to pop while also cooling their intensity, but it gives the ability to layer textures and patterns without looking overwrought.

This bathroom which we did for cute designer, Leslie Strauss, has a metallic stencil atop gray plaster walls.  I love the way the metallics layer over the plaster!!! 

Think of the walls of your home as a sophisticated, all gray outfit. While it may be drab and dreary on its own, the ensemble comes to life when layered with jewelry, scarves, shoes or a jacket. The same basic backdrop can create entirely different tones and styles from dressy to urban, contemporary to romantic.

A gray dress can go from business casual to a night time statement ensemble, just as a home’s ambiance can change from room to room depending on the textures and accents of color. To subtly elicit the mood you would like your room to have, try mixing gray with yellows, teals, blues, greens, pinks, lavenders or my favorite “Blaygeen” color.


This newly built bar we did for Barnett Custom Homes. Full of age and character, it is truly one of my favs.  The worn and distresssed look marries it well with the old brick and wine label tiles!!

For instance, charcoal gray is a wonderful choice if you wish to impart the strength and mystery of black without its negative connotations. Gray truly goes with any color, don’t be afraid to do something unusual and give your trim the gray undertone while incorporating some color on your walls or cabinetry.

Since there are as many shades of gray as there are of white, picking the right color can be difficult. To start, look at the other fabrics, rugs, furniture and surfaces in the space. Do they have a warm undertone (yellow-based) or a cool undertone (blue based)? To ensure a cohesive design, pick the shades of gray with the same undercurrent.

Left: Sherwin Williams Sensible Hue 6198, Right: Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray 6197

Sherwin Williams Colors: Dorian Gray 7017, Dovetail 7018 and Repose Gray 7015

Some of my go-to colors for warmer grays are Seed Pearl, Revere Pewter, Collingwood Gray and San Antonio Gray from Benjamin Moore and Colonnade Gray, Worldly Gray, Repose Gray, Dorian Gray and Dovetail from Sherwin Williams. For cooler grays, I like Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore, Blackened from Farrow & Ball  and Passive from Sherwin Williams.

Are you ready to bring some gray into your home?

It’s the perfect color if you want: 

  •  To foster and environment where compromise is encouraged.
  • To engender a neutral, non-invasive feeling.
  •  To reduce the intensity of another color while still including it.
  • To create an isolated getaway.

What's New at the Segreto Boutique...


Left Moonstone bracelets: $52 each, Middle Druzy pendandt necklace: $325, Right Moonstone earrings: $180


Moonstone and Aquamarine earrings: $150


Long Smoky Quartz and black necklace: $325


Left: Cork lace earrings: $49, Right: Cork lace bracelet with magnetic clasp: $89


Long dainty side cross necklaces: from $109-$189 depending on the stone

Hope everyone has a great week!!!  Till Next Monday!  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.




A Limewashed Facelift for my Exterior

I have researched the web high and low to find the best solutions for altering my exterior brick. My husband for the last 28 years has loved the brick and finally is letting me change it. I debated between a slurried brick finish (mortar troweled or brushed a top of the brick), a painted brick or a lime washed surface. I finally decided to go with the lime wash.


Lime washing can be done many different ways. It can be applied to give full coverage over the brick or you can let some of the brick show through. It can also be used as a transparent wash where the brick is toned to a different color but you still see an even variation in the bricks tones rather than chips of the true color to show through like above! It is important to decide this up front before you begin, rather than test all different options on your home like I did!!!!  

The first true paint was made from lime and protected ancient monuments, and it still protects European cathedrals and museums. As lime paints age, they develop unique patterns and shadings that bring out color in the embedded lime. Time also leaches out white lime, lending a sun-bleached look.

Lime wash covers bricks with a coating that absorbs into the masonry without trapping moisture. It's made of natural, nontoxic ingredients and it even has a fungicidal effect. The crystals that form on the exterior cling to the bricks and concrete for a protective finish that is porous to vapors, but resists stains. Owners of historic buildings apply lime wash to bricks for a natural, aged appearance.

The aesthetic changes in the lime wash come from ongoing carbonation as lime reacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide and starts to become limestone again. Crystals within lime adhere tightly to the surface, creating lasting coverage, but they also refract light for a unique depth of color. With patience and care, you can paint like the ancients -- and enjoy the same enduring results.


The beginning of my home’s transformation!  We bought our lime wash though Roma, a company in Atlanta.  They will tint it for you with all natural ingredients, which is a wonderful option.  We had some un-tinted stock and had a gap in our schedule so we tinted it ourselves. If you go in this direction make sure there is enough mixed for the entire job to insure the colors are the same.

It is very important to clean the surface well before you start—we power washed the brick. It’s best to apply in temperatures from 46-86 degrees. I have to hurry temps are rising here!!!


We thinned the product by 50% and have tried many different application methods, a few include brushing and using a no nap small roller. Both lent different outcomes. In all my internet research I also happened across a recommendation to apply in a crosshatch pattern, I will try that today! The instructions for the cross hatch say to first brush the paint vertically then horizontally and then vertically again. Use an even stroke and apply steady pressure.

I have found that when using a light color lime wash you have the perfect variation in tones when you are doing the application, but hours later the surface becomes much whiter and the overall variation changes, giving you a more solid look.  We are attempting to power wash off some of the surface since it is fresh  to get back some of the variation.

I did read that you could add extra color depth,  by apply a small amount of darker paint as a shadow around the edges of the wall and paint in lighter areas elsewhere.

I will let you know how it turns out!  I do think I like the lime washes tinted a bit darker, my husband likes bright white so we compromised on a soft white. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Whoever said doing your own home is easy?


Lots of new art and jewelry at the Segreto Showroom! Come by and pickup all your Mother's Day and graduation gifts! 


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.








And the Renovation Continues... Master Bath Edition!

Well my house renovation is in full force and underway!!  My bathroom is gutted and I am trying to finalize all of the selections. Marble is the topic today!!

Here is my inspiration picture!  I love the way the marble comes down onto the cabinet!!!  As you can see, we are going a totally different direction than the original floors —from brown to white!! I have been shopping the globe for slabs and finally realized it is best to find your flooring first. It is easier to get a sample of the floors that you can take with you to make sure your slabs match! With the help of architectural consultant, Sarah West, we purchased the Calcutta flooring from Materials Marketing, a 12" x  24" tile that we will run as a running bond pattern. The smaller tiles will be used in the shower floor.

I originally wanted a quartzite. It is a more durable material than granite but has the soft veining look of marble, perfect for a bath!! Here are some beauties!  Princess White, Sea Pearl, Taj Mahal to name a few!!

I ended up getting This Calcutta slab from Walker Zanger. Stephanie was a great help and so patient with my back and forth decisions!!  I love the veining in this piece, it's very irregular with soft tones of warm grays and gray greens.

Then there are all the decisions about finish. Should you hone the marble for a matt look or polish it for a higher sheen? My bathroom previously had polished marble which has been slated as a no no but I never had issues with it scratching. After researching the web and getting so many varied opinions this is what I found: A polished marble is beautiful and gives you that sleek look but can be slippery on floors(this is true) It is recommended to hone  your floors, which gives you a bit more traction when getting out of the bath!! 

As for countertops there are pros and cons to the different sheens. Polished is more durable as far as withstanding stains, however it scratches more easily and the scratches are visible. The good thing is that most of the time natural stone responds very well to restoration and repair. It is, after all, a natural material and not a surface with a laminate top.  A honed surface is more susceptible to staining, but it doesn’t show scratches as much.  All natural stone should be sealed to protect the look and installation and sealing honed stone can help to protect from staining. It should be resealed periodically. I went with honed countertops this go round, mainly because I thought that it would look better with the fixtures and mirrors I purchased.  

When cleaning any stone, you should only use products that are specifically manufactured for natural stones, sometimes even products that are nature friendly contain ingredients that can harm your stone (like vinegar and lime juice)! I guess I will need to be careful of that makeup and toothpaste! Walker Zanger recommends Ocean Care sealers and cleaners and Berings recommends "Intercare Cleaner" by Marblelife and the "Marble, travertine, limestone & slate cleaner and resealer" by "Custom Building Products". 

I am so excited about the mirrors I found at the Marburger Farms Antique Show from Art and Antique Hunter. Such a unique design, I was so excited that they had a pair!!!  They are a bit large for my space but oh well!! I purchased a matching pair--How lucky was that!!!!!

.......AND THEY ARE HAVING A WAREHOUSE SALE IN DALLAS--  Tuesday the 22nd and  WEd. the 23rd 10-5

 My gorgeous new mirrors were not the only great piece at the Art and Antiques Hunter booth! Owner and hunter, Mitra Kilburn started the business when she was ready to leave the corporate world and follow her passion for hunting for beautiful antiques! She is known for her exceptional pieces, especially mirrors, lighting and decorative arts. She travels to Europe several times a year and her collection is mainly Italian but includes pieces from Sweden, France and the Netherlands! If you're in Dallas, you can visit her brick and mortar location at 1130 Dragon St., Suite 170.  I wish i was in Dallas to go!!!!

...and WE are having a Trunk Show with other vendors at Back Row Antiques!!!!   Come see us to find one of a kind mothers day graduation and wedding gifts!!!


I am so looking forward to sharing the completed look with you and having my bathroom back in order!! The project continues!! 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.



Hunt for the Best of Easter!

Spring is in the air and Easter is not far behind! This special holiday, filled with religious meaning, is the perfect time to gather with family and friends and celebrate the fresh start of the Spring! This year I think all my kiddos will be in different places and spaces but I will enjoy seeing my Mom and Dad on this special day!!!

Left: Source, Right: Source 

I miss the days when my little ones would wake up so excited for the Easter egg hunt before church.  I wonder if I will get the same smile from my husband with these fun Easter breakfast ideas!!


I am not a big cook but I love to decorate the table for special holidays.  Easy and fun, I think I will try these floral egg arrangements as place card holders this year!!!


This DIY bunner runner would be a fun craft and a great piece to keep for years to come! You hardly need any accessories to make the table display look complete, just some yummy and pretty Easter food! Learn how to make your own here!

Sources Unknown

Seasonal and colorful, carrots are a great addition for every Easter table! 


Love these cute little peeps!!  Easy to make, these would really make your bread basket chirp!!!!


What a cute idea for a festive chicken or egg salad sandwich!!  This looks easy to do and could be made with homemade dough or premade crescent roll dough from the grocery! Either way, I think this would be a big hit! 

Source Unknown

I may need these just for me!! Just shape the krispie treats along the inside (or outside) of each side of the egg, then pop them out. Fill them with candy or toys and put your two krispie halves together. 


You would certainly win any deviled egg competition with these adorable little chicks! By far one of my favorite Easter foods!

The Egg Hunt is On...

The iconic Easter egg! So many beautiful and creative ideas, here are a few favorite finds to inspire your creative egg decorating!









Hope you all have a beautiful and blessed Easter! 'Til next week! XO Leslie 


Don't forget about Mother's Day, Graduation and Wedding season! Come by Segreto to find perfect gifts for all your Spring events! 1414 Antoine Dr. Open M-F from 9:00-5:00

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 Week with Segreto!

 I hope everyone had a wonderful week! Last week I went to a preview of the Marburger Farms Antique show in Roundtop!!!  As usual, the wonderful dealers have totally outdone themselves with some fab finds!  Here are some of my favorites! 

We have certainly been busy at Segreto! Over the last year, I have hired and trained new people to try to get to my WONDERFUL clients in a timely manner.  We have finally done it!! Now on a larger job we can typically get to you in 3-6 weeks vs 3-6 months!!! Thanks to everyone for your patience while we were going through growing pains!!! I so appreciate your business and support, so keep on calling!!!  Here is a small sampling of some fun projects we are working on!   

This finish, done like the olden days, is made from homeade paints, waxes and yes even beer and cottage cheese. Gives you that very rustic feel, perfect for this kitchen full of reclaimed woods, antique doors and fireplaces dating back to 1702! Sarah West, architectural consultant, was the sweet person we worked with on this one!!!

Formal and refined, this nook behind the master tub needed a finishing touch.  This dogwood design for designer extraordinaire, Sarah Eilers really did the trick!

Wanting to add a bit of "Frenchy" blue to her island, we applied a furniture quality finish for this homeowner, to give the kitchen a bit more pizazz!!!

Just in the midst of it--this mural is coming to life on a powder bath wall!!  Full of drama, it is a true conversation piece! 

In this kitchen, there was a wooden relief above the cabinetry that seemed a bit bare untouched.  We did a glaze to give it some depth and then stenciled a design to add an extra special touch! 

Love this kitchen we have started for Designer Tami Owen!!  The hood is already plastered and now we are starting on the cabinet work. Love those lanterns!

This client wanted to create a special space for grandchildren visits and the door to the toy closet just seemed to lack fun! We painted a fireplace scene on top including handpainted delft tile, brick molding and a painting of this special grandmother with her little one! SO cute!!!

I love the transformation that applying glazes over raw wood can make.  This study built with pecky cypess felt dated to this owner.  They wanted to transition from an orange tone to a light gray. We applied glazes directly over the existing finish, which eliminated the the need to strip the woodwork and start from scratch!



I always love to see the transformation that our workshop creates with the furniture pieces they work on!  What a change, I wanted to keep this one!!!!

Even before the final clean these floors are full of fun and whimsy!!  This design, inspired by a fabric, makes a big statement in this home office we did for Designer Bobby Farkas.

AGAIN - Thank You all for your patience in waiting for your jobs to be completed!  Spread the word that we are caught up and ready to quickly get to your job!!  As an appreciation to our customers, we are offering you 20% off on any item at our store during our trunk show extravaganza next Thursday April 10th from 10:00- 7:00PM!! Just say you saw the discount on the blog,  Stock up for graduation and for Mother's day!!! See the invitation below!!  xo  Hope to see you next Thursday!!! 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.