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Monday
Oct212013

Fraser's Friends: A Special Cause

This time of year with the holidays fast approaching,  there are so many deadlines to have clients' homes ready for parties and family gatherings.


Photographer: Wade Blissard

This lovely client's home was no exception. For the past 6 months while having so much fun working with Brad and Melissa in thier new home, I have been hearing about a party deadline but really didn't know what this special occasion was all about!

Photographer: Wade Blissard

Two weeks before the party, while Melissa and her team worked to perfect the finishing touches inside the home, Aztec Events and Tents  was constructing a tent coverting their entire backyard into a room to host the big affair!! At this moment I realized this event was special and asked about the function.  

Photographer: John Lewis Photography

This was not just a party but rather a charity event graciously hosted by my sweet clients and benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital’s Fraser’s Friends, a cause so close and dear to them. In 2011 their daughter Hailey, a 13 old fit, athletic young lady began experiencing a series of seemingly unrelated minor health issues such as sore throat, ear ache, sinusitis, and strep throat. The ailments would resolve after taking antibiotics, steroids, or allergy medications so they didn’t think anything was serious.   

 

In late May, Hailey had strep throat accompanied by fever that would not go away with antibiotics, so her pediatrician, Dr. Rey Calderon, advised her mom to take her to Texas Children’s Hospital to be safe.  After a very long terrifying day in the Emergency Room, her blood pressure fell to dangerously low levels. Within a few minutes it was determined she needed open heart surgery to remove a large amount of accumulated fluid around her heart caused by “viral myocarditis”, a condition they said they encountered only 14 times per year in the hospital. 

 

Hailey endured a series of 5 different operations over the next 30 days or so, and after many very scary moments and lots of hard work on her part, she was released from the hospital to begin her life on lots of medication.

Photographer: John Lewis Photography

Hailey, pictured here with Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr., M.D., Surgeon-in-Chief, Donovan Chair and Chief Congenital Heart Surgery at Texas Children's Hospital, is doing well, going to school but missing being able to play competitive sports. She has volunteered over the past two summers working at Texas Children's Hospital, has been a speaker at various fundraisers for the hospital, and has shown a confidence and poise that is rare for a 15 year old who has gone through all of the pain and anguish that she has endured.

Taking in enchanting ambiance, it was easy to get lost in the evening while walking around mingling with all of the guests and enjoying the amazing food by  Swift + Company. The realization of the importance of the evening became clear when the Juneau family began personally sharing their story. 

 

 
    
Photographer: John Lewis Photography

In essence, as soon as Hailey was told she would need open heart surgery, the world class surgical team of Texas Children’s Hospital executed a highly complex surgery at 4:30 am the same day and saved Hailey’s life.  The Juneaus had no idea what they were facing when Hailey was taken to this hospital, which happens to be the third ranked hospital in the entire country. They very quickly gained a deep appreciation for the blessing that Texas Children’s Hospital and their talented staff were to their family, and the families of the many patients who are seen there each day. The average person may not consider a statistic such as a hospital ranking to be that important, but the moment that a loved one is at the brink of life or death, this statistic becomes the most important one you may ever encounter. Throughout the course of the evening, I was lucky enough to meet many of the supporters of Texas Children’s Hospital and I heard countless other tales of how this world-class hospital saved their children’s lives as well.

This is Melissa and I reminiscing on what a wonderful evening it was! The best part was learning more about Texas Children's Hospital and hearing beautiful, courageous Hailey and the Juneau family talk about their experience. Although my children have not gone through the unexpected health issues that Hailey has experienced, it comforts me greatly to know that if something ever should happen, Texas Children’s Hospital would be there for my family the way they were for the Juneaus.

Donations small and large are what keep Texas Children's Hospital saving lives, by funding their world class physicians, facilities, and research. To learn more about Frasier's Friends or if you would like to generously donate to the cause, please visit their website by clicking here. Thank you so much Brad, Melissa and Hailey for sharing your story and opening up your home!! We all wish your family continued health and happiness. Till next Monday! Xo, Leslie 

To subscribe to Segreto Blog click here.

  

Saturday
Oct122013

Magnificent Monograms!!

Monograms have been in vogue for centuries - and our era is no different!! Incorporating a monogram is one of the best ways to add a personal touch to your home, clothing, gifts and accessories. Some of my favorites are below!!  

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One of the first recorded appearances of the monogram was in Greek coins to identify the city where they were issued. Later, they were used by artisans and craftsmen as unique signatures for their work. Monarchs across the ages have used monograms to signify their family crest and lineage. Here is the gorgeous monogram that Marie Antoinette used - I love how simple yet glamorous the design is!! 

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In more modern times, monograms have come to graphically symbolize one's own name, or even a family name as a married couple. Traditional monograms consist of three letters intertwined as a design. The initial of the last name is centered prominently with the first name initial to the left, and the middle name initial rounding out the right side. Many young married couples celebrate their union by creating a new family monogram with the joint last name initial in the center, and the first name initials of each partner flanking the sides.

Monogram-Inspired Interiors

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The elegance of using a monogram on a cornice of drapery, as shown in this bedroom here, is undeniable!! The cool hues of this room work perfectly with the creamy white of the monogram.

   In this tranquil master bedroom, one of our clients utilized their monogram to customize their upholstered headboard, pulling the thread color from the more neutral bedding surrounding it. So pretty!! 

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A classic way to flaunt a monogram is to decorate your pillows, sheets, and even duvet covers. You can be as simple or embellished as you like - it is a reflection of your personality!! 

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Love this monogram stenciled footboard - a perfect touch to personalize a kids room.

Tiny Monograms - Baby and Children

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Here Comes the Bride!!

These days, and thanks in large part to Pinterest, people are trying to find ways to truly personalize their wedding day!! Below is a collection of bridal trends in mongramming mania!! I love the cowboy boots (especially for those of us in Texas!!) that are embroidered with the bride's new married name monogram. Customizing these boots for their special day, brides change into them for the reception to dance the night away.

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Thank you gifts to the bridesmaids and groomsmen have become commonplace in today's wedding scene!! An especially popular trend is for bridesmaids to receive matching robes or oversized Oxford shirts with their monograms on them to wear as they get ready for the wedding. For guys, a nice set of cufflinks or monogram travel shave kit from Jon Hart are great options too.

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Jewelry!

Ever since Carrie Bradshaw's famous name necklace worn in Sex in the City, monogram gold and silver trinkets have been popular for necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Segreto's own jewelry designer, Jennifer Welker, was put on the map when her chic designs were worn by Pippa Middleton and Jenna Bush. We carry her full line of customizable jewelry here at the Segreto Boutique. They make great gifts!!     

 

Gifts

With the holiday season coming up, it's time to start thinking about gifts!! Here are a few fun ones sure to please!!

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What's New at Segreto Boutique!

Lines from Lollia!! We had so much fun testing all of the new scents - "At Last," "In Love," "Relax," and "Wish." 

Have a great rest of the 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 Segreto Blog click here.

Sunday
Oct062013

A Mary Nell Corson, Goodchild Builders, and Robert Dame Masterpiece: Part 2

Welcome to part two of our tour through this exquisite home from interior designer Mary Nell Corson, homebuilder Goodchild Builders, and home designer Robert Dame Designs!! If you missed the first half of the home, click here to read all about it.

A beautiful exterior. I love the way its very charming, "Welcome" is what it says to me, and welcoming are what these lovely homoewners are!!

After entering the home, our tour takes us straight towards the master bedroom. This elegant gallery walkway coated in plaster leads to the master suite. You can see the study to the right! 

The homeowners' master bedroom retreat evokes a serenity that is a must in the room you sleep in! The distinctive rug was custom made, based on one they saw at The Cloister in Sea Island, Georgia a few years back. It was our color inspiration for the room from which we customized the plaster providing a subtle backdrop to the stunning fabrics and furnishings in the room!  

The plaster was continued into the master bath area. We lended some finishing touches to the space by distressing the furniture-quality cabinetry and gold leafing the framed mirror designed by Mary Nell and built by Steve! The lighting is beautiful and the architectural pieces that Mary Nell found make each space so unique!!  

The shower and tub side of the bathroom is just as pretty. Notice how the paint for the trim and shutters blend with the plaster! This makes the cainetry and stunning shower surround stand out as the beautiful architectural features they are!!

Continuing in the hue of the bathrom, what a pretty, feminine closet just for her. The clothes are behind closed doors so as to not collect dust and whether the closet is actually organized or not, it always looks it!!  

His and her closets would be my dream! I absolutely love the way the husband's closet turned out, stained wood is handsome and masculine - perfect for a man's dressing area!!!

The upstairs is warm and inviting and has ample room for visiting grandchildren and guests!!  

Upstairs, the plaster but its tone was matched in paint lending continuity!! Although a custom mix, it is somewhere near Sherwin Williams 6106 150%. The blues mix so beautifully with this tone, Mary Nell certainly created a comfortable, casual, beautifully designed space. The built in cabinets that store the television were painted in a different color and finish from the rest of the room which really gives the impression that they are a separate piece of furniture with a distinct story. They seem to balance the one of a kind amazing screen hung as art in the room. Notice on the drapes, a carved cornice was constructed and finished by Segreto, adding that bit of detail that Mary Nell is also known for!!  

For the built ins in the sitting room, we created two different finish samples for the homeowners to choose from - a lighter and a darker version inspired by their fabric selections. Ultimately, we chose the lighter version shown on top.

In this upstairs bathroom, we distressed and stained the cabinetry in a grayed finish. Love the industrial bookshelf with more traditional features such as the mirrors, rug, and sconces.

My favorite part of this bath is the tub in the shower. Because of the placement of the window in the room, Mary Nell chose a beautiful Sunbrella fabric (which is able to get wet!) and had it screen-printed by Silkworks to add the damask-type design. Voila! Instant and lavish privacy. Brilliant!!!

You know you're in Texas when you find a pair of antlers on the wall!! In this guest room, sophisticated elements such as the ornate gold picture frames and oriental rug come together with the more rustic wood elements and antler decor in perfect harmony. I love the custom king-size headboard from Hien Lam!!   

In another guest bathroom the vanity was glazed with a dusty blue color pulled from the marble counter top. She picked up this accent with the monogrammed towels and architectural piece!!

The homeowners wanted each of the rooms to be comfortable, special and distinct. Robert Dame did a great job on the plans and it was such a joy to work with these homeowners, Mary Nell, and Steve. They made a great team and created such a beautifully designed, well-constructed, quality home which I was so honored to be a part of -- the final product turned out exquisite!!

In the spirit of entertaining, which this home is decidedly perfect for, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes which is so easy to make and always requested. We made it for lunch this week in our office -- it was definitely a crowd pleaser!!

Leslie's Chicken Salad!!

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cans Kirkland's chicken from Costco, drained -- I've tried other brands but this tastes better than a fresh cut up rotisserie!
  • 5 or 6 hardboiled eggs, chopped well
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese or to your liking
  • Hellman's mayo - have tried Duke's, there are many fans, but I like Hellman's better!
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl - so simple, so easy, but so good!!

Put spoonfuls on cucumber slices garnished with a sliver of sweet tomato poppers to make a great snack or finger food for a luncheon!! You can serve them on trays or beautiful cutting boards like these marble ones we sell in our shop that range between $45 and $85. Presentation is key!!

Easy and delish!! Make sure to give this one a try, and let me know how it turns out.

Until next Monday, I hope everyone has a great 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.

   

Sunday
Sep292013

A Mary Nell Corson, Goodchild Builders, and Robert Dame Masterpiece: Part 1

What a treat to work with designer Mary Nell Corson and Goodchild Builders on this recent project!! Mary Nell has been in the design business in Houston since the early 1980's and has worked with these homeowners for the last 15 years. Steve Goodchild, builder extraordinaire, has built or redone the last 6 homes for these oh-so-sweet owners!! This long-lasting client relationship certain gives tribute to this dynamic duo's abilities.

 

The biggest challenge up front was deciding whether to keep the existing structure or start anew. In the end, the vast majority of the home was demolished leaving only the garage and its living quarters above intact which allowed a fresh start to include the most up to date energy efficient technologes, and much desired open floor plan. Expert home designer, Robert Dame Designs, was brought in with his right hand guy, Don Pattie, both of which did an exceptional job. This new home is equipped with beautifully detailed oversized living areas and walkways - perfect for entertaining guests which is something very important to this couple whose growing family visits often - 7 children and 16 grandchildren so far.

 

As you enter the home, it's not hard to notice the breathtaking wood floors made of 250 year old reclaimed oak that came from Custom Floors. Mary Nell chose to use plaster because of its classic timeless appeal and the richness it lends to the walls. She believes "the subtle finish of the plaster adds a certain amount of elegence without being too formal. It is just so much more interesting than a solid paint color and less busy than a faux type finish."

As you go through the photos, notice the stunning lighting used throughout the home. Unique and one of a kind pieces from around the globe really give each space personality. Above this chandelier, Segreto gave presence to this vestibule by hand-painting an intricate medallion atop the plastered groin vault ceiling.

The powder bathroom was inspired by the architectural elements found in Roundtop, Texas at Marburger and a few pieces which were converted into one-of-a-kind sconces. Mary Nell also owns a custom lamp and shade shop, so she really has a creative eye. Notice how we hand painted around the sconces to expand the size of them. The marble top is cut  from an unusually thick slab found at Mary Nell's favorite marble source, Sweeney Marble, in Houston. Just beautiful!!!

How inviting is this study?? Although many items in the home were purchased during the renovation, the study decor remained almost intact from their pervious home since it is one of the homeowners' favorite rooms. The tight seating arrangement makes for such a cozy place to visit with friends and family. Mary Nell comments that one of her favorite parts of the room are the appliqued crest pillows created by Marsha Henshaw on the sofa.

In the dining room, the main goal was to make sure there was enough room to house people during large parties and to include enough seating for their 7 children and respective spouses - what a big group!! The fabulous inlaid table came from Carl Akins many years ago, but needed a big of an update, so he came out to add additional leaves, a third pedestal and refinish the entire table. Now that's what I call great customer service! The walls and ceiling maintained the same continuity of the tinted plaster throughout and the baseboards were colored to blend with the plaster. But wait, notice those doors!!

Mary Nell and the homeowners were inspired by the vintage doors they had seen but were not the right scale for the space. No worries - taking elements from many pieces they had seen and coming up with a unique design, they had their own custom doors built. We had a ball finishing them to an age old feel. Here's a picture of the doors in progress, just waiting for the finishing touches!!

 

The hallway that goes to the left of the entranceway leads to a bar, the kitchen and breakfast area!! You can see the dining room on the right.

The den acts as the perfect gathering place. The wood beams and plaster accent the ceiling to bring an established feel to the room. And I just adore the floor lamps!! They were originally two antique columns from Joyce Horn to which Mary Nell had large bases, wiring, and custom shades added. Simply wonderful!!

To the left of the den, large doors lead to the sunroom. With serene-colored plastered walls and beautiful furniture, you truly feel as though you have walked into a spa retreat!

To the right of the den is this fab kitchen I love!! The beam motif is carried in from the rest of the house hinting at a slightly rustic style and creating a great sense of continuity. The custom stove hood from Lonestar Range & Hood is made from aged copper. The finishes Segreto used on the cabinets in this room really make it a feast for the eyes!! We used two different  finishes and a multitude of textures to add interest to the room but also make sure to balance the other strong elements at play here. 

The breakfast room turned out to be the perfect space to display the homeowners' extensive dish collection - they use several sets regularly when they entertain guests! I got to use my favorite Blaygeen color on these cabinets.

From the catering kitchen, you can take this hallway back to the study. Again, we see the wonderfully warm aged oak and beautiful staircase balustrades that really welcome you into the home.

That's all for this week's tour of this wonderful home!! Make sure to read our next post where we will continue our journey through the same home and get a peek into the upstairs and master bedroom. What fun!!

What's New at Segreto Boutique

 

All of the girls at the office are loving this new collection of jewelry we just got in!! The druzy earrings are gorgeous and the vintage tassel necklaces are perfectfor layering!!

Speaking of decadent, we also just received a new shipment of antique textile pillows. These beautiful restored antique embroidered and applique velvet pillows are sure to sell quickly so come by the boutique soon!! 1414 Antoine, M-F 9-5.

I hope everyone has a great week - Till next Monday and part two of our home tour!! 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.

Sunday
Sep222013

The Dress: Where Fashion Meets Art and Home Design

Like a little black dress and a good pair of pumps, fashion and art have always gone hand in hand. From ball gowns to wedding dresses, simple shifts to sundresses, the dress is an iconic piece of clothing that can be found in closets and art alike.

Dresses were made to be both functional and fashionable, although the styles have changed drastically within the last 100 years or so. 

The pictures above show a few fashionistas wearing some of this century's most famous dresses that have inspired art, and been inspired by art - you probably recognize a few!!

One of my all-time favorite dresses is Scarlett O'Hara's green velvet hoop skirt dress in the classic movie, Gone With The Wind. Money was tight for Scarlett during the Civil War, so this famous vixen resorted to using the velvet curtains (complete with tassels!) from her home to create an eye-catching dress. Desperate times call for desperate measures!!

These and other memorable dresses have inspired contemporary fashion and art in a multitude of imaginative ways.

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The dresses adorning the walls of these rooms come from the talented Todd Murphy, an artist well known for his paintings of highly stylized dresses set against dramatic backdrops. The dresses look so realistic, you fell as though you could reach out and touch them!!

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I just love the oversized painting in this room, designed by Lucinda Loya Interiors of Houston - it makes a royal statement!!

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Here are some of my favorite renditions of dresses found in artwork that I have pinned recently on my Pinterest board!!

If you really start to look, you will begin to notice the different interpretations of the dress all around you. More and more I have been seeing dresses framed and literally used as the artwork - such a fun idea to add visual interest to a blank wall!!

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Some creative moms are using their children's baptism dresses or vintage children's gowns to beautify the walls of their nurseries.

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If you're married, your wedding dress is probably the most important dress you've ever worn. Rather than hiding it away in a closet or garment box, why not showcase it on the wall of a walkpin closet or hallway in a Lucite frame?

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At weddings and formal events, you can see the influence the dress has had on decor in elegant chair covers and trimmings. So pretty!!

Segreto has a few artists of our own who have their individual take on "the dress"!!

Recently, one of our clients commissioned Segreto artist, Rachel Schwind, to create replicas of her wedding dress and child's baptism dress to decorate the walls of her home. Rachel carves her designs from plaster and then glazes them to enhance their wonderful texture. Sentimental and one-of-a-kind, these pieces become heirlooms.

Here is another lovely creation by Rachel Schwind. I love the texture her technique creates to bring movement to the piece!! 

This sculpture of a simple yet feminine dress by Segreto artist, Doug Forrester, was created from reclaimed wood with vintage 24 carat gold accents. It really pops off the wall in this Houston home!!

Kiah Denson is another one of our wonderful artists featured in the Segreto Boutique who currently has fashion-inspired artwork here.

I have also found myself moved by th glamour of the dress! Above is a 40" x 30" mixed media canvas I created with an embellished party gown complete with jewels and rhinestones.

For a stylish look in the kitchen, we carry these great linen aprons from Ice Milk Aprons for $72 - they come in oatmeal with a black sash, or cream with an oatmeal sash.

These shabby chic slipcovers from Beadboard Upcountry we carry at the boutique have a light, feminine look to them with beautiful linen skirts reminiscent of dresses.

I hope you enjoyed exploring the inspirations between fashion, design and art!! Visit my Pinterest board to see more fun inspiration. Have a wonderful 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.