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Monday
Mar312014

Picking out my Fixtures at Acero Bella

Well, I am busy shopping for plumbing fixtures for my new master bath makeover!! Located at 8560 Katy Freeway, Acero Bella is super close to my offices!!! They are in the same office warehouse as Back Row Antiques, behind Home Depot.

We first met Chas and designer, Desiree Guillory last summer when they called us to do a few special finishes in the new space including their logo right as you walk in! The name “Acero Bella”, which translates to “ Beautiful Steel” in English, came from one of their neighbors over a breakfast brainstorming session. Love that!!

Their beautiful showroom, which opened summer of 2013, has so many built in displays that make it easy to visualize what a tub sink or shower head would look like in your own space. I don't take baths--don't worry I do shower-- but my husband who is super athletic loves a tub to soak his sore muscles after a tennis game. After talking to them in depth, it seemed that the new rage-- air jets-- wouldn't do the trick, and that he needed an air/ whirlpool combination!!!

We settled on a Jason 635 white undermount tub. I hope he likes it!  I couldn't get that husband of mine to go and shop for it with me!!!!  Anyone else ever have that problem?!  Now off to Faucets!

 There are so many to choose from!!  This is just a few of the many displays. The incredible selection makes the decision so difficult!!  

Even though I tend to lean more traditional, I just fell in love with the contemporary plumbing fixtures.

 Thank goodness Acero Bella centers around customer service! Poor Sarah West, a friend and  consultant who specializes, in selecting fixtures, ligthing, surfaces and architectural elements and Beth, the wonderful Acero Bella specialist, had to watch me go back and forth back and forth. And the winner is?!!!! 

 


A wonderful collection from Newport!!!! This was my splurge! I really liked how the old world feel of unlacquered brass would mix with old stone, mirrors and other elements in my bathroom!  Let's see if I can pull off my antique mixed with modern concept!!

Here is the entire collection I purchased-rain head and all, shown in polished nickel. The silver tones are much more popular in todays design, and also very beautiful!

We are also renovating the two upstairs baths!  Both girls are girly girls so I chose this faucet and shower tub fixture for both of them in polished nickel, their most popular finish.

Going through the showroom it's easy to get distracted!  They carry many appliances including Fhiaba, a line of Italian refrigeration with uniquely customizable temperature zones.  It has an all stainless steel interior and you can change all the drawers and compartments from freezer to refrigeration!  What will they think of next?

 

I also fell in love with  the Italian cooking line, Bertazzoni, shown here in red.  What a statement piece for any kitchen! It's got to be good!  Those Italians really know how to cook!!!

Another Segreto cameo in the showroom- We plastered the hood for their kitchen display on the left!

Now off to sinks!!!

With so many to choose from I felt, I needed to stay simple with the sink design and let the plumbing speak for itself.

With so many to choose from I felt, I needed to stay simple with the sink design and let the plumbing speak for itself. 

Acero Bella carries all types of hardware for doors, baths and cabinets.  Some of their most popular lines are Rocky Mountain, Van Morris and Ashley Morton. Chas says contemporary trends are still the dominating style but recent clients are very open minded to ornate and un-lacquered brass finishes, too. She says it’s easy for clients to get overwhelmed by all of the choices so they have each piece of hardware mounted individually so it’s easier to narrow down selections and choose the "jewelry" for their home. LOVE THESE DISPLAYS!

Chas's vision is to create an environment that is enjoyable for both the customers and the staff. She says “ The construction world is challenging and customer service is a dying art. I wanted to create a nurturing environment for homeowners that allows them to enjoy the process of creating their dream homes.”  I certainly felt that walking in and throughout the process!!! Thank you sweet Sarah and Beth for helping through the process!!!

Acero Bella is located at 8560 Katy Frwy, suite 160. You can find Acero Bella, Segreto Finishes and our other design resource friends in the neighborhood in our new maps! They are complimentary and available at our shop 1414 Antoine Dr or any of the other participating businesses!

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.

 

 

Monday
Mar242014

Ken Newberry - An Architect Extraordinaire

Although I love my home, we've lived here for 27 years, and I really wanted to make some changes to the areas that have been bothering me for years. 

 This room will stay intact but the front elevation and the staircase are two things that I've never liked.  Spurred on by our old galvanized pipes bursting, we decided to revamp our bathrooms and tackle the front elevation and staircase issues.
 

Ken Newberry, the founding principal of Newberry Campa Architects, is an architect whom I have always truly admired!  Working with him on the most amazing projects (see above), I honestly was a bit nervous to approach him about helping out. Here are a few more of the gorgeous homes that we've done together:

Designer: Cathy Chapman

  

Designer: Kara Childress

Seeing him at a job, I took a moment to discuss my small project and see if he'd be interested in taking it on. He said "YES" enthusiastically!!! We started with the interior, and I was simply amazed by the outcome. 

 

We have a narrow entrance and a very large staircase that ends 3 ft from my front door. Ken immediately explained why it's been troubling me all this time... our staircase is backwards or upside-down!  Most of these "Gone with the Wind" staircases are placed in grander entrances so they start smaller at the top and then curve out at the bottom. Ours, however, is the reverse - it starts very large at the top and gets smaller at the base.

 
 
 
Here's the plan. By taking the staircase across and down and widening the entrances to the living room and dining room, Ken visually increases the size of the entrance way. The staircase balustrade forms a wall going into the music room. To downplay the huge ceiling differences between the entrance and the neighboring rooms (which have 9 ft ceilings), he suggested raising and widening  the openings to the living room and dining room. If this isn’t brilliant enough, he also opened up the area behind the music room and turned it into a study, complete with sliding barn doors on rails. This way, you can look straight through this side of the house to a garden he designed beyond the new iron doors.
 

Here is his drawing of the front of my house--They drew me in younger and thinner!!! Told you they were nice!!!

 
Here is the house!!  The exterior is the most drastic of all the changes!!! The front, in my opinion, seemed very tall with a sloping roof line on either side. Please don’t look at the landscaping... we've let it go because of this project. Yikes!!!

The after is just stunning! He took my 60s home and transformed it completely! I told Ken and gang how much I love the architecture of the 1930s and how I wanted an updated slant. When they went over the final plans with me, I teared up... Ken and his team, sweet as they are, thought I didn’t like what they had done, but I LOVED it!!! What a drastic change - turning the home I love because of all the memories held there into a home style I have only dreamt about!!!!!!!! Ken, Will and Gina are all soooooo nice and just incredibly talented!

 
A bit about Ken!

After receiving his bachelors degree in Architecture from the University of Houston, he attended the University of Rome in Florence and Rome, Italy. He's a licensed architect in the states of Texas, Colorado, Florida and Virginia, and he's also a LEED Accredited Professional for New Construction with the US Green Building Council. Recognized for his progressive use of traditional and modern construction materials in both new construction and remodeling projects, Ken's work includes custom residential, commercial, restaurant, and retail projects.


Ken is as nice and generous as he is talented!  As the founding board member of Starfish Kenya, he travels to Kenya and works with his firm to design of all of the buildings and facilities at the House of Hope Orphanages. He also serves on the executive board for the AIDS Foundation Houston, and he's a member of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and the Houston Heights Association. A founding member of the Boys to Men Texas Chapter, Ken has also helped to bring this mentoring program to Texas.

Well, I think everyone is just as enamored with the phenomenal change to my home's front elevation as I am. Ken Newberry and his team at Newberry Campa Architects were not only responsive and creative, but they really took my home, built in the 60s, into the next generation. Nice, down to earth, extremely talented, and just brilliant! I highly recommend them!!!!!!!

The Master Bath Renovation has begun......... see below!!!!


I am taking the renovation in stages, and we're now starting on the bathroom portion of the project, so I'm excited to send you some updates along the way! We are gutting and revamping the master bath and the two upstairs baths!! 

'Til next week!
xo Leslie

Segreto Trunk Show!!!!!! Mark your calenders!!!!

Order custom monogrammed gifts for all your Spring Graduates! Makeup bags, slippers, scarves and more! Open M- F from 9-5 at 1414 Antoine Dr. 

Sunday
Mar162014

My Craft room/ Office is Complete!!!

The first part of my house renovation is complete! We transformed the old Segreto offices (that used to hold 4 of us!) into a craft room for me!

I am loving the new space. There is room for my gift storage, a wrapping station, sewing station, work table, desk and sink area. Now I have lots of great storage space to keep everything neatly out of sight!

This is my sewing station! I loved all of the linen fabrics from Segreto's office space so I used some of the leftover fabric to soften the room. This is one instance that being a hoarder paid off--sometimes it pays to hold onto things!! 

My favorite part of the office is this bulletin board! I wanted to carry the fabric onto the bulletin board so we hand-painted a trompe l'oeil tufted design complete with a painted metal band that appears to be holding it in place over cork!

I store the sewing machine under the skirt and even built in an ironing board from Reva shelf.  The skirt is velcrowed onto the cabinets so it's easy to open and close. The wire basket is from One Kings Lane and the wicker baskets are from Ikea to store thread, needles and leftover fabrics. 

The middle section is an old storage unit from my closet.  I had it built into the space and then installed a rod to hang drapes in front. Lots of storage for gifts and boxes. 

The far left side is my wrapping station.  We used copper pipes to make the rods for the ribbons. The baskets underneath and above are from Ikea and the glass jars are from our store. When the carpenter built the drawer fronts, I really liked the grain of the pine so I decided to stain them, pulling tones from the linen fabric and kept the rest of the built-ins white and unglazed.  I ended up using Benjamin Moore Seed Pearl in a low voc waterborne enamel paint for my trim paint. Oil brand products are on the way out so it’s good to begin making the transition with new projects in your home. 

When you walk in the door, the wall to the right houses a sink, fridge and lots of storage for paints, brushes, and crafty items. The linen boxes, which I felt I really scored with, are from a late night internet shopping venture, half off from One Kings Lane. 

The shelves were already there so we retrofitted them to put in the sink and the cooler.  There was just enough space left over for two pull out compartments, one for cleaning products the other one will be perfect for paints. I really wanted to have stainless counters to mix a little old world with industrial style.  Looking into the cost, I found a stainless steel paint that would give me the look for less. At 100$, painting was the way to go.  This product is used mainly for refrigerator fronts, so I will let you know how it holds up for counters.  The handles from home depot gave me the bit of contemporary I was looking for. 

This is where I work from home! Right now I am super busy writing book 2, so I love having two screens and a quiet place away from Segreto's hustle and bustle! I took the desk from my existing office, a great piece that I found at a second hand store years ago, and painted and built it in to the new layout.  

At the Segreto offices, we refinished and used my old shutters as door fronts to a storage closet and I love the effect! I wanted to use the remainder of them in my home office.  Just the right size, they make perfect storage compartments and house scrapbooking materials, books I would like to read and my printer. They were previously painted white and the new texture and glazes that we applied really give them the age old charm I was looking for!! 

And I can't forget about the floors!!  They were originally stained 12 years ago by Gunnels concrete. I wanted to add a bit of a twist in the new space so we did an allover stencil a top of the existing finish. We used a porch and floor paint from Sherwin Williams that should hold up to heavy traffic or paint spills!!!!  The table, chairs and light fixture were used in my breakfast area and work perfectly here with their new finish!  I hope you enjoyed the craft room renovation!  We have started the update to the rest of our home as well. I can't wait to show you the progress along the way!! Til' next Monday!!  Xo  Leslie

What's New at Segreto...

Gorgeous Beatriz Ball sand cast serviceware. Perfect for gifts and entertaining!

 

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
Mar092014

Brass

From ancient coinage to plumbing to gilded walls, brass has a long and diverse history in design. It's most recently come back into fashion as a versatile accent color and material that complements all from the most traditional to most modern homes. It adds a warmth to an interior space that can't be achieved with the silvers, chromes and nickels that have dominated the metal finishes of the past four decades. 

Elle Decor

Contemporary brass finishes have a wide range from the un-laquered to brushed to shiny. The golden hue adds an elegant touch to any room.  Un-laquered brass develops a lovely patina as it ages, drawing out the warmth and character of each individual piece - especially in items like faucets and handles that see a lot of activity. With a vast number of choices of modern, traditional and organic forms available on the market, it is easy to find brass elements that fit into any style.

Architectural Digest

It also mixes very well with other metal finishes. When choosing a sheen or finish, always consider the room as a whole. Brass makes a big statement, so it's important to be conscious of how it's being used whether it's a large area or a small accent or hardware. 

Acero Bella

I am starting my master bath remodel today and have decided to join the brass bandwagon. These are the faucets that I have selected from Acero Bella.  We did some of the finishes in their beautiful new showroom and I just fell in love! Very contemporary for me so my thought is to mix them with old stones and built in elements! See below our picks for beautiful brass!

Kitchens and Baths

Source

Source

Source

Left top: Source, bottom: Source Unknown, Right top: Source, bottom: Source

Elle Decor  

 

Lighting

Source

Left: Elle Decor, Right: Source

Source

Source

Source

 

Furnishings

 

Veranda

Left: Source, Right top: Source, bottom: Elle Decor

Source

Source

Hope you enjoyed our brass selections!!  Hopefully I can show you my unlaquered brass faucets installed soon!!!!  Till next week!!! XO Leslie

 What's New at Segreto...

Beautiful candles and scent diffusers perfect for gifts or for your own home!

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
Mar022014

Only 262 Miles to Buc-ee's!

A road trip through Texas would not be a road trip without family, friends and a stop at Buc-ees.  If you live in Texas, most of you have discovered this “Bathroom Beacon” on your destination drives.  After stopping and re-fueling both the car and our bellies, we got a little curious about the history of Buc-ees, so for you history buffs:          

Arch “Beaver” Aplin is a Texas entrepreneur and Texas A&M graduate who founded Buc-ee’s.  Alpin and his business partner, Don Wasek, opened their first store in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1982 with a focus on cheap ice cream and clean bathrooms.  It was so successful, they decided to expand, and now have 27 locations around the state.  

If you just stop to get gas and use the potty and leave, you have not EXPERIENCED Buc-ees, so let me give you a few ways to spend your time and money at this Texas phenomenon, to help you to enjoy the whole Buc-ees experience.

Check out the “Historical” marker on your way to the bathroom.  Only in Texas!

Fudge, fudge and more fudge – over a DOZEN kinds!  All made In- House!

In-House Roasted Nuts!  Peanuts, almonds, but the BEST are the roasted cashews!

 Fresh barbeque sandwiches, smoked and sliced right in front of you! The sandwich buns are soft and moist and the chopped beef, lean and so flavorful.  We had ours with onions and pickles, buyer beware….Buc-ees does not skimp on the onions, so be sure your road trip buddies enjoy onions on theirs as well!

How can you choose between a dozen different jerkies??  We bought the Hunter Peppered Beef, the Hill County Bohemian Garlic and since it is the new year and I am aiming at healthy, I bought the Peppered Turkey Jerky.  All were incredibly delicious!  Jerky Is the perfect accompaniment to the road trip, you can chew, talk and drive for hours!  Don’t tell anyone, but I spent $65 on jerky, I think I was in the Buc-ees experience overdrive.

They have stuff in jars….lots of stuff…anything from cherry cobbler to pickled quail eggs, but the best thing in a  jar at Buc-ees is Buc-ees Loco Cheese Dip! It’s really just queso, but try it!  Muy delicioso! Arriba!

 

Are you starting to EXPERIENCE Buc-ees yet?  Let’s keep going…

 

Here are just some other food items to enjoy on your stop:


Kolaches – a DOZEN different kinds, Banana Pudding in a cup, Mini pies (Apple Crumb is the best!)  Beaver Nuggets (toasted corn puffs), Dippin’ Dots ice cream, Cobb Salad,  Wrap sandwiches in every flavor, and don’t leave without the Jalapeno Cheese Bread.  Buy 5 loaves and freeze it.  Pull one out when you are having guests, warm it and tell them it’s homemade!  They’ll never know the difference …..shhhhh…

 

Enough about food, let’s move on to merchandise.  Buc-ees has everything from Feral Hog traps and deer corn to a whole line of jewelry, home accent pieces and clothing.  If you have kids at home, you have seen the Buc-ees logo on everything!

Such a smart marketing ploy to make your logo that cute little beaver!  Look around and you will find “Beaver University” shirts, pajamas, hats, sweatpants and shirts, jackets and more!  My friend, Lisa, who wrote this wonderful post, bought some slippers and a coffee cup for her friend’s birthday.  Both Toni and Lisa bought sweatpants.

Part of Buc-ees success stems from the friendly, helpful local  employees, who smile and greet you and can answer any questions about the establishment. 

 

Don’t leave without getting your photo in front of the 12 foot stuffed beaver, there is also a large one at the front door! Thanks Lisa for giving us your Buc-ees favs!! I certainly had more fun on the trip with you and sweet Toni!!!

I’d love to hear back from some of you on your favorite Buc-ees  items!

                                             Happy Traveling!  Till Next Monday!!  xo,  Leslie

New at Segreto...

Light and airy jewelry, perfect for layering! 

yl

Soft scarves in a rainbow of colors and patterns to fit any style!

 

 

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.