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Sunday
Dec152013

Deck the Halls - and the Table, and the Mantel, and the...

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Christmas time is just around the corner and I can't help but feel in the holiday spirit!! All my kids will be together and there is bound to be lots of shopping, decorating and celebrating!! With this collection of seasonally-inspired decor and fashion ideas, it should be easy to find joy all around you this season!!

Home Decor!!!
While I still love all the white and natural color palettes I discussed in last year's Christmas post, this year I seem to be wanting to add a bit of color!!!

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Maybe it's because I keep having visions of this Cartier store all wrapped in red!! Below are a few decorating ideas for my home this season!!!

For the Tree!!

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Holiday Fruit!
I love using fruit in my holiday decor! Sticking with the red theme, pomegranates, berries, and apples fit the bill!!

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Gorgeous Garland!
There are so many different options for garland! I'm a big fan of the real thing whether it's evergreen, bay leaves, magnolia or other items mixed in fresh from your yard!! Garland works beautifully with so many things!! 

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For the Table!

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Rosemary wreath place card holders! Tie together a long sprig of rosemary with a piece of yarn for a touch of rustic loveliness. Then add a piece of paper interlaced into the leaves with the assigned name for that seat. Your place settings will look and smell divine!

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Just for Kids!!!

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Here's an idea that may actually get your children to set the table for you!! Using the picture above as a guide, arrange your plates and silverware to take the shape of a friendly winter snowman. Brightly colored paper napkins can be used to polish off the look as the perfect scarf and top hat. Don't forget to give your snowman some life with gumdrop eyes and a carrot nose!

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Frosty Beverages and Festive Food!! 
With everybody in such close quarters during parties and family get-togethers, having appetizers and drinks on hand is sure to make everyone a little merrier!!  

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Cheese platters are fantastic appetizers to serve at any party. For an extra flourish, layer cubes of cheese and multi-color grapes in the shape of a Christmas tree and garnish with fresh parsley or thyme for a festive look. Don't forget the celery stalk as the tree trunk!!

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With a colorful presentation and plenty of sugar, this cranberry and rosemary white "Christmas" sangria looks as good as it tastes. Come to think of it, this could double as a centerpiece as well!! 

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For this super cute idea, pour a cocktail or non-alcoholic refreshment into large plastic ornaments you can purchase from the craft store!! Helpful tip: Use a funnel to get the beverage in so you don't end up making a sticky mess!

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A classic winter cocktail with a twist: The eggnog martini!! 

Eggnog Martini

  • 2 1-2 oz. Eggnog
  • 1 oz. Van Gogh Vanilla  Vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and dust with freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon. Cheers!!!

Seasonal Fashion!!
I can't help but love the glitz and glamour the Christmas season brings!! There is something so dazzling about sparkles, velvet, and lace, especially when it comes to fashion!! Now if I only had somewhere to wear these green velvet Gucci shoes... 

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Happy holidays from Segreto!! May your home become a little merrier and a little brighter with some of the inspiration shared in this post. 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.

Sunday
Dec082013

A Designer for the Holidays - Regina Gust

I have seen Regina’s work with Regina Gust Designs (formerly Twins Design Christmas) for years when working in homes around the Holidays.  I was fortunate to get to know her personally when we were in the same fab home(see here) together for an Easter deadline. I thought It would be fun to do a spotlight on her Christmas Decor, since for over 20 years, Regina has been decking Houston’s halls with exuberant decorations and in more recent times was featured in the Frontgate catalogue.  Whether she’s using fresh flowers, natural, glitzy or traditional elements, her creations always get the special “Regina” touch that give them a uniquely lush look.

Regina’s key goal in decorating for the Holidays is to bring joy to each client.  And joy she does bring through customizing each home for the holidays using the clients existing décor as inspiration.  

This wouldn’t fit in my living room for sure, but it is really spreading Christmas cheer for the students at Stephen F. Austin College!  That is Regina, pretty as her tree, putting on its finishing touches. This tree absolutely glitters with its silver and gold decorations, fillers(sometimes call picks) and ribbons. Regina says fillers are essential for creating fullness in every design. 

Fillers are branch like pieces that come in all styles that you can add into a base piece of garland or a tree. A good strategy is to add fillers first then ornaments and add the ribbons last.  

You can get so much inspiration from all the different style represented on the trees at Regina's Holiday Boutique! This tree is adorned with natural decorations: pinecones, snowflakes and burlap ribbon. Every tree should have a little bit of sparkle and clear glass balls catch the light perfectly for a subtle shine in this organic look.

Garlands Galore………. One of Regina’s trademarks  is her stunning garlands, all saturated with ornaments, ribbons and accessories, from elegant to whimsical, all her beauties really make you want to jingle all the way!! 

Flock the Halls……………………. Remember the flocked trees?  Well they are coming back. Regina loves using them for an all white look, mixing them with white ornaments, crystals  and ribbons creating a truly elegant statement.  See how she uses flocking in her designs below!!!!

Don’t stop at the tree!!!.......... To elicit holiday spirit throughout your house decorate, chandeliers, sconces and mirrors and more.

 

Outdoor spaces……………Outdoor mantels  and doors need a touch of holiday, too. Makes you want to snuggle up to the outdoor fire or welcome you into the home.

A fearless approach and passion for flair has helped Regina carve out a special niche in the luxury Holiday and event design market. Constantly evolving, her holiday business has expanded to include Halloween, Easter, Valentines and special events. Thanks Regina for sharing your holiday joy with us!!!  
To contact Regina call 713.426.1226 or email regina@reginagust.com. To get inspired and find a special pieces to add to your own Holiday décor, visit Regina Gust Designs Holiday Boutique at 5005 Larkin, open seasonally M-Sat from 10-5

 Along with our unique gifts, art and accessories we are so excited to feature jewelry designer Candice Dickerson at Segreto for our special Holiday shopping event this Thursday. Look forward to seeing you all! Feel free to pass on the invite or bring a friend!  Till then--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
Dec012013

Organize It!

 Most people think of spring time cleaning but because we are starting a home renovation in Jan. I need to de-clutter and organize everything before Christmas descends upon us!! In looking for tips for my own home, I have stumbled on a few faves that I would like to share!!

In the Kitchen!!

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Of course everything Brooke Giannetti, from the blog Velvet & Linen, does is fab! I have gotten to where I like to keep my silverware out - easy access!! Love these converted French candle holders as a silverware caddy!

In our little office kitchen, you can find our silverware living in rustic tin cans that we also sell in the boutique. At around $9 per tin, this is a charming and budget-friendly way to organize your cutlery!! 

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Why is it that the utensil drawers always end up in such disarray? Something as simple as using pretty little baskets and a knife holder can section off much needed drawer space so you can neatly stock all of your serving spoons, knives, and cheese graters in one place!! The Container Store is a great resource for finding small baskets and organizers such as these. If you are starting from scratch I have found a great website Rev-A-Shelf which has pull out baskets, lazy susans, and all sorts of wonderful things to make better use of your cabinetry in your bathrooms, kitchens, utility and craft rooms!  Lowes and Home Depot also carries this line!!

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If you like the idea of using baskets for utensils, try adding larger baskets made for storage as the perfect organizational flourish in a pantry as well!!

At the shop we filled the bottom shelving with baskets like these from Ikea who has amazing prices and put our various items in there - they pull out like drawers and make it so much easier to keep organized in a small kitchen!! 

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For a pantry or small closet, you can remove the shelves and install sliding drawers instead. What a fantastic way to get more from a space!! I, of course, would put a pretty finish on those drawers!!!!

Laundry Rooms!!!

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An inexpensive way to add hanging space to a laundry room or broom closet is to mount a towel rack upside down. Now why didn't I think of this??

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Take it a step further and install multiple towel racks and hang storage baskets from them. Zip ties are great ways to secure your assortment which can be filled with just anything!!! If you're not up for a full do-it-yourself project, Pottery Barn sells the Hannah Basket Wall System which provides the same look and versatile storage starting at $49.

 

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Labeling the baskets, bins, and tins in a laundry room is a great way to stay organized!! Gift tags work well to tie around the weave of baskets while spraying chalk paint in a circle would be a picture-perfect way to decorate and label bins and buckets! You can buy Rustoleum's Specialty Chalkboard Paint from Home Depot which is very easy to apply.

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More sliding drawers! These conveniently hide laundry baskets and can help you sift through your darks, lights, and whites in a snap!!

 

I love this!! Glass jars can make lovely displays out of almost anything including powdered laundry detergent! We carry some wonderful oversized square jars we import from Belgium ($95) that would be perfect for your detergent!

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And of course, you can always utilize an alcove in a wall by hanging curtains that can be drawn closed to disguise anything and add a bit of softness to the room! There are those jars again full of detergent!!!

Bathrooms!!!

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Extra shelf space in your bathroom or even in the small room where the toilet lives can be functional and attractive by employing more of these multipurpose baskets and a few select pieces of decor. Even the toilet paper looks nice!!

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Super versatile PVC pipe comes in extremely handy inside bathroom cabinet doors to store your curling irons, brushes, or even your blow dryer. You can purchase pieces of PVC piping from your local hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowe's, or try looking online - I found some inexpensive options on Ali Baba.

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This open vanity cabinet demonstrates smart ways to tidy up the area under your bathroom sink. By utilizing the insides of the cabinet doors more effectively and adding a multi-level display inside, you can generate a lot of extra space that is visually appealing too! Or try these beautiful three-tier glass jars that we have at the Segreto Boutique for $55 to stack and showcase all of your cotton balls and q-tips!

Wrapping!!!

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Whether for your daughter's hair or for wrapping presents, ribbons and bows somehow always become a tangled mess. With a slotted Tupperware basket and a pair of dowel rods that are smaller than the holes, you can organize spools of ribbon into presentable bins.

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Both of the ideas above are such inventive ways to make use of dead space in a closet or craft room so that all of your holiday and gift wrapping materials are out of the way but still accessible. 

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After that, I'm feeling extremely inspired to get organized!! I am starting redoing my craft room office and will keep you updated on how it goes!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a fabulous week to come!  Remember not many shopping days left for Christmas.  We have some wonderful gifts left for everyone on your list in our boutique.  Thank you Scout guide for including the Segreto Boutique in The Scout Guide’s 2013 National Gift Guide.  Their collection of the best of the best in 2013 gift giving!!

Segreto’s Gallery & Boutique is located at 1414 Antoine(same street as Ikea), 3 houses north of Westview, in a light house with gray trim and a crushed limestone driveway across from St Regis School. There is no Segreto sign. Extra parking in the back! We look forward to catching up with you all.  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.

Sunday
Nov242013

A Day For Thanks!!!

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year not only because it ushers in the cool weather (finally!) and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, but also because it brings one of the best holidays with it: Thanksgiving!!

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Thanksgiving reminds us all of how two diverse peoples, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians, came together to give thanks to each other and hope for a new friendship. Today it’s a special day to give thanks for all that we have been blessed with and for the people who are special to us. I am grateful for my faith, my wonderful family, my amazing staff, my clients, friends and the endless support from all of you which has continued to encourage me to peruse all I am passionate about!!! Many hugs!

Off to Tabletop Decor............

I showed up for a photo-shoot in a home that will be featured in our second book I am working on and the homeowner had such alovely Thanksgiving table set.  This tone on tone setting fit so well with her new décor which we took from dark yellows, greens and reds!! I posted this picture on Facebook and got so many warm wishes for publishing another book and homeowner Susie got over 200 likes on her tablescape!  Many thanks to my Facebook friends!!!

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 White pumpkins always work with any tabletop setting!! By carving out the center of the pumpkin, inserting a glass, and filling it with a colorful floral arrangement, you can create quite the centerpiece.

 

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Martha has a simpler version of white but still just as pretty!! That table runner looks like paper which is so fun for people to doodle about what they are thankful for right on the table and then read what they wrote!!

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For a rustic look, use slices of a tree trunk as plate chargers. I'm also loving the pumpkins and squash carved out and used as bowls. I found a few different options for thickness and size that you can purchase at DIY superstore, Save on Crafts, starting at $10 each!!

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Another twist to this same idea -- simply core some red apples and fill them with tea lights. Beautiful!! 

Place Card Holders...........
...........one of my favorite ways to make a table special! Follow the links below each photo for instructions on how to recreate. These are simple to make and would be a fun family activity for the kids ages big and small!!

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Tastes of Thanksgiving
Whether you are cooking the big meal in your own home or need to bring a dish to a party, you can find an appetizing array of Fall-inspired treats below. The source below each picture gives the instructions on how to make these delectable dishes!!

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Nothing says "Fall" like pumpkins and this Roast Pumpkin Risotto is literally making my mouth water!!

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Thanksgiving would just not be the same without desserts - especially all of the pie!! This Apple Pie with Rosettes is stunning - I absolutely cannot wait to try this one myself! 

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Pumpkin shaped cheese balls mixed with cranberry and goat cheese make perfect Thanksgiving appetizers. 

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If you have any favorite recipes or fun tabletop decor for the Fall or Thanksgiving please do share!! I would love to include them on the blog for next Thanksgiving. Just send me an email with the recipe or pics of your table.  I get as much inspiration from all of you as you feel may get from me! I hope everyone has a blessed day with their loved ones!! Please know that I am so thankful to each and every one of you!!!  If you missed the open house come visit us at our new store 1414 Antoine, 77055, M-F 9-5.  Lots of great holiday gifts for all!!  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.

Sunday
Nov172013

Painting on Tile and More!!!

Since I have painted the backsplash at my home (you can see it here!) and it has held up for over a year, I have felt confident to recommend this as an option to my clients. Here is a kitchen we just completed with tips and step by step instructions!

Moving into this lovely new home, the clients wanted a lighter cleaner look for their kitchen without a major redo!! They replaced the countertops with a light colored concrete and hired us to paint the tile.

We first cleaned all the surfaces very well and then applied the primer shown on the right. After it was completely dry, we painted the product shown on the left tinted to a chosen color atop.

After it was painted a solid color we decided it needed a bit of a glaze to help pull in the various tones of the concrete that one color just couldn't accomplish!! Here are some different samples we were playing with. You will notice too that the center tiles were never grouted. By applying a bit of caulk and then repainting it, the gaps were closed!!!

The texture of the stone was brought out a bit and the kitchen was given a whole new look at a fraction of what it would have cost to replace the tile!! 

Voila!!

Art Installed

This client fell in love with Kirsten McLean's painting from Segreto's gallery to the left but needed a complementary piece to flank the opening and go over the chest. She commissioned us to create a piece especially for her! I love how the contemporary art fits in with her more traditional French pieces!!!

This Christina Graci painting from Segreto's gallery really works perfectly with the beautiful vignette in an entryway in which the plaster was just completed!!

For my own home, I have been shopping for new things for an upcoming remodel! I was successful at Memorial Antiques and Interiors. I don't know where they will go, but I just fell in love with these vintage acrylic chairs from Kathy Flournoy's booth and had to get them!!

I also scored this antique chandelier from Janet Wiebe Antiques for my dining room.

I really loved this one at Joyce Horn Antiques from an old opera house in Paris but it was a tad too big! So sad, but there were two of them so they may still be available!!!!

Right now with the holidays fast approaching I haven't had time to complete my own home. My daughter, Kirby, who graduated from Texas A&M in May went to work for designer Talbot Cooley. Very talented and oh-so-sweet Talbot also has her own jewelry line. With home interiors and jewelry being two of Kirby's passions, it was a perfect fit for her! I have asked them to help me pull my dining room together, among other things, in time for Christmas dinner. Kirby found these rounded French chairs from Judith's Wholesale Antiques. At $100 each, they were a true bargain. I am thinking about mixing them with chairs I currently have. They of course will be painted, slipcovered, and monogrammed!

If you missed our Holiday Christmas event come in anytime M-F, 9-5.  We have lots of great gifts for everyone on your holiday list!!  Segreto is at 1414 Antoine(same street as Ikea), 3 houses north of Westview, in a light house with gray trim across from St Regis School. There is no sign.  Extra parking in the back! We look forward to catching up with you all!

I hope you all have a wonderful 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 the Segreto Blog click here.