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Portrait Perfect

While I was working on a project for one of my clients, we started talking about this amazing portrait artist she had met and wanted to show me his book. At first glance, I thought it was a book of portrait photography, but then I realized artist David Larned ( created some of the most beautiful painted portraits I had ever seen. When the client told me that David will be moving to Houston, I immediately had to find out more information and contacted him!!!

I always enjoy getting to know and share the stories of other people who do what they love, and David Larned is certainly one of those people! Though he always painted, it wasn’t until college that David decided he wanted to make a life out of it. “I realized that art was the only class I was truly passionate about.  From that moment on, I never looked back.”

With his father in the Navy, David was accustomed to moving around the country every couple years as a child.  More geared to military bases than art museums, his family was in foreign territory when it came to their son’s proclivity for painting. “They didn’t know what was happening. Neither did I. But now that [my art career] has worked out, they take credit for it!”

David’s work focuses primarily on portraits, but also enjoys painting landscapes, and still life.  In a realistic, technical style reminiscent of 19th and 20th century European and American realists, his paintings explore what makes people and places so intensely beautiful.

After his first exhibition, he started receiving an overwhelming number of portrait requests and knew that portraiture was something to gravitate towards.

The first step in doing portraits is getting to know his subjects. In order to capture their personality in two-dimensional form, David relies on his intuition more than factual research. “Portrait painters should be able to sense who their subjects are without having to rely on their resume.” 

The exceptional quality is worth the investment. Not only do you get a beautiful work of art, but it becomes a family heirloom to be passed down through the generations.

The process begins with an hour-long photo session since only very rarely does he come across someone who wants to sit for the full 60+ hours.

Back at his studio, David usually works on a couple pieces at a time. Always wanting to be painting something, he’s found that this approach keeps him busy - while one piece is drying, he can turn his attention to the other.

David has had a few unusual requests. He once was commissioned to paint a recognizable portrait of a woman who didn’t want her face to show! Somehow, he found a way to get the back of her head to look just like her!

His favorite projects are the ones where the client lets him do his own thing! “They always get a better product for it!”

One perks of the profession that David never expected is the opportunity to work with an impressive array of celebrities, well-known businessmen and women, and other household names.  Born in New York and most recently based in Chester County outside of Philadelphia, the artist has done portraits for the who’s who of the tristate area…

And he is now getting into the Houston scene as well… As I was browsing through his portfolio, I was surprised to find the portrait of these clients of mine!!! Capturing their personalities, something so tough to do in painting portraits I was even more enchanted with his pieces!

Planning to move from their home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, David, his wife, and their 3 year-old daughter will be relocating to Houston! Though initially for work and adventure, he says, “watching our daughter thrive here has given it a much more meaningful purpose. We think [Houston] is the best place we know to raise our daughter.”  Raising all 3 of my kids here, I couldn’t agree more!!!

David’s wife, Sarah Lamb (, is also an immensely talented artist. With a body of work comprising mostly still life pieces, Sarah has exhibited in solo shows several times at Meredith Long & Company here in Houston, as well as at Spanierman Gallery in NY and John Pence Gallery in San Francisco among othe galleries.   She also does beautiful commission pieces!!!

Big thanks to David for sharing his story with me!  You can find out even more about David on his website (, and if you are interested in commissioning him to do a portrait of you or your loved ones, you can email him at

’Til next week!
xo Leslie


What's New at the Segreto Shop? 

These striking acrylic sconces are one of our favorite new items! We can custom order whichever style you like! 

Colorful bags for Spring! These perfect party purses come with a chain for wearing it long and a wristlet strap. They can also be customized with a monogram for a special gift for a friend or yourself!

It's almost warm enough to hit the beach! These pretty towels and beach bags are lightweight and easy to pack for any summer day! They also double as sarrongs, throws, or wraps!!!

’Til 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.




I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day!! This year my hubby, John, forgot what day Valentine’s day fell on and planned a ski trip! Soooooo….  I went over to a good friend's house that I hadn’t seen in a long time and we had take-out and caught up! It was a lot of fun!


These days you can't pull up Pinterest or a design magazine without coming across tufting. From tufted headboards to benches to whole walls, this timeless style can be adapted to fit in any surrounding. 


Tufting has a long history in the art of upholstery. First developed to secure thickly padded mattresses when quilting was inadequate, artisans began using tufting in upholstered pieces in the 18th century when comfort became a key consideration in furniture.


Designers in Europe began creating more sofas and chairs with backs, cushioning and springs for added comfort in the late 1700s. This was a vast difference from earlier designs, where benches were more popular with the masses and sofas with backs were rare!


In the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution in England made fabrics and furniture manufacturing more readily available and affordable to all, allowing for more affordable upholstered furniture. The popularity was so great that the Victorian era was dubbed by some "the Age of Upholstery." 


The original Chesterfield sofa is one of the most iconic tufted designs from this era. This design has stood the test of time. With the recent rise of popularity for vintage style and sturdy comfortable pieces, the Chesterfield sofa and variations of it have been popping up in many contemporary homes and stores. It was originally a favorite for gentlemen's gathering places, but now can be found in countless different materials and in all kinds of design schemes.


I love all the creative uses of tufting today. The structure of the pattern naturally creates an interesting texture. From tufted walls to tufted headboards to tufted bathtubs, designers have found creative ways to incorporate it into any room.  See some of my favorite examples below!!!!!!

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Paint the tufted look!!.....................

Getting on the tufted bandwagon we have even painted walls that appear tufted! A perfect way to incorporate the look with out the dust. What's your favorite tufted look? To see even more of our favorite tufted pieces, follow me on pinterest .


What's New at the Segreto Shop........

Loving these--they come in all different colors and sizes.  They work like chalk, but have no dust and can be cleaned with Windex.  We have all sorts of chalk papers, labels and gift tags all ready to decorate!!!

Beautiful colors these decorative bowls start at 30$.  Great for adding a pop to any side or coffee table!!!

 This is the softest baby blanket I have ever felt!!  Made from organic muslin or bamboo they get softer the more you wash them!!!  I hope everyone has a nice 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.




Valentines Dinner Party-One Hour and Counting!



Sometimes it's not about the elaborate gifts but just the simple gestures that show someone you care. A special card or handwritten note, a thoughtful dinner at home or even helping out with an unexpected errand are things that take more thought than money! Valentine's Day is all about celebrating love, so whether you spend it with one or many, it's all about showing each other that you care! 

One of my best valentines surprises for my hubby was when I had a scavenger hunt for him! Starting with a note on his car which lead him to his first clue, his day was filled with small surprises which led him to a romantic dinner for two! He loved his day of treats and also loved me ripping up little pieces of paper and putting in his pockets drawers and unexpected places for him to find!


Last year.. I decided to have some of our couple friends over for Valentines dinner! I had planned to leave work early, set a beautiful table, and prepare a special gourmet meal that I had researched and shopped for.

Leaving work late, I had no time to make what I had planned.  I had a just over an hour to set the table, make dinner and get dressed!!!!! Yikes--Costco to the rescue!!!!!! I decided to regroup and make pesto chicken with pasta. Fast, easy to make and tasty!!

For the appetizer I purchased Pita Pals' Texas Caviar Salad, hummus, Santa Barbara Bay's Spinach Parmesan Dip, pita chips, crackers, some healthy veggies and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

If you put the dip into a casserole dish-hopefully one prettier than mine- put fresh parmesan cheese on top, then bake in the oven for about 20 min no one will believe it’s not homemade!!!


Time permitting, these heart shaped cherry tomatoes would be really festive to add to a veggie tray!!!

Garnish and put on a big tray and Voila! an easy spread that everyone seemed to enjoy!!

If you are chardonnay drinkers, this wine was really good!!!  We had red as well!!


This would have been the salad I would have chosen for my guests!!!

For the salad in a pinch, the Grand Parisian in the ready Pac bag gets rave reviews.  I added a few more things that just happen to be in my fridge, mixed it in a beautiful bowl and garnished with parmesan cheese.

I have made my own pesto sauce but honestly The Kirkland brand is really good.  I purchased this, some angel hair pasta and two of their rotisserie chickens!  If you become a fan, the pesto sauce is great over grilled salmon as well!!!

Just a few easy steps! Even my cute husband, John, all dressed in his Valentine's red, pitched in and helped!!  While the pasta was boiling, I cut up the rotisserie chicken into bite size chunks. When done, I mixed the chicken, pesto sauce (add to your liking!) and parmesan cheese together.

I folded the chicken mixture into the drained pasta and gently tossed it together.  Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and the dish is done. Now I'm off to set the table!!

Quick and festive, I ran a paper runner down the table--love these that we carry in our shop from Kitchen Papers (at 50% off right now)!!!  So much easier than a table cloth, it adds interest and then after you use it, you can just throw it away!!!!  We also carry these pretty napkins and placemats by French Laundry. Thank goodness I have the store.  I went through my Christmas wrapping ribbons and found enough ribbon to use as a festive accent on the table.

The girls each got a rose on their plate and the boys got some candy!!!


I would have liked to make a clever desert like the heart in the cupcake!!!  But................ had to make it easy and get the treats from my one stop store!!

These cookies are delish!  I did send John to pick up some cappuccino yogurt from Voss Yogurt in Houston. The cookies heated up and served with ice cream was the perfect ending to the meal. 

We had so much fun at our dinner party for 8. Thank you Costco for coming to my rescue! I hope that you all have a wonderful Valentine’s day!  If you are looking for that special gift please stop by the store--We have fab clocks, ties, and trays for the guys and stunning jewelry, lotions, candles, purses, makeup bags, crystals on acrylic bases and more for that special gal. We also are getting in lots from market!!!!!!!!!!!!  And......our cross bottle collection is a half off this week!!!! Below is a small sampling of what is new!!!





Greyforth cross bottles  and Lollia lotions and perfumes are at 50% off along with many other items in the store!!!  come in early for best selections!!!!

The Back Row Antiques are having their..............................

First Anniversary Celebration

February 11, 2014 10 am – 7 pm

Be their guests at their Customer Appreciation Sale February 11-15 10 am – 5 pm

Save 20% off all items $100 or more! 8570 Katy Freeway, Suite 111, Houston, TX 77024.

I hope everyone has an amazing 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.



An Orange a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

The color orange evokes strong emotions - it is one of the boldest, most active colors on the spectrum. Orange conjures up images of warmth, happiness, energy, and confidence - so it isn't surprising to see how prevalent it is in fashion and design. 


Color psychologists (and it looks like our icon Frank) say that "orange brings spontaneity and a positive outlook on life and is a great color to use during tough economic times, keeping us motivated and helping us to look on the bright side of life. With its enthusiasm for life, the color orange relates to adventure and risk-taking, inspiring physical confidence, competition and independence. Those inspired by orange are always on the go."


Historically, the first use of the name "orange" as a color was in 1512. Before that, people simply referred to the color as yellow-red. Many cultures hail the color as a religious symbol - it is particularly important to the Hindu and Buddhist communities where it symbolizes divinity and illumination. Dating back to Greek and Roman mythology, the God of Wine and Ecstasy is depicted dressed in a vibrant orange.



Orange decor such as lamps, pillows, and rugs are being used as accent pop colors today. Mixed with grays, blues and neutrals, it really seems to brighten a room. In fashion and design, my mom always said buy what you like, because trends change and always come back in fashion. This rug was used in a home around 1960 by Jane Gianarelli Interior Design. The design and color are still so current today!



I love America's new design sweetheart Mary McDonald's fabric line which puts orange at the forefront combining it with grays. They seem to be a fresh twist on an old Gracie inspired design.


Tory Burch is known for her love of vivid colors and bold design - even when it comes to the interior design of her stores. Many of them sport a signature orange color on both the walls and ceilings, encouraging you to shop!! I certainly get a smile on my face when I open one of Tory Burch's tangerine boxes during the gift giving season!! 


Tory  also seems to have jumped on the orange bandwagon in the decor of her apartment in the Pierre Hotel. Designer Daniel Romualdez, who handles the interiors of her stores, also takes the lead in her homes' decor.


I love this high gloss orange ceiling from Elle Decor Magazine. When wanting any kind of high sheen paint on cabinetry, walls, or ceilings, remember the surface has to be absolutely perfect with no dings or imperfections as they will be enhanced by the sheen of the paint! 


This orange and metallic gold wallpaper certainly makes a statement in this room. I think I will try this color combination with a hand painted stencil design. 

 Sources: 1 / 2 

The best part about orange? It has a best friend - the color blue. Blue and orange are complementary colors on the color wheel and as such, both contrast and highlight each other so deliciously. The duo acts as the perfect pair, particularly when working together in home interiors. 

Sources: 1 / 2

An orange a day keeps the doctor away!! It's been suggested that we all find small ways to use orange in our everyday lives as it encourages cheerfulness and optimism. In decor, maybe try a small dose of it like a pillow or pops of art to see how it  brightens your mood.

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

Orange, a visual representation of enthusiasm and passion for life, makes a perfect color for a fashion statement!!  

Here is my daughter Kirby's fav orange outfit. Mixed with this chalcedony ring, the combo certainly is a hit! We got this ring at the The Menagerie in Austin, Texas.  If you are traveling in Austin it is worth the detour!!  Beautiful things wonderful prices.  Let Vicki know Leslie and Kirby sent you!!


I love the pops of orange in this tablescape but beware!!!! The color orange stimulates your appetite. Restaurants use orange in their design schemes in hopes of stimulating hunger, and therefore increasing the dollars spent at their eateries. If you're trying to lose that extra 10 pounds...(or 30 like me) might not want to paint your kitchen orange!!

Whats new in the Boutique for Valentine's Day............So excited to get a new shipment of Jewelry just in time! Below is a new line that we picked up priced from $22-$125, perfect to pick up for that special someone!!!

 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.




To market, to market, to market we go!!!!

Well I was really excited to go back to Dallas market to shop for the store and............ to see the floors that we painted the week before for the oh so lovely Aidan Gray showroom. Taking my right hand gal, Karen we hopped in the car and off we went!!!

The Crescent Hotel had very special rates for those attending market!!  I was thrilled; its walking distance from where my son lives and close to the Dallas Market!!!  Best of all its sooooooooooooo pretty!!!  I love how they hung the bubble vases off the centerpiece in the lobby where cute Karen is standing!!! We dropped off our bags, hopped in a cab and had them drop us off right in front of the Trade Center.  So much faster than looking for parking and walking (although to meet my New Year’s resolutions I should be walking.)

First stop Aidan Gray to see the floors!! It was so fun seeing everything put back together again! They are masters at this!!!  Look at the florals, drapes and their amazing new collection of furnishings, accessories and antique pieces!!

I was met by Randal, the genius behind this wonderful furnishing and accessory company!!! He looks pretty happy to show off all his new items!!!

 The creativity of the displays really took my breath away!!

The mix between chic and old world really comes together in this show room. It allows one to have a collected look incorporating much of what they offer in your home without feeling like you went to one store and bought it all!! 

Pheromone is a new line Aidan Gray is carrying in their showroom. It's a wonderful collection of beautifully framed minerals, shells and butterflies!!  We will be carrying these at Segreto--I fell in love!!!!!

The delish food was catered by Patina Green Home and Market-a wonderful restaurant and shop in McKinney. I have been and eaten there and their food is fresh home grown and AMAZING!!!!  We had lobster pizza for this event! SCRUMPTIOUS!!! 

When you come to the Dallas Showroom say Hello to John! He is a permanent fixture there and is so knowledgeable about the line!!!  You see him with the famous "Aidan" of Aidan Gray -- Randal’s son Aidan--so handsome!!! Derick, shown with Randal on bottom left photo, is one of Randal’s right hand guys who also is in their fabulous store in McKinney!!!  From running stores, overseeing promotions, to traveling to venues or checking the production of the merchandise Derick is a jack of so many talents!!!   Thank you again Randal and the entire Aiden Gray staff for including us in a small way in your move to the 10th floor!!! We had so much fun painting the floors and visiting with you at market!!!!!!


We had a lot more shopping to do--Here is just a sampling of the crazy mix we bought!!!

Beatriz Ball’s pieces are made entirely by hand, one at a time, using the ancient art of sand casting: pouring a premium quality alloy of molten aluminum into sand molds, and then going through four levels of polishing. They have so many beautiful pieces reasonably priced and perfect for wedding gifts!!!!

I can’t wait to use some of these myself and can think of so many uses from notes to gift tags to fun gifts!!! Chalk Ink ® is the highest quality chalk marker on the planet. It works like a paint pen, yet looks like chalk. No dust, no smearing once dry. It comes off with water.  They come in so many colors and we carry the tags and paper and chalk boards as well!!!

Uniquely Fashion Cork!!

We currently carry this line in our store and I was so excited to see and order many of their new designs!!! Uniquely offers high-end and sophisticated cork fashion accessories that are entirely hand-made in Europe. They are truly unique!!! I just had to have those boots!!!

We were enamored with these muslin, bamboo and organic baby blankets, swaddles, bibs and more from Aden + Anais. The open weave and lightweight quality of theses fabrics help reduce the risk of baby overheating, while still providing comfort and warmth. A workhorse fabric, they have the ability to withstand countless washes and become softer—and better—with age.

Soft, bold or graphic these towels are generously sized are super soft and can be used for beach wraps table cloths towels or  throws!!  Love the beach bag totes as well!   When I got back and pulled up their website it was no surprise to me that it was Oprah’s favorite and had been written up in every major publication as the product to watch!!!



Good Work’s Make a Difference has a wonderful selection of wrap and silver bracelets filled with inspirational phrases. This trendsetting company donates 25% of net profits to good causes. We loved not only their designs but their spirit of giving back!!

I can't get enough of monograming!!!!  We will be carrying robes slipper scarves, placemats and more that you can special order in many colors complete with monograming!!!!


We carry beautiful Ashley's jewelry line in our Boutique so it is always fun shopping her new designs.  From vintage pieces reworked to fab new designs, I have a hard time not purchasing them all for myself.  Perfect for Valentine’s Day ladies tell your husbands!!! Congratulations Ashley on your new little one on the way!!!

 Purses purses purses!!  We are now carrying a wide range of leather purses and totes--these are my stingray line!! 

 These people honestly drug me into their booth wanting to do a demo on what a difference thier product made on wrinkles and puffy eyes!!  I must of looked really tired. Well as you can see the treatment was done on my left eye and not my right!!  Seeing Karen literally say OMG what a difference I became a fan!!! OMG! By Instantly Ageless™ is a revolutionary cosmeceutical serum that works within minutes to temporarily reverse the signs of aging. Within minutes lines and wrinkles are greatly diminished and puffy eyes (bags) reduced dramatically. My transformation was nothing short of a miracle. At $64.95 for a 2-3 month supply this product is a bargain!!!! 

Of course I got to see my cute son Matthew and take him out to dinner when I was there!!!! He moved to Dallas about 6 months ago and is beginning to know the ropes around town.  If you missed the blog about his new pad there, go here. Well I think I need another room with all the purchases we made--this is just a small sampling, we also bought candles, decorative unique vases at great price points, and acrylic line of desk ware and the list goes on on on!!!    I hope everyone has a great week!!! Please come by the shop if you are in Houston 1414 Antoine Dr.!  We have much of the store on sale for 50% off, getting ready for our new shipments and also have some wonderful new jewelry at all price points for Valentine's Day!!!  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.