There's No Place Like Home

Well, like the old saying goes: there's no place like home. After three wonderful weeks at the beach, we came home today to huge stacks of unopened mail, plants that desperately need to be cut back, a dog with a swollen eye (ouch!), hydrangeas dead from heat stroke, messy clutter left from leaving in a hurry three long weeks ago, a teenaged daughter who announced that she didn't really miss her old mom and dad (sniff), and still, we're glad to be home. I've been missing my stuff: my candles, my books, my antiques, my sheets, my sconces, my style!

I did have a few surprises waiting for me. Gorgeous wallpaper samples from Farrow and Ball. I'm thinking about wallpapering my bedroom in pink damask. What do you think?

The only problem is the pink in the Farrow and Ball sample is much more orange than in the picture. (Hi Sammi Jo, looking busy there!) So, I may have to start my search over again with something more like this:

And also waiting at home for me was this gorgeous huge cigar box full, I mean stuffed full of fabric samples from Raoul Textiles. Eat your heart out, designers! I am SO excited about this package. I have never before seen such gorgeous packaging from a fabric company. This beats Rose Tarlow's sample box by a mile. I was forced to order the Raoul samples because no one displays the fabrics in Houston. But, truly, the samples they sent are huge, so they are worth it. Here's the cigar box:

And while I was at the beach, I placed a few orders with Amazon. So, there were wonderful books waiting for me. Like this: Florence Broadhurst.

But, I'm afraid I won't get it finished in time to discuss it with the blogger's Book of the Month Club. Maybe next time. Also waiting at home was this book, recommended by Bibliostyle. It looks great:

But the crowning glory was this, recommended by Domino's guest designers' this month: The old Vogue's Book of Houses, Gardens and People. It cost a small fortune, but from the looks of it, it may be worth it. Gorgeous Horst photos of people like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Pucci Family, and other long ago socialites. Since the book is tres over priced, I'm willing to let anyone who wants to borrow it to do so. Just let me know and we'll trade addresses. Seriously. It's my gift to bloggers! I am going to try to scan some photos from it later. It looks like this book is a serious example, yet again, of how classic design does not date or go out of style.

Pictures from the chapter on the Pucci Family.

Chapter about Cy Twombly.

Bloggers Make the Best Friends

In case you didn't know, or have been hiding under a rock, I've been on vacation for the past few weeks in South Padre Island, a little bitty island at the tip of Texas right across from the border of Mexico. You can't get any further south and still be in America than here. Being the dutiful blogger, I wrote a few posts about the island and showed off the beach here on Blogger. Imagine my delight (and surprise) when I received an email from a stranger who reads my blog, Cote de Texas, but has never left a comment. Her name is Teri and she told me that she lives in Harlingen, a small city 30 minutes away from South Padre Island, and she, also, has a family bay home on the island. She was flabbergasted to read that I was here visiting. Would we want to meet for a drink or dinner? Now, I don't know about you, but meeting a stranger over the internet is not my idea of a good time, but somehow, knowing that Teri was reading my blog seemed to make it all ok. Well, almost ok. I still hesitated to say "yes."

It's a small world out there people, beware!

I have good friends from Harlingen and, in fact, one of those friends is down here with me now. Her name is Julie and we vacation together every summer in South Padre Island. Julie was born in Harlingen but moved to Dallas when she married. Is it possible, I ask my new blogger friend, does she know Julie? Well...she not only knows Julie, but grew up right next door to her, AND had just been with her at a party on the island last Saturday night (while I spent that night alone!) There were many twists and turns and coincidences to this story, too many to get into here, but suddenly drinks and dinner with a perfect stranger didn't seem dangerous at all, in fact, it sounded fun.

The three new friends at dinner: Julie, MOI, and Teri

So tonight, Julie, my new blogger friend Teri, and I had dinner together and talked about blogging, and decorating, and French design, and furniture, and interior decorating and all those good things that decorating bloggers like to talk about. Julie was a little bored with all the design talk, but she was a trooper! Thanks, Jules! Tonight Teri explained to me how she discovered my blog to begin with. She was reading Absolutely Beautiful Things, a delicious blog from Australia and ABT had my blog, Cote de Texas, listed under favorite reads. Of course the word Texas attracted Teri, being from Texas and all, so she clicked right over to my blog. Little did she know that when she first clicked onto my blog, she would be making a new friend. And so, what is the best part about meeting a new blogger friend, besides promising to get together every summer for dinner down at South Padre Island???? Teri brought me the new Elle Decor AND Veranda magazines !!!!! Yes!!!! You can't get those magazines on the island and I've been DYING to read them. Thank you Teri!!!

S0 Bloggers, have YOU ever met someone in real life who reads your blog? Or have you been too afraid to do so? Tell us YOUR story!

The two new blogger buddies: Moi and Teri

The two old Harlingen buddies: Julie and Teri

Having a great time at dinner ON THE BEACH: Julie, Moi, and Teri

Besides being interesting and adorable and having great taste in magazines, Teri is also very chic. She drove up in her new car, a Mini Cooper. To die for! This has to be the cutest car in all the world:

Even cuter is the dashboard. Check out the speedometer, it's the size of a basketball! Too cute:

Reclaimed Building Materials


I'm currently reading, well, really looking at the pictures in, Building with Reclaimed Materials, published by Beta-Plus, 2007. If you are interested in how you could build a new house and have it look like it is 200 years old, this book is for you. I'm fascinated with that concept because my husband only likes new construction and I prefer old homes. So, using reclaimed materials such as old roof tiles, antique tiles for backsplashes, used flagstones for the floor, to make a new construction house look old is very intriguing.

Ruth Gay thinks the same way. Several years ago she opened a shop in Houston called Chateau Domingue which sells reclaimed building materials from France and Europe. Walk into her cavernous warehouse and you will certainly forget you're in Houston. Ruth herself is a pretty, diminutive mother of three, who is tres chic, of course. Her web site is gorgeous, as is her warehouse, which is filled with all kinds of building materials and antiques. Here are a few images from the web site. Amusez-vous en regardant ces peintures!

Gay sells antique window surrounds and door surrounds. A pair of these on the exterior of your house will age it by 200 years.

Gay also sells an assortment of concrete garden elements, to be used inside or outside as you desire.

Imagine your roof made from reclaimed tiles from France. It sure would stand out on the block.

Here's an antique fountain or animal trough, you decide.

A pair of these on opposite sides of your front door would be wonderful.

An antique shop fixture would make a perfect kitchen cabinet.

Hanging antique lanterns would distinguish any exterior.

How would you like a painted buffet deux corps for a kitchen pantry?

Iron railings would look great on a second story landing.

Original French shutters - leave them this color or paint them khaki.

These sconces are a personal favorite of mine. I'd love them in my dining room.

I wonder how much Gay charges for the blue hydrangeas?

Cote Sud: A House on the French Coast


This charming country French home was purchased by an American man from Colorado. He spent a few years completely renovating it to his specifications. Pictures are courtesy of Cote Sud Magazine. Enjoy!

Covered porch seen at the very left of top picture. The kitchen lies through the French doors.

Typical French "in ground" swimming pool.

Rustic wood table set for lunch under a covered porch. Notice how the napkins are placed under each plate and how each setting has it's own lantern.

Beautiful wood front door. The chandelier in the foyer can just barely be seen.

Antique French chair and ottoman. Notice the beautiful French windows.

Antique desk and chair in front of iron framed French windows.

Large limestone fireplace in living room. Large limestone column holds up the second floor.

Cosy dining room with painted table and chairs. Wood chandelier has matching sconces next to the wood door.

Cavernous kitchen with eat-in breakfast area.

Another view of the large kitchen and breakfast area. The covered porch from the second picture is just outside the draped door.

Charming kitchen foot stool.

Antique black and white marble tiles in front of traditional french oven.

Private porch outside of bedroom suite.

Bedroom with silk curtain canopy.

Close up of upholstered headboard with carved gilt wood frame and tassel.

Large, down pillow waiting for bed.

Bathroom with back to back sink vanities.