Photoshoot #2


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I had a little excitement at my house a few weeks ago:   a photography crew came and took pictures to put in a national magazine next October.   The editor picked two rooms for their publication:  my family room and  the guest room.  Actually, the choice of rooms was strange to me.  While I do love my family room, it's not really "decorated."  I think my living and dining room would have been better picks.   And my guest room?????   That choice is really beyond me - I like my master bedroom much better!! 

The history of our guest room is a long one, starting when it was used as my daughter's nursery.  At that time, it was wallpapered in an English paper of pink and white dots and it was decorated with a Waverly (remember Waverly?) pink and green chintz and a cotton pink and white ticking.   There was an iron daybed and a dhurrie rug that I liked to pretend was really a high end needlepoint.


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The guest room as it once was, a nursery.


What a dump!    Well, if I could go back 14 years, I would certainly style this mess!!!!  This is definitely the room of a very active  little girl who liked to play with dolls and toys, instead of with boys like today.  Oy!  I even spy a play telephone sitting ready on the side table - a hint of things to come!!   The iron daybed is on the left with its pink and white ticking bedspread.  Covering it was a quilt my mother in law made for my baby.  The window seat's cushion was also in the pink and white ticking and all the pillows and curtains were in the Waverly chintz.  The dhurri, or, faux needlepoint rug, is shown.  Trust me, this room used to be really cute before "the Princess" starting growing up and making a mess of everything.  As it turned out, my daughter grew bored with this room (more hints of things to come) and moved into another bedroom, leaving this room to slowly languish, unused.   In order to get the redecoration of the nursery rolling,   I knew that first, the wallpaper had to go.   So one day, I had my painter remove it and paint the walls a color very similar to Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage.  The iron day bed was given away, as were all the pillows, the ticking, the chintz and the faux needlepoint rug.  My daughter moved on too - to Ikea and West Elm.  A few years ago she redecorated her new room, by herself and with very little help from Mom.  Yes, it was hard for me to relinquish that control, but Elisabeth is willful and very independent.  Here's what her room looks like today:



The Princess' room today.

The bed, bookcase, and tables are from West Elm.  The mirror and desk are from Ikea.  I had the softgoods made for her from what she picked out:  silk purple for the windows and a crushed silk velvet for the duvet.  The walls are a silvery lilac and the ceiling is a deeper purple - both from Pratt and Lambert's faux paint line.  The light fixture is made from trendy capiz shells.   She's been hinting lately that she wants to move back into her old room, which is now the redone guest room.  I am hinting back too, "I don't think so."



The guest room as it was photographed last year for Houston House and Home magazine (read the article here.)


Last year, you may remember, my home was photographed for a Houston magazine:  Houston House and Home. Above is how the guest room looked then.  I was given a very short time to get the empty and mostly junked out room into shape last year.  The bed, an antique french day bed I bought on sale from Maison Maison, was luckily already upholstered in a green silk stripe.  I bought some white linens, curtains and lamps from Restoration Hardware.  The skirted table is Bennison - a nice left over from a client who rejected it.  The zebra was new, bought at Round Top and layered over seagrass.   The day before that shoot last year, I ran out and bought two orange pillows for a color pop from Area.   I thought it looked ok.   Apparently, the national magazine thought so too - they wanted to put it in their own magazine.  After last year's physically tiring and mentally exhausting photo shoot, I swore I would never do it again.  But, somehow, here I was, less than a year later, again welcoming strange photographers into my house.   Of course, nothing is ever easy.   

Exactly one week before the big photoshoot, I received news from the local scout.  She had a list of things the editor wanted changed for the shoot.  Oh?  Really?  The editor and art director  wanted a new window seat cushion (made out of the Bennison fabric, no less!) The zebra rug HAD to go - apparently their readers object to zebra rugs, the suzani on the chair also had to go (suzanis are too bright) and the neon orange pillows must also go to be replaced by other pillows (like what other pillows, I wondered?)  Now understand, I had known this shoot was going to happen for about three months - three months that I could have gotten all these changes done with no problem.  Instead, the editor gave me one week to get the new cushions and pillows made.  Luckily I had  a little fabric in the garage left over from a few jobs, so I didn't have to order the Bennison fabric which never would have arrived in time, never mind how expensive it is.  I called my trusty assistant Monica, from Custom Creations by Monica, and she ran over that night to measure.  In the end, she got the workroom to rush the new window seat cushion, 7 new pillows, a new seat cushion for the wicker chair, and two new cushions for the two child's chairs.   I ran out and bought a new Blanc d'ivoire desk and lamps to take the place of the hideous TV stand in the room.  Monica showed up exactly 6 days later with her bounty, thank God.

When they all arrived. the scout and the photography crew seemed happy with the new changes.  It was a much different shoot than the one done last year.  This time, each photograph took over an hour to complete - the attention to detail was that time consuming.  The crew was uber professional and fun at the same time.  They overtook my small house like an army at headquarters.   It was an interesting learning experience and I am anxious to see the finished product.  I've been told that my family room will be shown in October and the guest room will be in another month's issue.  I'll be sure to share the details as soon as I know them.  As for the changes the editor asked for - I'm happy with most of them and plan to keep them.  In the end, the editor and art director, the scout and the photographer all knew better that me, I guess.

And one last note:   apparently the magazine scouts are always on the look out for homes to nominate for publication.  If you think your house is "photo ready" or could be with a little help, please email me.  I'd love to pass on prospective homes to them!  Don't be shy!



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Here's how the guest room looked for the new photoshoot.     Chelsea Editions check and vine pillows replaced Area's orange ones.  I added the cushion and pillow in the wicker chair.  Zebra rug was pulled out.  Everything is softer, the colors muted - no bright colors or contrasts.


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The mulberry transferware used to be on my entry hall table but now is permanently in the guest room where it looks much better on the Bennison skirted table.


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The new check window seat cushion with new pillows.  The chair and ottoman are from Blanc d' ivoire.  A softer lilac pashmina replaces the bold suzani that the editor asked me to remove.  I like this much better and plan to keep this change.


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I took out the hideous tv stand and added this table from Blanc d' ivoire along with their lamps.   The mirror is from Joyce Horn.  Cushion was made for child sized chair.  


Now, the big question is - should the zebra rug go back in?  I can't decide - so please leave me a comment with your opinion - yes or no!  I'm just not sure I like it in there anymore.  What do you think?  Here are some pictures to help you decide:


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The zebra rug back in the room - yes or no?



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With or Without?


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Sammie Jo loves it, but I'm not so sure - what do you think?  Too much?


There were lots of changes in the family room too - I'll show you those in a few days.  Remember - email me if you think you have a house worthy of a magazine shoot.  Seriously!

Vieux Interiors




Hidden away near the Heights in Houston is one of the more delightful and beautiful antique stores around:  Vieux Interiors.   Open for just a few years, Vieux is the brainchild of Benton Lackey and Marty Bratton.  Lackey has long been a fixture on the Houston antiques scene, though he usually prefers to be behind the scenes.  Called by some "a creative genius," Lackey has an uncanny sense of color and texture, which he combines with his love for antiques and design.  After a long stint on his own and more recently at AREA, Lackey teamed up with Bratton to open Vieux Interiors.  Bratton brings along his keen business mind to their endeavor.  Their secret weapon, besides the inventory, is DeWayne Formby.  DeWayne, of course, is the former salesman extraordinaire from Carl Moore Antiques.  Carl and Bert Melnick hired DeWayne, freshly armed with a degree in Interior Design, straight out of college.  Ever loyal, DeWayne stayed with Moore and Melnick for 17 years until they sold their shop.  After spending time as an independent designer, DeWayne was lured back into sales by Lackey who hired him to run his new venture - and who can blame him?  If there is a more personable, friendly, and sweet, yes - sweet! antiques man in the business, I haven't met him.   DeWayne always has a kind word to say,  a friendly laugh, or  a poignant story to share.   With DeWayne at the front door, Vieux Interiors, is assured to remain accessible, a place to go to learn something new about antiques, or just to gaze at the eye candy - without being hassled or pushed.  The consummate gentleman, DeWayne is thrilled to be back in the antiques business, ready to help all his clients, old and new alike.  

Vieux Interiors is a little hard to find, so get instructions before you head out.   Close to the Heights and the Memorial Park area -  stop in and be sure to tell DeWayne HI for me, if you go!!!


The delightful and ever helpful, DeWayne Formby. 



Ah yes, what a Vieux!  Let's see, I'll take that French sofa with the serpentine back, the urn right next to it, the French wing chair behind it.........and on and on!!!  Now, this is what an antique store should look like!



Nice pair of French arm chairs.   I spy a great wine tasting table on the far right.   And the oriental folding screen in the back looks pretty amazing.



Two major trend alerts:  Concrete garden statuary for inside the home and water gilded candlesticks from an ancient Catholic church somewhere in France, I'm sure.



French cane side chairs and a Murano glass chandelier.



Great urn lamps with paper shades.   I wish you could see the entire painted chest they sit on, it looks really interesting, doesn't it?



I adore these chairs!  And the shutters hanging on the wall, and the crystal chandelier, and the tall wing back chair.  And.....



Antique doors, gold ballroom chairs, and a great pair of candelabra lamps.



Mixed in with all the antiques is a great selection of modern art, as seen here.



But I prefer the antiques, like this massive French armoire, don't you?



Major trend alert II:  Coral!  More modern art -  I really like this piece of art, it's colors are subtle and would look  good in a Belgian interior.



My favorite!  An antique iron French daybed.  I love this!!!  Dewayne, what's my price on this?



The inventory never ends.  Every picture is just amazing, isn't it?  Here, an antique armchair awaits upholstery or, in my case, a great slipcover!  



Another French daybed with silk pillows.  The cabinet looks interesting - I love how it's filled with prints instead of knick-knacks.



New accessories:  glass canisters and blue opaline bowls atop an industrial type table.



OK, I'm in love!!!!   With everything in this picture!



Wait, more?  Beautiful painted French chaise and stool.



And finally, more from their new collection of blue opaline glass, along with a religious statue. 


If you go, Vieux Interiors is open Monday through Saturday - though closing time on Saturday is at 3:00 pm.   Call DeWayne at 713-868-5844.  Map to Vieux Interiors is below:



Conservatories, Orangeries, and Poolhouses





This beautiful image of a poolhouse was recently featured on a couple of different blogs.  Isn't it just gorgeous?  The building is technically a conservatory, which is  a structure made of glass and wood or metal.  Conservatories were first popular with the English at the start of the 19th century.  Although originally used for greenhouses, as their popularity grew, so did their functions.  Social settings for teas heralded the change from the purely horticulture to the residential.  Today, conservatories serve as extra sunrooms for the upperclass, as the price for one of these structures can cost upwards of $50,000.   Still more popular overseas, America is slowly warming up to these wonderfully versatile glass structures.

Another structure that is very similar to the conservatory is the orangery.  First used to grow citrus fruits, the orangery is now virtually identical to the conservatory except for one feature:  whereas the conservatory is made out of  metal or wood and glass, the orangery is made out of brick and glass.   In America, most companies don't distinguish between an orangery and a conservatory, rather they use the two terms interchangeably.

These glass structures can be contemporary in design, but most are either Victorian or Edwardian.  There are some that are Georgian, but since that style predates the beginnings of the conservatory, the Georgian styled structures are purely interpretive.  Because the structure is mainly glass, where it is placed on the property is important depending upon the climate.  For instance, a home located where there is a hot southern sun would place the conservatory facing north.  Whereas in a cool, northern locale, it would be positioned facing either west or south.   This proper placement is essential for comfort while inside the structure.  Today, mostly, the conservatories are used as either casual dining rooms or family rooms.   And, since there is a certain romance attached to these structures, they make perfect rooms to use at night with candlelight.  



A typical conservatory in the English countryside.  Attached to the main house, this conservatory is used for casual dining.


A beautiful Victorian styled conservatory.


This conservatory has a distinctive lantern, or skylight.


The inside of the above conservatory:  a combination living and dining room.


Conservatories are beautiful when lit at night by candlelight.


The interior of the candle lit conservatory above.


This structure is technically an orangery, built with brick and glass.


The orangery's interior.  There's no citrus fruit growing in here!   I love the black slate floor and the two lanterns hanging from the skylight.


A romantic, country conservatory.


This beautiful conservatory adjoins a large terrace made of the same stone as the house.


The above conservatory's interior.  Dressier than most, it is still bright and cheery.


This conservatory is used for a casual eating area.  The charming hanging shelf with it's white plates almost upstages the glass structure.


This conservatory with it's brick floors is interior designer's Bunny Williams dining room in the country.  Made famous in her book "An Affair with a House" the arched french doors were bought by Ms. Williams  and wee used as the foundation of this garden room.


A second story Georgian styled addition to a city town house.


A fabulous roof with an even more fabulous interior.  I love the decor here!


A fireplace keeps this garden styled conservatory warm in the winter months. 


A beautiful orangery that blends in with the main house.


This conservatory opens to the patio which increases the living space.


The casual interior of the conservatory above.


This glorious garden structure appears to be floating in the water.



A conservatory found in the country - beautiful facade.


This townhouse shows a typical placement for an inner city structure:  attached to the back.


The elegant interior of the city townhouse above.


This structure, though attached to the main house, almost appears freestanding.


In order to combat harsh sunrays, many conservatories come equipped with ceiling shades, such as these.


A charming, countryside orangery.


Beautiful tin roof on this conservatory gives it it's folly-like appearance.


If space or budget is a concern, you can always add just a lantern to a room's ceiling.  A fancy skylight, the lanterns are wonderful for dark, interior rooms.  


These clients provided the antique doors for their orangery.



This diminutive orangery acts a bridge between the main house and an addition.


The garden room interior of a structure.


A fancy pool house with a conservatory facade.


An Anglo-Indian inspired interior, ready for the hot sun with it's drawn ceiling shades.


Many  conservatories are furnished with large, elaborate lighting fixtures, such as this one.


A large crystal chandalier for this conservatory.


The stone on this orangery matches the main house, making it seem less of an addition.


Again, matching stone lends an air of permanence to this structure.  At dusk, this looks particularly inviting.


Casual, garden room interior.  The stone fireplace becomes the focal point.


Dining room in the country.



Absolutely beautiful!!!

Sound of Music, the story of the Trapp family - holiday in Salzburg, Austria, bed and breakfast, guesthouse, hotel Sallerhof

Perhaps the most well known conservatory played an integral part in one of the most famous movies ever:  The Sound of Music.  Remember the scene where the oldest daughter is dancing with her boyfriend?  And later, Maria and the Captain share a dance too.  The small, round conservatory is still standing and is a huge visitor's stop in Austria.


The actual Sound of Music conservatory.  On a college tour of Europe, I actually saw this too!