11 August 2009

Small Stylish Houses

 

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A living room in a bungalow that recently sold in Houston.   Can you tell immediately that the person who lives here has style and taste?  Actually she is a young and very gifted interior designer.

 

What DOES make good taste?  Why do some people just “have” it and others, well, just don’t?   Why is it that most people don’t care in the least what their house looks like, while the other few obsess over every item that comes in through their front door?   Why do most people have houses that aren’t designed?  It’s not about money – you don’t have to have a lot of money to have a well decorated house – one that is stylish and put together.  The white slipcover sofa with classic lines from Ikea cost just $349 – some people spend more on a good meal with a few bottles of wine.  

 

 

 image The Opposite:   Another bungalow for sale Houston with good bones – a pretty fireplace, hardwood floors.   Could you do something better on a budget?

 

I love to look at the Houston Real Estate web site.  Finding a house designed by a top designer like Carol Glasser or Pam Pierce is always the object – and when that happens, which is rare, it makes the hunt worthwhile.   And, by the way,  when is someone going to buy Ginger Barber’s house already?  It’s fabulous and affordable – I can’t believe it’s still on the market!  But I digress.      It’s much more fun to look at houses designed by the top four or five designers in Houston than houses not designed by anyone at all, least of which the owner.        Sometimes the ad will say who the house was designed by.   Sometimes you recognize it from a magazine.  Sometimes, you just have a feeling.   But those kind of celebrity sightings are rare and far between.   Mostly, the vast majority of houses on HAR look like those above and below.  Not bad, not ugly, just boring.  After awhile, they all start to look alike.       I know there is love in these houses, and life, and happiness and sadness too – just like any other home – but there surely isn’t any style!  

 

 

imageBeautiful bones in a bungalow for sale:   Moldings and plantation shutters, arches and hardwoods, a wonderful fireplace.   Could you design this better?

 

While it IS great fun to look at all the expensive houses and dream and ooh and ah, I do always seem to be showing you houses that few of us can really afford.   But the secret truth is, nothing gets me more excited than seeing a house which is NOT expensive yet looks like it was designed by a professional!  Nothing is better because it affirms what I fully believe, style is not about money.    So today – I will show you six houses with style – owned by people obviously young and just starting out and working within a budget.   Their houses are small and are moderately priced for the market near town.    It took me two days to find just six houses to show you – and that includes looking at all the houses within the 300k to 500k price range, inside the loop – for sale, or already sold.   I can’t imagine how many houses I actually looked at – hundreds, if not thousands.    Many houses were nice enough – just bland, or it looked like they went to a furniture store and bought up the display.   There was no imagination or attention to detail in the vast majority of the  houses.    Most were clean, neat and organized – though quietly dull.   More amazing is how few houses (in any price range) are actually decorated or styled.   Even fewer have hired an interior designer – how do any of us designers actually get any work????   I think the majority of the   houses I picked are probably owned by a designer and it shows.    What is truly interesting is that all of these six houses I picked to show you have already sold – I couldn’t find one attractively designed house in the price range that hadn’t already sold – maybe that says something about the decor?   A nicely furnished house will sell faster, that is to be sure.    Style is elusive, it certainly isn’t about money or station in life – anyone can have an attractive house, if they so desire.   The problem is most people just don’t desire.    Give them a flat screen TV and a leather recliner and they are happy.     I wish I was like that  - life would be so much easier for me, there’s no doubt of that.   Forever fussing over your house, rearranging the accessories and constantly moving furniture around can be tiring and anxiety producing.    I do wonder who is happier?  Those who live with style or those without? 

 

 

 

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House #1:  This house recently sold in Houston in the high $300,000.   Although it is located about 1/2 mile from the Galleria, a great location to be sure, the neighborhood is not a “preferred” one, it is somewhat isolated and next to a noisy freeway, which probably accounts for the low price tag.       But still, it’s perfect for a newly wed couple or a young couple with small children.      Built in 1957 and only 1500 sq. ft – this house is designed to the max and is one of the prettier designed ones.  

 

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It has great curb appeal  - the landscaping is perfect.   And the siding emphasizes it’s Ranchburger origins – it is charming.

 

 

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It is obvious from the foyer that this house is well designed.   Painted all white with dark hardwoods, the background is a good neutral.  In the foyer, she (and yes, a woman designed this!) has used a nice mirror.  Antique?  Not sure, maybe, it might just be a nice vintage mirror.  The chest is pine, again not an overly expensive piece of furniture, but it’s wonderful!   Notice how the accessories are spare – just a single orchid and a lamp and few votives.  

 

 

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The family room is the only living area in the house.   Instead of furnishing it casually, the owner chose to keep it somewhat dressy – as if it was a living room.   Two sofas, one classic in velvet and one contemporary in twill, share the long narrow space.   A custom cut seagrass rug makes it all look just a little nicer, in my opinion!     The colors throughout the house are constant – white walls, dark hardwoods, seagrass and khaki and taupes with black accents.    Behind the second sofa, it appears there is an armoire and a sofa table that holds the two lamps.    One thing – I would have hung the mirror vertically – I think it lifts the eye upward, making the ceiling appear higher.  

 

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At the front of the room a long French buffet sits under the tv, along with two club chairs and ottoman.   The two club chairs look like they belong to the velvet sofa.   Is it custom?  I’m not sure.      All the seagrass is custom cut which adds to the richness of the look.   A tip:   seagrass is relatively inexpensive, yet you can see how it definitely makes the house look extremely stylish and rich – well worth the effort.

 

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One more view of the room.   It’s possible that the sofa and club chairs were once in one room and the second sofa came from another house which would explain the two different sofas.   The pillows do look like they were custom made, not store bought which makes me think the sofa and chairs were custom also.   While custom upholstery is wonderful, it is usually less expensive to buy retail.     

 

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The dining room table is two pedestals with a glass top and simple chairs surrounding it.   Notice there are no window treatments.   The windows are beautiful – leaving them uncovered makes the house so light and airy.    The expense to cover all these windows would be a small fortune.    Leaving them bare makes a statement almost as strong as having curtains.   A tip – if you can’t afford nice, lined curtains, it’s better to leave the windows uncovered.    Cheap, limp panels really add nothing to a room.  

 

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The kitchen was obviously totally redone.   It looks like the countertops are a creamy travertine or granite.   The appliances look deceptively expensive.  Instead of a fancy range, there is one wall oven and a cook top, married to look like one appliance – which is a great idea.  Hardware is simple and elegant.   And again, accessories are kept to a minimum.   The seagrass is carried through the kitchen which gives it a room-like appearance and dresses it up.  Since this house is so small, it’s a good idea to make the kitchen flow with the rest of the house.   And in such a small house, it is always wise to keep all the paint and elements neutral and alike – it expands the space.  

 

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The master bedroom is simple with the same elements – white walls, hardwoods and seagrass.  The bedding looks like a duvet cover without the filler and there is a tailored dust ruffle.  There isn’t a headboard – another cost saver.   Wood shutters cover the windows in the bedrooms throughout.    More black accents come through in the lamp shades.

 

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The master bath was totally remodeled with a lovely vessel sink and a frameless shower.   The owner added a gilt mirror to further dress up the space.    So beautiful!  I love the ledge here. 

 

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This guest bedroom doubles a study.  Again, same elements – white walls, seagrass, and khaki colors.  

 

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In this room – the lilacs are the only color used in the house!   So pretty!!!!  Again, none of the beds have headboards.  The euro shams acts as a headboard for all the beds – another great cost cutter.    One pretty lamp – and a few classic wood candlesticks are the only accessories.   Tip:   don’t clutter up your space just to fill in and add stuff.  Wait until you have something pretty!!!

 

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Not sure if this bathroom was redone or not.  The soap dishes in the tile look vintage.   Again, an added mirror and here, grass cloth wallpaper gives it a special touch.   Grass cloth can be very cost effective wallpaper.  Darling towel holder.   Again, a wooden candlestick – the designer repeated the same accessories throughout – another great tip, if something looks good – repeat it!

 

 

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Here, you can see how small the house actually is.   The back isn’t landscaped like the front – another cost saver.  Instead, the owner added a few potted plants to soften the patio.     This house is amazing to me.    In a city where almost every decent house near town is now over $500,000 – this house is well below, yet it is as beautiful as any.    Why?      The elements were kept neutral throughout – white walls, dark hardwoods, taupe and khaki fabrics, and seagrass.    Accessories are spare – there is no clutter.   Despite this, the house seems full, not empty or undone.   It is tasteful, every piece was handpicked with deliberation.    And I venture to guess the owner is an interior designer – which helps!!!!  Very, very beautiful – and something to strive for when starting out. 

 

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House #2:   This house was built in 1979 and is almost 2,000 sq. ft.   It sold this year for around $350,000.    It is located in West University.  The drawback is its back yard faces a busy street.   But, at this price, to live in West University in a house this size, it’s a steal.    The outside is beige painted  brick and there is a front courtyard.    I wanted Elisabeth’s newly married tutor to buy this house, but it was already sale pending when she was looking.   What a great starter house as you will see.  

 

 

 

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There is one main living area and a very small study in this house.   The floor is tiled.   You can see immediately that the owners are a young couple with the wife having a eye for trends.  She has ultra trendy feedbag pillows on her soda and notice the hip spot light lamp next to the chair.    The brick on the fireplace was painted to update it.  I like how at the right of the fireplace, all her design magazines are neatly stacked and there is an antique iron folding table there.  The doors were probably sliders but were updated with French ones recently.     The mantlescape is interesting and textural and there is a trend-alert large shell on the hearth.    Notice too the wood stump table next to the chair.     Again, no window treatments – better to do without than to have cheap looking panels!!

 

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Looking the other way – this house is much more casual than the previous one, but it still has a chic look to it.   It’s more hip and trendy, less classic, but still very stylish.     You can tell there is a toddler in the house and all the toys are hidden away in the big basket under the coffee table.    Instead of seagrass, the owner has chosen what looks like might be either sisal or jute, probably from Pottery Barn, as it is not custom cut.   The contemporary cream sofa probably came from PB too – a great place to shop and save money yet still be stylish. 

 

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The house is very textural – with the large pavers and the wooden bench and the round rug, which I adore!   Two slipped chairs maybe from Ballard Designs and one ghost chair circle the chic zinc urn table made bigger with a piece of glass.     The light fixture is not the best, but this couple was probably on a tight budget and probably just made “do” with what came with the house.   Myself, if I couldn’t afford something nicer, I would have replaced it with a capiz fixture from West Elm or just a large paper ball light.   Even an outdoor lantern from Home Depot would have been more effective, imho. 

 

 

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Upstairs, a large black four poster bed is made up with simple, neutral bedding.   Notice the trendy lumbar pillow.  In the sitting area are two simple textured chairs with white cushions.   I would have used tortoise shell blinds from Target here – I think it would have been more effective.    There are two other bedrooms – one is a nursery. 

 

 

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In the bathroom, the owner dressed it up with one oversized urn.   Simple and effective.  

 

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The backyard with the three French doors is so pretty – nicely landscaped.    I think this owner might be an interior designer also.   She is probably still very young and this couple is just starting out.   I wonder where they moved to?      This owner is more trendy and hip than the previous one, but still – they are both full of style!!!

 

 

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House #3:   A charming bungalow, older than both of the first two houses by at least a decade.   It was built in 1949 and is 1470 sq. ft.   This house is “inside the loop” close to downtown in the Upper Kirby District.    Not quite as prestigious as West University, this neighborhood is filled with young families just starting out and elderly people who have lived here their entire lives.    This house sold last year for close to $300,000.  Wonderful curb appeal – the brick is actually the original color.   Just darling!  

 

 

 

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Inside the enclosed front porch, you can tell immediately, someone with style lives here.  Not sure if the floor is painted or if that is floor cloth – either way I’m loving it.  I also like the console with the mirror and the two seagrass chairs.   Adorable!!

 

 

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Custom cut seagrass makes the only living space look larger and more luxe.  Two slipcovered sofas flank the fireplace.   This owner chose to use curtains and to me, I would have paired Target’s tortoise shades with them for more texture.    Also, I would have added panels between each of the front windows.  

 

 

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Facing the other way, you can see a Swedish inspired gray painted chest at the front door.    The furniture probably came from Pottery Barn and the coffee table might have been inherited.    With the seagrass, the house is clean lined and stylish looking. 

 

 

 

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The dining room has a simple skirted table, a great way to get a dining room table without spending a fortune!   The seagrass is carried into this room.  

 

 

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The kitchen has been updated, but not recently – it could use stainless appliances which would update it immediately.   The breakfast room really adds to the spacious feeling in here.

 

 

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This room is an addition to the house – bright and cheery with a contemporary dinette set. 

 

 

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In the master bedroom  - no headboard, and simple bedding.  I like the night tables – skirted with a glass top.   Less is more!     Instead of adding furniture to the room, just to have something in there – the owner chose to keep it simple, a great tip to remember when starting out. 

 

 

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This has to be original – isn’t it wonderful!!!   Notice in the mirror how the shower is arched.    I love how she used a white curtain instead of a blue and white one – keeping it clean lined and simple.  

 

 

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The backyard shows the breakfast room addition and deck.   This house is very simple, two bedrooms, one bath.   It is also very simply furnished.   This couple, probably both working, with a young child, furnished the entire house in white paint, seagrass rugs, and khaki and white fabrics throughout.    Stylish, easy, budget conscious, and nice looking.

 

 

 

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House #4:   An alert reader sent me this listing – thank you!!!   Built in 1935, at 1690 sq ft, this house is the most expensive one yet – it sold for around $450,000.   Also, “inside the loop” outside of River Oaks in Montrose, the curb appeal is again wonderful!  I love that bench on the front porch and the paned front door.   This almost looks like it could be in England.   Charming. 

 

 

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The back yard is professionally landscaped with a sitting ledge and gravel  - very nice.  

 

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All the walls in this house have paint treatments.  I suspect the owner is another interior designer.   This room is very dressy and feminine.  I like how she covered the antique sofa in a soft blue linen.  The fireplace mantel looks like it was replaced.  Very nice.   Notice though, the seagrass is not custom cut!  Ouch.

 

 

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The dining room walls are lightly fauxed.   Very pretty.  I wonder if the owner is an artist?  There seems to be a lot of unframed painted canvases around the house and I wonder if she did the paint treatments on the wall herself?

 

 

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Another view of the dining room – I like the two matching consoles flanking the door.  

 

 

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Here’s the reason why this house is more expensive – the kitchen.   Major appliances!!!!    Shaw sink.  Beautiful casement windows.  Notice how the cabinets are fauxed.  And I love the upper cabinets open with antique copper pots in them.  Very very beautiful!!!!

 

 

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This picture is magazine worthy!    The countertops look like concrete here.   Notice the wood beam above the windows.  

 

 

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Unlike the other houses, this one has an extra living space which is charming with its paneled walls.   Very cute, even though the mirror is hung a bit too high!!  The slipcovers have the double ruffle detailing which is very nice.   I love this room!!!!!

 

 

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Charming bathroom with an antique chest as the vanity.  Again, this bathroom raises the price of the house.   There were no pictures of any of the bedrooms!      This house is very “personally” decorated.   The owner has a very strong, definite, sense of style and it shows.  

 

 

 

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House #5:  Built in 1938, with  1658 sq. ft. this house recently sold for around $575,000 – making it the most expensive one shown today.   The location, on a beautiful street in Southampton – one of Houston’s older and most beautiful neighborhoods, is driving the cost up, along with the fabulous kitchen, two bathrooms and pool.   Again, as with all the houses shown – this one has  great curb appeal – despite the obvious attempts to patch the front lawn.  

 

 

 

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The house is painted in a caramel color throughout which adds a touch a drama.    Here, there are twin white tufted sofas and a black accent shag rug - hints that the owners are a young couple.   The dining room is a real draw through the arched opening.  

 

 

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The dining room is indeed beautiful – with a large oval wood table and a set of antique French chairs in caramel suede.   The chandelier is a real knockout.   I like the swinging French door to the kitchen – it’s a nice, upgraded touch.   I wish there was another picture of the living room – it looks like there is a full length mirror on the side wall. 

 

 

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The kitchen is a real beauty and the main attraction of the house.  The dark color continues in through here.   Notice the dark stained bead board ceiling and beams.   Very pretty!

 

 

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The owners take their food very seriously here.   I’m sure no one is eating cereal and Wendy’s Caesar salads in this house!!

 

 

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The dining room is at the left here.   This white built in is in the breakfast area, a sort of butler’s pantry.   Actually this is a great idea if you don’t have a beautiful, dedicated butler’s pantry like Gina of Willow Decor (here.)    Just add a bank of cabinets to the breakfast area!

 

 

image                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The bedrooms are at the back of these older homes – so it’s hard to get a view of the backyard from the living areas.   Here – is the first glimpse of the beautiful pool.   Again, the same paint color is used throughout which is a great space expander.  Seagrass rug mixed with simple furnishings. 

 

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The master bedroom – the simple monogrammed pillows really pop the bedroom, but with a headboard like this, you don’t need much else!!

 

 

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I love this bathroom – I wonder if the paint choice in the house was taken from this tile, or vice versa?  Very very attractive and different.  This house is more masculine than most of the others we’ve seen too.     

 

 

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The second bathroom – I like the half shower door, it’s very European.   

 

 

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Something most of the other houses don’t have – extra living space plus office space.   Nice.  

 

 

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The windowed wall along the living room and sitting room/office.   This is really a darling house and for the area – it was a good deal.   This truly is one of Houston’s prettier neighborhoods – located right next to Rice University, The Village,  the museums and the best antique stores in town!!!

 

 

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So pretty!!!!

 

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I mean – the basketball goal is actually cemented IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Talk about ruining a good thing!!

 

 

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House #6:    And finally, built in 1939 and at 2500 sq ft, this is the largest house, but I think the sq. footage comes from the garage apartment!  This is on South Boulevard in Southampton arguably the prettiest street in Houston – though this house is about a mile down from  that part of the street where double rows of Live oaks line the boulevard, their branches hanging low over the cement.   Again, darling curb appeal with black awnings, chic dark gray paint and luscious landscaping.  

 

 

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The front living room – trendy with coral, zebra,  damask and mirrored furniture.   Again, there is custom cut seagrass.  

 

 

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The other side with a wonderful chesterfield leather sofa and notice the cheetah skin!  Whoa!    I really want to bring the art work together and down about 9 inches!!!   I like the lamps and the chairs too.   I wish we could see the whole room.  It looks like there is another white sofa that divides the space into two parts – you can just see it at the corner of this picture and the one above!       Very chic.

 

 

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The dining room is an adorable space – a banquette with an antique wine table.    So cute.  You can also seee a baby’s seat at the table.   At first I thought a man had designed this house and was excited to finally have found a male interior designed space, but the baby seat gives it away!!!

 

 

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The kitchen has cute painted wood floors.   I like that island – probably from Ikea. 

 

 

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I really like this back study – with a small sectional probably the apartment size from PB.   Love the pillows and the dark paint which pops the white slips.   The painted wood floor extends back into this room.   Nice plain linen window treatments. 

 

 

 

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Simple white bedding, pretty lamps, seagrass.  Less is more!

 

I hope you have enjoyed looking at houses in a normal price range for once!      What lessons I have taken from this stylish owners are –

 

1.   When you have a smaller house – treat all the rooms the same – same wall color, flooring, window treatments and basic color schemes.  This helps unify the house and make it appear larger I believe.  

 

2.  Stick to neutrals.   Notice there is not much pattern anywhere in these houses.    Everything will be able to move to a new house and be reused.   

 

3.  Basic slipcovered sofas from PB and Ikea are great looking and easy on the pocketbook.  

 

4.  Skirt tables when you don’t have one!   

 

5.  Glass lamps are highly versatile.   They are great to take from house to house and room to room.  

 

6.  Bedding is easy and cheaper when you use whites – just pile on a duvet and lots of pillowcases.  

 

7.  You don’t need a headboard – position several Euro shams against the back wall instead. 

 

8.  Custom cut seagrass makes any room look better – without a doubt.   Additionally, covering worn hardwoods with seagrass is certainly cheaper than restaining the floors!!!!  

 

9.  Fancy kitchens and bathrooms are great, but aren’t necessary for a stylish home.   Add a simple bowl of bright lemons and a fresh coat of paint to the cabinets and save yourself a wad of cash.  

 

10.  Stainless appliances dress up non  nfbf21remodeled kitchens – and don’t go for the best appliances either.    When you move, you’ll leave them anyway.    Stainless looks good enough itself without having to splurge on the fanciest. 

 

11.  If you need an economical countertop, consider matt black or cream formica without seams.    

 

12.   Landscaping is more important in the front yard – curb appeal sets the tone before you even enter the front door!!!  

 

13.   And most important -  less is more when you are starting out.   Don’t  junk up your house with grandmother’s leftovers if you don’t like them.   It’s better to just leave a wall blank than to clutter it with something not stylish.  

 

And most important - it doesn’t take a lot of money to have a stylish house.   It DOES take someone with style though, someone who can edit and think creatively.  If you are reading this – most likely you are exactly that person!!!!     And, if I missed a small stylish house in Houston for sale or recently sold – please let me know!

117 comments:

  1. I love this-- possibly because I can relate to the price range. This is "news I can use" in my own project. Thanks, Joni!

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  2. excellent blog, i relished every word and photo. thank you

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  3. Thank you for this post! I live with my family of 5, soon to be 6 in an 1,100 sf house. I love how these houses were neutral, simple and affordable but visually stimulating at the same time. I will be referencing this post again and again.
    Noelle

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  4. A friend of a friend bought that last house on South Blvd. When I walked in the house my jaw hit the floor, I loved the seagrass and painted wood floors. I complimented the owner and she said 'ug, they'll do for now.' So sad that seagrass and those painted floors arent in my home so they could be loved like they deserve!!!!

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  5. i love this post..i love your knowledge of houston..makes me want to go order seagrass and blinds from target and box up a bunch of the crap i have hanging or sitting around my small house!;; ha!

    Holly

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  6. loved your most recent post. could totally relate to living in a small space (950 sq. ft. to be exact)! so far i've tried to keep it looking simple and stylish. i'll be using some of your pointers. thank you so much!

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  7. Love that kitchen and backyard in photos of House #4! Sitting ledge is beautiful and so functional. Just want to cook one meal with the appliance in that kitchen. I know the food would taste better! Thanks for another entertaining post, Joni.

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  8. I can't believe the instrinsic detail in these homes, the panelling, the windows/doors, the cornices, skirtings. In houses in that price range here in Australia, you just get a box, no cornices and aluminium slider windows. Oh to find 'good bones' here.
    Such an inspiring post, I love how you break everything down. Thank you for taking the time to put it all together and for your wonderful advice. A-M xx

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  9. Very inspiring post, Joni! As a fellow HAR stalker, I recognized most of these darling homes. :)

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  10. I do love small houses. Especially ones from the 30's! Lovely photos,Joni!

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  11. What? You didn't want pix of my small (11.5' wide) house? Hahahaha!

    Excellent as always, m'dear.

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  12. Wow!!!!!! This was an amazing post. Thanks Joni! I feel like I have just read the best magazine. Information that is usable and stylish... The homes were "real"!

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  13. Hi Joni,
    I have often wondered about the very same thing as I often get the question from customers - the one about having a natural talent for style or not.

    Over the years I have come to the conclusion it's basically about needs, which of course also can have many different purposes. For a fact, some people do not care about having a nicely decorated home, they are probably good at other things!

    I guess I could never live in a home without my personal style. I've been told it's good and appreciated, but what really matters is not what others think of my style - there are people wanting a stylish home and not being capable of getting there, in way or the other.

    Sometimes I find it tricky to deal with customers...or what!

    Great post as always, I enjoy following the interior design style on your continent!

    Thanks,
    Ingela

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  14. loved this post, I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. I am in the mist of getting hard wood flooring for my own home and of course that means rugs. But I don't want to cover all my long awaited wood floors! What's a gal to do...

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  15. Terrific post, all of those homes looked really great and inviting...I LOVE that pool on number 5 too-and you are right about the basketball goal..yikes haha...well I hope whomever bought it loves basketball! :0) When I was looking through homes online before buying ours, I saw some real doozies out there. Thanks for the post! I bet you went through millions of houses not just hundreds or thousands haha

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  16. I'm not a designer at all, but I couldn't imagine not to make the best of my living space, and it does not take that much to do that. Great post.

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  17. Another "crazy good" tour of homes and their interiors, Joni! Love the tutorial. Lots of fabulous ideas. I'm still trying to adjust to having gone from nearly 4000sqft down to 1350.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your savvy expertise with us!

    Tina

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  18. Perhaps some people choose to live in smaller, more modest homes despite having the ability to own more?

    I deliberately choose to live small. There are two of us, plus a dog, in a condo that's under 800 square feet. I don't have an office, guest room, basement, or even a garage. I know some people might wonder why I live this way, but I'm very happy living in a compact space. I can spend a little more than some on certain things as a result, but I don't always opt to do so.

    I imagine that those who have homes in desirable areas without much furniture are "house poor" and just don't have the money or desire to spend on things that we covet.

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  19. Joni

    I think it all comes down to the fact that there are two types of people in the world - those whose lives revolve around watching tv and the rest of us. Notice how the rooms lacking pizazz have massive tvs that are the focal point of the whole room? When you sit there every day watching tv - you don't notice anything else in the room!

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  20. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Joni, this was AWESOME! You are the Queen Bee! Honestly, your blog is more like literature, or journalism. You are so, so gifted. And we all know how much time you invest in your writing - it certainly shows and I sing your praises. I have not been posting at all lately - lacking in time and inspiration these days and still trying to get over my Dad. It's hard. But I so enjoy coming to your blog to lift my spirits with your wonderful posts.
    BTW-The question you posed earlier about who is happier? It's those that don't give a crap what their house looks like! I sometimes feel tormented and plagued because of how much I obsess over my home! I think that's also called "Type A" and "anal." ha ha
    Thank you so much for the paint color. You are SO good.

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  21. Oh yea, totally agree with "Megan" above. Those that sit around and watch tv - they don't notice anything else! Duh!

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  22. Serious style, indeed! I second (or third) the notion that these homes MUST have been owned by designers - there's definitely elements that only a person with trade access would have (imho)
    Geez....I miss H-town's lovely neighborhoods!

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  23. I thought you were on vacation!! You never ever ever cease to amaze me with your generosity of time, energy,and information! I am ready for a small house.. I agree... it forces us to be creative.
    I think I saw that Ginger Barber's house is "pending" on the listing. Maybe there is a buyer.... lucky duck!

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  24. They are all just gorgeous. I love how open they feel. So pretty. Hugs, Marty

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  25. So many great tips! Love the photos too, as usual. My favorite was the first house....that kitchen is perfect.

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  26. Great post! I totally agree with being disappointed when looking at other peoples homes, I rarely walk into someone's home and feel impressed or inspired. I live in a 1600 square foot house with my husband, 6 year old daughter, a dog and a cat and I've always said that I would rather live in a small house with style and character than in a huge, bland home.

    Also, I just have to say this..I cannot stand beds with no headboard! I think the bed should be an anchor in the room and beds with no headboard seems flimsy to me..it's a huge pet peeve of mine!

    Thanks for a wonderful post!

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  27. love this post. are we related? ha ha! because i'm the same when it comes to picking things out. i haven't had decent bedding in three years b/c i'm still searching for something pretty and that i love. sure, i could go get a bed in a bag, but it would just be ugh....i was shopping for furniture once and a couple walked in looking at recliners. the woman sat in two and then made her decision? i'm like what? i have to scour internet, stores in my area, heck even drive a few cities over to make sure i have a bigger selection. i think that lady who chose her recliner probably is less stressed than i make myself.

    this is so good. i was taking notes throughout it, then i realized you had tips listed!

    i just bought my first house and it has about 1500 square feet. i get asked things like: what theme are you doing in your kitchen? what color will each room be? i know they think i'm so boring, because 1)i'm not doing a theme. hate them. who wants roosters everywhere? do you see that in traditional home? no. 2)the walls will be neutral as well as the decor....well, maybe some pops of color through the accessories. this "taste" come off as boring. it's so funny how we view good taste.

    i'm linking this to my post on my blog tonight. hope you don't mind, but these things have been on my mind lately.

    sorry to blab so much!
    thanks, elizabeth

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  28. I absolutely loved this post! What a difference good design makes! Tracey xx

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  29. Joni, I absolutely adored this post! I am adding it to my best of '09 list. I love looking at modest homes and seeing how even a small space can be done with style and panache.

    Perhaps I love this post so much because I know the areas where all of these homes are located...kind of makes me miss Houston a bit. It is time for a visit! Is Churrascos still there? I used to love that restaurant.

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  30. Great blog!
    I almost sent this link to you a couple of weeks ago. It's a house on HAR in my area:

    http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=24314209&backButton=Y&Address=13714%20Kingsride%20Lane

    This one went quick! The owner is a realtor, who obviously is good a what she does.

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  31. I really like the first house. I live in a small, cottage style home. Thanks for the tips!

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  32. Unfortunately some of us just don't have the decorator gene, money or no money. While I can see what is right and not so right in houses I can't seem to get it in my own house. I know it comes easy to you but most of us struggle just to pick out a paint color let alone sofas or floor plans. I would give anything to have your talent. Thanks for the tutorial every time you do stuff like this I learn a little (some times alot) more. Someday I may even be able to get furniture placement for my stupid living room. Maybe that could be something you write about, how to buy the right furniture for he space (13x21 with fireplace at end and 2 arced openings and low ceilings) xoxo, MB

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  33. These are absolutely stunning and beautifully decorated! It gives me hope and inspires me to clear out my clutter - I know our house is a gem - but I've let some silly things take over and that needs to end...
    I sooo appreciate you sharing all of these with us! I'd love to have any of them as my own! :) Especially loving the last home - that kitchen...makes my heart pitter patter!

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  34. P.S. Is there a good place that you can recommend I look for seagrass for my own home? Will it work if we have a lot of rain (and not get ruined/stained)? The dog and the kids are constantly tracking in wetness in the wet months (10 out of 12 months of the year).

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  35. Virginia from TexasAugust 11, 2009 at 9:04 PM

    Who needs shelter magazines when we have Cote de Texas? Fantastic. Love your lists - as always, GREAT job.

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  36. I love your blog Joni. My family is rather large, and now we live in a large home, but for years, we lived in teeny tiny homes. My husband was a medical student, resident, etc., and we had very little to spend, but I always sewed drapes, used a painter's dropcloth (tricked out with fabric trim) as an area rug, and bought adorable European "display" toys for my children, so they would look cute strewn about. Even though our neighborhood now has mostly 5,000+ sq. foot homes, some of them are inhabited by those who prefer to spend their time and money on other pursuits. Not me. I have so much affection for our home. It has sheltered me as I've grieved the death of a child, snugged each of our 5 children and their friends, endured the chewing and scratching of our beloved dog and sweet cat, and blessed my husband and I with a refuge from the sometimes brutal realities of life. It has welcomed a baby girl adopted from China, hosted hundreds of friends, endured leaks, oven fires, a few errant rodents, and truly frightening weather episodes. I love it... and I want others to know that. Thank you for your honesty and for your knowledge. It is inspiring.

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  37. Loved this. Loved this. Loved this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  38. What DOES make good taste? Editing, Editing, Editing!

    www.ArchitecturalAntiqueReview.com

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  39. I absolutely love this post. I forwarded it to my daughter who is newly married and in a tiny house. I'm taking some inspiration from the photos myself and my house is bigger than these. I think my favorites are #4 and #5 without a doubt! Love them. Makes me think I should edit, edit, edit.

    Karen
    www.elderberrystreet.blogspot.com

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  40. Great job Joni! I definitely admire your commitment:)

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  41. Joni, what an amazing post and so much fun to read! I loved all the houses and your observant commentary. The first house is my favorite, though I notice several have that same look. It is a universally appealing look, so clean and natural.

    For $500k in Calgary, you get nothing with character. I would love to have any of these homes. In a very nice neighborhood here, where we live, 500k buys you a contractor grade box that you are lucky has some updates. So I would rather live in Houston and have a character home for the same price! Your young families are luckier than they realize. Young families here live in boxes that all look the same built on bald-ass prairie with not a tree in sight. It is brutal.

    WOnderful tours!! I love your American homes in your old American cities. Even if they aren't the too-die-for-homes in the really amazing neighborhoods, they are still better than here!!

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  42. When I check and there isn't a new post from you, it is so depressing! What pressure on YOU! This post made me so happy to see your perspective on homes nearer my means. I also constantly agonizing over my home. I work full time so getting ideas and sources which help me with shortcuts is so exciting. Right now I am on a quest for an affordable slipped chair. I am no decorator but wanting my house to be lovely is a quest for me every day. You truly do an amazing job and thank you for being my go-to blog. Proud to share this town with ya! This one rocked and will be referred to many, many times. Loved the 1st one!

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  43. What a fantastic post! I am saving you onto my blogroll today! This streamlined look is exactly what I'm going for, thanks for taking the the time to put it all together:) ~Becky~

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  44. * WOW, Joni, looks like you've been burning the candle at both ends~~~ How DO you "DO it ALL", pray tell? And sooooo magnificently??? (Oh yeah, I almost forgot, you "don't cook", right? Neither do I, but stilllll....)~ ANYHOOOO, you just AMAAAAZE ME!!!

    I have "been here", just taking my time, slowwwlly READING and LOOKING at everything, for what I think has been QUITE a WHILE now, but it's been such a LOVELY, FUN & INTERESTING read I just wanted it to last!!!

    Sure wish I'd have known all (or at least SOME!) of this when I was a young, pocket-poor, newlywed... Some of the places we lived in would be SOOO FUN to DECORATE TODAY!!!

    As always, I'm truly grateful for ALL you give to us!!! (Again, FAB POSTING!)~

    Warm hugs,
    Linda in AZ *

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  45. Joni - We will be moving into our farmhouse this week and next. My husband is insisting that I get rugs for all the hardwoods and of course I'm happy to oblige. Where do you get custom cut seagrass? I already have white walls and dark stained floors.

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  46. Great post Joni! Living in a small house can be challenging... even when you think you know what you're doing design-wise!

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  47. Great post Joni! Living in a small house can be challenging... even when you think you know what you're doing design-wise!

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  48. You proved the point. It really doesn't take money. Fantastic post as usual.

    Janet

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  49. From an owner of a little McMini: Three cheers for the small house and stylish ones at that! I just love your blog and how your mind works, Joni.
    xo Isa

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  50. Loved this post. I hope you will do it again soon. I have not seen one house in my area with sea grass. It seems to be in so many homes in your area. (LOVED your post on sea grass rugs too.)

    Thanks for taking the time to post so much. You are amazing!

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  51. Thanks everyone!!!! loved all the comments. marybeth = email me! I'm sorry -I just assume everyone that reads this blogs can decorate, I'm so sorry if I offended you. email me!!!!!

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  52. One of my favorite posts to date- it's so relatable!
    Thanks, Joni!

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  53. Oh this post really brought me back to my first house...It was from the 1930's and even looked a bit like one of the homes in the post. It was so fun to decorate and I was so proud of it.

    I like the first two interiors the best but the exteriors of some of the latter homes. Neutrals are definitely best when wanting to sell.

    Thanks for another in depth post!

    My best,
    Tricia

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  54. Joni,
    Loved this post - it is so relevant as I have read that many Baby Boomers are ready to downsize and this post gives great tips. Small does not have to mean cramped or not elegant.

    I just heard a story of a successful couple, empty nesters, who are selling their multi million dollar huge home over looking the ocean to move to a 1200square foot home in the Village so they can walk to their to favorite resturants and be more part of the local community. They said they are done with trying to keep up such large home and they miss a neighborhood and people. Wonderful!! Thanks for mentioning my Pantry!! Great post!
    xx-Gina

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  55. Joni, you didn't offend me. I loved reading every word. Knowing how to decorate and trying to learn how to do it better is why I read your great post. xo, MB

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  56. Fantastic post. I studied each picture and your interpretation. I'm not a designer either, but definitely want my house to look "styled"! Similar to your market, in Atlanta, I am always shocked by these multimillion $ homes with absolutely no style. Perhaps previous poster was right- house poor and no money for furnishings???

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  57. House #5 is definitely my favorite. I love dark colors and the kitchen was fabulous!! I also like how the cabinets in the breakfast room were white and not the same color as the kitchen cabinets. The LARGE dining room chandelier really looked great. I agree with you on the basketball hoop, though. Maybe it can pop in and out? I love snooping in real estate. I agree, nicely decorated homes are a rarity. I see way too many over the top "designer" homes that are just too "store bought" or homes with no thought whatsoever put in to the decor.

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  58. Thank you for your post on my site yesterday! Also, we have a mill here in Griffin, GA that makes seagrass style rugs. Every home here has at least one! I am sitting on one now in my dining room. I think they might be the supplier to Ballard for the basketweave rugs. Check out, www.amermills.com. We have an outlet store, but I think you can order online. These do have the border, but are a very affordable option!

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  59. Wow! I love these houses. You are so right, you don't need money to have style (although, I'm sure a little bit helps!). I think I may copy some of the ideas, and I definitely need to get some seagrass into my house, it looks fantastic.

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  60. hey this is a fabulous post - love that these are not large luxury homes, but they look it! Thanks for taking the time!

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  61. Oh Joni...That was a blast! You did all the foot work! I love stalking real estate...well I think I just love looking at homes...and real estate can let you peep in. Sick, kinda.

    Whatever.

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  62. Wow! What a great post. They are so charming and full of character. I would gravitate towards #4 or #5, but they are all wonderful.

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  63. I read your post religiously, it is my favorite blog. I hardly ever comment, but had to because this post hit home. I am local and have recently purchased a fixer-upper. Even designers can hit a brick wall while trying to design a space for themselves. I find it a lot easier to design when it is not so personal and you can look at problems more objectively. This post reined me in, and helped me re-focus. Thanks a million. Dabney

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  64. Thanks for the fantastic tour of homes! My goodness I can't get over their reasonable price tags! Here in Canada (at least in Canada's Capital City) you would be hard-pressed to find anything compatible unless it was a fixer-uppper.

    Great tips too Joni! -Brenda-

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  65. Whyohwhy don't they build houses like these anymore? Small, sturdy, CHARMING!!! -I love the emphasis on simplicity and art...Every few years my husband and I try to go through the house and donate things so that there will be no clutter, and the next year we are back where we started, sad to say. BUT it is a worthy goal! Also, at my shop we hear from customers every day that they are waiting to buy their bedding until they build their "Dream House". But, we say, just do a simple bed and your bedroom will look pretty ,polished,, and make you happy when you walk through the door.Thank you ,Joni ,case in point!

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  66. First, I have to say what a fabulous post, so very interesting and wonderful comments for each picture. You explain things really well. Then, just because there are large TV's it doesn't mean these people don't care. I think they are married to men who think a large TV is necessary for survival regardless of how it looks. I am crazy about decorating but my husband insists on a big TV with surround sound. I must pick my battles!! So I decorate around it.
    Also, I live in a neighborhood with rather large houses and some are not "decorated" and I know these people and they are not house poor. They just have no taste but think they have taste. Money doesn't but everything! My house is kind of empty but not because of house poor either but because of what Joni said, if you haven't found something you love don't do filler with junk. I am slowly (because I have small children and it difficult) finding things I love and refining my taste.

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  67. Thank you Joni for a great blog! I live in a 1550 sq ft house and I can certainly relate. Those houses are charming and so appealing. Thoroughly enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
    Celia

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  68. Joni, you always come up with some really fun & informative posts. Loved reading your commentary & seeing the pics. What a wonderful collection of stylish homes. And yes, makes me want to throw out 1/2 my stuff too! :)

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  69. Great post! I wish all my Sellers could read this and stage their homes to SELL!!! I preferred homes 2,3 and 4... Although the interior of #1 was very nice, I felt like the inside space did not match the outside elevation of the home...the next three homes felt like the decor belonged in the house if that makes sense. #2 feels the most comfortable to me...I never realized I was so drawn to all the textures... The use of seagrass really is popular in your area! I know you always mention it... but I never realized how crisp and rich it makes a room feel...after seeing it in all these homes, I LOVE IT!!!!!!! we are in such a cold climate in winter..BUT, I think a touch of seagrass somewhere is in order! :)

    Thanks Joni! I love starting my day with you!

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  70. Hi Joni! I left a comment asking about seagrass because I obviously missed your post "Top 10 Design Elements #3." I just finished reading it and it answered my question. We have been really busy finishing up our house so I haven't been able to keep up on all of my blog reading. Thanks!

    Sherry

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  71. We so often see the big grand houses (both in mags and on blogs) that smaller spaces feel left out. Thanks for sharing lessons learned here.

    DAM

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  72. I really loved this post (probably because it is closer to my budget) but it is also so fascinating to see the styles broken down and analyzed - thanks!

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  73. As a fellow 'har-stalker' and resident of West U this is one of my favorite posts of yours Joni. Great info for those of us living in small spaces and with the design bug! I adore your taste.
    Thanks as always. :-)

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  74. Wow, many nice homes here. I sometimes dread looking at listings on our MLS because a good majority of them are dreadful; add to that a picture that is blurry, too dark, etc.

    So, I'm selling my house, maybe I should put the word out that the "famous" interior decorator Kathy Passarette has her house up for sale. ; )

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  75. this is so great, Joni! kind of makes me want to start scouring my local listings for inspiration.

    you're making a good case for custom-cut seagrass. since you posted on it last week, all I see when I look at mine is that it really is too small. and to think, I was totally fine with it two weeks ago! thinking of moving it to a smaller room and saving up for a bigger one. custom-cut will probably have to wait for the next house! at least we have rectangular rooms ...

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  76. Joni- this post is so closed to my heart. I'm currently in the process of moving and will be downsizing to a smaller home. I agree with you that to have well decorated space money and space should not matter. It always comes down to good taste and execution.

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  77. I don't post often, but had to compliment you on this one. There was a lot of great meat here and I appreciate your talents, writing style, and willingness to share. So many bloggers blog about the same pictures over and over but you actually take new material and teach it. Love it! I crave it! Bring it on some more!
    (Btw, I like #4 the best. So tired of bland, colorless homes with no personality. A home should channel its owner--that I can appreciate!)

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  78. Did you sense the first few homes were perhaps staged? Not that that is a bad thing - but I wonder in those small homes where they put their "life"? Dog bowls and wrapping paper and paper clips and fax machine and much loved throws and firewood and BOOKS and magazines and rolls of paper towels and gardening gloves and that extra-pair-of-shoes-you-had-no-business-buying-and vitamins and supplements and hot rollers and outdoor cushions that need to be brought in in Houston and empty vases and ....the accumulations of life?

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  79. Joni I am editing right now. You know I have a tiny place and my condo luckily has a lot of light. I look around and yes you have inspired me. Sometimes another pair of eyes helps a lot!

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  80. ..."who is happier? ...with or without style." Yes, there are times when I obsess about every decorative element. However, overall, home is for welcome, warmth, style, beauty and contentment--what could be more satisfying? This was one of your stellar posts--practical and thought-provoking. Thank you for all the effort and time that goes into your blog. I, like your other readers, get so excited when I see your message in my "In Box." Love, love, love The Skirted Round Table, too!

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  81. Thanks for post so many great affordable rooms! I love that most of them had neutral colors.

    What are your thoughts on ceiling colors in neutral rooms? Should they be significantly lighter than the walls if ceiling height isn't an issue?

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  82. Joni, I can hardly BREATHE I am so excited to see this post! THIS is EXACTLY what I needed to see!!!! Thank you! And thanks for your lessons! LOVED this! I absolutely love to see REAL houses (where one room alone doesn't cost more than my entire house) without the professional lighting and photograpy. I will go back to this again and again and again.

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  83. Joni, these houses were wonderful, if I had to pick I love the first two. Thanks for your wonderful way you tell us everything.... You have a wonderful way with words... I enjoyed this post very much... Julie in HOlland....

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  84. LOVED this post, Joni! :) Thanks so much for showing some houses that are more like what most of us live in! :) I was also excited to read your tips below and find that I'm on the right track with most of what I've planned out so far. Continuous flooring will be waaaaay down the line, but it's on my radar. I had been planning on the same window treatments throughout, but started to second guess myself and wonder if it would be too bland and boring. Thanks for the assurance! I'm planning off-white linen drapes from Overstock with Target bamboo blinds above.

    I feel like your blog has been SO great in helping me hone my "European Eclectic" style. Thank you! Months and months from now, when I finally finish a room, I'll be sure to send you pics!!!

    XO,
    Jacci

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  85. I just found your blog and love it. House voyeurism has been a fetish of mine since childhood. I loved driving with my parents and looking through open windows in the evening and seeing the interior decor. This blog was great - open houses without the effort or awkward social encounters "Just looking, thanks". Anyway, while I do love the interiors, I find interior design 2009 going in a bland direction, too much sisal rug, too much beige. Where are the risks, where is the color? And while it is my stye, why does everyone have the same kitchen? White painted cabinets and marble countertops and stainless appliances. Through in a few "antiques" and orchids and you have a "designer" space. Is this the Texas style? I'm from Boston and we are all over the place with no coherent style, but preppy does take over, which I don't mind either. Really, I'm equal opportunity , just give me some creativity and originality. Everything is looking so similar.

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  86. Joni, loved this blog. Regular houses done with taste and style are so inspiring! Your lessons learned from these houses were terrific guidance. I'd love to see you blog about bathrooms. Are there any lessons learned there, too?

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  87. I loved this entry on your blog. You are really helping so many people here.

    I have a comment on why many houses don't look so great. Many people have a spouse to "contend" with---who has different taste---doesn't want to get rid of old things etc. There are also family hand me downs which have to be kept--people think.

    Would you write an entry addressing issues with spouses, old "good" things that you don't think you can change, hand me downs, etc?

    Thanks Joni. Your blog is my favorite too!

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  88. I think it all comes down to this: did you grow up with a mother/grandmother who cared how the house looked? My grandmother had the big old curtain stretcher for the organdy summer curtains, and in the summer up went the wool rugs and down went the pale green jute or whatever it was - things mattered even if there was not much money - and taste? Well my mother had it in spades, she knew that one very fine antique could give cache to the whole room!

    Suzanne on St. Simons

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  89. Great post, Joni. I live in a small older home and I was able to learn some great lessons here. I enjoy your blog so much. Thank you very much for this one today. It is probably my favorite of all the ones that you have done, and some of them have been over the top fabulous!!! Hugs, ~cindy s~

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  90. I actually don't mind the third image. It can be better, I agree, but the set up is actually fairly decent. Of course, compared to the first image, it is regrettably forgettable.

    Nicolette
    http://www.furnitureanddesignideas.com/

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  91. This was a wonderful post...especially for anyone getting ready to sell. But, there was so much useful info even for those that aren't selling. Loved looking and reading thru this.
    marcie

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  92. Dear Joni,

    You are a Goddess. I love your posts and I, like many of your devoted fans, are sad when the posts are not updated daily. Sad but expectant since we know your dedication to your passion means an absence of post is because you are preparing something truly spectacular. You never disappoint. I was just thinking I would love to see what people do with small spaces and voila you were reading my mind. Please know that we, your devoted fans think so very highly of you.

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  93. Dear Joni,

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!

    Awesome post! I'm sending it out to all my Jewel Box Home readers tonight. Cote de Texas gets so many comments that I can't imagine you remember me, but I live in an 1800 sq. ft. home with two teenage boys, a husband and a Cavalier Spaniel. I started Jewel Box in 2007 when my husband refused to move to a larger home - or add on. After threatening divorce, one of many tactics I tried to get my way - apparently big house envy can lead to temporary insanity - I started Jewel Box.

    Your blog has been my inspiration and the foundation for the Jewel Box Home website and blog. Now I can send Jewel Box readers advice from a true design expert!

    Thanks sooo much for this post! Your rock!

    Genevieve

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  94. Houses 1 and 4 are my choice.....now I've got to get to HOme Depot and buy me some paint to re-do my living room :)

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  95. LOVED this post!

    I also can't comprehend people that don't do anything with their house- you live there for Pete's sake, do something with it!

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  96. Joni
    Absolutely LOVED the post. My favorite is #1 hands down but they all were lovely. It is inspiring for those of us who live in large homes and are thinking of downsizing (even if we can't convince our husbands). My daughter just purchased her first condo in S.F that is absolutely full of style (huge bay windows with wavy glass, decorative plaster molding throughout, beautiful hardwood floors etc.). It is only 1000+ sq ft but feels like much more. I agree with one of the earlier posts, the key is edit, edit, edit. Thanks for another great post!!

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  97. Girl, I just fell in love with you again. This is my secret pasttime on Sundays in Dallas. I love your site and I love this post. Could you please post more like this one? I live in a house that is 912 square feet with a man and two little kids. The advice you gave was GREAT!

    Love you, Ashley.

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  98. Great post. I re-posted it on Twitter and Facebook! I wish all my sellers' houses looked like these...would definitely help for a speedy sale.

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  99. Joni, The houses you posted have great style. After playing around with Rate My Space, I concluded that homeowners with less styled homes DO care about how their houses look, and are making design choices, just like those who obsess over every detail. The comments left on RMS are interesting because so many take inspiration and compliment understyled rooms, while criticizing rooms with linen slipcovers and neutral color schemes. If you love the real estate sites, you may enjoy a few minutes on RMS. Here is a link to get you in the door:

    http://www.roomzaar.com/rate-my-space/OtherSpaces/Reflections--Mirrors-and-Chand/detail.esi?oid=6695740

    I'm looking forward to your next installment of essential design elements. I'm keeping score.

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  100. Joni,
    The most valuable parts of this fantastic blog are your quiet and polite comments about how some of these rooms could have been even BETTER.

    More, please. Give us more!

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  101. Thank you. I can see most of what I am doing wrong. I really appreciate your time, trouble and effort to give us the detail we need to understand it. Blessings, Jan

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  102. Just wanted to say thank you for writing this post and helping me educate my eye! Thank you thank you!

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  103. I love seeing cute old houses that have been lovingly restored and updated. I hope this will inspire someone to buy an old house in need of some TLC and make it beautiful again!

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  104. LOVE LOVE LOVE it Joni. This is a great post. That first house (for 300Kish) was so beautiful. The property, the yard, the furnishings - to die for! And whooohoooo! I'm "trendy" LOL! I just finished an apartment model at one of the apartment complexes my boss manages, and I used a tree stump as a side table, too!

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  105. LOVE LOVE LOVE that you are posting houses that are actually attainable! I think this should be a recurring post! Thank you also for the great list at the end, saving that for our new house. Thank you!

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  106. Oh my gosh, I love this post!

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  107. This is the first time I have commented, I am a regular reader, not a designer, just a homeowner who wants to learn more so that I can better decorate my own home. This post was extremely helpful to me. We are buying a 1930's house 2800 sq ft with lots of character and charm and seeing these houses, has really helped me gain some perspective on my plan. Thank you so much for posting this. I hope you do more of these!

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  108. Joni!

    I enjoyed this so much. Fun tour and lecture. I always learn so much from you and appreciate your take on things.

    I'm taking an extended break from blogging, but I will see you when I return (if not sooner)...

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  109. What a great post! Thank you! You've given me lots of terrific ideas. I'm an art director, but somehow pulling my house together alludes me! What I like about all these places is that they really look tied together, as though the owner had a very defined sense of style.

    This must have taken you a long time, and I gather by the number of comments you've received, everyone is very appreciative of all your efforts!

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  110. Shoot Joni! Almost every time I come to your blog, I want to get rid of all of my pattern and color and go with a neutral decor. This homes were so charming. I am probably one of the few readers of your blog who can't edit and think creatively. I'm coming to your blog to LEARN to be able to do those things. Thanks for the lessons. laurie

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  111. Joni, I love this post! I keep coming back to it. These are beautiful homes. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this post.

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  112. There are some great houses along these lines in Afton Oaks, too. Unfortunately, $700K just isn't quite "affordable" enough for me ;-)

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  113. The running theme for the houses in both of your small home posts is de-clutter and edit. I've just moved my Mother out of her home of 30 years and all I can say is you really don't a lot of stuff. These homes are so peaceful. I think that's why they appeal to so many people especially now.

    I know how long this kind of post takes to put together and I want to thank you so much. You are a very gracious host.

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  114. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Betty

    http://mortgagecalculato-r.com

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  115. Hi! I know this is an older blog, but I am DYING to know what Target’s tortoise shades are. I have searched and searched, but can not find them. :(

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  116. Well, not so sure about affordable! HaHa - Half million dollar homes? I know this is your world and I see your points, but I don't get the sense any real people live in these homes. Where is the personality?

    You do have a talent for teaching, but to me, you always come across so haughty... sorry to say that. I am sure you are very nice in person, and obviously talented. I don't want to debate with anyone else on here. You have a wonderful fan base. I just wanted to say every time I read your blog I feel less than... that is my own experience.

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