11 December 2009

La Quinta

 

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“La Quinta” – the proper name of the California Dream House #1.

 

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The California Dream House #1 sparked some reader interest.  One commenter hinted this house was owned by a celebrity.  Another said Diandra Douglas owned it.   One eagle eyed reader from Houston emailed me also saying this was Diandra Douglas’ house – the one she lived in before and after her marriage to actor Michael Douglas.  “Oh no, it’s not” I quickly emailed her back.  “I’ve seen those pictures – it DOES look similar but it’s not hers.”  Talk about being a big-mouthed know-it-all (which is exactly why I started a blog, I suppose.)    But it nagged at me.   Was it really hers?   Earlier this year, author and blogger Diane Dorrans Saeks came out with her latest book “Santa Barbara Living” – which featured La Quinta.    I hadn’t looked at the book in months - perhaps I needed to?    In my defense I will say this – the previous pictures I had seen of La Quinta featured rooms that looked different and much smaller, too.  But comparing the photos from the Saeks book and a newly found real estate brochure – I must admit, I was wrong.   My dream house and La Quinta are, of course, one and the same.

 

 

imageFeatured a decade ago in the French Architectural Digest – Diandra and Michael Douglas during happier times at La  Quinta.

 

 

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The massive double doors that lead into the Montecito house.    Though I wrote these doors were probably original to the house – they aren’t.     Diandra replaced those with these antique Castilian carriage doors.   

 

 

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I originally wrote:

The main living room was a surprise.   It actually looks like it was decorated by someone young for someone young.    Most houses in this price range are furnished rather theme-like and matronly, either heavily Tuscan-inspired with lots of chenille or sappy French with frothy silks and brocades.   This house looks like it was designed by someone who might occasionally look at a trendy magazine or two.   And it looks extremely livable, warm and inviting.   Though very large – I can imagine watching TV in here after dinner with Mr. Slipper Socks Man.  This room is not dressy, it is relaxed and comfortable – perfect for a young family with lots of children.  Do you have any idea what a house like this might cost?

Knowing now that the house belongs to Douglas, a woman of impeccable taste, I laugh at my words “decorated by someone young for someone young.”   Well,  Douglas is close to my age, but she has no young children – only a grown son.    Also, the house and this room in particular was decorated differently at first.   The decor was somewhat dressier with silk covered sofas – until Douglas decided to bring in the white slipcovers and take it all down a notch.   Architectural Digest’s Top 100 Interior Designers,  the noted  antiquarian Craig Wright, helped Diandra with the decorating – but he only helped.   The vision was Diandra’s.   La Quinta was the first house that Diandra and Michael saw in Montecito and the put in their bid for it immediately.  They spent two years refurbishing it all – only the living room and dining room remained structurally the same.     Wright, owner of Quatrain, recently sold his possessions at a Sotheby’s auction and a large portion of the sale included pieces owned by Diandra.  Perhaps they were from other decorating schemes at La Quinta?  

 

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This photograph comes from Saeks book.  The sofa, on the right wall, sits underneath a gorgeous 18th century tapestry.   Though I had this image saved in my files,  I didn’t realize this was the same house -  I had always thought the rooms pictured in Santa Barbara Living were much smaller.  This table is seen in the photograph from the real estate brochure.  Notice how wonderful the pillows pick up the colors in the tapestry – Diandra does have fabulous taste and style.   I love the accessorizing on the tabletop.      And this also shows how much more beautiful professionally shot photographs are!    These photos seen in Santa Barbara Living were taken by Lisa Romerein. 

 

 

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Another picture from Saeks book of the same living room.   Do  you see why I thought the room was smaller?   Notice that the window is not black.  Also notice the seagrass in the book’s photographs are the typical weave.  Today, this rug has been replaced with a diamond patterned seagrass with a dark, wide border.   The ottoman is also different here – it looks like it has been replaced today with Oly Studio’s zebra ottoman.   Gorgeous andirons – just gorgeous!

 

 

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The Houston reader who first alerted me to the origins of this house once lived in France and had saved the story of “La Quinta” from the French Architectural Digest.   Quite organized, the Houston reader neatly places her clippings in plastic sleeves that go into a large binder, hence the page holes in these pictures.   This story was published about a decade ago – and notice what a huge difference the decorating is here compared to today.   This is the living room – notice the windows are painted white here.  The floor is covered with several small striped dhurries and much blue and white porcelain is placed about.  The mantel is missing, today there is a large antique limestone mantel here.  The furniture is also totally different.  No pieces here are seen today.    On the left is the 18th century tapestry that is still used in the living room.  In the mirror you can just barely see a large oriental screen along the right wall.    Diandra says that when she first moved in, the decor was very dressy with lots of silks and she has since made the house more casual.  This room might not be the original decor – it doesn’t seem too dressy, but it may be.   I must say I love the decor here and as it is today.  Do you have a preference?  I actually like them both!

 

 

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In the dining room – I didn’t care for the chair fabric or the chandelier.  But of course, it’s another story when I see the professional pictures!           

 

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In this beautiful photograph from Saeks book, the chairs wear white slips, which I prefer, and the red tole chandelier from Quatrain is simply stunning.  The red chandelier ties in with the red curtains – and makes more sense.  You can just make out a damask like pattern in the fabric.   In this photograph, you can also make out the relief seen above the fireplace.   An oriental rug is underfoot as opposed to the seagrass.   Again, this tight shot of the room makes it seem much smaller than it truly is.  This room looks nothing like the real estate photo, another reason I missed the fact that this was La Quinta.  

 

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And, a decade before – a dhurrie rug covers the table, while gilt Venetian chairs surround it.  The chairs, here with a peach silk fabric, are the same ones, now wearing a raisin colored silk velvet fabric, that are seen in the living room and in the gallery adjoining this room.   There is no rug underneath and the beautiful floor is prominent here.    A long gone santos takes the place of the relief.   Of the three versions of this room – which do you prefer?   I think I like this and the white slipcovered chair versions best!

     

 

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The gallery off the dining room.  Here you can see the chairs that once sat around the dining room table.  

                     

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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 The only photograph of the kitchen comes from the real estate brochure.  The butlers pantry with its original wooden countertops is through the door along with the back staircase.  This all leads to a guest apartment – with its own kitchen – that adjoins the two staff bedrooms – making a total of seven bedrooms in the house. 

 

 

 

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The library – as it looks today.   The beautiful mirror above the fireplace shows up in another room in the Architectural Digest pictures. 

 

 

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The library – a decade ago!   Here you can see the beautiful tiled floor.  I’m not sure if this is the original floor or if this is what Diandra replaced – either way, its fabulous.  The desk is still in use in today’s library, but the tapestry chairs are long gone, as is the ornate stool.  The scalloped awning is no longer in use, nor are the curtains – notice the puddle, so 90s!!!!!    And finally – the window has been replaced with French doors that open.  Here is appears it was a plate glass.    Not sure which version I prefer, maybe a bit of both.

 

 

 

imageThe master bedroom as it is today.  Light and bright with pretty blinds.  There is a large entry hall to the master suite, along with a sitting room and two bathrooms – his and hers. 

 

 

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A decade earlier, the master bedroom is visually linked to the decor of the rest of the house with its browns, golds, and persimmons.  The beautiful Spanish baroque mirror – now in the library - looks so wonderful here – above a great antique gateleg table that is no longer around.  Notice the legs on the gateleg.   The bed is a marquetry Dutch colonial and the cane chaise longue is 19th century English.    Wow – I love this older version of the master bedroom!   The bed looks so fabulous!

 

 

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The guest room - off the large balcony– as it is today. 

 

 

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The beautiful picture of the guest room from the Diane Dorrans Saeks book.  Here you can see this room adjoins another guest room, an interesting arrangement.

 

 

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The guest bathroom – all the Portuguese tile is original to the house. 

 

 

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And again from the Saeks book.  Even the lamp and bottom painting had to be changed.   Nothing seems to stay the same for long around La Quinta.  But, in the real estate picture of the bathroom above – you can see that they moved the painting from above the chest to be reflected in the mirror – this is called photostyling.   Which picture of the bathroom do you think is better stylistically – this one or the other?   

 

 

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The beautiful loggia.

 

 

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The view of the pool and ocean from the loggia. 

 

 

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The pool and the ivy covered guesthouse.   Behind the guesthouse is the tennis court. 

 

 

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A decade ago – the guest house was furnished with a large painting of the Dutch Indies and a collection of Mexican furniture.   I wonder what it looks like today?

 

 

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The steps leading from the swimming pool up to the house.   You can see the loggia and the balcony above it. 

 

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The guest house is on the left of the swimming pool and the pergola is to the right.  Diandra didn’t want the facade and grounds to be a caricature, rather she wanted the house to actually seem as if it was in Spain – a country she grew up in.   Doesn’t the ocean look really close by?  

 

 

 The courtyard.   At the front side of the house is the courtyard.   The house wraps around the courtyard on the side opposite the ocean view.

 

 

 

And towards the front of the property is a hidden Japanese garden and teahouse. 

 

 

The Property:

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 Doesn’t the property look close to the ocean?  Actually it’s high up in hills which gives that illusion.  Here is the location on the satellite – where the orange marker is.   I was amazed how far away the ocean truly is,  yet the view is still fabulous.  Others who live somewhat close by are  Oprah Winfrey, John Saladino, and Kathryn’s Ireland’s former ranch – all are in this general area.     

 

 

 

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And here is the Bing Map of the property.    The main house is on the left.   You can see where the interior courtyard is on the back side.  The larger building on the right is the garage and staff bedrooms.   You can see the orchard is right in the front of the garage building.   The pool house is visible and  the tennis court is to its right.   At the bottom right you can see the Japanese tea house.   The property is seven acres.

 

 

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Diandra Douglas is an excellent equestrian who also breeds horses – which she keeps at a nearby stable.  Her primary residence is in New York City.   

 

To see the real estate brochure, go HERE.   The above picture comes from Santa Barbara Living by Dianne  Dorrans Saeks, available HERE.   To read Style Saloniste, Saeks’ blog, go HERE.  Saeks just returned home from an extended visit to India and she is writing about her journey, truly fascinating reading. 

40 comments:

  1. Wow, I love the image with the tapestry....swoon;)

    Happy holidays,
    Jaime

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  2. I always thought Diandra has such a quiet elegance. Mystery and beauty are an unbeatable combination. Wonder why she is selling this paradise??

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  3. It's beautiful then and now! That view is incredible..the house is incredible.the pool is incredible etc etc lol...Hope you have a great weekend and Happy Hanukkah

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  4. Who couldn't be happy in that house.
    First glance,it looked like the movie magnate's house in the God Father.
    What a thrill to land a job like that. Beautiful.
    That long hallway reminds me of my old spanish house on Palm Island in Miami Beach. Built 1920
    with those wonderful arched windows. Fabulous post.
    Thanks for all that info. Dreamy. Happy Hanukka, hummmmm Potato pancakes..

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  5. Thanks for that insight Joni. I put up a post with my "new" front door that I had promised you a look at. Sorry it has taken so long to show you, but you know there is never enough time in the day to work on your own home when you have clients a waiting!
    Happy Holidays!
    Leslie

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  6. Well, here's the thing...many women chop off their hair when they go through a bad break up, but why on earth would she cut off that gorgeous sexy mane? Best to just completely change your decor. Maybe the BEFORE was HIS taste and the after more accurately reflects her true taste?

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  7. Wonderful post, but the "Diandra and Michael Douglas during happier times at La Quinta" line amused me. They look absolutely miserable in this photo.

    Janell

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  8. As I recall...she has 2 young children, Hudson and Hawk. They were adopted in the latter part of the 90's after her divorce from Michael, who also has small children. Yes, they share a son, who now is in NYC and in need of both parents...and perhaps, this place just is too large and filled with memories that now haunt rather than thrill.

    It is a beautiful home, period and furnished in the true Espana manner, with all that the tradewinds would have wrought via the Spanish ships to your door as a Dona of a fabled home in Montecito, LA QUINTA.

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  9. Now that I have had a chance to go back and pour over the images, I must admit I prefer the space as it was a decade ago, there are a few elements I would update, such as the tapestry covered chairs and I prefer the zebra ottoman to the dark black/brown ottoman but overall the former installation is more to my liking and definitely more romantic.

    Thanks Joni,
    Jaime

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  10. I have adored this house since purchasing Saek's "Santa Barbara Living". The book also features many other spectacular homes and is hard to put down. Diandra Douglas does have great taste and what a beautiful woman. I wonder if she ever remarried and is happy. It only seems right that there should be a fairy tale ending for her.

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  11. Joni...I swear to God you were a bloodhound in another life!

    I love watching you do your thing...amazing. Olympic caliber amazing. Really.

    We had latkes tonight...early?
    Happy Chanukah, Missy!

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  12. I was a visitor to this house at 18in 1978 It was not decorated as grand as it is now but even at my young age I recognized what a gorgeous property was and still think of it from time to time. I was dating a polo player who's sponsor owned the house at the time. We floated in the pool and it was heaven on earth. Ah.....

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  13. What interesting post, nice to see how some people live....and yet, they can not hold on to it!!!

    Such an amazing house and the view...gorgeous!

    Wonderfully researched!
    Thanks, Joni... and Happy Hannukah!

    XX
    Victoria

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  14. Since I missed your previous post about this wonderful house, I went back to read it, so I've been here for an hour and enjoyed every second of my visit. This is such a beautiful home. (of course, I'd live in a shack if Michael Douglas were there!!). I am so glad to read that you liked elements of both decor styles. I am often a little dismayed that I enjoy seeing all styles of decor. It makes me feel that I have no style. Everyone else always seems so opinionated about what style they like, and yet, I could honestly say that there were many elements in both styles that I loved seeing. As always, thank you for such wonderful posts. Happy Hannukah. laurie

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  15. This house is beautiful ! I love our provencal houses but I've laways had a crach for this kind of colonial homes !! I love her taste and her pieces of antiques

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  16. well I find that kind of home very "heavy" but still gorgeous... my fav room is the kitchen - it's divine!

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  17. I love the house , it is gorgeous! Kitchen is my fav room, absolutely white and so beautiful. Thank you for photos :)
    have a nice weekend!

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  18. A bloodhound! Ha!

    When I read your post, my first thought was, Hmm, someone's been reading cotedetexas and has staged the house with brand new sea grass and zebra!
    I remember the Diandra house from a decade ago, and I absolutely loved it then. It's still great. Either way, I'd move in tomorrow if I won the lottery.

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  19. In all aspects, very beautiful either way.
    HAPPY HANUKKAH to you and your loved ones Joni.
    -Brenda-

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  20. Something about this first house reminded me of Rob Lowe's house (featured on Oprah years ago). I think they are in the same neighborhood since the Lowes are neighbors with Oprah.

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  21. Wow - the view from the loggia is absolutely heart stopping. Beautiful,beautiful post.

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  22. Wow Joni!!
    Thank you!! This is such a gift!! I love many different styles but this has to be my ALL TIME FAV!! I know after looking at all the details and beauty of the WHOLE, I am dying to know what color white paint they use in this style home? It goes with the blue, the golds, everything. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU CAN GIVE ME SOME INSIGHT!!
    LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HAPPY HANUKKAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Joni in Dallas

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  23. Beautiful house. I wish I could see with a combination of decors--theire were things about both the more formal, more "done" original and the current, more casual look that I love and think would be great together. But I think the main lesson from this house is that if you start with a beautiful, well designed background, almost any style of decor can work.

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  24. ...mercy i don't think they look happy...she looks much happier on the horse...

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  25. Joni,

    Love the images of La Quinta old and new. Your ability to research details are amazing. I'm in awe of your abilities. Great post. I've really enjoyed it.

    Talk soon,

    Gwen
    Ragland Hill Social

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  26. Joni ... .

    Thanks so much for following up with your acute bloodhound instincts on this wondrous property. I didn't comment on your last post because I found myself wondering about the details and coming up with more questions. Magically, you've read my mind and filled in the blanks.

    I much prefer the current incarnation of the decor .. . I always feel "taking it down a notch" in such an imposing space always brings a level of balance.

    Judith

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  27. awwwe, they do look kinda mad..... Beautiful house though.

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  28. Amazing house....great post, as usual, Joni! hope you're having a good weekend. xx

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  29. Hail to the Queen! This was so much fun to read. I love the house both ways, with those bones, who could miss. Thanks for all the time you spend entertaining us...I am just a lazy blogger.

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  30. Joni, I'm really glad I posted what I did before I saw this. I picked this house as my favorite, too.

    Original or not, I still do not like those dark heavy beams in the dining room. And I don't like those chairs in the foyer. It's not that I don't like the chairs, I don't think they work in that foyer. Maybe it's just the shot the realtor took. The chairs look a ton better in the pro shots when they were in the DR.

    Other than that and the sofa that needs to be slipped, the house is great.

    Interesting that it is the Douglas home.

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  31. What a fabulous post Joni. I love to see homes updated, and even with what seems like small changes, this home is really refreshed. You are so thorough, it's a pleasure to read.

    So many beautiful things to admire about La Quinta. It isn't quite in my style, but it is certainly a dream.

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  32. Hi Joni: just an interesting tidbit...one of my best friends was a nanny in LA for Michael Douglas' lawyer and got to stay here as a perk for being a good lawyer I guess! I will have to send her these pix...great post.

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  33. The tapestry, the mantelpiece with urns. Diandra, what a lady! she truly is!

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  34. Hi Joni-

    For a mere $29 million, it can be yours.

    Thank you for mentioning my book, SANTA BARBARA LIVING, and let's not forget to credit the photographer, Lisa Romerein, a genius (she shoots most of the Michael S Smith houses...)

    Joni: the house is superb. Plus in SB you are in the most beautiful location on earth, surrounded by specimen trees, with the ocean air, and friends all around. Santa Barbara people are the nicest anywhere- happy, optimistic, kind, generous, positive, and always they speak of how grateful they are to be living there. Very attractive.
    La Quinta: You almost could have been doing a feature comparing editorial/style shots and real estate sales shots. I can hardly bear to look at the wide-angle, totally charmless real estate brochure shots. Also horrible styling. Based on those, I would not buy. Based on Lisa's photos, I would immediately.
    The house has a sense of integrity, privacy, and great charm. The details are lovely and quirky.
    Let's just say...on the decor, Joni you know what 'Craig Wright helped'...Diandra...actually means.. He is the longtime designer. They were great friends, and Craig would often stay at her lovely house in Majorca. Where they bought antiques. Craig is very talented, a fine antiquaire. Quatrain.
    It's hard to know why this is for sale. She does have two sons...and later adopted a lovely little daughter from, I believe, Kazakhstan (or was is Tajikistan or Krghistan (...either way...). She also married once or twice more or more.
    It's sad that she is selling. You know the new owners, no matter how tasty, will change it. It will not longer have that Majorca/Spain/ dreamy look of wonderful things. The very best thing that could happen is if the new owners hired Michael Smith! Now that he has completed the WH residence, he's free-er.
    Joni...thanks for the lovely mention of my book. I see on my traffic log for THE STYLE SALONISTE, that lots of your readers are also readers of my blog. So pleased.
    Cheers and happy days DIANE
    www.thestylesaloniste.com

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  35. I'm still trying to absorb PrimeTimeMom's comment on floating in the pool in 1978...

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  36. Hi,
    I was wondering if you could tell me the source and or type of furniture on page 100 of Santa Barbara Living that you spoke of. I love that book and have been trying to purchase the furniture for my covered porch but am unable to find it.

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  37. Joni, as a Southern Cal resident I am so happy to see these gorgeous pix. For a treat, take a look at www.lesbauxdepalmsprings.com which is the real estate listig for the Provence-styled estate in Palm Springs by Suzanne Sommers and Alan Hamel. Lovely and unique.

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  38. Good Day i am new to this, I came accross this chat board I have found It incredibly useful & it's helped me out tons. I hope to give something back & assist other people like its helped me.

    Cheers, See You Around

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  39. Hi, I liked the 18th-century tapestry that is behind the sofa in the living room, does anyone have or know where to get a full picture of her? Where could I find more information about Tapestry? Your post is wonderful. I'm from Brazil. Name Gilbert Raguer. Congratulations!

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  40. Joni,
    It's taken me along time to get a picture, but last year I sold one of my Beach House rugs to an interior designer for the pool house on this estate.

    I finally found a couple of pictures on the real estate website. The designer had read your blog and found where you had mentioned my Beach House rug. Thank-you!

    We had to rush the shipment so it could be included for an Elle Decor photo shoot of the property. I haven't seen the article in the magazine yet, but I could have missed it...

    The pool house photos with the cotton blue and white striped Beach House rug are at http://www.sbestatehomes.com/listings/936hsr.shtml

    Jerry

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