Katie Stassi Does it Again



When Ronda Carman from All The Best Blog ran a bedroom contest, I knew immediately who one of my favorite was – I mean, just look at this tiny corner of the submitted bedroom.  You know the rest of the room is going to be as beautiful as this little corner is.   The petite blue painted desk with a gorgeous chair next to it – the set of prints in lovely gilded frames with even lovelier gilded filets.    But – the focal point for me, the thing I couldn’t move my gaze from was the lone sconce.   Oh my.  Is it the prettiest sconce ever?    Certainly it’s in the running.  The delicate arms, with hanging tassels and just a hint of crystals, the patina of green paint, its crown with three curled wires mimicking the arms – are there two of these sconces?  Is it one of a pair?    Probably.  


The bedroom belongs to Katie Scassi, I suppose.  I know she designed it - so I’m assuming it’s hers.  Maybe it’s a client’s.  It really doesn’t matter whom the bedroom belongs to – it’s Katie’s vision that is the important point.   Katie’s star has very quickly risen above the crop of young interior designers in Houston and now New Orleans where she currently lives.   The late domino magazine recognized her as one of their Top Ten Designers, 2008.   She’s been featured several times in different publications and the design blogosphere went absolutely wild over her published Houston house - splashing its pictures everywhere it seemed.    And then there was the beautiful spread in Houston’s Paper City showing a house in River Oaks she had done for a friend, on a budget, though it doesn’t seem that way at all - given Katie’s stylish  and perfect touch.   Stassi likes to mix fine antiques, and I do mean fine, with contemporary pieces.   She’s not a collector, bloated down by possessions and things.   She lets her pieces stand alone and quietly shine.   Her interiors are light and airy, painted in mostly cool palettes of blues or lilacs or aquas mixed with a white or ivory background.   There always seems to be a touch of whimsy about, just to keep it all from being too serious.




Blooming branches set off an antique painted mirror – Stassi Style.


Most impressive about Katie Stassi is that she is much more than just a designer, she is a very deeply spiritual person who credits God for her talents.    Her life centers around her profound belief in the bible and its scriptures.    It must be very special working with her – knowing she is so grounded, centered, and thoughtful, with a heart that is definitely in the right place.    Good things are coming to her and she is most deserving.   

While pictures of Stassi’s past work are well known to blog readers, only Houstonians got to see her newest project featured in last month’s Paper City.    The house is so beautiful, so well done, I just couldn’t let it pass without showing you what we in Houston have been agog over.  When the issue came out – everyone it seemed was talking about it:  “Have you seen the new Paper City?” – I was asked over and over and over again.  Yes, I had.   It had been a long while since a Houston publication had featured such a pretty house – and pretty it is, no other word seems more fitting.    You see, houses this beautiful don’t come around a lot.   You look at magazine after magazine and flip them in the garbage thinking – next!   Not so with this Stassi house.  The pictures made you linger over them, examine the details, and then return to look yet again.  Almost as interesting as the interiors was the story behind the house – a truly one of kind interior design story that left readers wondering about it all.    

My only regret is that I don’t have the PDFs to show you pristine photographs – I have only barely acceptable scanned images.   Though they have promised one for months, Paper City still has no real web site, which is almost unheard of for a media entity in this day and age.   But miracles do happen!  Maybe by next year. 


Original story in Paper City by Laurann Claridge.  Photographs for Paper City by Jack Thompson.

Interview HERE with Katie Stassi from All The Best Blog, by Ronda Carman.


image In the entry hall, a French iron table and an 18th century Italian chandelier sets the scene for what is about to unfold.  Walking through the threshold – you know this house is going to special.


It started with a large, just built house bought by a newly single woman for her and her four daughters.   Months were spent working with an interior designer furnishing it, mostly in earth tones with `lots of checks, toiles, and trims.  The night before the big installation (the time when most designers lie awake with a pit of nervousness in their stomachs) the owner and designer unbelievably parted ways.   A friend gave the frantic homeowner Katie Stassi’s name who helpfully showed up for the installation and placed the new furniture around the house – as best as she could figure out where it all belonged.   A few short weeks later the still frazzled homeowner asked Stassi what she thought about the interior design – she asked of Stassi - what would have done with the house?   “Not this” was the answer heard round Houston.   The details of the Paper City story had tongues wagging, and gossip was flying, but no one can say Stassi wasn’t right.   For the next two years, the homeowner and Stassi completely redecorated the house, erasing all the design elements the former interior designer had put in.    Antique fireplaces went in, all new light fixtures were installed,  floors and window treatments were changed, and the walls were repainted a soft white – in short, everything was lightened, brightened, and turned into the beautiful house the two envisioned.   Stassi finished it all with the furniture and accessories she found in the finest shops in both New Orleans and Houston, the names of which are familiar to those who love French and Swedish antiques.   Stassi went on a search for the prettiest and found it.   Trips to Round Top added the homey touches.   To decorate such a beautiful house, filled with even more beautiful antiques –  takes someone with a fabulous eye, able to acquire so much, so quickly – and still get it so right.   Stassi, with her easy access to both Houston and New Orleans, was probably the only one who could.


 image From Stassi’s web site, the staircase shares space with a feminine French barometer and gray painted antiques.




The view from the entry, through the living room out towards the garden.  The three arched doors are framed by luscious,  silk curtains – a trademark of Stassi’s.    The French settee with its curving arms becomes the focal point. 





Another view of the living room – with its antique mantel from Chateau Domingue, has matching consoles and mirrors on each side.   Here you can see the settee with its soft blue fabric.   A gorgeous jardiniere with a marble top makes a perfect side table.




image  Next to the fireplace, a mirror with antique candlesticks, putti, and tulips.   Just beautiful!




This closeup, from Stassi’s web site, shows the settee’s painted and carved frame. 



image The dining room features a large wood table with a set of cane back, painted chairs.   More silk curtains soften the room.




A close up of the painted trumeau and console, accessorized with candlesticks and a statue of Mother Teresa. 




From Stassi’s web site another view of the dining room showing an angel painting in the trumeau’s reflection.  




The kitchen cabinets were painted a light blue/gray.  




A collection of apothecary jars is found in the kitchen.




In the family room/breakfast room, painted 19th century Italian chairs surround an Empire table.  A large Italian chandelier fits the space perfectly.   A French biot stands next to the stone fireplace mantel.  A pair of slipcovered chairs are in front of the bay window.





The soft blues show up again in the master bedroom.  A beautiful cream and blue rug blends with all the light colors – the curtains are again the full silk beauties found throughout the house.  And, the French mantle from Chateau Domingue becomes the focal point.


 image  Another view of the master bedroom, taken off Stassi’s web site shows the room bathed in a different light.  So beautiful!  




One of the daughter’s bedroom is furnished with French antiques – I adore the bed and pink bench!




And finally, this bedroom, has an antique pediment acting as a canopy.  I love the diminutive desk and blue painted mirror – so feminine and graceful, just like the entire house!   What a wonderful job, Katie!  It’s pretty beyond words!

Below is more from Stassi’s portfolio:


Paper City featured this house in River Oaks which Katie designed for a friend.  The floors were bleached with the walls painted to match – lightening it all up - and turning an old house into something young and fresh.  The beautiful lilac curtains were purchased from West Elm, then lined by Stassi’s workroom – transforming them into custom wonders.   Painted French chairs were treated to more lilac shaded fabric.  The gueridon table acts as a tea table here, grounding a rug that was a splurge.   Just delightful!!




The beautiful Katie Stassi poses in the same living room.



image What started it all – Stassi’s former Houston house – here two gilt French chairs in front of the windows.  I love how she styles her rooms with flowering branches – so pretty!



image Another view of her all white living room.  The contemporary console and art work perfectly mix with all the gilded antiques.




And in a corner of her living room, a Lucite table shares the space with a gorgeous daybed and a whimsical statue.




I love everything here – the color of the curtains, the table, the beautiful mirror, the antique sconces – I think this is  just perfect.



 image  Even her breakfast room was special with its painted blue French trumeau mixed with a banquette, black and white touches, and a bird!




But the picture heard round the blogosphere was without a doubt her Hollywood Regency styled backyard cabana.   Everyone loved this!



I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of interiors by Katie Stassi.  I know I can’t wait to see what is up next from her and hopefully Ronda will be publishing pictures of the rest of that beautiful bedroom!

Charlotte Moss



moss080519_1_560 The gorgeous back terrace at Charlotte Moss’ NYC apartment.  Look at that lantern!  And the fireplace!  And the dog!


Just a reminder – Charlotte Moss visited the Skirted Roundtable last week.  The three of us recorded a new show tonight and I just wanted to let you all know you can still catch the Moss interview HERE in case you missed it.  In fact, all of our past shows are still available at the Skirted Roundtable blog AND on I-Tunes.   As the weeks since the launch of the Skirted Roundtable have added up, so have the shows, of course – and there is a wide range of topics covered.     One day I went back and listened to a few of the old recordings and they sounded fresh to me – so much time had passed by, I could barely remember recording them. 



my-paris-1-F05-fb Miss Moss shopping in Europe.  How chic is she!?!!



 The salon in her NYC townhouse.  I think this is my favorite room in her house.  I love the pinks and greens – the painted consoles are to die for!  In the interview, Charlotte more or less admitted she was not going to be changing her decor to the ultra trendy Belgian design any time soon.  That really wasn’t surprising to hear!

Photo courtesy of Newyorksocialdiary.com


The Skirted Roundtable Charlotte Moss interview, HERE.


As always, thank you so much for listening!!  We can’t tell you how much your support means to all three of us – and I say that from the bottom of my heart.    The new show recorded tonight should be up in just a day or two.

BROWN Hosts Garden & Gun



The darling - and let me repeat that for emphasis – the darling Haskell Harris, Associate Editor of Garden & Gun magazine said it best: “BROWN and Garden & Gun are simpatico.” I couldn’t have said it any better.


Haskell Harris, Associate Editor, Garden & Gun magazine

But wait, who, what?


Thursday night BROWN, my favorite lighting and decor store in Houston, hosted a party to welcome Garden & Gun, the newest Southern lifestyle magazine on the scene – or, as they say of themselves - the “Soul of the New South.” The two companies styles could not have meshed visually and philosophically any better – they are simpatico. Thank you, Haskell. BROWN and Garden & Gun just look good together.


Blow-ups of former G&G covers were strategically placed around the shop, along with stacks of the current issue, each neatly tied with twine.

Jill Brown, proprietor and designer of BROWN, planned the get together and every detail was perfect, it truly seemed as if Garden & Gun and BROWN were actually run and owned by the same people. Jill’s style is incredible and it really showed on Thursday night – starting with the menu (and all made by Jill herself) – the sweets and food all a nod to every Southern favorite: bourbon balls, molasses cookies, beer cheese, and turkey sandwiches – to name just a few of the delectables. Drinks included Belgian Beer and the historical Tait Farm Shrubs. Instead of using platters, the tables were set with Jill’s fabulous collection of antique copper pots and pans. Bread that looked like stone blocks chiseled with large G&G’s were an extra visual touch.


Bread branded with G&G in wire baskets – every detail a visual treat.

The flowers, there weren’t really flowers in the sense you would think, instead Jill found someone somewhere in the Carolinas that provided tobacco leaves – in honor of Garden & Gun , because as Jill put it “tobacco is Southern, a part of our heritage, textural, and Brown. Jonathan Andrew Sage arranged all the tobacco leaves and various plants in Jill’s old galvanized buckets. Other “floral” details included cherry tomato stalks that Sage incorporated into the mix. Anything that had to do with the South, it seemed Jill had thought of it.


Sweets and treats were placed in galvanized trays. Autumnal colors mixed well with BROWNS’s decor.


Some time ago Jill found a substantial cache of 100 year old copper pots and pans. She put them to good use at the party.


Live music – inside and out. Notice the gorgeous painted wood floor! Squares merge into stripes.

A band – the acoustic Across The Water played inside - while a lone saxophonist, Edmond Baker, Jr. added a moody vibe outside. The large store was filled to capacity with many of the great interior designers in Houston – I saw Babs Watkins, Ginger Barber, Sharon Perry, and Carol Glasser mingling in the crowd. Cote de Texas favorite Sally Wheat was there too.


The General Store on the front porch of BROWN.

The front porch was set up like a general store, except nothing was for sale, it was all there for the guests to take home. (I took home a little sign, ok – three tiny signs!!!) Little chalkboards were purposed as signs, both outside and inside. And throughout the store were “Haskell’s Picks” – things that the Garden & Gun style maven found especially appealing. Haskell, who has the cutest dimple in the world – only one, I asked! - gave a talk about the history of Garden & Gun, their vision and where they want to take the magazine. She spoke about authentic design and heirloom quality – passing down things from generation to generation. Haskell is just as darling as you would expect and watching her star rise, first at Cottage Living and now here at Garden & Gun, you know she will have a long and successful career. Her mother was an interior designer – the very house where Haskell was raised was also where her mother’s shop was located, so you can safely say Haskell ate and slept interior design - and it shows. When her redone Birmingham house was featured in Southern Living, everyone loved it - but she’s in a new home now in Charleston where G&G is headquartered. Besides editing the magazine’s style features, Haskell also writes a charming blog HERE.


Stacks of the current issue were there for the taking. Jill also graciously bought subscriptions for all of her guests. Thanks, Jill!!

You don’t have to be southern to enjoy Garden & Gun – there’s a mix of food, music, art, travel, and sporting culture in each issue. And G&G is one of those rare magazines that men love as much as women. When I got home, Ben immediately confiscated my issue and promptly bought gift subscriptions for his brother and partner. And with Haskell Harris in charge of all things stylish, there is plenty of ink on interior design and gardening to satisfy all feminine leanings. To order Garden & Gun go HERE. To visit BROWN, go HERE.


Now that it’s all over except for the memories, Jill Brown, whose incredible eye has solely created the unique and visionary BROWN, graciously refused to take any credit for the party, giving Angela DeWree of Design and Inspiration, total thanks for the night. Somehow, I think Jill is being a little too humble, but that’s just part of her endearing charm. Make no mistake though DeWree is incredibly talented – her abilities in event planning, branding, PR, store staging (you name it, she does it) are legendary in Houston and she really shined Thursday night along with Jill. To contact DeWree, go HERE.

Below are a few favorite stories of mine in Garden & Gun, available on the their web site:


This Texas Hill Country farmhouse is a modern day version of the classic Texas dogtrot. Read the story and see all the pictures HERE.


How cute is this vintage styled trailer? G&G is filled with stories like this. HERE.

image_thumb11 This gorgeous Georgian garden is located on the former land of author Flannery O’Connor, read and see it all HERE.


The oldest beagle pack in America – living in Virginia, HERE.


One of the most visited private gardens – that of Emily Whaley – is featured in G&G HERE.


Besides Haskell’s duties for the magazine, she also writes their blog, Belle Decor. Filled with personal stories of her past and present, she also highlights her favorite finds. HERE, the Charleston office of Ross Kenan Interiors is shown.


This beautiful portrait by Jim Pollard is of Lou Harris and her two daughters, Haskell and Chandler. Son Haze was previously painted in another portrait. Haskell told Courtney of Style Court that she vividly remembers the chinoiserie screen in the background. To read the charming and bittersweet story behind this, go to Style Court HERE.

Haskell Harris has long been a favorite among design bloggers, starting with her days at Cottage Living. Growing up in Virginia, in the true southern manner, design is in her blood. Sharing the house with her mother’s interior design business, Haskell had an early and constant exposure to all things beautiful. Her love of historical houses also dates from her childhood, which was spent in an 1910 historically significant house. A graduate of UVA, Haskell moved to Birmingham when Cottage Living hired her. There she remodeled a cottage, which when published, made design bloggers everywhere fall in love with her. And who can blame us? Her house is as adorable as the one-dimple Haskell is. The jump to G&G forced a moved to Charleston and another historical house, this time a rumored to be haunted 1796 single house. We are all patiently waiting to see what magic Haskell performs there. Until then, please enjoy one more peek at the Birmingham cottage Haskell painstakingly remolded. Pictures, sources, and quotes come from Southern Living HERE and Style Court HERE.


The charming Birmingham cottage that Haskell restored. Originally a neon green, she spent weeks painting it the neutral shade Cliffside Gray (RME-74) by Benjamin Moore with trim shade Swiss Coffee (5012) by Behr.


I adore the picnic bench out front with lanterns – what better way to meet your neighbors?

image_thumb7 The welcoming front porch with swing and painted striped floor.

image_thumb111 Living Room / Dining Room

Inside the cottage, there is a large living/dining area. The pine dining table came from Haskell’s childhood mountain farmhouse where she spent many years eating meals on it, surrounded by family. The color scheme was taken from a bag of gourmet marshmallows which Haskell found soothing and inviting. “They were the softest, most sophisticated colors I’d ever seen. Pale pink, pale blue, cocoa, cream, and pale gray―I based all the paints on those marshmallows,” Haskell says. “The chalky finishes remind me of studying in Italy and visiting old villas and churches. The paint looks like it’s been there a long time.”

Living room wall paint: Riff (C2-358) by C2 Paint. Fabric on wingback chair: Tucker Resist from Lewis & Sheron Textile Co. The two antique 18th century maps of Europe atop the bookcases are a favorite splurge – found in NYC on a shopping trip with her mother.


The hanging shelf is another heirloom from her parents. I love the way the chair fabric pops against all the neutrals.

image_thumb28 Another view from Southern Living magazine.

image_thumb19 The kitchen is utterly charming with its mix of high and low: black honed granite was a splurge, as was the farm sink from Herbeau. The walls are humble beadboard which add to the cottage atmosphere. Kraftmaid cabinets mix with classic white subway tiles from Daltile.


Close up of the beautiful sink and faucet. Haskell loved her honed black granite and confesses she probably loves every honed stone. For her next kitchen, she wants to do fatigue green honed granite with matching painted cabinets – sounds divine! The hanging baskets hold fruit and recipes – such a cute idea.


View towards the back door of her kitchen. The small tiled floor is another charming cottage touch.


The master bedroom was a calm haven for Haskell to come home to. You can just see the vintage crystal doorknob on the very right.


A collection of mirrors accessorized a wall in the light pink bedroom. Many were empty frames found by Haskell and fitted with antiqued mirrors.

Secret (C2-048), also by C2 Paint.


Haskell herself installed the subway tile in her bathroom. She chose gray grout to age the look and for ease of maintenance.


And finally, in her laundry closet, next to the bathroom, Haskell cleverly wallpapered it with wrapping paper printed with maps. Baskets, shells, and a lantern add the finishing touches.

I can’t wait to see what Haskell has done with her house in Charleston! This one will be hard to top, that’s for sure.


I hope you enjoyed learning all about Haskell Harris and Garden & Gun. To read more about BROWN on Cote de Texas, go HERE, and if you live in Houston pick up the latest issue of Paper City to see a large feature on Jill’s house. Thank you Jill and Haskell so much for including me Thursday night. It was a real treat to be there!