Changes at Maison Cote de Texas


image Sarah Elisabeth Webb – with the cutest double chin in the world!

She started out with a cute room, of course, almost 19 years ago. It was pink, with pink and white ticking and a fabulous (then) cabbage rose chintz by Waverly (remember Waverly?) that I had bought at Joanne’s. There was an iron day bed (for the baby nurse that I never hired, much to the dismay of my mother who still, to this day, blames Elisabeth’s erratic sleeping patterns on the fact that I didn’t have that said baby nurse) and there was a child sized table with chairs that I had painted to match the chintz, along with a tiny quilt hand sewn by my mother-in-law out of all the fabrics in her nursery. There was an adorable dhurrie that mimicked a Portuguese needlepoint rug (in my dreams!) and faux Roman window shades. When we built our current house, we kept the same furniture for the Princess, sans the crib, and added a white wallpaper with a tiny pink fleur de lis all-over pattern ala Jane Churchill (again, in my dreams.) She lived in this room for years until slowly, as she got older – and more toys and junk accumulated – she totally trashed it out. One day, probably when she was around ten, she decided to start all over with a move to the guest room – a much smaller room that shares a bath with my office. It was a move she now regrets – her old room had lovely windows, including a cushy window seat that overlooked our once majestic water oak, a large walk in closet – and a private bathroom. When she took over her new room, we went together to IKEA for furniture and bedding, mostly yellow and orange plaid and checked fabrics. She lived with it during her pre-teen years until she discovered West Elm.

lissroom 001 Her former bedroom. You can see the dhurrie rug with the rose pattern on it. The child sized table lasted a long time, as did the iron day bed with its ticking bedspread. The quilt my mother-in-law hand sewed out of all her Waverly fabrics is layered over the bed. You can just barely see the pink and white fleur de lis wallpaper in this faded photograph. What a dump! No wonder she wanted to switch rooms and start over!

image The New Teenage Room.

At 15 – she stated she wanted to redesign her room herself and I decided to let her. Not that I really had a choice – she’s a willful, independent child who knows her own mind and arguing with her is hopeless. From West Elm she chose the popular cut-out headboard and nightstands, along with the matching cut-out shelf unit. The large mirror she bought at IKEA. The paint colors were also her choice - the ceiling was deep purple and the walls were a silvery lilac. I helped her pick out the fabrics – silks and crushed velvets. She has always fashioned herself a glamour girl. My mother took one look and proclaimed it “The Bordello.” This vision lasted three years. Recently she started hinting around that she either wanted to move back into her old room, which is now my guest room – an idea I quickly rejected - or she wanted to get rid of the dark walls and contemporary furniture. I was beyond thrilled. She’s leaving for college in September and though there were certain things she requested – like white walls and French styled furniture – whenever I would ask her opinion she would say “do whatever you want Mom, I’m leaving soon and this won’t be my room anymore.” Sob.

imageThe Anthropologie campaign style canopy bed – here in the famous domino magazine Marie Antoinette story - was the inspiration.

And then what always happens when an interior designer decides to redo their own house happened – each decision became a major, drawn out process of back and forth second guessing. To furnish a client’s bedroom – I might take a week of planning. Elisabeth’s small room took me months to finalize each detail, each time I chose something, I changed my mind the next day. The jumping off point was the Anthropologie canopy bed – there was no question about that. The only discussion was its size. I was paralyzed in choosing between the twin or the queen (double is not available). After weeks of deliberation (and endless emails with a blogger who also owned the bed) it was decided that her room was not big enough for the queen, and in a compromise we ordered the chaise longue from Wisteria for when a friend might sleep over. The first disaster was the new twin mattress that was so high she literally needed a step ladder to climb onto it. That had to be returned.

Lizzybed 004 The Anthropologie bed arrives, along with the Princess and a Pea mattress. Notice the step ladder she needed to climb into bed. Needless to say, the mattress was returned for a more manageable one.

The next major issue was choosing a fabric. The beautiful Bennison Roses fabric in blue that I bought from EBay measured out at 10 yrds instead of the supposed 18, rendering the curtains I wanted an impossibility. Then, I considered all different shades of large checks from Chelsea Editions for the curtains, then it was damasks. Next, I decided to copy Rachel Ashwell’s newest bedroom with the slightest of lilac taffeta for the curtains. In the end, the decor didn’t fall into place until Becky Vizard from BViz waltzed into town. I picked out two antique blue and white Fortuny pillows and another smaller one in a blue velvet with gold embroidery from her gorgeous collection of textiles. So – with the walls freshly painted white, seagrass ordered, the canopy bed in place, and the Wisteria chaise longue off to have a white linen slipcover made for it, I ordered yards and yards of a tiny silk check in soft blue and white from Robert Allen. The chandelier and sconces were finally hung yesterday. Here is how Elisabeth’s room looks today, though she is quick to tell me it won’t be “hers” for long:

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I placed the canopy bed against the long back wall – and angled the slipcovered chaise longue in front of the window where her West Elm bed used to be.

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The Bella Notte whisper linen bedding came from Olivine, the white curtains on the canopy came from Indulge. The zinc topped scrolled iron table came from the sale at The Fab Flea that I went to HERE.

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The velvet pillow is from BViz who specializes in antique textiles. I added the Hunter Douglas bamboo shade so that Elisabeth wouldn’t have to worry about closing her curtains all the time.

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On the wall where you walk in I placed a painted French desk from Artesia and hung the antique reproduction mirror from Tara Shaw Maison. I haven’t had a chance to style the desk – and not sure if I will until she leaves for college.

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The chandelier came from Amazon. I know, I know. I found it HERE while writing about good bargains. For the price, it’s a lot of look. One thing that Elisabeth specifically requested was a crystal chandelier.

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I found the sconces on the day of the Fab Flea and Found For the Home sale HERE. This was the same day I bought the zinc topped round table – both were half priced. The sconces were painted green when I bought them, so I redid them in gray and switched out the green crystals for lilac colored rock crystal.

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The white tab panels are a cotton and linen blend from Amalfi – available through Indulge HERE.

lizzysroom 007 The duvet is made of whisper thin, see through handkerchief linen from Bella Notte, via Olivine. The twin bedding takes months to special order, so I had Monica from Custom Creations by Monica cut down the full size duvet to fit the bed.

lizzysroom 037 The wooden Santos came from Olivine and I think it really sets the tone in her room – her blue dress blends perfectly. I actually bought that piece for Elisabeth before I even knew what colors her room would be. The lamp came from Aidan Gray and the faux blue book boxes came from Wisteria, as did the chaise longue.

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And in front of the scrolled iron table – is an Oriental antique box table where Elisabeth can store things. This used to be in my living room – but was recently replaced by another table.

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The gilt chair with linen is one of a pair and comes from French Eloquence, a fabulous wholesale company that services most of the smaller catalogue driven web stores. The other chair is now in my powder room.

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Here is how the room looks at night. The chandelier and sconces are both on dimmers which makes it much nicer than blazing full guns – although that is how Elisabeth likes it. The chandelier looks black, but it is really a dark bronze. I originally tried a wooden Italian styled chandelier from Aidan Gray in here first – but it was too wide and I like touch of sparkle in here.

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And here you can see the what the Wisteria chaise looks like. The slipcover cost me more than the piece did because we had to first reupholster it in white muslin. The seagrass is custom cut just a few inches from the wall. I found the vintage mannequin at Memorial Antiques and Interiors.

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The small mirror on the back wall inside the canopy is a faux antique – I repainted its brown wood gray. Here’s a close up of the two Fortuny pillows from BViz which drove the blue and white scheme. Also – the two larger pillows are the tiny check silk from Robert Allen.

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I didn’t have time to style the desk, but I did remove her laptop. Underneath her desk are the last remnants of her West Elm/IKEA room, contemporary boxes that hold her desk accessories – books, papers, etc. I’ve ordered two large wicker baskets to sit at the side of the desk (I got that idea from Brooke at Velvet and Linen!) – but they haven’t come in yet. The cords, which I still have to fix are from the TV, as are the cable boxes on her desk which will be hidden in the baskets. What I really like is the way the mirror reflects the Santos and the chandelier and during the day, all the sunlight that pours into the room.

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Here is how her TV looks in the corner – it’s on a swivel arm, so it comes out and faces the bed or the desk. Short of hiding it in an armoire – this was the best arrangement I could think of for it, given the small size of her room.

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And here is Elisabeth – thrilled with her new room. Actually she says “love it” when I repeatedly ask if she is happy with it! Of course Georgie has to be in the mix, but she is so scared of having her picture taken!!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of Elisabeth’s room !!!! I think I have given out all the sources except the paint – it’s Pratt and Lambert - Hedron, 2301. White, with just a hint of gray. The seagrass comes from MARC ANTHONY RUGS @ 713-861-3000, the curtains and bedding were fabricated by Custom Creations BY MONICA: #832-443-1931; and the slipcover was made by Hien Lam Upholsterers (713) 523-3416 and HERE.

Coming soon - I’ll have pictures of my annual family Hanukkah party and then pictures from the Webb Family Christmas at Chappell Hill, Texas will follow. Don’t forget – there is the final Skirted Roundtable of the Year HERE. Our first show in January will feature Stephen Drucker, the fabulous editor of House Beautiful magazine. Winners of my giveaway will be announced in the comment section of that story AND the winners of The Skirted Roundtable giveaway will be announced on that blog –

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?



P i g t o w n * D e s i g n


Everyone who reads design blogs has probably heard of Pigtown Design – a wonderfully written daily diary by Meg Fairfax Fielding.    Although Meg’s home base is Baltimore - in the historic Pigtown neighborhood – her blog is a running commentary on any town or country where she finds historic architecture, interesting interior design, antiques or whatever else she finds intriguing.  Fielding, whose roots run deep in her town could probably become the Good Will Ambassador of Baltimore, she is such a great supporter and proponent of her city that lies in the shadow of the capitol.   And as if keeping up with one blog isn’t enough, Meg is also a foodie and  writes a second blog Pigtown Pigout on edible delights.    But, there is more to Meg than blogging:  in “real life” she works as the Director of Development for the Woodbourne Center.   Woodbourne has a fascinating history – one of the oldest charities in America, founded in 1798 – it provides a safe haven and home for children who are abused, neglected, or unwanted.  Some children at Woodbourne suffer from mental illness, some suffer from poverty, some suffer from drug abuse – but all suffer.    The children’s welfare depends on the generosity of others that keeps Woodbourne operating but, like most charities,  this years donations are down – way, way down.  Even the state has cut their funding, but more damaging, it is requiring that 2% of last year’s grant be returned!  Woodbourne needs your help.   Can you spare a dime, a dollar?



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The Woodbourne Center – once this house is where the orphans actually lived.   Today it houses offices for the staff, including Meg who is lucky to have a gorgeous fireplace in hers!                                    





This year, some of the children are seen in a video reciting their Christmas List.   To watch it, go  HERE.   It’s heart breaking.  Their wishes are so basic - books, pens, pencils, an MP3 player, art supplies, Monopoly, a radio, a sketch pad.  One child quotes the bible.    Another  wishes for joy and happiness, something he says he doesn’t have much of.   Oh my.  If it doesn’t make you cry…….  To hear their simple dreams and hopes is a real eye opener to how so many children have to live their lives in this – the most prosperous nation in the world.


As Meg wrote: 

“As economic conditions worsen, it is often children who suffer. Their parents are more stressed than ever and their frustration is sometimes taken out on their children, who then act out and get into trouble at home and at school. They are often the unseen casualties in the economic climate.

But, through wars and depressions, in good times and bad, Woodbourne has been a refuge for these children, providing them with a safe place to recover from the traumatic events which have scarred their young lives.”


You can make a donation –  HERE.




Cote de Texas Christmas Giveaways!!!



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My Faux Holiday Table for the Houston Chronicle


Getting into the Christmas spirit, I am so thrilled to offer a few giveaways today – as a special thank you for all your friendship, support, and loyalty this past year.  Blogging to an empty room isn’t much fun – having readers is what it is all about and I am so very grateful for each visit you make, each comment you leave, and each email that you send my way.    When I first started Cote de Texas - soon to be three  years ago  (!) – there were very few design blogs out there.   Now, it is a vastly different landscape filled with hundreds of wonderful ones to read.   I realize you have plenty of options to choose from now and I am most thankful and truly humbled when you stop by.   So, onto the giveaways!!

The first giveaway is something everyone needs during this season – a Linen Keeper.   A what?   The developer of the Treasure Linen Keeper Portfolio asked the same question the first time she saw a vintage linen keeper from the 1950s.   The portfolio, a folder where you can store your freshly ironed linens, measures 14"x20” with a 2.5” expandable spine.   It is acid free, which makes it perfect for also storing larger photographs or documents, along with placemats, table runners, napkins and tablecloths.     The Linen Keeper will protect your valuable textiles from wrinkling and yellowing and it is easily stored in a drawer or cabinet.    There are several different categories of covers from which you can choose – and all are just $40.00.   But, one lucky reader will receive the Linen Keeper of their choice! 

To enter – all you have to do is go to the web site, Queen Anne’s Place, HERE, pick out the Linen Keeper you would like, come back to the blog and leave me a comment telling  me which one you picked out.   Be sure to include your email address in your comment.      That’s it.  Act fast though – the giveaway closes Friday night at 12:00 pm.  

The runner-up will receive a special giveaway from moi! 


Brown Zebra

The Treasure Linen Keeper Portfolio – this one is  my personal favorite!  There are several different skin covers in the Animal Print Collection to choose from.

Blue & White

You might like this one from the Asian Collection.


Brown on Beige

Or, you might prefer this cute one under the Polka Dots section.   And I also liked the Toile Collection covers too. 

Good luck!!!  Remember, go HERE, choose your cover, come back and tell me your choice in a comment!   There will be one Linen Keeper for the First Place winner and the Second Place winner will receive a special gift from me!!!!



The Holly Golightly Christmas by Visual Vamp


The next giveaway comes from The Skirted Roundtable.   Many months ago when Linda Merrill of  Surroundings approached me to join her in hosting a design podcast – I was thrilled and leapt at the chance to have another venue in which to talk about decorating.   I suggested Megan of Beach Bungalow 8 as our third partner and the unlikely ensemble of East Coast class, West Coast hip, and Southern drawl was hatched.    Linda came up with our concept and name (which is great on so many levels) and she is our trusty editor and moderator.   Megan and I are Lucy and Ethel.  

This April will be our first anniversary and to say we are shocked by what has transpired would be putting it mildly.   Our guest list has exceeded all of our wildest dreams – and we hope to continue next year with entertaining and informative guests.   Or maybe you prefer just the three of us!    This week we take another stab at holiday decorating, focusing on different blogs and their Christmas decor.    After this week, The  Skirted  Roundtable will be on vacation until the first week in January when we welcome Stephen Drucker, editor in chief of House  Beautiful magazine as our first guest of 2010.

In sincere gratitude for all the listeners who have supported The Skirted Roundtable this past year – each of us is having a giveaway:   there will be three First Place winners in all.  One winner will receive a gift from Linda, one will get the gift from Megan and the third will get my gift!!!   To enter – go to The Skirted Roundtable blog page HERE and leave a comment on THAT page.   That’s it!    We’ll pick the three winners Thursday night.   So hurry and leave a comment – and go ahead and listen to the newest podcast while you are there!!!!


Here’s wishing all of you a Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful & healthy New Years!!!!

Sally Wheat Decorates: The Brick House




Stalking the Wheats- The living room (second version.)  The third version of this room is being worked on right now!


Without a doubt, some of the most popular stories on Cote de Texas are the ones about Sally Wheat’s house.  I think after the Something’s Gotta Give house, The Stalking the Wheats stories, part I and II, get the most emails.   I’ve featured her house twice – and her beach house, once – and all three times, the amount of interest from you has been amazing!  So, when Sally told me she was just finishing up some work on a house in West University – I jumped at the chance to show it to you!   I didn’t even need to preview it – I knew I would love it, and you would too.  So, please join me as we tour the house which I have nicknamed The Brick House (as you will soon see why!)  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.   And just a side note, the above living room in Sally’s house has gone through yet ANOTHER redo!  In its third decorative scheme (which Sally swears is the last time she is going to redo it – sure, Sally!) – the look is now more contemporary.  I can’t wait to go photograph it, too.  



image Made of stucco:   so why is it called The Brick House?


The Brick House is located in West University – the charming, small, all-American town encircled by the big city of Houston.   It’s three stories – as many of the newer ones are:   the third floor is usually a big media or play room.     And like most of the newer West U houses, it is creamy stucco with shutters and gas lanterns and lots of curb appeal.  The young couple who live here are friends with the Wheats.  Their children go to the same school – and so, when it came time to hire a new designer, Sally was given the nod.   Probably because like everyone who sees Sally’s house, the owner also is a big fan.




The Entry Hall.

Walking through the double front doors into the foyer – the dining room is on the left and the living room is on the right.  Straight ahead lies the family room and stair hall, with the walk in bar and kitchen, to their left.  The front part of the house has the more typical West U dark hardwood floors, but instantly your eye is drawn to the unusual – gorgeous brick floors that run throughout the more casual areas of the house.  The brick floor is so gorgeous, so unexpected, and such a rarity – that they take your breath away for an instant.  Suddenly, the house becomes not some everyday, new construction West U house – but rather a Belgian-esque flavored one.  The house is in the middle of a total redecoration under Sally Wheat’s direction.   The living room is still a work in progress, as is the master bedroom.   But, a small kitchen fire forced a rushed timeline in that room.   The family room, the sun porch, and the Princess’ room are all completed – except for a few pieces here and there. 



The Living Room.

The Christmas tree – so pretty and subtle with white snowflakes is the star of the living room, which is still waiting its finishing touches.   Of course there is seagrass – this is West University, after all! 




Though the owner and Sally balked at me showing this room - I think it looks pretty good right now.   As soon as Sally has worked her magic, I promised them I would show the finished project.   For starters, Sally has added the sconces and new seating and curtains are being ordered. 



image The Dining Room.

Entering the dining room through the entry hall – I am in love!  





The dining room is long and wide – allowing plenty of space for the large Spanish styled wood table with its scrolled iron brace.  The chairs are fabulous – also Spanish styled, with ruffled slipped skirts and button detailing.  But – it’s the extra large nail heads that define the chairs and set them apart.  The chandelier is Italian styled, with a candlestick base and wooden tassels –a style that is so popular today.  Curtains are sheer, see-through linen with simple tab tops.   The room is  soothing in its monochromatic color scheme and the buffet matches the color of the chair’s linen.    Of course – the seagrass acts as another, large expanse of the linen color.  An arched window styled mirror reflects the sparkle of the chandelier lights.    The walls throughout the downstairs are painted Martin Senour’s Linen Weave – the paint de rigueur for chic Houstonians. 




The Spanish styled table is simply furnished with wood candlesticks and a large French pottery bowl.  A trio of tiny evergreen trees continue the Christmas decorations.





Leading into the family room, two carved French panels flank the arched opening.   The stairs have painted white wooden banisters and handrails along with a seagrass runner.  The beautiful Belgian inspired brick floor begins in this section of the house.



imageEntering the stair hall, there is a large, walk in wet bar on the left, through which the dining room connects to the kitchen.  The countertops here are a gray concrete.  



image The Family Room.

Past the open stairwell, is the family room with a fireplace flanked by two built-ins.   A long sofa faces the arm chairs, and a wall of windows looks out onto the screened-in porch and backyard.   The kitchen and breakfast room are opposite the family room.   Painted in the white Linen Weave, a surprise dark gray paint shows up in the bookcases.  




Looking the other way, behind the sofa is the kitchen and breakfast room.   The stairs and the wet bar are to the left.   The tight back sofa, dressed in a gray Lee Jofa linen,  has contemporary lines and is simply tailored with a beautiful waterfall or dressmaker skirt.    Trimmed pillows with an accent skin continue the sedate, Belgian feel in the house.    A wood cricket table is mixed with a more industrial leaning coffee table.  Tara Shaw’s cachepot holds the just starting to bloom Christmas paperwhites. 




imageLooking towards the wall of windows -  you can see the beautifully tailored sofa with its slender arms from which the fabric gracefully falls unimpeded.    Perfect.



imageThe tight back English saddle arm chairs were recovered by Sally in an elegant eggplant colored linen with just the slightest of sheen.  Double ruffled skirts add a soft touch.  The ikat pillow fabric is contrasted against all the gray and linen shades. 




image The focal point of the family room is the fireplace flanked by two bookcases.   A large peeling paint trumeau shares mantel space with old books, some with covers, some without.   Simple jars hold greenery.



image Sally styled the deep gray painted shelves with a mixture of textures:   large spools of twine become decorative objects, caramel colored antique books match terracotta pots.   Shells and carved stones provide light pops of white. 



image In the right bookcase, Sally mixed more caramel colored books with antique apothecary jars.   Shells, pots and more books finish out the vignette.



image Heading from the family room into the kitchen and breakfast room – where the color gray becomes even more prominent.



image The Kitchen.


A small kitchen fire pushed the remodeling up – luckily the owners had been planning an update, now they had to finish it quickly.   Sally changed the Corian countertops to a mixture of gray concrete with Carrara marble on the island.   The slate backsplash was eliminated for just a small lip of concrete – all much more streamlined.    The cabinetry remained – it was just painted, while upper cabinets received glass insets in their doors.   Wicker stools were purchased for the bar area.    The gray on the cabinets is Martin Senour Owlet.   The deeper gray on the kitchen island and family room shelves is Martin Senour Baby Hippo.    Also, all the wood doors throughout are painted in the darker Baby Hippo too.




Looking towards the back wall of windows and the screened-in porch – you can see the breakfast room.  The gorgeous lanterns are from M. Naeve  (yes, I have the same ones too! – great minds think alike, no?)     The chairs are still to be changed out, Sally and the owner were quick to tell me – though I thought these looked just fine!   In this view of the kitchen, you can see the Carrara marble on the island here.   Also, all the hardware was replaced in the remodeling.     How pretty is this?!!!?



image A kitchen must:  casement windows, farm sink, and polished nickel faucet – perfection!




Here you can see the Christmas decorated white painted deer head and Sally Wheat’s own driftwood cross that she creates.   To order one – email me – she makes all different kinds of driftwood art.  The curtains here and in the family room are the same as those in the dining room.  Olivine in Houston carries these, and Restoration Hardware has similar ones. 




Leaving the kitchen to go outside and see the screened-in porch – another rarity for a West University town sized lot.




Screened-In Porch.

The screened-in porch, also with brick flooring, allowed Sally to have some fun.  Sally is a conflicted interior designer – as we all are!  She is torn between quiet, monochromatic palettes and the bright pops of color with contemporary accents that the younger set is drawn to.  The porch gave her the opportunity to express her younger side – with the bright yellows and oranges.   The brown cushions were piped in bright white to tie in with all the pots and tables.  But it’s the lamp and rug that really set the vibe here.  




Are we in Houston?   Doesn’t this look like a European house? 

Heading back inside to go upstairs – notice the closet door painted dark gray.  While I like to paint interior doors black to give them more of a presence, the gray is softer alternative.     There’s one more Sally Wheat designed room to see today:  The Princess’ room.    While the master bedroom is still being finished – I think you’ll like their daughter’s bedroom just fine!



The Princess’ Room.

So precious!   With walls of pink, the focal point no doubt is the round, tufted raspberry velvet ottoman.   Perfect for a throne!   The bed is done in whites and light pink ruffles, while the headboard is all white and nail heads.  Pillows are Hable Construction.   Wall to wall seagrass covers the floor – notice the pattern:  the basketweave is a thicker and somewhat heavier seagrass than the traditional weave. 



imageThis charming gray painted screen with linen tied curtains came from The Fab Flea in Houston.    



imageA gray painted metal chandelier from Olivine hangs from the ceiling – while an antique Louis Philippe mirror sits atop the rattan chest.  



image I love the little angel santos above the bed! 



image But THIS is my favorite!!!!!   I absolutely love this!!!!!






I hope you have enjoyed the tour of The Brick House designed by Sally Wheat.   To see other work by Sally go HERE, HERE, and HERE.  Sally has an antique booth at Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy HERE and is available for interior design projects.  Just email me and I”ll pass them on to Sally!  And Sally is working other projects that she is just finishing up – so hopefully I’ll be bringing those to you soon!