A Teenager’s Bedroom


image    The inspiration bedroom – teenager Allie wanted a bedroom that looked similar to this.   Around four years ago,  I had designed this bedroom on a budget, using mostly Pottery Barn merchandise. 


Recently, I went to a client’s house and remembered that I had never taken pictures of her Allie’s, her teenaged daughter, bedroom.   I worked on her bedroom a few years ago – this is the third bedroom I have decorated for the teenager.   The first bedroom was when she was just out of the toddler stage, leaving behind her decorated nursery.    I designed a room around a Waverly Toile in reds and golds.  I KNOW you remember the toile ????   Everyone and his brother had it, or a version of it, from Waverly.    I mixed it with, yes of course, red and cream checked fabrics.  She had a pine headboard from Pier One and a mosquito netting over the bed.  It was really a cute bedroom at the time.  Even her doll beds were fitted with miniature toile spreads.  That toile bedroom was supposed to last her until she left for college.  Sure!    Actually that bedroom was one of my first jobs as a designer.   


  image The famous Waverly toile  in the red and gold colorway.   Ugh!


After Allie and her parents moved to a new house, she continued to use the toile bedroom decor for a while, until she discovered Bombay Kids, when they opened a new store in the Rice Village.   Allie insisted we redecorate her room ala Bombay Kids.    Do you remember that awful crap they sold, pardon my French??   No wonder they went out of business!    It was all purples and zebras and faux Indian Maharajah chic.   I even had a skirted table made to match with a crystal beaded trim.  Beautiful.   Her carpet was a scrolled dark purple.  It was all God-awful and thankfully she outgrew it quickly.



Bombay Kids – Faux Maharajah Chic


A few years earlier, I had decorated a bedroom on a budget for a mutual friend using mostly all Pottery Barn merchandise.   Allie asked if I would recreate the bedroom, in feeling, for her.    The two rooms do look similar, but there are several different important design elements.   In the PB bedroom,  the curtains in a large bay window  were the focal point, but I absolutely could NOT persuade Allie’s mother to agree to curtains in her bedroom - a decision that still bothers me to this day.    Conversely, while I could not get the PB bedroom owner to buy a two toned patterned carpet, Allie’s mother happily did, and  the carpet adds so much to the room.   Another main difference was the fabric, of course,  and the wall color.  We used a creamy gray in the PB bedroom, but Allie wanted a soft aqua on her walls.   What Allie wants….



Allie’s bedroom, Version IV, if you count her nursery.

I used a Laura Ashley fabric from Kravet and a velvet for the pillows and the bench’s slipcover.   The Laura Ashley fabric, a linen-cotton, is Briston Seaglass LA1301.324 and is very, very inexpensive.    We had a strict budget for this room and nothing in it was too extravagant or expensive.    For instance, the cute, white end tables came from Target – the Shabby Chic line.   We paid next to nothing for them.    The large wing chair, a hand me down from her parents, has been in her room for years and has been recovered at least three times now. 



imageAcross from the bed is a mirrored chest from Z Gallerie.   We bought it on sale, but it’s usually $999. 



We bought the bench from the Shabby Chic store in Austin and then made a slip cover for it out of the aqua velvet. 


image I luckily found six matching aqua lamp shades and two inexpensive lamps (but I can’t remember where they are from!)   Allie wanted sconces just like in the PB bedroom, and she also wanted the oval mirrors flanking the bed.  The sconces came from Indulge HERE.   Another item Allie insisted on was a crystal chandelier.  We bought this one online from one of those huge lighting stores and it was under $200.



The carpet is a trellis pattern in white and aqua – again, it was very, very reasonable.   While not as inexpensive as plain pile carpet, the custom look is worth the minimal extra cost.  




Allie needed something to put all her invitations and pictures on, so I made her a bulletin board.   There was a large blank space between the bathroom and bedroom doors – and I had it made to fit that space.  It is 5’ tall!     If you look closely, you can see that it is tufted with buttons made out of the velvet fabric.  I added a small pleated ruffle to dress it up and soften the edges.   At first while it was still empty, the bulletin board looked odd – a huge blank piece of fabric hanging on the wall.  But,  Allie filled it up very fast.   It has really helped keep her room neat and clean looking.  Once she leaves for college,  her mother can either take it down or hang a few prints on it, framed or not. 



Here is the link for the Target Shabby Chic nightstands – HERE.    And here is the link for the  Z Gallerie mirrored chest – HERE.    I’m sorry to say, but I absolutely have no idea what the paint color is!  I”m sure it’s a Pratt and Lambert, but otherwise, I just can’t remember!!!



image And finally, the sheets came from Pottery Barn, from the Pearl Embroidered line.  HERE.   Houstonian upholsterer Hien Lam made the headboard from a sketch.  HERE.





image Bookshelves for a large bedroom.


We’ve discussed this issue many time before – what to do about those oversized bedrooms - huge, echoing, cavernous spaces that leave you cold?  Alllie’s parents bedroom had that problem.  Even with a large bed, an armoire, and two chairs and ottoman in a sitting area, the room still felt empty.  What to do?   My clients are voracious readers – in fact the entire family is.  They have a million books, seriously, maybe even 2 million.   Once they moved into their new house, all the built in bookshelves in the family room were quickly filled up.   Next we added more shelves in the downstairs study.   On the large second floor landing, we built a large floor to ceiling bookcase.    Still, there were numerous leftover books needing to be shelved. The solution to the book problem and the empty bedroom problem was to add a floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase.  I designed these shelves along the wall where  the bathroom door is.    And yes, the door is not centered on the wall – but there was nothing I could do about that – and in the end, it looks fine just the way it is.     We finished this project over five years ago, and to do it again today, I would make the shelves thicker and fixed for a more up to date look.    Once the shelves were built, the atmosphere in the room changed dramatically.  It became a very cozy space – warm and friendly – despite its large size.     This is a solution I would offer to anyone looking to fill up an oversized bedroom.   Even if you don’t have a lot of books – you can always go to Half Priced Books and buy their Box of Books,  filled with new hardbacks for just $25 – a steal of a deal.   




Other things I did to cozy up the room was to add the two toned, trellis patterned carpet – in place of the cream Berber that was previously there.  The client’s furniture was all pine – so, we restained most of the pieces dark brown which also helped ground the room.   I added curtains and bamboo shades to the windows to further soften and warm up the room.   The client used  her own existing bedding in gold, while I brought in blue in the checked curtain fabric.    The now stained dark armoire was short for these extra tall ceilings, but rather than buying a new one, I layered a collection of drawings on top of it to fill in the blank space.    Looking at the room today, it’s hard to remember how it used to look before the bookshelves were added! 



One House: Version I and II


A house recently went on sale in Houston.  It is owned by an upcoming young, talented and beautiful (the triple threat!) interior decorator.   The designer has not lived in this house very long and as luck would have it, I have the photographs of the house from its previous sale in 2008.    Both times, the house was beautifully furnished in the Houston style – lots of seagrass and linen.     I love seeing how the house changed from 2008 to today under the two different owners and decorators.    This house must really have a special designer vibe – it was also owned by another interior designer in the late 1990s.  



image This one story house, built in the 1950s,  has a fabulous location – right off Weslayan between San Felipe and Westheimer.

Located in Oak Estates, in the shadow of River Oaks, the one story, 1950s house is small – with only 1,986 sq. ft - which makes it perfect for a young family or empty nesters.   It’s kitchen has been updated with Carrara marble countertops, slate floor, new stainless appliances, and there is an expanded master suite with an adjoining study.   The house was previously a 3 bedroom, but one of the bedrooms was turned into a master closet, making it now a 2 bedroom 2.5 bathroom.   Listed at $775,000, the HAR information is available HERE.



Walking into the foyer, it’s obvious someone with impeccable style lives here.   A collection of antique French pots and books sit atop a painted console.   A glimpse into the living room shows an antique buffet and mirror. 



image YUM!   Custom cut seagrass in the living room, along with beautiful creamy silk curtains.   The curtains are perfect – reaching to the top, they are full and luscious – exactly how they should be.   Notice on the left, there are two antique buffets and mirrors flanking the front window.   I love the tufted ottoman and the French settee.     Two Fortuny pillows sit on the sofa and a mirror and pair of sconces are hanging above.   Note:  Be sure to set your monitor on maximum view to see the entire picture. 


image The living room, looking back towards the entry hall.  


image The house has a nice, open flow to  it.   The dining room opens from the living room and the family room opens from the dining room.   The kitchen is next to the dining room.   The dining room has two benches instead of chairs.   The linen slip, with its ruffled flange, is rough – perfectly matched to the table.   There is also an antique trumeau and a painted buffet.   The first time I saw benches used like this was  in Pam Pierce’s house.   See pictures at the end of this story.


image Connecting through the dining room is the family room – here the owners used Stark’s antelope carpet – a favorite in Houston.   The designer homeowner cozied up a sectional sofa with a custom made slipcovered ottoman in linen.   What a great idea – especially when blending his and hers – the ottoman really makes the typical sectional look atypical.  


image And looking the other direction – the bookshelves are filled with French pots and books, turned backwards to give a unified look.  I know this is a controversial way to shelve books, but I love the way it looks, especially when the books are a collection of cheap paperbacks!   I think it looks great.   Notice how thick the shelves are – this is a great way to update a bookshelf.   Notice here, you can see that the flange trim on the sofa is darker, giving a contrasting accent to the sectional.   Pillows like this can be found all over the Ebay and Etsy or at Restoration Hardware.  



Restoration Hardware’s pillows, similar to the homeowner’s.



image New Orleans antique dealer Karla Katz has a collection of these French pots on 1st dibs HERE.





image Off the dining room is the kitchen and breakfast room.    




Vagabond Vintage sells burlap runners like those seen in the breakfast room.  Order VV through Olivine HERE.



image The kitchen has stainless appliances and a new range hood.   There are  Carrara marble countertops and new open shelving.   The backsplash appears to have come from Chateau  Domingue HERE. 




This collection of tiles from Chateau Domingue are late 19th century.    They are actually colored cement tiles, called encaustic tiles.   Mostly the tiles are used on floors, but in Houston – many have been using them as backsplashes in powder rooms and kitchens.  



image Another view of the kitchen with its simple linen curtains.  It looks like the wooden range hood was built around the steel one – which is a great idea to  copy!    The cabinets are painted a light gray to match the marble and encaustic tile backsplash.  Notice how the shelves are a rough wood, rather than smooth.  Great kitchen.





image The master bedroom was enlarged and has a small sitting area and expanded bathroom and closet.  



image Beautiful new bathroom – love the cabinet and the antique marble vessel sinks.   Great Rohl hardware.  Really well done.  Walker Zanger tile. 



image The guest room is simple and sweet.  I like the shutters opened like that.   The skirted table is a simple burlap - Wisteria and Ballard Designs sell similar ones. 




Wisteria sells these, so does Ballard Designs.  HERE.




The second bathroom is softened with a custom made linen shower curtain and sink skirt.   Another linen is used as a shade. 



image Nice landscaping and patio, along with vintage outdoor furniture.




Another view of the back yard – the trellis is a great way to soften the garage’s blank wall.





image Here are the HAR pictures from the house when it was sold to the current owner in 2008.   Which version do you like best, I or II or a combination of the two?

Version II:   In this arrangement, there is a lot more furniture and the room looks totally different than Version I.  I love the Louis Philippe mirror and the French day bed and chairs on the back wall.  But, I am definitely missing the beautiful lush silk curtains from the first house.  


image The living room from the other view.   I love the French chairs and table.   



image The dining room is set up like Version I with a long rustic styled table and a buffet in the corner with a mirror over it.  The chandelier is crystal here, as opposed to the Italian styled one in the current house.  The same curtains are used here as in the living room.





image Here, you can see the host chairs are slipped in white linen with a gray trim.  These owners have more contemporary pieces, like this mirror and the art work. 



image The family room – I do really like this a lot.  I love the KWID print and the white slipped furniture.   The art work is perfect here.   This owner chose to use baskets in the shelves instead of books.  The walls are painted a deep taupe and there is wall to wall seagrass here. 


image Another view – I really love this room!  Very nicely done. 



image This owner chose to use a leather banquette and a Saarinen table.   Different, but very functional.  




The kitchen is so different now in Version I with the open shelving and new hardware.   Version I is such an improvement over all these upper cabinets.  I also like the new range hood in Version I than here




These owners chose to use the 3rd bedroom as an office.   Great carpet, furniture, and I love the dark chocolate walls. 


 image The master bedroom with dark taupe walls has linen slipped headboard and chair with two Oriental end tables and a crystal chandelier.   Totally different decor from Version I.   





One of the bathrooms – nice and simple in gray tile.    But I do miss all the linen – the shades, the shower curtain; I think it warmed up this bathroom in Version I.



 image This bedroom is much more decorated than in Version I.  Love the Rogers and Goffigon linen duvet and shams.   Very cute!



image The backyard is set up for kids under this owner.


So, which is better, Version I or Version II.   Actually there are elements of both houses that I like.  I like the updated kitchen and bathrooms in Version I better.   And I like the living room and dining room in Version I.   But I prefer the family room and the bedrooms in Version II over I.   Agree???


Pam Pierce Slipcover Details :

image Remember the dining room in Version I – with the two linen covered benches?    I love this look, and credit is due to Pam Pierce for making it popular.




In Pierce’s own house photographed for Veranda, her dining room featured two benches slipped in linen.   This was the first time I had seen this look updated for the 2000s.  




Chateau Domingue’s Ruth Gay has a similar look in her house.   I love this dining room – notice the beautiful jars on the buffet.  Gorgeous.   And notice the tablescape.  Just beautiful.   AND, it was Pam Pierce, of course, who was the designer who helped Gay with her house.




image Recently, Southern Living published this picture – with two linen slipcovered benches.  My first thought when seeing these was they were inspired no doubt by Pam Pierce.  



 Another style that Pam Pierce first did and many others followed was her skirted tables.   Instead of running the fabric with two seams up the side, Pierce gathered the linen on top of the table.   It’s hard to see in this picture, but again, Pierce championed this look. 




In The Stone House featured here, the homeowner’s skirted dining table is modeled after Pierce’s.   The gathering is pulled onto the tabletop here.


image In The Bennison House, interior designer Jane Wood HERE used a similar type of skirted table, the seam is just at the edge of the table. 





And in Sally Wheat’s living room, HERE,  she used a skirted table with the seam running on top.  FYI – Sally’s living room looks nothing like this today.  Not one piece in this room is here today except for the curtains.   Her new living room is contemporary!