12 April 2011

A Bit of Charming England in Texas

 

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No, this isn’t a cottage on some back lane in Cotswold.  It’s an Arts and Crafts house in Woodland Heights, one of Houston’s older neighborhoods. This charming house is owned by Melanie Millar, an artist whose work is highly acclaimed.    Of course an artist would live in such a unique and wonderful house!   Although Melanie is from New Jersey, she went to school at the University of Texas and received a MFA from The University of North Texas at Denton.    Her work is in private and corporate collections, as well as in the collection of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston.   Below are a few of my favorite works from her latest series:  “Line of Beauty.”

 

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Some of Melanie’s beautiful images are seen on her blog, www.melaniemillar.blogspot.com 

Her current work shown on her blog is taken from her series of work entitled “Line of Beauty.”    She writes:  “In an essay written in 1753, The Analysis of Beauty, William Hogarthsought to identify the qualities that determine the perception of beauty in a work of art or architecture. He reduced this complex question down to one component: the S curve or arabesque which he called the Line of Beauty. The "line of beauty" in my work comes from ornamental iron work. Certainly Hogarth over simplified the question. I think our cultural/visual wiring programs us to associate these ornamental motifs with pleasure and beauty, which is how I hope these works are perceived.”

 

 

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She Can't Hear You, oil on canvas, 30"x28"

 

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archival digital print with mixed media on paper, 40"x30"

 

 

 

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Recently, Melanie’s house was featured on the Woodland Heights Home Tour.   The house was built in 1915 – and for Houston, that’s ancient!  Even in Woodland Heights, this is one of the oldest houses.   The homebuilder lived here, so he incorporated many builder upgrades.   It’s the dining room windows that really catch your eye – wood mullioned windows, original to the house – they are simply gorgeous.   The house is small – just 1100 sq. ft, 2 bedrooms and 1 bath – and it has barely been touched through the years. 

 

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The dining room window, including its hardware, is original to the house, and is the focal point of the façade.  In Houston where most of houses are from the second half of the 1900s, older houses are so special.    Melanie moved in this house in 2000.  She had first seen it in 1986 and fell in love at first sight.  It was up for sale in 1987 but she had just purchased another house nearby.   Her friend bought the house instead.   When her friend put it up for sale in 2000, Melanie finally made the move and bought her dream house. 

 

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  The décor is a study in contrast – everything is either light or dark, black or white. 

In the living room, the fireplace, window seats and bookshelves are all original.  The art work above the mantle is by Melanie Millar.   The floors in the living and dining room are oak, a builder’s upgrade.  The rest of the house has pine floors.   Melanie has furnished her house with pieces scavenged in her neighborhood, including Stardust Antiques on 11th street and other shops on 19th Street.  If you aren’t familiar with the area, The Heights has great shopping.   White slipcovers cover the matching love seats. 

 

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I love that center table.

 

 

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  And looking towards the back wall.  I love all the dark, black antiques – they really stand out against all the white of the walls and the slipcovers.  Melanie says that the only fine antique in the house is the Philadelphia Queen Anne corner chair which is a family piece.

 

 

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Of course this diptych on paper is by the homeowner, Melanie Millar. 

 

 

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Close up of the center table.

 

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And looking towards the front porch. 

 

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The dining room with the set of windows that first attracted the homeowner.  The windows and the hardware are original to the house and they have been painted shut in order to minimize damage.  This really is so English looking – not Texan at all!

 

 

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The large pine dining table also serves as a library table.

 

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Along one wall is a long console.

 

 

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Melanie is currently working a project, photographing nests – transferring the photo image to light sensitive printing plates to produce etching. 

 

 

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Though there is no picture of the kitchen, the cabinets are from a 1950’s renovation and everything else was updated.   The kitchen shares the same paneling as the breakfast nook which is original to the house.   The bench, though, was added during the 50s renovation.    The light fixture came from Balinska’s, a shop once located on 19th street.

 

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The custom table top is from Installations on 22th Street.  The art work along the back wall is Melanie’s.  And, that is a metal blackboard.

 

 

 

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The Powder Room/guest bathroom/master bathroom – all in one.  This room was completely updated.  The lavatory is a reproduction of an Italian piece from the early 20th century, all the fixtures are an unusual silver plate.   The art work on the upper right is an engraving by Melanie’s great grandfather documenting the placement of the capstone on the Washington Monument.  It is dated 1865 – what a story must be behind it!!!!  Hiding behind the door is a study done by the owner’s grandfather in architecture school, dated 1914.  It’s obvious where she gets her talent from.   The skirt is a dark blue and white, further examples of the strong contrasts found throughout.    Notice the darling doorknob and notice the beautiful marble marble. 

 

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The master bedroom is the fulfillment of the owner’s vision.  She designed and hand printed all the bed fabrics!!!  Amazing!    The two bedrooms on the back of the house look out at the courtyard.   Before, there were windows here, but recently Melanie removed those and added French doors and a wood deck, along with a stone terrace.  Now the outdoors and indoors are visually connected and feel as one room. 

 

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Another look at the owner’s designed linens.

 

 

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Next to the bed is this charming chair from Watkins Culver which sits underneath art work by Melanie. 

 

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I love the pillows!

 

 

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Melanie’s favorite possession is this chest from New Hampshire, dating from the 1700s.  It is black painted pine, made to look like mahogany.   The patina is incredible.

 

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The best part – is the carving “Keep Out”  probably done by J.A., a temperamental teenaged boy.  Imagine how much trouble he got in for carving up his chest!

 

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A close up of her hand screened designs. 

 

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And, a close up of her greyhound in her wicker bed with ticking mattress.  Here you can see the blue and white curtains close up.

 

 

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The second bedroom/office/TV room also leads off the deck through the new French doors out to the courtyard.  Behind the courtyard is the house’s garage.  Here in the Heights and the Woodland Heights, most of the garages face back alleyways – lucky!!!!!   These pillows were also designed and hand screened by Melanie.

Melanie notes that the architectural historian who looked at the house for eligibility for the tour was surprised to find original built in bedroom closets in a house this old.   He said it was very usual for such a modest house built in 1915 to have built in closets.   Melanie says the closets are too cluttered to show here!   I can truly relate to that.

 

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The back courtyard with the French door leading out from the guest room. 

 

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And the wood deck and French door leading out from the master bedroom.  Almost everything in the courtyard blooms white, except for the Cecile Bruner roses. 

 

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And there was even room for a fountain which was added when the doors and patio were installed.  Melanie says that the entire feel of the house has changed since the courtyard was opened up to the house!

 

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I hope you have enjoyed this wee bit of England in Texas!!  Be sure to visit Melanie Millar’s web site to view all her art work.  www.melaniemillar.blogspot.com

And a huge thank you to Melanie for inviting us into her charming house!!!

 

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The Skirted Roundtable has a new recording up that has been generating some email discussion.  It’s all about blogging and product pitches. Judging by the emails, not everyone agrees with us on this one, but it is what it is.  Can’t take it back now.  We do have two nationally known interior designers in the can for the next two weeks!  And we have a huge surprise interview coming up – someone that no one thought we would ever get, considering…well…..I’ll tell you more about it when the time comes!

 

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Be sure to listen.    Go here:   www.skirtedroundtable.blogspot.com

 

 

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And finally, today, I want to introduce a new sponsor on Cote de Texas:  Greige. 

As they say, “We are here to bring you beautiful products and inspiration to help you create an environment that is a reflection of you.”

This week, Greige is now offering a 10% discount for Cote de Texas readers. 

 

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To access their web page, go to

http://www.shopgreige.com/

To get your 10% discount, enter the code:  Cote10

 

58 comments:

  1. Oh...love this cottage. This is my kind of little house. Love what she did to he back how she opened up the bedroom to the backyard. I want to do that too. I'd love to see the kitchen.

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  2. Headed over to hear you women on skirted round table missed you while travelling love listening as I play blog catch up! Thanks Joni

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  3. What a beautiful home and I love her paintings especially the second painting. Those pillows in her second bedroom are great too. I'm off to seee if I can afford her work for my dining room.

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  4. What a great post and lovely home. Now I want to print fabric for my home too.

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  5. wonderful, charming, well-loved, and beautifully edited home.
    love the new hampshire chest (of course), her bed linens, and the marble baseboards in the bathroom are such a delightful surprise. adore her art- what a talent.
    loved seeing her sweet greyhound in that fabulous basket.
    thank you for the tour and to Melanie for inviting us in!!

    joan

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  6. an artist's home can be the most fascinating....the handmade block prints for her bedroom are really charming, her paintings are so appealing!

    stylishserendipity.blogspot.com

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  7. This house is extremely charming. Everywhere you look you can find something to admire.

    It has a personality of its own and I simply love houses like that.

    Great post, Joni.

    Have a great day!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

    PS: Drop by my blog if you have a minute today. I'm starting that "thing" we've talked before via email. :-) I'm excited! Wish me luck. :-)

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  8. I have serious house envy!! Quaint & sophisticated, elegant & inviting! The beautiful garden has this New England girl chomping at the bit for Spring! Thanks for sharing! Have a great day!
    Paula

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  9. Love it! The painted fireplace wall with the windows and bookshelves was exactly like my mother-in-law's bungalow. (She passed away at 91 and still lived there. I think it was built ca. 1914.) I adore seeing old cottages done with such flair, and I especially love seeing SMALL houses featured. Melanie's certainly learned how to conquer her stuff. Wonder where her studio is? The front windows are to die for. Thanks for another special post.

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  10. Joni: It seems that I have been seeing a lot of "incredible mansions" on many different blogs these days. Thanks for showing us something that is modest and reasonable, but untouchable when it comes to creativity and charm. This is just a fabulous post of a truly fantastic house. Melanie has true grit!

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  11. Joni, what a beautiful home! I had to scroll through and look at all the pics twice. I love those dining room windows! Why don't we build homes like this now??? Just beautiful!

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  12. Went on the Woodland Heights tour and loved this home.
    Wish I had had a Joni sighting!

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  13. Thank you so much for introducing us to Melanie, I love artists and their homes. Her work is florid with a feeling of being old, yet contemporary. I especially love the diptych on paper. Her artwork really adds depth to her lovley, lovely home. I am a painter too, and while I don't have a luxurious home, having paintings and drawings all over gives it a feeling of sumptuousness.
    Have a wonderful day and thank you once again, oh, I can't wait to listen to the new SRT talk.

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  14. Thank you for sharing this small and very special home! Those dining room windows are a dream.

    I'm so curious about your big "get" for the SRT . . . someone does come to mind . . . does her name begin with "B"?

    : )

    Jennifer

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  15. Hi Joni!
    I wanted to let you know that Melanie Miller's last name is Millar. I had tried to access her blog as you detailed and it was a personal narrative by another woman named Melanie Miller. The blog for Melanie Millar is at http://melaniemillar.blogspot.com/. She really does gorgeous work. Thank you so much for bringing her to our attention.
    Thank you also for your lovely blog. I have passed it along to many friends and we so enjoy following you and your delicious posts!!
    Best,
    Donna Atkinson

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  16. Loving everything about this post, I to tried to see her art, you must change it to millar...
    Again I will look at this post over and over again, thank you Joni...

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  17. Tudo luxuoso e requintado; dos jardins ao mobiliário; dos objetos de adorno às almofadas..parabéns pela seleção de imagens, perfeita!!!!!!
    Dolly

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  18. I love her art and her house ! However I am always telling clients that in a smaller home they need low contrast in color...lol what do I know ! I wonder about the tall center table between the loveseats... doesn't seen like it would be easy to see who you are talking too... but it looks great. I love it when you show the smaller homes with great charm and style. Thanks

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  19. What a charming house. I especially love those windows! Reminds me of my previous house in Montrose. Her work is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Beautiful house! Im a designer and I too live in a Heights cottage nearby; I have been working on it for a couple of years, but ms. Millar's puts my cottage to shame! I have house envy, in a good way ;)

    dearpolia.blogspot.com

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  21. This home is full of charm I love that it looked lived in and cherished articles were used. Every piece had a permission to touch and use me atttitude. Love the charm and those windows almost made me gasp. Kathysue

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  22. lovely lovely home! Her style has so much appeal.

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  23. Her home is fabulous as is her artistic talent. Love those windows and the sweet powder bath! Thanks for sharing her with us Joni.
    xo~
    T

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  24. I loved seeing this artist's home!
    The tiny little photograph clipped to the lamp shade was such an unexpected touch...love that! And, I predict carving messages in second hand furniture will be a new "undecorate" trend!!
    Love her sense of style so much. Very inspiring.

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  25. Yes you are right. It is charming..Very much so.... I love the windows...So EEEGLEESH!!!!
    A really delightful spot in a big city, and the artwork is great. I too love the bedroom, funny, I have one on those old French fabric stamps in a paisley... Giving me ideas.. Great post. Love the ones you do on smaller homes....
    Maryanne ;)

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  26. Joni-great way to illustrate that bigger isn't always better--and sometimes smaller really is sweeter.

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  27. What a beautiful, loved home. I also love the windows. I recently purchased 2 at a Habitat ReStore. I just couldn't pass them up! Thanks for featuring a wonderful 2 bed/1 bath home. It's a great lifestyle choice!

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  28. Adore this! I love how warm the home feels.

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  29. Turning windows into French doors, this is a smart girl.

    That curve in art?

    In landscape design it's called the "eye-sweet" line.

    The "eye-sweet" sweet line originated with paths made by animals.

    This little home lives bigger than Texas.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    blew thru Houston last weekend, one of these days I'll make it to your doorstep....

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  30. Wonderful home, love that! So English, the windows in particular are beyond charming, Joni. I have window envy. I wish new homes were built with more character like this darling one. The interior is charming too, so cozy and livable.
    Lidy

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  31. Utterly charming. Thank you for sharing.

    In one month, I will be an empty-nester and will no longer feel compelled to live someplace I really don't like for family reasons. I would love to find a charming small home like that in a warmer climate and settle in.

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  32. What a darling house, Joni! I loved every inch of it. And do you know what? The table that you liked in the center of the LR? My grandmother had its fraternal twin! I have no idea what happenede to it, who got it, but I always loved it.

    I cannot get over the fact that Melanie made her own fabrics. How incredible. The whole thing is neat. Thanks so much to both of you for this tour.

    And thanks for introducing us to your new sponsor. I always love the people who sponor you site. They have neat things. And how I wish I could get the audio thingy to work for the round table. Some day I hope to get a MAC, and when I do, I will listen to every one I can!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

    P.S. I adore Melanie's artwork in this post, too.

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  33. Sorry about the typos in that last post. I get so excited when I come to your blog, that I just make them left and right because I'm giddy. ;-)

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  34. LOVE the chest. Now that is patina, my friend! Also, my eyes widened over the ticking duvet with ribbon ties. Beautiful! Her home is so crisp and welcoming :)

    Thanks for the introduction to her artwork and home :)

    xoxo,

    Andrea

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  35. What a a true talent indeed. I also like the black one from her series of work entitled "Line of Beauty".
    Wonderful home, the bold black furnitures really stood out. Simple yet elegantly exuding.

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  36. Her neighbors are lucky. Love her home and style.
    Love her artwork too.
    pve

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  37. What happened to the April 8th post on the wonderful South Carolina island home? web trouble accessing this page. thanks for all the visual delight!

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  38. I am in love with her textiles and adore the pillows! The chest of drawers with the carving is perfection!

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  39. What Happened to the seaside cotage post? Really enjoyed it!

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  40. Wow, talk about inspiration, every image is charming and makes me want to redecorate. Stunning images of a wonderful talent.
    Karen

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  41. Melanie's home is just as beautiful and unique as her art. We are missing that old world charm out here in the burbs of Katy.

    Melanie's interiors truly feel like you are on holiday in England. I dare say I feel like a 'spot' of tea now. Thanks Joni, a real treat to see this amazing home.

    x Deb

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  42. You had me before I even went inside with those gorgeous windows!

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  43. 19th Century Belgian Farmhouse Tableis what I would choose if money was no object. I love all kinds of tables-wood, glass, metal etc. This one is fabulous!

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  44. Wow, everything is gorgeous on her site. It is hard to choose just one thing. I absolutely love the Gold Leaf Louis Philippe Mirror!
    They are so beautiful and give any room that special "look"!
    Thanks for doing this Joni!
    Carole

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  45. I choose the Louis XV style antique fruitwood commode ( INV. 66). I was really torn, but I picked the most useful object for me.

    Calanit in DC calanitk@hotmail.com

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  46. After perusing Bonny's Antiques, my favorite is the 19th Century Mora clock with the original paint. I have always loved the lines of a Mora clock. It would go quite nicely in my home. I hope I am the winner of the marble pedestal!

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  47. What happened to the Spartina house? I had the link saved and now it doesn't work! Please re-post it. That is my favorite house ever.

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  48. oooh - if money was no object everything!! my two favorites are the 19th century swedish mora clock or the french 19th walnut desk.

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  49. Love Melanie's cute house. Those windows are gorgeous! Thanks for the look.

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  50. So excited to be your 50 comment! - lol Love the central table - What a beautiful design!

    Happy Passover!

    PS The new layout for your blog is fantastic!

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  51. Good Morning,

    If I could afford to buy something from Bonny's beautiful antiques it would definately be the French 19th Century Walnut fauteil Chairs covered in Belgian Linen. My second choice would be a set of the French antique Dining Chairs. My husband made me a harvest table some 20 years ago from a pattern in Colonial Homes Magazine. I presently have Windsor chair with the table now but these French chairs would be so lovely. There are so many things in her shop that caught my eye. I just love this new look. I also am so glad I found Cote de Texas blog site. I wake up everyday looking forward to see what you have written about. I also love your writing style. You describe it just the way you feel the room speak to you. I can get so carried away in dreamland. I tell my husband, if I can't dream, you can just shoot me. I live to see beauty in things. Judy English

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  52. French 19th Cent Harvest Table with Leaves
    Inv. 19, h-30.25, w-55, d-28.5 + 2 16" leaves
    $4,400.00
    This is my dream piece. I have a wonderful kitchen in need of a new look and I think that would this table would be a perfect place to begin. I am new to yours and everyones blogs and Love it.

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  58. This didn't feel very english honestly.

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