09 July 2012

House of Fifty Talks To Cote de Texas

 

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Ageism?  I know I have suffered from it.  Blogging, especially décor blogging is for the young.  The scores and scores of décor blogs are mostly written by the newly married or first-time home owners – who catalogue their days spent decorating their houses.  For some just starting out in the work force, money is tight,  so there are lots of DIY projects that fill the pages of their blogs.  They have it easy, these young bloggers.  They have lots to talk about day after day.  Furnishing a house is a long term event and with each new object they buy or make or restore, they have plenty to blog about.  Jealous?  You bet I am!  I’m at a different stage in my life.  I’ve raised my family and have furnished my house.  I don’t go out shopping every day anymore, and I actually need to edit and sell things now. 

Oh, how I wish there were blogs 10 and 20 years ago when I frantically tried to furnish my house on birthday checks from my parents and IRS rebates (not many of those!)  Every time Ben and I needed something big – like a rug, or a coffee table – my parents would graciously gift us it for an anniversary present.   I was never a DIY-er, but watching all these young girls transform an IKEA chest into a fabulous glam piece, I probably would have tried a few projects.   Had I been writing this blog all those years ago, you would have read about each piece of transferware I collected, and suffered through every design phase I tried out.  Maybe it’s better I wasn’t writing this back then!!

 

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It’s been a long, strange trip since I decorated my first apartment – during college, 38 years now!!!  Love those eyebrows!

 

All the younger design bloggers are online friends – they talk about their pregnancies and how they decorated the myriad birthday parties they host for their children.  Many homeschool along with all their other duties and deserve medals for how they get it all done:  cooking a family dinner every night with home grown vegetables or painting the entire house while breast feeding at the same time.  The  younger bloggers are exhausting to read about – and at the same time make you feel like a lazy slug.  

At 57, soon to be 58 (yikes!) I am looking forward to the next few years,  hopefully being a mother in law, and a grandmother.   So, yes, I understand ageism – trying to fit in with all the young décor bloggers has been interesting and inspiring.  It’s hard to find things to write about that might pique the interest of the younger set, but I try.   I know I’m not alone in this, ageism affects every field and with the baby boomers now reaching retirement age – it’s become quite a popular topic. 

 

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Magazine editor and blogger, Janell Beals looking much younger than her 50 years.

 

Another blogger that faced the ageism effect is Janell Beals.   Beals wrote the popular Isabella and Max Rooms blog which lead to freelance jobs at HGTV and Houzz.  She was at the top of her game when she was scouted to star in a possible television show.  Over the phone, the interviewer asked how old she was – and Janell replied “49.”   Surprising the interviewer,  she was told how much younger she looked in pictures – and that they would get back with her concerning the job.  Of course Janell never heard from them again.  Depressed over the obvious ageism bias, she decided to start an online magazine where her age would never be an issue.  Called House of Fifty, it was named as a word play on her age. 

Online magazines like House of Fifty are an outgrowth of blogs, usually published once every two months.  They have pages and pages of wonderful copy – sometimes much more than a print magazine because their overhead is much less.  Online magazines are the wave of the future. Almost all print magazines are now available online through companies like Zinio, Issuu,  and Coverleaf and independent  magazines like House of Fifty,  available only online, are quickly gaining in numbers.

 

 

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Lulie Wallace’s beautiful art work was featured in House of Fifty’s Summer 2012 issue.

 

House of Fifty was launched over a year ago and they just recently put out their sixth issue.  Though not geared specifically for the gray hairs, the content is broad enough to appeal to all ages, including those in the their 20s and 30s.  Janell hired a group of writers from across the blogs, and recently she invited 60 something Valorie Hart of The Visual Vamp, to join the group, ensuring that us grandmas will get coverage.   Although design is heavily focused on, House of Fifty is not just a decor magazine – it features articles on cooking and recipes, fashion, travel, entertaining, jewelry, art, and there is even a financial advice column.   There’s something for all ages in its pages filled with beautiful photographs.

 

 

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One of my favorite articles was about guest rooms by Lori Graham, seen in the 2011 Holiday issue HERE.  I love the international look of this room – with its dark floors and rugs and oriental touches.

 

 

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The other half of Lori Graham’s fabulously designed guest room.   Love it!

 

 

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House of Fifty has a regular column called “Blogs We Love” – which features 3 different blogs each issue.  This blogger, Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home showed the room she designed for a showhouse, using mostly her own fabrics and furniture.   Sooo cute!!!  Find it in this issue HERE.

 

 

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After being profiled herself,  Valorie Hart joined the staff and wrote this great article – “Does your décor tell your age?” Valorie featured her own house in New Orleans to prove that decorating knows no age.  Look how “young” Valorie’s living room is – any 20 something would love to live in this space, designed by a 60 something!

 

 

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In the same article Valorie featured editor and founder of House of Fifty, Janell Beals own dining room- it certainly doesn’t look like it was designed by and for someone past the half century mark.  OK, I am depressing myself here talking about half century marks!!!  Find it in this issue HERE.

 

 

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Well…lookie here!!!  Although they must not love my blog because I never made it into their “Blogs We Love” column, I was interviewed for the newest issue on “Advanced Décor:  Designing luxurious yet livable homes.”  Not sure if Advance Décor means décor for the advanced aged????

 

 

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The article was written by The Visual Vamp – Valorie Hart - and I am so proud to be a part of House of Fifty!!! To read this article, go to the newest issue HERE.

 

 

A huge thank you to Janell Beals and Valorie Hart for including me in new The House of Fifty!!

 

 

 

 

93 comments:

  1. I'm 35 and those bloggers make me tired too!! Been following House of Fifty since it came out and love it!

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  2. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
    web agency brussels

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  3. Karen in AtlantaJuly 9, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    your point is so valid... there is a- for lack of better word-market for the over forty or fifty .. many of us are where you are with their homes seeking to refine rather than begin..I will check out the House of Fifty and thanks for keeping at it with your blog...

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  4. I'm not sure when it happpened but I used to be the young one and now all of a sudden I'm the old one. Even now with blogs and I'm only 52 for goodness sakes I'm not ready for the pasture!I know what you mean about finding it hard to find something to write about on our blogs. My home is furnished, it's decorated, it needs some refreshing here and there but it's done, now what do I write about? Not sure if this post made me feel better or worse? But I still love you Joni mainly because you're older....lololol!

    XX
    Debra~

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  5. oh dear - i am 38 and hang out mostly with women in their 50's and 60's - and i think that i do that because slightly older women seem to be done with the whole let's compare our homes/marriages/children/efforts thing - and yes, i do homeschool/garden/cook/breastfeed/diy (and am expecting my fourth child this winter) - i am way more interested in learning from someone with more experience than i have than from my contemporaries! thanks joni, for being one of the slightly older women i can learn from!

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  6. I am in my mid-twenties, and definitely just starting to build my home decor, but I love reading blogs of all sorts, including yours, to give me a better perspective (plus, we live overseas with the military and I love hearing about our hometown, Houston!). It's so easy to get sucked into the fads and crazes, painting all furniture and DIY everything, it's good to have (as the article says) advanced design to look towards. Of course, I can't furnish my house in antiques and linen (especially with an 8 month old crawling around), but I also don't want to live with Ikea furniture forever, either. I hope my aesthetic evolves and matures as I do, so I definitely think there's a place for all levels of design in the blog world!

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  7. House of Fifty is my preferred online mag, maybe it is because I am getting old (44) teehee. I fully agree with you, Joni, these blogs can make a girl feel positively ancient.

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  8. I am in my late twenties and I am a HUGE fan of your blog! True beauty knows no age.

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  9. Aging is liberating....there is a freedom I feel now I never experienced in my youth. This is why we love you so much Joni. You exhibit the freedom to REALLY tell us like it is always with the most stylish and practical point of view. Keep it doing sweetie!

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  10. Joni,
    You are timeless! Talent and chic taste has no age. I never tire of your informative posts:)))

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  11. My Landscape Design & Home remodeling business is THRIVING in this economy. Why? Mostly women over 50 hiring me. They've humored their spouse, nurtured children and now it is their turn. Why anyone would ignore the money in this age group is a mystery. Glad they are, it's coming my way.

    Younger women hiring me, 30-40, are amazing. Work, marriage, children yet they want a Landscape Design. They buy chunks at a time. DIY is different in this era than when I began in the 80's.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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  12. I am also finding that so many of my clients are younger than me. I loved all the rooms you have showed and they have no age. Good design is timeless and good designers learn more and more each year they are doing it so there are benefits with age!!! I am loving my 50's--except for the wrinkles and the wieght--haha Keep on going Joni you are the best! xo Leslie

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  14. Thanks for keeping it real on the age thing b/c I'm one of those designer/design bloggers "slightly" over 50 too! And about to be a Grandmother in the next few weeks! I figured you and Janell were both alot younger, so I'm so happy to know we're in the same group.
    I've always had a young mind set though and love to keep design young & fresh, so I'm hoping that's what keeps the younger readers on my blog & clients. Recently I hired a 30ish asst. and I find that we work great together, and forget we have an age difference!
    Most of the design insight I've gained over the yrs of practicing have been taught from "older" designers. So, my hope is for the younger readers to learn design education from us (the older bloggers) too.

    Also, I had no idea "HOUSE OF FIFTY" was named because of the age thing.....love that online mag...

    Kudos to you & Janell!

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    1. You know, one of my best girlfriends is 20 years older than me. We just click. I never think of the age. We have so much in common. Our neighbors are in their late 70's and they grow a gigantic garden each year! Many people their age are in their recliners watching endless tv, but not them! They are in better shape than my husband and I. I suppose each person makes the decision for themselves if they are going to FOCUS on their age, or just forget about their age, and do what pleases them. I don;t watch my age. I often have to ask my husband how old I am. It simply isn't important. You can do any thing you put your mind to, no matter how old or young you are. Don't let society dictate what you can or cannot do. We are only as young as we let ourselves be. So stop counting the numbers.... Huge Blessings ladies!

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  16. Congratulations to you!!!!!! But there you go making the rest of us baby boomers sit and question: "what have I done," "what can I do," "what do I still have the energy to do," etc. I tell my husband all the time we've entered fall and he keeps asking me what I'm talking about. Men.

    BTW - that picture of you is adorable. For some reason after wearing that same brow in my teen years my eyebrows never grew back!!!

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  17. You have ADVANCED to the next level in design, as we all strive to do. I will be, ahem, 44, in a few short weeks. Mr. Decor and I just moved into a new to us home and everyday as I chuck another plastic bit of nothing into the Goodwill pile I think "Joni would be so proud." Or as I ponder a design decision I ask myself "What would Joni do?" I literally cried when I realized bamboo blinds would NOT work in my new home.

    Just like the man with the gray haired ponytail or the grandma wearing a miniskirt there comes a time when we need to advance in our design decisions and quit buying/finding disposable furniture which we then cover with spray paint.
    With every blog post you write Joni I am SO thankful you did.

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  18. As for me, age is only numbers. I must say that I really like your blog. Your designs are very classic and elegant. Thanks a lot for the wonderful blog.

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  19. Age brings with it maturity, experience, wisdom, and grace. I get weary of most of the "young" blogs, sometimes not even opening the email. Yours... I settle in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and savor! I always know I'm in for a treat! (And how appropriate your blog is today, since it's yet another birthday!)

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  20. congratulations on such a fabulous article!! You are advanced in your taste and design aesthetics. Decor can be ageless and you have proven that!! Love seeing the younger Joanie, what a beautiful lady!!!! I know when I let people know how old I was my readership suffered for awhile, but I think we timeless women have a lot to offer the younger set, we are a wealth of experience and knowledge that one can only get by time passing!! You are younger than myself by four years, but I have a saying, " I don't mind aging, it is a natural process that happens from the moment that we are born, BUT I refuse to become old, that is a state of mind!!"
    Happy Monday,
    Kathysue

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  21. Such a great story of creativity and success and a wonderful theme for a magazine. I read this blog and the magazines are addictive. House Beautiful, Traditional Home and Veranda can learn a lot here.

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  22. Hi Joni,
    I just turned 50 this year and have just started a blog. Sometimes I do feel overwhelmed by all the projects the younger bloggers get done even with their busy lives. My youngest is 17 and oldest is 27 and I can't get as much done as the younger bloggers (do they ever sleep?). I just have to get over it and write my blog just as intended which is to basically journal about renovating projects in our home of 22 years which need some updating and not feel like I need to compete and post every day with some new amazing project. That is one thing I like about my age is that you can just be who you are and be happy with it. Thank you for sharing this magazine, I am going to be having a look at it.

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    1. You know Lana, Some of the best blogs that I enjoy are those that are only updated one time per week or twice a month. I know when they publish something, it is going to be good! These blogs I like are those I can go back to many times and get ideas from their old posts. It is like the favorite magazine that you keep around for years. They have a collection of the best ideas, and pictures. I think it is a mistake for blogs to have a thousand pictures, which are mediocre, which is what you see with most blogs. Adding pictures with no content is a mistake. I think that is one of the reasons why Joni's blogs are so popular. People want to learn something. Some of the best blogs are those which the author pours out wisdom. I think your idea of "projects" is a good one. Quality content is the key. Have fun with it, and make it your own.

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  23. Congratulations Joni! What a great article! ~Meranda

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  24. I'm just checking my favorite blogs, it's early! (retired people don't have alarms, so whenever the eyes open, the day begins). I've been checking out my regular morning "reads" and had to add my two cents. I am going on 72! NOW girls, that's old! Almost 4 years ago, not having any idea what a "blog" was, I wrote my first post, and haven't stopped yet! My Granddaughter convinced me that after going through every "design" know to man, I should share my insanity on a Blog! My husband, and best friend, has made all my "Epiphanies" become realities. We will be celebrating 53 years of marriage this month and we are on our 35th home! What can I say, I was a Realtor in New Construction! I will attest that my best "Epiphany" was talking my daughter into giving me back my 1968 Henredon sofa, and having it reupholstered. I have learned, the hard way, that quality does pay off. That sofa..it's now the main piece in our home..and it's WHITE! (a cotton that spot cleans like a dream!) Our home has lots of mirrors (I don't look in them, just at them), blacks, golds, and lots of textures...all surrounded in walls painted a blue/gray I add pops of color with accessories..a few wedding gifts included. Thanks for this post. It made my morning and I will be reading House of Fifty!

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  25. Like Joni, the big 5-8 is breathing down my neck. I love all of the blogs. I enjoy the ones like Joni's and For the Love of a House which show finished houses and I like DIY projects because I have a children about to buy their first home and I can give them ideas. Plus I am ready to downsize and keep it simple. And as Tara said above, WE are the ones with money so they might not want to ignore us!
    I'd love a post or two about how to get rid of things and downsize.

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  26. Joni,
    You are MY favorite blog. I enjoy your daily inspirations and wit. While I can't live with white right now, 6 active people and one very large indoor dog living in the Texas Hill Country, I do aspire to your sense of style and elegance. I will turn 50 in two years and life only gets better, if not better looking. I was like those young bloggers, full of ideas, diy and energy; now, not so much. I get a lot more sleep now. I do enjoy perusing their projects, but I turn to you for my daily lift. I have found other blogs that I enjoy through you and I believe like the ladies above me in the comments have expressed that," age is a state of mind and only a number(kind of like weight)." I love to listen to the round skirt while I cook or clean my kitchen. Your articles are informative and you always draw attention to details I would have missed otherwise in the beautiful photos that you share. I know you are old enough to get this reference.
    Thanks for the Memories,
    Delloraine

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  27. I agree with Leslie. To use an over-used cliche, we mature women are like fine wine...you know the rest. We have the advantage over the younger ones of having learned by doing all these years. While their seemingly boundless energy exhausts me, frankly, Joni, so does yours. I am -- happily -- a healthy 70. I love reading good, informative design blogs so much that my son suggested I write one. Then I thought about all the energy and research it takes to write your blog, and I knew that opportunity, for me, had passed. Thank goodness for all the mature women out there who are generously sharing all their knowledge and talent with those of us who prefer to be voyeurs. Love you, Joni. Your blogs enrich my day (as do Leslie's, Debra's, Bonny's and Loi's, among many, many others).
    XOXO Victoria

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  28. I am not a blogger, but I am in the same age group as you, Joni. How did we get to be almost 58? Women like Katherine Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy Onassis were timeless and full of style and grace, and they continued to contribute long past the age we are now. Of course, they had already achieved a certain status by the time they were in their 50’s. I believe that we can still contribute even if we are not at their level, though. Style, grace, and good manners are always welcome in any age group. I too am amazed at the demographics of those who blog, especially at how many young mothers home school, but there is room for all. You have experience, as well as talent and can teach all of us things we do not know. Whenever I see a picture with windows and curtains, I check out how high the curtain rods are hung and how much dead space is between the top of the window and the rod. That detail may not make a difference in the world at large, but it does help some of us create a space that is pleasing and that inspires us in other endeavors. I can’t tell you how much pleasure I get from reading your posts, and I particularly look forward to each new “Dear Miss Cote de Texas.” It cannot be easy, but I hope that you will continue to find things to write and contribute to our on-line education and enjoyment. Now I’m heading over to House of Fifty to subscribe and read Valerie’s article. She is such a hoot.

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  29. Joni I think one of the reasons I felt such a connection to you and your site is that we are nearly the same age.

    I love so many of the extremely talented 20's 30's even 40's ladies who are doing all mentioned above.

    My blog is really to support the arts; artists, entrepreneurs, Interior Designers, Artisans etc.
    For me I am just less comfortable blogging about daily activities, family etc.
    Our Blog World is a Gift of amazing possibilities, so I visit as many as I can; after all it is never too late to learn more!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  30. Like a lot of others who have commented here, I am also over 50 and I feel the same way you do about decorating blogs. I really do enjoy reading them from time to time, but my household is already established and I'm kind of beyond the IKEA furniture phase. My decorating style is vastly different from yours, yet I always find something I love in each of your posts, and I'm glad there are voices like yours out there that appeal to our age group. We, like you are at the stage where the kids are all grown and it's time for us to begin paring down our possessions and simplifying our lives a bit. As the children move out, there are empty bedrooms to furnish and old, worn furniture that we can replace because we no longer have large teenage boys and their friends crashing into things anymore. It's an exciting time. Our first home was decorated in - as my dear aunt called it - "Early Hand-me-down/Garage Sale!" It's been fun developing our own style over the years and I love the ideas I get from your blog for adding a bit of polish and a bit of character to our home. I also love the idea of House of 50 and I can't wait to check it out! Thanks for the heads-up!

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  31. Trying to determine where I fit. Bought my first real antique in a real antique shop in Boston at age 12. Have always lined my drapes. I have never been into "Shabby Chic". Just don't like crumbly finishes that can catch on your clothes or fall on the floor. Also don't like all the bad paint jobs where the even the hinges and pulls are painted. NEVER liked Mid-century modern, "color blocking" or the ethnic look. Have always liked my rooms to have at least some soft gold or ivory color but maybe that's because I am a golden blonde with peaches and cream skin.

    I am a long time DIYer. However, that is partially because I like to know how things are made. Over the years I have learned that I can make or repair just about anything. About the only craft I haven't taken up, yet, is welding. With all the taxes hubby and I pay, we have to make at least $2 to have $1 to spend. Therefore, I really do hate to part with a dollar unless absolutely necessary.

    Don't know if I am an old, young-person or a young, old-person. People in my family live into their 90's so I guess I still have plenty of time to find out!

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  32. Joni,
    Thank you for yet another great post! I am so relieved that I'm not the only one with occasional bouts of exhaustion brought on by reading the exploits of young bloggers.

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  33. What an awesome post on a wonderful, creative and inspiring lady! So glad to see you featured in House of Fifty - you are as beautiful now as you were in college! - and I love your blog! I think it is fabulous to have all different voices in the blogosphere and wish/hope that we are all accepting of each other. Being an individual is what makes blogs interesting!

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  34. Joni, You just posted what so many of us (the over 50 set) have been thinking. When I first started blogging, I wasn't sure where I fit in and then I decided to not worry about it and just do what I loved. Afterall, my Grandma lived to be an alert and healthy 101 years of age. Her motto - don't worry.

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  35. Since I believe "I am always at the right place at the right time" my age is perfect. Someone said getting older is only for fearless individuals, they were so right-on! When I began blogging 2 years ago, little did I know I would meet such wonderful human beings(like you)What a rich blogging world there is out there +
    always enough for everyone. Grand post, Joni xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  36. I am 66 years old. I don't have a lot of money, but I have learned through reading blogs like Joni's that it's better to have one quality piece than a bunch of wannabees. I love the saying: If you buy one quality piece a year, in nine years you will have nine quality pieces. Some fun pieces thrown in that can be switched out and you have a space that's yours and fresh. And where can we get wisdom from? People who have walked their talk. Thanks once again, Joni.

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  37. With a late fall birthday, I was the youngest in my class. I was the one who was carded at 28. Then WHAM!BAM! it hit: the grey hair. I've gone from Audrey Hepburn comments to my don't you look like Judy Dench! When my cable guy was here several years ago, I found out his wife was a chef. I told him about my upcoming kitchen redo. He looked at my grey hair and said, "I wouldn't put that off much longer." Still in the middle of this project, which BTW, is heavily inspired by industrial kitchens. The younger guys working here shake their heads and tell me it's something THEIR mother's would never do. I just smile. If you can't kick butt in your 60s what the hell?

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  38. I've just turned 56.
    I have been decorating my entire life-when I was three, the story goes, I told the moving man where to put my kiddie table/chairs set as it entered my parents' new place!
    I love blogs-and while I check out many, I only read a select few. Usually the ones that resonate with me are ones that are written by my peers :) Things like CDT and HOF! I don't want cheesy, cheap throw away type DIY.

    I want elegant content!

    Age is simply a number. I am 24 in my head. I keep current in music, film, and art. And in my hair color!
    I stared bootcamp exercising when I was 53.
    I was widowed at 50...and remarried and started a whole new adventure when I was 54.
    Thank the universe that I wasn't born in years gone by where widows had to sit in a rocking chair, wearing black head to toe day in and day out, not participating in life. UGH.

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  39. Joni I can so appreciate what you say about the younger bloggers. I am in my early 40s but these gals exhaust me and I am so done with the painting inexpensive furniture. I did that 20 years ago! I feel like I am caught in the middle for sure. Congratulations on your feature. I love all your work and your blog. Thank you for sharing last week about your client who turned her mirror horizontally. I was about to do the same but now it will be vertical. I will send you a picture soon when it is hung. I always learn something or am inspired whenever I read Cote De Texas.

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  40. Yes, Joni, the younger set sees life so differently. From their vantage point, everything is new, just discovered, fresh...many of us have seen so much, trends, traditions and talented and touted design go by the wayside We have history. 'They' are just beginning their venture. What I do appreciate is the fresh eye using vintage and antiques in their work. As a younger gal said to me just last week, " I love what my mom has collected and put together. I just have to put my own spin and fresh, crisp look to bring 'today' into the mix." I love that...but yes, ageism is omnipresent and does my heart little good. The new generation is full of fresh faces, looks, fresh ideas and those of the older generation are denigrated to passe' without cause in most cases. C'est la vie...yeah! I like the comment above..."kick butt"...while you can...
    xoxo, Chris

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  41. I can say this blog is inspiring for interior decoration or renovation. Thanks for introducing.

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  42. Joni,
    I am not sure what category I'm in, being closer to 40 than 30, but not yet in the position to not have to worry about money, with our kids so young. I am lucky enough to have inherited some beautiful older pieces to anchor most of my rooms and have learned to do without and save for something I really want instead of buying cheap to fill a space. Some things I have learned from you, that I am sure appeal to any age and budget and have helped my home are: bamboo blinds with curtains, painting builder-grade doors black and white slipcovers (this was the best thing I did in our dining room-- the seamstress thought I was crazy when I handed her the white duck fabric with a picture I'd taken from your blog, but three years later they look great. I give them a bleaching whenever it's needed and spaghetti sauce, red wine, grape jelly and chocolate come right out). I look forward to your blogs and even though I certainly cannot copy the looks or buy the items shown, I enjoy looking and appreciate the inspiration. Thank you for your work and all that you share!

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  43. Well, Joni, I'm two years older than you - about to hit the big 6-0, which seems unbelievable to me. However, I am a grandmother, so I must be old! Haven't seen The House of Fifty - so, thanks, will check it out. I know what you mean about these young bloggers and I wonder where in the world do they get so much energy? When my children were young, it seems they took all my time, though I went back to work when my youngest was two. When I read your post about Jen's (the railing question lady) last house and everything they did themselves, I was truly awed. We were DIY-ers because we had to be (my husband was a school teacher and I worked for a small company), but we had our limits. Unfortunately, my husband is not a carpenter, but he could switch out light fixtures and faucets. I always made our window treatments and we always did our own painting and refinishing and basic repairs. I was fortunate to inherit some nice antiques which have always been the backbone of my decorating. I only bought new furniture after I had worked a few years for a high end furniture company, and still value well-made upholstery (which can be reupholstered or slip-covered) and case pieces. What I think is missing from some of the young DIY blogs is an appreciation of quality and what goes into a well-made piece of furniture, whether upholstery or casegoods. Most of it is throw-away furniture made to look fashionable, which is also all you see on HGTV. I truly understand the limits of budget and I applaud their creativity and energy, but most of the young design blogs I see are all about a trendy look. (And really the fru-fru shabby chic thing seems way overdone on many of these blogs, or either it's the opposite look of mid-century mod.) There are certainly young talented high-end designers out there who blog and have a well-heeled clientele, and I am not referring to them. The design industry loves them. What I find most disheartening about ageism is that with the economic downturn, which really hit the design industry hard in my area, so many of my talented contemporaries (as well as myself) lost their jobs and can't find work and are having a really tough time. No companies are willing to hire them and there's not enough freelance or contract work. I just call myself retired now and spend a lot of time keeping up with the design world through blogs, yours being a favorite. And, BTW, you look adorable in that old photo, and don't look so different now. I had to laugh about the eyebrows - mine looked the same way at the time :-)

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  44. I just got through looking through the new issue, and the table stopped me in my tracks. Had your name written all one it, Joni, and loved the interview! I am 57 too, but it really doesn't seem that old?
    Have great week.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  45. I just saw your post!

    I have been so busy actually doing ID work and working on the book, that I don't have much time to read the blogs!

    One of my readers told me you did this!

    Smoooch!

    Janell deserves more readers and your post will help.

    And BTW Advanced means that one is expert and experienced and the best at what they do, and has the audacity of age :-)

    xo xo

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  46. Joni, What an honor to see this post unexpectedly this morning, thank you and a big thanks for working with Valorie on such short notice. Love the piece the two of you put together for HOF! Janell

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  47. Thank you, thank you for this post. (And for inspiring Leslie to divulge that she's in her 50s. Segreto is amazing and inspiring.) I'm a decorative painter and at 61 it does seem like everyone is younger. But yes, even at this age we DO still kick butt! And climb ladders, and hang off scaffolding and hit the ibuprofen and ice after a round of Venetian plaster.

    I have recently unsubscribed to many of the blogs I was following. I know after reading your post why. And why I did NOT unsubscribe to your blog. You are inspiring, witty, succinct, well-spoken, and I don't have to rewrite your sentences in my mind or cringe at your grammar or spelling. (Former editor.)

    LOVE your blog. And House of Fifty is fabulous, too!

    Warmly,

    Kay

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  48. Joni I really enjoyed the article Valorie wrote in the new HOF's issue featuring you; you two do no wrong in my book. My hat is off and held high to all women that refuse to let age define them, and wear it like a scarlet letter. How dare any of us over 50 have a hip thought or be forward thinking, especially in the design field. I'd say y'all are pretty darn haute!

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  49. Hi, Joni - Congratulations on being featured! I think Cote de Texas would not have the same point of view, authority and flair if you were writing it in your twenties or thirties. We all love CDT for what it is. It has been a tremendous honor to be featured here. Thank you!
    Cheers from DC,
    Loi

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  50. I have those same eyebrows....still! They never would grow back. :-(. Love your blog. Yeah for bloggers in their 50's.

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  51. Joni,
    Congratulations on your feature in House of Fifty. I sometimes think we gals 50 and older tip our own hats. I'm not sure anyone would guess your age based on the fabulous designs of your home. I have loved the rooms of your home with every tweak you make and believe it could just as easily be a home designed by a 40-something as a 50-something. I do sometimes feel, reading all of the creative and interesting blogs, that maybe I just don't have as much to talk about at this stage of grandma-hood! :-)
    Karen

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  52. Bottoms up to the next FIFTY!!! franki

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  53. Have you seen Ari Seth Cohen's blog Advanced Style? While his main focus is on fashion - I think he's leading the charge in celebrating the mature, the wise, the grown up version of elegant style. I am waiting for the day a leading design house is brave enough to feature some of these incredible women in their advertising. I don't believe that the core market for these designers (whether clothes or homewares) is really skinny 20 somethings as depicted in their advertising. It is most certainly older women who are more established in their careers, homes and lives. We need a new aspirational model - and she could even have a few laugh lines around her eyes!

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  54. Well I'm in the 50+ category and still do a significant amount of DYI and renovation of my turn of the century tudor. When I have to contract out I am the general contractor. I love House of Fifty and I love the design blogs, I get lots of inspiration from them. As far as I'm concerned age is irrelevant.

    Imogene

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  55. I also am over 50 and I feel the same as you do about decorating blogs. Joni, I love ALL of your posts - I always learn something. I too am glad there are blogs like yours out there that appeal to our age group and all age groups really. I like the idea of House of 50 and I will check it out! Thanks for all you share with us.

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  56. How timely, Joni....I turn the big Five Oh tomorrow!!! I'll look forward to checking out this new-to-me online magazine! Thanks.

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  57. Joni- Don’t kid yourself- your advice and insight into design is so valuable to all age groups. I am not sure where I fit in at 36 but it is so good for me to see and hear from someone who has “been there done that”. I LOVE to see a home that has been put together over time, with patience. I love to see the many tweaks that have taken place over the years. It is so refreshing for me to see that even though I am going slow, buying one quality piece at a time, I will eventually get there. That is why I love to see designer’s homes rather than their client’s homes. They have usually been put together over time, something a 20 year old could never accomplish with an IKEA piece or do-it-yourself project. You are the greatest! Thanks for all of your insightful posts. I have read every post almost since the beginning.
    Love
    Bethany

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  58. Oh please?!?! :O) With age comes knowledge! Learned so, so much from Cote over the years! I must admit, I would have loved to have seen your college place! Its funny to see how we mature aesthetically! What changes, and what stays the same! I bet it was fab!

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  59. Joni- I am actually somewhat new to the "blogging" world but I think yours was the first one I started reading and, it has remained my favorite. I am also in that 55+ age group and I too have found the wonderful young bloggers fun, talented, interesting, and exhausting all at the same time. There have been times I've read blogs and felt so old and tired but I just have to remind myself that these young bloggers are 30 years younger than me! I really enjoy the information and ideas I get from a wide variety of blogs, no matter how young, or old, the blogger might be.
    I'm trying my darndest to stay hip and cool and not become an "old fart" too soon! The blogs help me stay current on things I might not be exposed to otherwise. Please keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to many!
    Cindy

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  60. I'm now 60, but if I don't think, feel or look 60 why should others make me feel less worthy of being so. I think as Baby Boomers we should be proud as to how far we've come. Respect is deserved at this point, not scorned.

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  61. I'm so glad Veranda is still published. This magazine's design aesthetic seems timeless to me. Much of the young bloggers' tastes seem so transitory. Hurrah for Joni and Veranda.
    b (kitchensihaveloved)

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  62. Why does our society not value age? With age comes wisdom -- one of the most important ingredients of real beauty. I love the idea of "House of Fifty." But a look at the cover alone, shows that even it falls victim to itself. Next time, use a 50+ model on the cover!

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  63. Well, yes there are a lot of energetic young bloggers out there. And suave blogs put out by big name designers (or their staff). And jazzy online decor magazines. But Cote de Texas stands out for several reasons:
    -The long, thoroughly researched, beautifully photographed articles you put together are delicious to read. Thanks!
    - Your generous explanations have taught me quite a bit about curtains, lanterns, slipcovers, etc - even as I live in another area, and apply those to a somewhat different aesthetic.
    - Your modest, relatable voice is unusual, friendly, and fun to read. You're a very good designer, but you also let us in on how you like to use ideas from others, how you deal with budget constraints, etc.
    - Your clear preference for a specific design style with particular elements anchors your blog. For me, considering your "Houston" look has been a good way to incorporate some trend elements into my home, while also expressing my own style - appropriate to my house, my family interests (no white bookcovers in this house! lol) I am a painter with a great love of color and preference for individual style, but I also want my house to feel reasonably current.
    - Your comment section is fun too. (though I'm not quite sure why you don't just boot off the really rude, snarky unhelpful ones-so obnoxious) I DO appreciate both the cheerleading supporters and the polite dissenters. Most big blogs do not have such a lively commenting community - more generosity from you.

    And by the way, I turn 61 this week. A year and a half ago my husband and I bought a lovely, but neglected big old home west of Philly. The project of restoring, decorating, and landscaping this house has been a hoot. I've been the GC and we have had a great time doing it without the budget and time constraints of a young family that made our earlier house projects long and slow. You're only as old as you feel!

    Thanks very much for your generous blog. I dipped into many as I took on this project, but only kept a few long term. Yours is a gem!

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  64. Joni you are a fabulous looking 50+ designer! You also have a great sense of humor that gives your blog realistic elegance. Casual chic, casual elegance has something that makes us smile...Cote de Texas

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  65. Who cares about age? It's how we think and how we feel. Those are the important things.
    Love this post, Joni, and it shows how up-to-date you are in every way.

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  66. Isn't it funny how so many people value and pay incredible prices for antiques because of their provenance and patina? How many people would fly to Europe or attend an auction just to bid on some shiney, new thing?

    You have to be over 40 (or is it 45?) to serve as President of the United States.

    Unfortunately, we women have a big disadvantage due to biology. Deep in the human psyche (especially the male psyche) is the idea that feminine power comes from our ability to have children. (Think of all the cultures that have and still do worship fertility goddesses.) ("The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.") (The French say, "a face is a woman's fortune.") Once we lose our fertility (age 50?), our biological power is greatly diminished. Men never lose the power to reproduce and even have Viagra as a turbo-charger. Don't think we can overcome something so hardwired into us. However, I do think keeping a sense of humor, a zest for new ideas and new experiences AND not going out of our way to remind people of our age will make a big difference. While being a grandmother may be wonderful, do not let it define you. That label is so limiting.

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    Replies
    1. Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution defines the age of 35 as determining one's eligibility to be President of the US.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the clarificaiton. The point is, at THAT time, even 35 was approaching middle age. The average age of death for people who made it past childhood was 40 to 45. A woman who was unmarried at 21 was considered an "Old Maid" and some young men were generals by age 21. Hmm... perhaps we HAVE made progress on who is considered old!

      Delete
  67. 28 year old in AtlantaJuly 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I read a lot of design magazines and blogs, but over the years I've learned the most from two sources: Domino Magazine and your blog. Domino was my first introduction to the world of design and had so many how-to and trully educational pieces, as Dara mentioned in your interview. Your blog, unlike so many other blogs and magazines, is also very educational. I learned so much from you from the differences between seagrass and sisal, to how to hang curtains, to what are "butter pat pleats" I value that a lot more than any "quick fix" projects.

    I also enjoy your perspective on decor. I am just starting out and saving for a few key pieces at a time, but your blog gives me a vision, a "big picture" of what I hope my home will look like in the future. Some of my favorite posts were your ikea tales on furnishing Elizabeth's apartment and the first dear miss cote de texas post back in May where you expalined a strategy for gradually budiliding up "the houston look." I'd love more posts where you share you advice and perspective to those in the earlier stages of decorating. What do you wish you knew when you were 30?

    Are there any other younger Cote de Texas readers out there?

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  68. Congrats on the feature! Funny, I have just been thinking about how great it would have been to have the internet and blogging back when I was trying to start a business and designing and painting a showhouse tearoom the size of a couple of barns! Sadly, I totally understand the ageism, too.
    Paula ~ Mise en scène

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  69. Loved your article by Valorie! She had mecracking up a couple of months ago when she used a picture of my bedroom as a young person designing "granny" example!!! :) It's SO true!!

    big hug & talk soon,
    lauren

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  70. i agree with charlotte when she says: "....keeping a sense of humor, a zest for new ideas and new experiences AND not going out of our way to remind people of our age will make a big difference. While being a grandmother may be wonderful, do not let it define you. That label is so limiting....."

    yes indeed !! I have a sis-in-law and a former co-worker and a neighbor who are all just a bit older than I am and all they can talk about anymore are
    "the grandkids"...yes their grandkids are adorable but more than 10 minutes of hearing about them is very tiresome. If older women don't 'look within' and keep learning and doing new things they all too often just become these pathetic "aging females".

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  71. Love House of Fifty and your feature. One thing though I've always wondered...I want to see how you have the TV set up in your living room. I know there's one in there because I've seen Mr. Slipper Socks watching it in a few pictures that you've posted. Will you ever show us? Inquiring minds want to know, especially those of us that want a room that looks like yours with a TV. Pretty please?

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  72. Joni, I don't post very often, but this was a great post and I wanted to comment. I'm 33, have two little boys, and read the blogs you are referring to, but I love your style the best, hands down. I live in the suburbs of Austin, but I aspire to own the Houston look one day and you are a huge inspiration to me. I got into an argument with my sister yesterday because she wants to repaint an old sideboard from our grandparents' farm a French blue, and I think it is lovely as it is, dents and all. I lost that argument, and even though she's only four years younger, I definitely feel like it's a generational thing. To me, there's a HUGE difference between DIY quick-fixes and actual design that reflects a respect for the historical significance of pieces, and I truly appreciate your take on things. You are an amazing designer, and I look forward to reading your blog for many, many years.

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  73. I find this age conversation so amusing because my view is opposite of the apparent "norm". I am 29, and fully furnishing my house is a work in progress. I love to keep (most) things for a long time, so I've set a motto about buying pieces for my house: When what is affordable and what is desirable are far apart, do without. (For necessity, I have occasionally had to break my self-imposed rule.) Since that has been my rule, I look to blogs like Cote de Texas, where the look I'm after has already been achieved, & I can get a big-picture goal in mind. The DIY resources are great & all, but most of them feel like quick-fixes not long-term investments. (And when I've just dumped a bunch of money for one piece it sure is a lot easier to explain it to the hubster as an INVESTMENT!)

    So forget age; great design rules the day!!

    Keri

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  74. Sorry this is off-topic, but I can't figure out where to write it! I have an "Ask Miss Cote de Texas" question (and I think I'm echoing others' comments above). My question is: what to do with the TV? Please, help me, what can I do with the big black slab in the family room? It is here to stay because, realistically, we DO watch TV. Please don't say "hang it over the fireplace," because there is no fireplace. (And watching TV like that hurts my neck!)
    I saw the big slab in your redesign (posted on July2) and I could have stood up and cheered! So many designers just ignore the TV, so I applaud your realism. And combined with your amazing, beautiful design sense - well it was just lovely. Thank you.
    Jennifer

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  75. Congrats Joni! Loved reading your feature! I really enjoy "House of Fifty" and was very honored to be one of their 'blogs we love' in the holiday issue you mentioned. Too funny about the young blogs... yes, they make me tired and I so often want to yell "Stop painting all the furniture in your house- save up and buy a real antique." :)
    xojoan

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    Replies
    1. So true! I wish my kids would learn to appreciate solid stuff instead of ikea where the drawers fall apart....the kitchen stuff is ok tho.

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  76. I love the patina, craftmanship and "bones" of many antiques. However, I will happily accept a solid, well-made reproduction piece if the shape, size and details meet my needs. How many of you have "real" Louis XV furniture? Louis XV died in 1774. Beautiful reproduction Louis XV furniture was made in Europe (particularly Italy and Denmark) well into the 1960's. Remember, all antiques were once new!

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  77. Not sure if you will ever see this (already 79 comments ahead of me!), but I wanted to let you know that I totally agree with you! You and I are the same age, (I live in Los Angeles)and read a LOT of design blogs, most of which are written as you say by young moms and newlyweds...I'm always looking at the new trends, but also staying true to my own casual style. I'm constantly changing things in my rooms and always making sure they don't look "old ladyish". Totally get what you are saying and completely agree with you! Great post...love your blog.

    Have a good one...
    Karen K.

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  78. I sometimes wish I could be younger now that technology is what it is. Still, you have a huge following and you still have great things to share. Actually I see these design blogs as a melting pot for all ages. I'd not go back. I don't mind getting older, I'm more secure in my choices, because I'm older, and well, I have more insurance. You are ageless.

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  79. Hi Joni, I really love all of the comments to this really great post. I read your blog always....and share your posts with others who are not into blogs, but they always love what you write, as do I. Blogs that post pictures of published work from the internet and then write some sort of a thought or quip about the photos are just boring. Where is the new original work and why are they not featuring their own fresh ideas? I like to learn something from a blog post and it is becoming harder to find those bloggers.

    I too, am in the mid 50's catagory, but I have done more new and wondeful things in the last 5 years than I ever have! I have my own power tools and can go toe to toe with any contractor out there....because I know more than most of them and I have actually done restoration and renovation construction, over and over again.
    Gardening has become a true passion and growing my own food is amazing. And how funny is it that I started my veggie garden because I like gardening, not because it was trendy or the "new urban" thing to grow vegetables.

    I have been contacted not once, but twice by casting agents for new DIY/Decor pilots and after I spoke with them and they got a feel for my actual age.....no bueno!

    We are not antique, we are vintage and vintage is really cool!

    best, Kelley

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    1. I wonder who they think their audience is for these shows that they aren't interested in a woman over 50 to host? If the style and taste is there, why does that matter? Oh, how I wish someone would break the under 30 rut that entertainment has gotten into. HGTV is so bent on presenting liberal, non judgmental programming, but they are one of the worst for ageism. The shows on right now aren't worth watching anymore because there is no more designing involved. Oh well, more time for me to do something productive.

      Delete
    2. Surely, in Joni's vast number of blog followers, there are people with the money and connections to develop such a show. However, it will take some real money AND some sponsors with money to pull it off. I am sure the audience is there, but only mega home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes can afford to sponsor Home Improvement TV programs.

      I, for one, have stopped watching home improvement TV programs because the "fit and finish" is so terrible: Drapes that are neither lined nor ironed. Stains applied to soft woods like pine without any sealer. Interiors that do not relate to the exteriors. Slipcovers with VERY sloppy fits.

      The saddest part is that many of the young (or not so young) viewers do not learn the value craftsmanship or how to get the details right. :(

      Delete
  80. I am 45+ and some of my most beautiful friends are over 50, and the most interesting as well! I love this post because it shows the sense of adventure not only in ones life in their 50s but in ones style as well.. and reflected in there interiors space alsol!! Elegant with spunk!!!!
    Love it!

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  81. Joni,
    Well stated as always. I'm in the advanced age department, but I think I'm still in the game. The house is pretty together, except for all the Legos, cars, and sports equipment. I really need better organization. I tend to the practical in decorating...oriental rugs don't show the dirt, patterns for the same reason. I'm not about to wash white slips ( sorry) in addition to the multiple loads of laundry I do every week. I LOL at the fancy nursery designs. Maybe I don't train the kids well enough, but the twins did the twin thing with the bedroom at nap time. We stripped the room. Certainly not what we model for them but c'est la vie.

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  82. Joni!

    I am 25 and adore your blog, so I think you do a fantastic job of appealing to the 'younger set.' Please do not take this the wrong way, but when I visit Cote de Texas, I always leave feeling as if I've gone antiquing with my mother and come home with some sage advice about shopping for furniture or decorating or architecture. I love to go antiquing with her but unfortunately live hours away so can't go as often as I'd like. Coming to Cote De Texas to read your posts is such a treat! Your knowledge of antiques is incredible, and I feel like I learn something new every time I visit. Anyway, just want to say thanks! At 57, I hope to have half the knowledge about furniture and design that you do!

    Caroline

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  83. Congrats Joni on your debut in House of Fifty.
    Re ageism, to quote Henri Amiel (Swiss writer of self analysis); "To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living." IMO if one wishes to conquer the difficult chapters, one must first embrace the aging process regardless of how old you are as we do all age. Like interior design a lot has to do with perspective.
    -Brenda-

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  84. Thanks so much for introducing me to the magazine House of Fifty. It is a fantastic e-magazine and I look forward to reading every issue.

    Liz

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