14 February 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day from Mrs. Phoebe Howard!

 

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I am so thrilled to have been asked to announce the publication of Phoebe Howard’s book  - “The Joy of Decorating – Southern Style” by Phoebe Howard.   I’m sure you are all familiar with Phoebe Howard since over the years, pictures of her interiors have been in almost every design magazine published.  She has such a lovely style, her interiors are so soothing and comforting, they are hard to resist.   They are tranquil.  In fact, one of her chapters is even called Tranquil.   Her aesthetic is classic and traditional, yet she doesn’t shy away from trends which keep her rooms looking up to date.  She uses the finest of fabrics and furniture.  Her curtains are always perfectly executed, and her paint choices are heavenly.  Nothing is ever jarring or out of place.  A Howard interior is perfection, plain and simple.  Don’t ask me which is a favorite project, because there are too many to name.  Don’t believe me?  Peruse her web site and you’ll be lost for hours in the beauty of it all.   The book is a wonderful compilation of Phoebe’s work.  Finally, a collection of her favorite projects in one easy to reach location.

Phoebe Howard is one of those women I am so in awe of.  Not only does she run a very successful interior design business,  she also, along with her husband Jim, operates several design shops:  Mrs. Howard and Max and Company in three different states.  I’m not sure how she does it all, but she does.  And now, on top of everything – there’s the book, written with Susan Sully, and the book tour!  I’m exhausted just thinking of it all!  Her tour starts today in Jacksonville, then on to Atlanta and Charlotte.  Check her blog for more upcoming dates and the list of the cities she’ll be visiting.   Oh yes, she has a blog too!  It’s a great one and I read it regularly, HERE.  Each week she shows a before and after and on other days, Phoebe answers design questions from readers.  I’m always perusing her blog for ideas.   Actually the first time I became aware of Phoebe is when a client brought me a picture of her work from a magazine, using it as an inspiration.   I can only imagine how many others have used her work as inspiration.   Phoebe’s portfolio is incredibly prolific and they are all winners.  Now, with the book, it will be such a useful tool to study and learn from, gain ideas and insight into the process of interior design.    Along with each image, Phoebe opens up on how she came upon the design and what inspired her.  It’s a very rich and rewarding read.

Read this part of the introduction to the book – it gives you such a great insight into Phoebe and her love of design:

“I am not an interior designer. I did not attend design school and have no formal training. I have never even worked for another designer. When I reflect on how I happened upon this career, I realize that I did not choose it. It chose me.  I was lucky enough to have an incredible mentor in my life—my aunt Myra Thompson from Montgomery, Alabama. Aunt Myra touched many people in her life, and the world is a better place for having her in it. She was poised and ladylike, but also acutely observant and intuitive.

I always loved to listen to stories of Aunt Myra and the house she decorated as a newlywed. The floors were stained a deep shade of ebony and waxed until they gleamed. White cotton-duck slipcovers so tight you could bounce a quarter off them covered all the furniture. Large vases filled with fragrant white lilies from her husband’s floral business stood in nearly every room. I was intrigued by this vision of dark floors, white slipcovers, and lilies. It seemed so basic and simple, yet so elegant. I realized that anyone could live surrounded by beautiful style if they chose to do so.

Aunt Myra affected my life more directly when I was the delicate age of thirteen. My parents had divorced, and we’d moved from Florida to Alabama for a year. I was having trouble adjusting to the move and fitting in at my new school. My sweet Alabama relatives could see that I was struggling and did what they do best: They fed me! Chicken and dumplings, fried green tomatoes, ham and gravy, biscuits—the food was incredible, and I consoled myself with it. I also gained thirty pounds almost overnight.  I was struggling and everyone was at a loss about what to do. But not Aunt Myra. She decided to decorate my room. She painted the walls pale blue. She found an iron bed, which she had sandblasted and lacquered white. She made café curtains from floral sheets, scalloping the top hems and hanging them with light-blue grosgrain bows. She cut off the sheets’ borders and appliquéd flowers around the edge of an aubergine skirt for the bedside table. She painted an old dresser with an attached mirror in sage-green strié. A white wicker desk appeared. The final touch was a satiny-blue quilted bedspread.

I can still close my eyes and recall every detail of that room. It embraced me and allowed my wounds to heal. When I think back to the impact the room had on me, I realize how powerful our environments can be. They affect us far more profoundly than we realize. In every room I decorate, my goal is to re-create the same sense of inspiration and comfort I felt in that bedroom. I want to make a difference in my clients’ lives—to give them what they hope for and dream of in their surroundings.”

From her words, I can see her Aunt Myra’s house with its dark hardwoods and white slipcovered furniture.  And I can also envision her own bedroom with its white lacquered bed and floral curtains made of sheets.  It all sounds so lovely, and exactly how Phoebe decorates today.  Here’s a peek at a few images from the book.  Enjoy!

 

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One of my favorite bedrooms by Phoebe has been this pink confection.  Could you just die from the serenity?????  The story behind this design as Phoebe tells it, is quite sweet too.

 

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And notice this darling sofa and slipper chairs from across the room.

 

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I love the back of the chairs with the ribbon trim – and the pink lining peeking out from the skirt.

 

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This house in Bermuda became special when the stone walls and wood ceiling were washed in gray giving the house a different color scheme than most pastel Bermuda houses.

 

 

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In the dining room of the same Bermuda house – Phoebe used paint instead of wallpaper.  The talented Bob Christian created this beautiful mural.   I love the chandelier here and the mixture of the white chairs and dark wood furniture.

 

 

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Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting one of Phoebe’s shops? This is not a house! It’s actually a room in her shop. I wish they were in Houston!!!

 

 

 

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Serene and tranquil – two adjectives that describe her work perfectly.  This living room is in the Howard’s high rise apartment in Atlanta.  That mirror! That pillow!

 

 

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An all time favorite dining room with the Peter Dunham wall covering. I love the mix with the zinc lantern.

 

 

 

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In another coastal house, Phoebe used blues and whites.  I love the fabrics here. Notice her gorgeous curtains.

 

 

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Phoebe loves to use canopy beds.   Soft blue is such a soothing color for a bedroom.

 

 

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And, finally, she is a big believer in white marble kitchens and bathrooms.   Notice how the walls are slabs, not tile and the sinks are marble!!  I’ve always loved the antique bench which is just the perfect touch!

 

 

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One of the neatest things that comes with the book is a pocket sized paint chart showing Phoebe’s favorite colors and brands for walls, trims, and ceilings.  This is a great tool to use when trying to obtain the serene and tranquil look of a Phoebe Howard room.

To Order “The Joy of Decorating”

Phoebe Howard has agreed to generously offer Cote de Texas readers a discount when buying her book.  To purchase the book, please go HERE.   The price is $50.00 but for CdT readers there is a 20% discount, reducing the price to $40.00  To get the discount, enter this promotional code:  CDTJOD.  Don’t forget, you will also be getting the handy paint chart with each book you purchase!! 

 

Phoebe will be traveling around the country and would love to meet you! Here are some cities she will be visiting ... details to come! Let us know if you would like us to come to your city:

Jacksonville (Feb. 14)
Atlanta (March 7)
Charlotte (March 8)
Los Angeles
New York City
Long Island
Little Rock
Montgomery
Birmingham
Savannah
Charleston
Chattanooga
Dallas
South Florida

 

And finally, to visit the Howards’ stores, go here:

Atlanta
425 Peachtree Hills Avenue Suite #23
Atlanta, Georgia 30305
404-816-3830

Jacksonville Beach
2400 Third Street South Suite #304
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250
904-241-1980

Jacksonville
4128 Herschel Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32210
904-387-1202

Charlotte
1001 East Morehead Street
Charlotte, NC 28204
704-376-8900