Evolution of a Family Room AND The BROWN Giveaway Winners!!

141 comments

 

I recently made a big change in my family room.   While I was lo0king at all the old pictures of this room through the years, it was just a tad embarrassing to see how much the room has changed.  But in my defense, I think most interior designers suffer from the same illness – the constant changing and updating of a space that never seems to end.

And, we have lived here almost 20 years so some change is inevitable and expected.  …..Sure it is…!!

I started out with taupe walls, white trim, and a gray and white ticking stripe sofa and chair bought from some long ago closed discount furniture store.  At some point, we got rid of that sofa and used a slipcovered khaki linen sofa – along with all red and black accessories and freshly painted yellow walls.  The khaki slips later became white slipcovers – which are the first pictures I have of the room, below. 

 

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A long time ago – an old sofa with white pleated slips, yellow striped pillows, wicker chair, old coffee table.

 

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And across the room – the small game table and French chairs. 

 

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Several changes later – a new sofa and two wing chairs, along with an antique dough table from France

 

 

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Les Indiennes and brown velvet pillows.

 

 

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This suzani covered the wine tasting table that replaced the game table.

 

 

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The next big changes: gray walls (Pratt & Lambert Feather Gray) replaced the yellow ones and new curtains were hung.  The curtains were made of a taupe and white ticking stripe, very neutral, with just a hint of color. 

 

 

 

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The curtains ran from one end of the breakfast room to the family room.  You can see the pattern in the fabric here – just very muted and quiet.  Not sure why I just didn’t go with plain white linen which I love? 

 

 

 

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Another big change came when I added the arched doors w/chicken wire over the bookshelves – which I think helped tone down all the accessories on the shelves.  The shelves made a big difference and, along with the curtains, helped quiet the room somewhat. 

 

 

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The last big change was getting the two new side chairs.   Every time I showed this room on the blog – I would get so many negative comments about the furniture arrangement – “your wing chairs block the fireplace” or “the room is not balanced – you need to add something more on the right side” – and on and on.  And, yes, I knew it was all true – so I finally bit the bullet and moved the two wing chairs across from the sofa, flanking the French wine tasting table – and centered underneath the flatscreen.   The two new chairs I chose – from Hien Lam – were purposefully tall and narrow to create a variety of heights in the room.  Their top is arched, just as the sofa and wing chairs are, and they have pretty French wood (Os de Mouton) legs.  That’s sweet Tucker on the sofa!

 

 

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Lucy, Tucker, and Micki!

 

But by far the biggest change in this room was the puppies.  For the past two years – we have had 4 puppies here.   First, we had Elisabeth’s Lucy, then our new puppy Micki and we also had two puppies who stayed here quite a bit – my nephew’s two puppies – Riley and Tucker.  And all four are Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels!  One of the puppies (not naming names!) chewed up the miniature wicker chair and the wicker dog bed, the zebra rug, and a host of wicker baskets, amongst other things.   Plus, we have had lots and lots of puppy “accidents.”  Thankfully seagrass is very price friendly, easy to clean and cheap to replace.  

 

 

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But, the biggest problem became the curtains.  While I love a puddle on curtains of 3, 4 or 5 inches – so did the puppies.  Day after day I would find the puppies laying on the curtain puddles and no matter what I did – I couldn’t break them out of this habit.   After a while, it became a real problem – I had to have the curtains taken down and cleaned, more than once, which actually didn’t really help at all.   They would return “cleaned” with all the puppy spots intact.

 

In order to stop the problem, the curtains needed to be shortened and as long as I was making a change, of course I wanted to make a BIG change – more pattern and color.   Monica – from Custom Creations by Monica – whipped up new curtains in just a short three weeks – before I really even had time to think it all through!

And here is how the new shorter curtains came out:

 

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I chose a brown/gray/white toile from Vervain.   I love the way the pattern is so vivid and it really warms up the room.  I was just craving some pattern and color in this room – and the curtains gave me the perfect opportunity to satisfy that itch.

 

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The difference the new curtains make is huge – though it’s not as easy to see in the pictures – and the entire room seems cozier, warmer, and more alive.  It makes me want to use patterned curtains everywhere!   I’ve tended to shy away from busy patterns on curtains, but doing this in my own house gives me the confidence to go with more pattern, more color in clients’ houses.  So get ready!!!   Here – you can see how the curtains cover the entire back wall  - from the breakfast room to the family room.

 

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Looking down from the stairs to the family room.  As always – I paired the curtains with shades – to hide the dead spot of drywall between the crown molding and the top of the windows.  Also, all the curtains are lined and interlined with blackout fabric – which keeps the sun from showing through the fabric, allowing you to see the pattern vividly.   Plus, the added weight of the blackout lining adds to the lushness of the curtains.   We puddled these curtains only 1/2 inch – so that the puppies can’t lie on the curtains, yet they aren’t too short or skimpy looking.  I don’t ever iron in pleats in curtains.  I like them unstructured and loose and full looking – rather than two stiff looking panels of ironed fabric. 

 

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If I want to brighten up the room, I have hot pink linen pillows I could add, but I still like the brown velvet.  Maybe next summer I’ll try the pink pillows.   

 

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The toile is Vervain:

 

 

The fabric is Vervain’s linen Doucette in Pewter HERE

 

And speaking of curtains paired with textured shades:

 

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Mario Buatta’s 2nd Apartment from the early  60s. 

While perusing Mario Buatta’s new design book, this image really struck a chord with me.  It shows his second apartment for the early 1960s – done in all Rose Cummings chintz  and stripes – and antiques.  But, who wouldn’t want this as a sitting room today – with the gorgeous tea table, the beautiful antique chair, the silk covered skirted table, the plant stand?  I would add a rug, and call it a day.  Amazing that this photograph is now over 50 years old, and is it really that far off from something Miles Redd would do today?

Of course the curtain treatment really caught me eye – how perfectly Buatta executed them.  Notice he brought the rod up over the window and placed it right under the ceiling – thereby elongating the view and fooling the eye into believing the window is taller and grander.  He covered up the tell-tale drywall dead space with the ever-chic rattan shade.   And for even greater effect, he recreated the shape and size of the window with the aged mercury mirror behind the sofa.  By mimicking the window, he makes the tiny room look twice its size.

Antiques don’t date, and neither does good design.  And this image just goes to show the anonymous commenter is way off his mark  - who insisted that textured blinds are a product of the south, used only in Texas, by inexperienced designers like myself.  Had to laugh seeing the New York born and bred Mario Buatta using textured shades in the same exact way we do in Houston, Texas. 

Speaking of Mario, I mentioned that we interviewed him on the Skirted Roundtable last month – so be sure to give it a listen HERE

 

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Buatta’s ageless and timeless look.  His book shows over 50 years of his designs – and it’s hard to say which is his new work versus his older work. 

To preorder Mario’s book – click on the book below.

double click the book to order!

 

And finally:

 

 

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We have chosen the seven winners in the BROWN giveaway – after Labor Day Sale!!!

As you may recall, BROWN, that fabulous décor/lighting store in Houston hosted a large sale after Labor Day – and ran a contest searching for seven winners in honor of Cote De Texas’ 7th year of blogging.

Jill Brown – besides being so talented and creative – is also one of the sweetest, most giving human beings I’ve ever known.  Truly, she is a doll and a real mensch.

Jill hand picked ten items for the giveaway – and here are the pictures below.  The first place winner will pick the item she wants below, then the 2nd place winner will pick her item, then, the third place winner – and so on and so on until all seven winners have picked their prize.

The first place winner is :    Patsy Fox

Patsy has her pick of any of the ten gifts below.  Once Patsy picks, the 2nd place winner, Jeri Windrow gets to pick her gift – and so on, until all seven winners have picked.

Have I said how much I LOVE Jill Brown?

Here are the 10 prizes being offered by Brown – in no particular order:

 

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A pair of cream table lamps with their shades, valued at $450.

 

 

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A set of 4 white Palacek outdoor chairs, valued at $1100.

 

 

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Black swan print valued at $750.

 

 

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Glass cake plate with dome, valued at $235.

 

 

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A pair of woven rattan side tables.

 

 

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A large, geometric glass lantern.

 

 

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Set of Seagrass Baskets, valued at $100.

 

 

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A pewter tea set, valued at $750.

 

 

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An antique mirror, valued at $975.

 

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Charming coil table lamp, valued at $125.

 

 

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Six assorted hand-made candles, valued at $180.

 

So – as soon as I hear from the first place winner, we will then go onto the next six winners!

 

Visit BROWN HERE.

 

IT’S HERE! MILIEU HAS ARRIVED!

40 comments

 

 

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The Cover:  Milieu’s Premier Issue  “A World of Change”

“A World of Change” indeed – and that is exactly what the newly published Milieu is offering.  Milieu is the brainchild of Pamela Pierce, the uber-talented interior designer from Houston, Texas.   The magazine was borne from a dream of Pierce’s to bring together well established designers and, most important, newly discovered talent.   Pierce has aimed high – and it shows.  The magazine’s paper is heavy and thick and luxurious, the photography is lush and many times a picture is spread over out two full pages. The feature stories are long and in depth.   The interiors are sophisticated, but with an intriguing edge.   Many houses shown in the first issue are filled with riotous color, while the quieter palettes shown highlight textures and art work and accessories.

 

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Fabulous antique chairs juxtaposed with shiny silk table skirts in this wonderful Belgian house owned and designed by the legendary Walda Pairon.

 

 

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A sedate and soothing master bedroom seen in a Beverly Hills Colonial.

 

 

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A classic Dallas house – filled with fabrics and textiles collected over a lifetime.

 

 

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The editorial pages are filled with places to visit, interesting people to meet and decorative things to discover.  The story on chic lamps was a personal favorite!

 

 

 

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And, on the last page, Milieu was gracious enough to feature the Cote de Texas blog!  Recently, the Skirted Roundtable interviewed The Prince of Chintz, Mario Buatta, in anticipation of his new design book which will be released this October. 

A huge thank you to Milieu for featuring Cote de Texas & The Skirted Roundtable.

To listen to the interview with Mario Buatta, go HERE.

And to order Buatta’s new book – go HERE.

 

 

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Finally,

To subscribe to Milieu – go HERE.

If you are a subscriber, you can read the magazine online HERE.

And look for Milieu on the new stands in Texas, California, and Atlanta at:

Barnes & Noble

H.E.B.

Kroger

Target. 

HUGE SALE AND HUGE GIVEAWAY!

16 comments

 

 

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BROWN – located at 2940 Ferndale, in Houston

 

My friend and shop owner, Jill Brown, is having a huge After Labor Day Sale!   If you are from Houston, or any place nearby, you are in luck!

Starting this Thursday, September 5 and lasting until Saturday,  BROWN, the unique lights, antiques, and home décor store will be hosting an

UNPRECEDENTED and UNPLUGGED sale of old and new, high and low – all one of a kind finds, that BROWN sells.

 

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Now, this is the best part of the deal! 

This past May, Cote de Texas finished its sixth year of blogging and is now well into its seventh year.  In honor of that – Jill has selected SEVEN giveaways!!!

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SEVEN!!!

BROWN will be giving away SEVEN prizes, all offered from the store.

And as Jill said to me – “the prizes will be nice! Very nice!!” 

hmmmm…sounds so intriguing?!

 

How to enter?

Just stop by BROWN during the sale and enter your name.

There will be a drawing when the sale ends.

 

 

Remember - Be sure to stop by BROWN this Thursday, Friday or Saturday and check out the huge 30 to 60% sale.

While there – register as a Cote de Texas reader and enter the contest for a chance at winning one of the seven prizes.

 

If you don’t live in Houston, you can still shop at BROWN on their 1stdibs web site.      

Here is a tiny example of goods available now at BROWN and 1stdibs HERE.

 

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Any questions?

Contact BROWN through their web site HERE or at 713-522-2151

Pretty in Houston!

117 comments

 

It’s been a while since I showed a house from the Aidan Gray contest – so I thought now was the time.  This house, located in Houston, made the semi-finals, and I really thought for sure it would make the finals!!!   The house has an interesting design history.  It was built by a popular real estate agent who is friends with Ruth Gay, owner of Chateau Domingue.  Ruth helped the owner with the décor, adding some of her fabulous architectural pieces here and there like antique mantels and doors and aged terracotta floors.   The original owner then put the house up for sale.  Luckily I was able to find the original real estate photographs – showing the pretty décor, filled with antiques. 

The next couple to own the house was not into antiques and furnished the house in chrome and contemporary furniture.   Unfortunately, I also have those real estate photographs!  Which brings us to the present day.  The contemporary loving couple sold it to the current owners who have worked hard to turn the house back to its original French roots – with the help of the uber-talented interior designer Nicole Zarr of Triangle Interiors, Inc.  The results are fabulous – the house is beautifully decorated, so warm and inviting in soothing shades of yellows, blues,  grays and creams.   I hope you like it as much as I do!!

 

Enjoy!

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The house is stucco and stone with a tiled roof.  The study is to the right of the front door and the dining room is to the left.  At the right wing – is the master bedroom.  On the very left of the house is the kitchen and, then the garage. 

 

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At the side is a walled courtyard that the dining room and breakfast room/kitchen overlook.

 

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The courtyard with lavender and box.

 

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The back yard shows a large covered patio with a fireplace and kitchen.   The family room and living room have French doors that open onto the patio.  To the very left is the master bedroom wing.  Upstairs are the numerous bedrooms, a game room, an exercise room and a media room. 

 

For each room – I will show the real estate pictures from the two previous owners to compare to today’s décor.

 

The Entry:

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There is no picture of the entry from the original owners, but here from the second owners – with the contemporary aesthetic –is the view looking towards the front door.   The contemporary couple kept the original antique lantern. 

 

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Here is the same view today – the current owner placed an antique table in the middle of the entry, on top of a rug.  To the left is the library and to the right is the dining room.

 

 

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Past the front entry hall is a small vestibule with a groin ceiling.  Leslie of Segreto Finishes painted a subtle pattern around the original antique lantern.  Beautifully styled by Nicole Zarr, a screen sits atop a console – with antique books and a santos.  Sooooo pretty!!

 

The Study:

 

 

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Inside the office at the front of the entry hall, is an antique desk with a wonderful painting.  A beautiful painted iron chandelier hangs over a bench. 

 

The Dining Room:

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Across the entry hall from the study – is the dining room.  Here we can see the original owners décor – this owner built the house and decorated it with the help of Ruth Gay from Chateau Dominque.  The French doors open onto the side courtyard.  The double doors lead to the kitchen.  I love the décor – with the antique table and chairs and an iron and crystal chandelier.   Sorry the real estate pictures are such poor quality!

 

 

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The second owners dining room – hard to believe it’s even the same house!   The curtains cover up the pretty front window.  The crystal chandelier was replaced with a faux candelabra.  What can you say?

 

 

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And the dining room today – decorated by Nicole Zarr.  Stunning!  I love this room so much.  First, the charming dining room table with its carved wood base and painted chairs is fabulous.   Second, the chandelier is a show stopper.   It’s just gorgeous!   To the left is a painted console that fits right under the window.

 

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A close up of the chandelier – love its macaroni beading.  Notice the beautiful antique pair of doors that lead to the kitchen.  Again, adding doors like this to a house makes such a difference!  You don’t have to have antique French doors – try going to architectural salvage houses where you can find old doors that have plenty of patina, for much less.

 

 

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Here you can see the table base, painted.  So charming!!!  Also notice the curtains.  I love the way Nicole designs her curtains.  Most have a subtle pattern that makes them all the more interesting.  And I love the pot of hydrangeas.  Also notice the muted rug – in light blues and yellows. 

 

 

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Here you can see the pattern in the curtains – so pretty!

 

 

The Living Room:

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The original owners decorated the living room with Spanish styled tables and French chairs, using taupes and brown velvets.  Ruth Gay placed the 18th century stone mantel,  found in France.   In the back, a cream painted armoire.  Lovely!!

 

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The second owners furnished the room in boring contemporary sofas and chairs.  At least they kept the fireplace!!!   The curtains couldn’t be any more uninspired.

 

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And here is how it looks today – decorated by Nicole Zarr.  She used linen to cover the sofas.  A small check is on the two chairs.  She used an area rug, again, very muted.  The curtains have a subtle toild pattern.  Along the back wall are two built in cabinets.

 

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A close up of the seating groups around the fireplace.

 

 

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I love the curtains – with trim on the leading edge.  The mantel is gorgeous too.  Incredible.  The antique mantels are just so much better looking than the repros, but unfortunately, they are way too expensive for most of us!!!  The owners were so lucky the house came with all these architectural elements.  Pretty chaise in the corner. 

 

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Along the back wall – two cabinets were added – they have a Swedish feel with their carved doors and chicken wire.

 

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And along the side wall the leads to the family room is a Swedish sofa with a mix of pillows. 

 

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And on the other side of the doorway is this antique chest and mirror

 

 

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Through the double doors is the family room.

 

The Family Room:

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The original owners decorated the family room with French styled chairs and sofa.  Love the two tall chairs with toile fabric.  The stairs led to the upstairs bedrooms.  Through the windows is the covered porch with its outside fireplace and kitchen.  Through the doorway is the living room.  Love the way they decorated this room.

 

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The next owners furnished the family room with more contemporary furniture.  Again, it’s hard to believe it’s the same room.    I wonder why they even bought this French styled house?  It just doesn’t go with their aesthetic at all!

 

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And today!  The room was decorated by Nicole using creams and light blues.   I love the window treatments.  There are chaises instead of chairs which are great for watching TV.  Love the highback sofa in light blue velvet.  And I love the tall table used for a coffee table.  So fresh and pretty!   Through the arched opening is the living room.

 

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A close  up of the trumeau – so pretty.  Notice the trim on the chaise.  Love the decorating!

 

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And looking the other direction.  The breakfast room and kitchen connect to the family room.   The covered terrace is outside the windows of the family room.  

 

 

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Close up of the fabrics used.

 

 

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Across from the family room- is a large French bookshelf.  You can really tell the difference between the pictures that the homeowner submitted herself and the ones her decorator had professional taken!  These were also taken much earlier – you can see the trumeau is a new piece – there was once a painting there.

 

 

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Pretty light blue velvet with nailheads. 

 

 

 

The Kitchen and Breakfast Room:

 

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The kitchen has remained almost the same through the three owners.  Tiles on the backsplash and pretty painted cabinets.

 

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The first owner – with  another stunning antique Chateau Dominque fireplace.  This light fixture also stayed through all three owners.  Through these French doors is the side courtyard.

 

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The second owners added plain khaki shades.

 

 

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And they added another contemporary table and chairs -  just so boring.

 

 

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And today – industrial stools were added for around the island.  Cute window treatments in yellow stripes were added along with French styled accessories.   I love the painted cabinets and tiled backsplash mixed with the white marble.

 

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In this closeup you can see the marble countertops and the walnut on the island.  I love the antique tile backsplash.  Using tiles like this is a great way to add patina in your house without a huge expense – unlike an antique mantel.   Love the way Nicole did these curtains!

 

 

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And a shot of the breakfast area, overlooking the kitchen.

 

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Looking back from the kitchen to the family room.

 

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Another view of the breakfast room with the beautiful antique mantel.

 

The Master Bedroom:

 

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The original owners used a four poster bed and a French armoire. 

 

 

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The second owners – here you can see that there is another fireplace in the bedroom.

 

 

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And today, the present owners have hung subtle patterned curtains in yellow.  Notice the pair of antique doors that lead into the master bedroom.

 

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And, across from the bed, there is a blue painted armoire and French chaise.  Love the lamp!!!  Such a pretty a vignette. I wish there was a picture of the bed!

 

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Here you can see the pattern in the curtains and the subtle pattern in the chaise fabric.  Notice the trim on the leading edge of the curtains.

 

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This really interested me – the original owners and their beautiful master bath.  Love the marble shower and I especially love the antique terracotta floor from Chateau Dominque.  Gorgeous!

 

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The second owners – with the contemporary aesthetic – TOOK OUT THE TILED FLOOR!!!!!!   Wow!  That’s sad!  And of course they hung up more boring curtains and I have no clue what that leather ottoman is doing in the bathroom! 

At least the owners chose an antique stone tile to replace the terra cotta.  It’s still very pretty – I just wish they would have left the terracotta down!

 

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In the pool bath – the original terra cotta floors remained.  Nicole Zarr put up a new wallpaper and added an antique mirror.

 

 

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I love this house – the layout and the décor – and I thought it was so interesting to see how three owners decorated it – from French to Contemporary and back to French décor.  It amazes me that the second couple even bought the house – with its 18th century mantels and antique terra cotta floors, the old iron chandeliers and sconces – and then they added a houseful of contemporary furniture!  Why not buy a modern house instead?  

I talked to the present owner – and she said she was glad that the house was furnished with the contemporary furniture when they looked at it – because it kept a lot of potential buyers away!!

I especially love the way Nicole Zarr decorated it – with a continuity of colors – creams and blues and pale yellows.  I love her use of patterned curtains and antique rugs in soothing colors.  And I love how she uses trims to highlight edges on furniture and fabric. 

 

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I especially love the dining room – with its painted furniture and gorgeous chandelier!  What a beauty it is and what a beautiful room!!

 

 

I asked the designer Nicole if I could show a few more examples of her work – and she graciously sent some pictures.  Here are few of my favorites:

 

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This family room is chic in bright yellows and grays. The patterns are much more bold here than in the previous house, and the effect is more trendy.  I love how she mixed in antiques with the contemporary pieces.

 

 

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This bedroom is all soft blues and whites.  Again it’s a mixed of the more traditional with new looks such as lucite and mirrors.

 

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In this house, Nicole mixed browns and blues and creams.  Love the curtains – and love the colors.  Notice the trim on the brown sofa and ottoman.  I also really like the furniture arrangement with the two chairs against the windows.

 

 

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Here’s a closeup – Nicole used such pretty painted pieces in this room.  The side table and the chest are just beautiful. 

 

 

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Leslie of Segreto Finishes painted this room and added the detailing at the ceiling and the two pictures flanking the French doors.  On the stone floor, Nicole added a very subtle rug.  So pretty!

 

 

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For the master suite – I like how she took a large room and filled it up so it becomes cozy instead of cavernous.   The canopy bed is a great idea to lower the ceiling to human proportions. 

 

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A close up of the beautiful fabrics she used.  What a pretty bed!

 

Nicole Zarr took over her mother’s interior design firm, Triangle Interiors, Inc. after she got sick and passed away.  Today Nicole helps raise money for cancer research and has created a candle in her mother’s, Paulette Domercq, memory – with the saying “Life is Short.  Make it Beautiful.”   So true!

 

A huge thank you to Nicole for the beautiful pictures.

 

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To contact the designer:

Nicole D. Zarr – email her at: 

Nicole@triangleinteriors.com or phone:  713-973-6040