10 December 2013

A New Orleans Vibe Giveaway!

 

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Valorie Hart, The Visual Vamp, in her New Orleans house.

 

One of my favorite blogs is The Visual Vamp – written by Valorie Hart.  Valorie has been writing her blog almost as long as I have and through the years we’ve had some good times commiserating.  Valorie is an effervescent red head – though sometimes her hair is actually lilac!  We are about the same age and I’ve always been in awe of her energy and her ability to tirelessly write.  I like to call her Zelig, named after the famous Woody Allen character who turns up during every important historic event.  Valorie is like that – while she now lives in New Orleans, she previously lived in New York where she either knew everyone from the 70s and 80s or she had worked with them.  Her list of friends and co-workers is nothing if not amazing!!

At times besides interior designing, Valorie was a famous party planner, she was in a rock and roll band, and she was a floral designer – among other vocations.  Oh yes, and she and husband, Alberto Paz are also world famous tango dancers – who give lessons in their shotgun NOLA house when they aren’t competing on the international stage.  WHEW! 

 

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A party that Valorie designed and planned back in her NYC days.

 

So, it was no surprise when Valorie told me she had written a book that was recently published AND she was currently already writing the second one!!!  The first book is called House Proud, which features houses from Louisiana.  The new book will showcase houses in Texas. 

 

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The cover of Valorie’s book – with photographs by Sara Essex Bradley and published by Glitterati, Inc.

 

The book is fun.  It’s filled with beautiful houses and cute houses, large houses and small houses.  There’s something for everyone and every budget.  And there’s something to take home from the book  - at the end of every chapter Valorie writes a list of “takeaways” – ideas from the house for you to use in  your own.

While most houses featured in House Proud aren’t decorated by Valorie- there is a healthy dose that are – including a spread on Valorie’s own house. 

 

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One of my favorite houses in the book is this one in New Orleans designed by Valorie!  I love it – from the persimmon taffeta curtains to the crystal chandelier – it’s so beautiful.

 

 

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And the dining room – with its tree truck table – which she mixed with vintage chairs and a Kelly Wearstler fabric. 

 

 

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The living room – where Valorie mixed in antique furniture with mid century chairs.

 

 

 

 

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This house is another favorite from the book – which was designed by Evelyne Clinton.  What an entry hall with an antique French daybed covered in lilac velvet.  To die for!

 

 

 

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And this dining room is from Evelyne Clinton’s own house, also featured in the book.

 

 

 

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Two matching crystal chandeliers – hang in this New Orleans house.

 

 

Reading the book made me want to show you more of what Valorie has been up to lately.   Her portfolio is loaded with design projects she’s recently finished and articles she’s written – busy as ever!

 

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Valerie recently updated this house – recovering furniture and painting cabinets to bring the décor a bit more up to date for its owners.  Love the Ikat fabric she used on the chairs and pillows.

 

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On either side of the fireplace she had the brown stained cabinets painted a more trendy gray.  And she replaced a large armoire with a bench and mirror.

 

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And I love this runner she used on the stairs, behind the sofa.

 

 

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No one changes their house décor more than Valorie.  Over the years, her house has been redecorated so many times, I couldn’t even begin to count them!  Here is how her dining room recently looked, which I really liked – and figured she would keep it like this for awhile.  But no……

 

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She recently had this brainstorm (after living in the house for years and years) to move the table to the right of the room - which is rather skinny.  With the furniture off centered this way, you can walk around the table, rather than into it!   Instead of chairs – she put upholstered banquettes along the wall and added a wonderful large paper light fixture which really gives the room a sparse, almost Oriental vibe.

 

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Looking down at the banquettes with the pillows placed at the corner.  Love the cowhide on the table – which is a great way to disguise a wood table with a stain you don’t love.

 

AND, to see designer Susannah Salk recreate Valorie’s living room using all Ballard Design products- watch this video – HERE.  Very interesting! 

 

 

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And finally, since I don’t get to decorate for Christmas – I’m excited to show you how Valorie did this year!  She used a Tiffany blue color mixed with orange accents that match her velvet chairs.

 

 

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Here, the tree is set up in her dance studio – which is right outside her living room.  I love the blue theme!

 

 

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In her living room – she wrapped blue pillows like presents 

 

 

 

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And another pillow, wrapped like a present.  Decorating tip: instead of white linen or cotton – Valorie uses white pleather which is very easy to keep pristine.

 

 

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And on her coffee table, along with reindeer and a tiny wreath, she displays spools of velvet ribbon that matches the turquoise tree and presents. 

 

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Last year’s decorations – I love this picture mainly to see how much the room has changed in one year’s time. 

Here’s hoping Valerie and her husband and all our readers have a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Years!

 

The Giveaway!

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For the giveaway, Valorie has graciously allowed there to be TWO winners!!!  Each winner will win one copy of her book, “House Proud.”  To enter the contest – all you have to do is go to House Proud’s facebook page HERE and “Like” it!

Then come back to this blog and leave me a comment saying you want to enter.  Be sure to leave your email address if you are anonymous!

That’s all!

The contest lasts from now until Friday night, December 13th at 11:59 pm.

The book makes great Christmas gifts – to order the book, just click on the picture below:

 

To read The Visual Vamp blog, go HERE.

A huge thank to Valorie Hart for sponsoring this giveaway!!!