COTE DE TEXAS

PERFECTION IN A HIGHRISE

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I’ve been looking online at highrise apartments lately and this one popped up on Houston Area Realtors.   It is located in a building where my late aunt had lived, so I know it well.  One of the photos of a unit that had sold caught my eye immediately.  I knew who owned it and remembered it had been featured in Veranda.  Also, the owner’s previous apartment was featured in Lonny.

The unit had belonged to beautiful Houstonian Laurann Claridge, a renaissance woman if there ever was one.  She’s been a magazine editor, a fashion designer, a published author, and more.  She was trained in Paris as a pastry chef and once had an award winning radio show.  Today she and her sister head a clothing line, Claridge + King

As for her highrise apartment, it’s an interesting study because she lived in two different units in the same complex before she moved away and it’s a learning experience to see how one apartment differs from the other and how one apartment was improved on over the other. 


Today, first is a look back at the original, smaller unit and then on to the second, new unit.   Additionally, there are the real estate photos from when the owner sold the highrise, which expand on the Veranda photographs with newer, larger pictures.   I hope her new home will be shown one day too!


Apartment #1:

The first apartment, shown in Lonny.   A white slipcovered sofa, armless chairs and ottoman were used along with a contemporary coffee table and a classic zebra rug.  Across, is an antique Biedermeier chest and Louis Philippe mirror from France.

                          

The antique chest and mirror mix with the contemporary lamp – symbols of the décor found in both apartments.

                 

The back wall is mirrored which makes the room seem twice as long.  In the new apartment – the living area is actually double this length.

The area in front of the mirrors is the dining room.   Here a large antique gold mirror was laid over the wall of mirrors which helps fool the eye even more.  In front is an antique settee.   The settee is normally used at the table instead of chairs, but for the photo it was turned around.


The zebra is just the right amount of glitz.   The floors are stained dark in both units, obviously something the owner prefers, but in the original apartment shown here, they are parquet which looks a bit dated.  Later, the owner will opt for a much more beautiful floor in the new unit.

The first apartment was a mixture of antique and modern, contrasted with white and black mixed with gray.  This theme was carried over to the second apartment.

Apartment #1 was lived in many years ago, but it still reads current today.  It’s a classic look that is as wonderful yesterday as it is today which is why I find these two units so intriguing.

Being a writer, the owner needed an office and library, but in a two bedroom unit, that order was not included in the floorplan.  To solve the problem, the guest bedroom was turned into a place to both read and work, and sleep.

Two bookcases were built and installed below the crown molding.  In case the next owner didn’t want the bookcases, they were constructed to pop out and be moved with Claridge, if she wanted.


Since it is actually the only guest room, an antique guest daybed was bought, which doubled as a settee when the room was used as an office.

 

It was this padded screen that I recognized when scanning through the highrise realtor photos.  The owner made this screen a decade before the Lonny photos.  Flanked by round skirted tables and silver lamps, the screen was a dramatic focal point in the master bedroom.



The bedroom wall is also mirrored.  In front is a gray painted armoire with Claridge’s initials carved into it.  Who could pass up an antique bearing one’s own initials?  Impossible!

The robe is from her own clothing line:  Claridge + King.


After living in this highrise as a single businesswoman, Claridge  married.

The couple bought a new, larger apartment in the same complex – but in its other tower.  The couple merged their possessions  - the major decorative addition were two white leather Barcelona chairs that really stepped up the mix of modern and classic and two dark wool sofas.  The décor of the two apartments looks very similar, but on closer inspection, the new unit was renovated in a much finer manner:  the marble filled bathrooms would be at home in the most elegant British hotel and the kitchen is fitting for a Paris trained pastry chef.


Apartment #2

This unit had been gutted in order to sell.  Since it was a blank slate, the owner was able to custom every detail.   This really shows in the finished project, as you will see.

The foyer is a total reverse of the all white apartment.  Painted a dark gray, the modern black and white rug with the antique chair says “classic mixed with modern” awaits you!     



In the new unit – the living dining area is twice as large as the former unit.   The Barcelona chairs add a modern touch.  The floors are black, the walls are white.  The screen that was once a headboard is now decorated with a gold sunburst mirror.  An acrylic console helps divide the room into three areas – dining, sitting, living.

I love the settee mixed with the modern coffee table and the zebra adds an exotic touch.

LOVE THIS!


An earlier view shows the skirted table was once used here, as was the touch of folly – a ram.

Shown are the two owners of Claridge + King, the sisters!

You can see the dark wood floors in this photo and appreciate how much prettier these floors are than the parquet from the other apartment. 

From Veranda – past the seating area with the screen is this second seating area.  Two dark gray sofas offset the white slipper chairs, now updated with a bit of trim.  Modern art is atop a classic console.



Another earlier view of the apartment, before the gray sofas were brought in.  


The same view as above with the new decorative scheme.

From the real estate photos:  The  gray sofas with the cowhide rug.  Contemporary art work along the wall brings in rare bright color.

The foyer is to the right of the large canvas.   At the back is the dining area and to the left – a wet bar.


From Veranda, the dining area.  Here – the large library doubles as the dining room, instead of the guest room as in the former apartment.  

You will see below that the color of this rug is off.


And from the realty photos – you can see the settee is used again instead of two chairs.  There are two French chairs and two slipcovered chairs.  The crystal chandelier is a mix of old and new.

And here, in this light – the beautiful rug is truly a cream and gray color, as opposed to the creamy brown as seen in the Veranda photos, which makes sense as the apartment is white and gray.

I adore the use of the books in the dining room!  This must have been a beautiful place to have dinner at night,  with the books highlighted.   So pretty!

 

LOVE THIS!!!!!!  WANT THIS!!!!!


Another view – this shows the wet bar and the entrance to the kitchen. 


A close up of the wet bar with Carrera marble.  The kitchen is through the doorway.


From the former apartment, the chest and lamp – this hallway leads to the kitchen.


The floors are just beautiful.  I know everyone is doing light gray floors today, but I still love a dark floor with white walls. 

Also, notice how pretty the cabinetry is.  Everything in this custom apartment is so updated over the previous one.


The kitchen was completely redone.  It has gorgeous marble on the counters and backsplash.  Again, CLASSIC.

Teaching Moment:  If you find a gorgeous marble, think about using it as the backsplash too, not just as the countertops.  It would have been such a shame to use a subway tile here – the backsplash is the most fabulous element in this kitchen.

Gray painted cabinets.  Nickle pendants.    What a gorgeous upgrade for this highrise.  Their usual kitchens are just blah compared to this.

Here is a photo from the owner’s first apartment with its unrenovated kitchen:


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I found this photo online – the kitchen that comes with the highrise is much like this, although even this was updated a bit with new appliances and new countertops. 

But, you can see how much more luxe the kitchen in Apartment #2 is.


Another view showing the beautiful marble on the island.

I have only one criticism about the décor, just one little one.   I’m not in love with the gray textured area rug, custom cut to fit the kitchen and breakfast room.  I’m not sure why the owner wanted a rug in here.  But it’s just a tiny complaint, so I hope I’m forgiven for it.


Across the breakfast table are shelves filled with white porcelains and ironstone.


From Veranda, styled for the magazine.


Also Veranda – you can see the shelves filled with white and silver.   The tureen is so pretty.

OK.  I’m realizing why I love this condo so much – we collect many of the same things, like that tureen and white ironstone and creamware.


From the real estate photos, eek!  The tureen is gone!!!  LOL!



From the real estate photos, the powder room has a marble topped console and antiqued mirrored walls.



From Veranda, the master bedroom as it was first decorated.


And from the real estate photos, as the bedroom looked after new, more contemporary bedding was installed.    The new lamps really set the eclectic tone. 

It looks like even the gold tone sunburst was repainted a more silvery tone.

From Veranda, in the corner of the master bedroom, another mix of classic and modern.   In the Lonny photoshoot, this painting was seen in the living room of Apartment #1.

 

After the Veranda photoshoot, the real estate photos show the new contemporary pillows that were added, along with new bedding which gives the room a more modern edge.


Two slipper chairs with Kelly Wearstler fabric sit by the window – that group of buildings in the far right distance is the world famous Houston Medical Center.


Wow!  In the real estate photos, we get a look at the master bathroom which was also completely redone.  Gorgeous marble covers the counters and floors. 


I love the inset mirrors that surround the bathtub.  Notice the marble molding goes from the baseboards to around the door. 


The master closet was expanded to hold a large collection of clothing, including adding a third bar.


And the guest room, with the armoire that holds the owner’s initials and lots of contrasting black and white stripes.  No longer does this room double as the library like it did in Apartment #1. 


  Here is the standard guest bathroom from Apartment #1.   It does look like a new tile floor was laid and perhaps white marble countertops.    Instead of a pricey shower door, the owner opted for a chic shower curtain.


And here is how the owner designed the guest bathroom in Apartment #2.  You can see the layout is almost the same as before, and the results are just beautiful.  The tub was removed and replaced with a gorgeous marble lined shower.  A towel warmer or rack adds that touch of class.  Just beautiful!!! 

                                                                                                         After the Veranda photoshoot, the owner sold Apartment #2 and moved to terra firma.  There hasn’t been a photoshoot of the new home published, but hopefully there will be one soon.

On Instagram, there have been just a few clues of the new house and what it looks like:


There was this photo of a custom designed bookcase, with half the shelves behind painted black and glass doors.

The basic decorative theme of the new residence looks similar to the two condo units – black floors, gray and white paint, bookcases, shiny nickel finishes. 
I just wish we could see more!!!


From Instagram, there was another tiny clue in this small photo:  black lacquered bar stools with black and white stripes in the new kitchen with white marble, again.


And this beautiful table with white marble and more stripes.  The antique gilt settee that was in the dining room in Apartment 1 & 2 now looks like it is in the breakfast room.

What is obvious is the new house has the same décor elements found in both apartments.

Which leads to this teaching point.

Do what you love, again and again.   Don’t give up what you like the most just because you have done it before.   There’s no need to install a trendy navy blue kitchen just because it’s in style.  All three decorative schemes from both apartments and from the new house are basically the same.  Do what you love, always.



And finally this. From Instagram.   The black lacquer tray is accessorized with an antique tobacco jar, a modern gilded bowl and vintage alabaster grapes.  And flowers! 

I have to say this tray is filled with things I love and  I would decorate a tray just like this too.

Which makes me think, maybe that’s why I was so attracted to these apartments #1 & #2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

I mean – just look at this!  Perfection in a highrise!        


and….in blogging news,

Gal Meets Glam, Julia Engel, has just released her new August dresses from her line, found at Nordstrom’s.


OMG, I’m so in love with her bedroom!!!

I’m in love with Julia’s newly restored house, so I follow her IG looking for photos of the updated interiors.  It might be my favorite millennium blogger house ever.   Here are some of her new dresses for this month.  I love that most come in plus sizes!!

 


Bette Pleated Midi Dress,
                        Main,
                        color, Ink Blue

HERE



Julia Seersucker Midi Dress,
                        Main,
                        color, Beige/ Pink

HERE


Audrey Wrap Dress,
                        Main,
                        color, Mauve

HERE


Kaye Belted Fit & Flare Dress,
                        Main,
                        color, Green

HERE


Hallie Fit & Flare Dress,
                        Alternate,
                        color, Rose/ Light Burgundy

And the darling Julia, HERE


Gemma Floral Print A-Line Dress,
                        Main,
                        color, Slate Blue/ Cadet Blue

HERE


Jane Tie Waist Midi Dress,
                        Main,
                        color, Hydrangea

HERE


Millie Floral Faux Wrap Maxi Dress,
                        Main,
                        color, Bisque/ Tan


HERE



Vanessa Button Front Linen Blend Dress,
                        Alternate,
                        color, Lavender

and Julia again, HERE

I hope you have been having a wonderful summer.

It is hotter than Hades in Texas and it’s not a good time to be busy in Houston, which I have been…very.

More news about that to come, soon.