COTE DE TEXAS: PERFECTION IN A HIGHRISE

PERFECTION IN A HIGHRISE


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.



43 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I love all of the apartment images, from the first one to the RE listing. I hope one of her future homes shows up someplace, I love her style.
    xo,
    Karen

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  3. So beautiful! Love the colors and all that marble. One thing I'm paying close attention to is bathrooms since I'm remodeling two right now. Higher end homes are not using accent tiles in the niches or borders in their bathrooms. They continue the counter material or wall material onto the walls and the niches. Very timeless.

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    1. I am not a fan of accent tiles. I'm just not. I feel like it's like pick all the tiles you like and put them in one bathroom. It does seem like high ends designer use fewer tiles.

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  4. OH, and LOVE the bookcases in the dining rooms ala Carolyne Roehm

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  5. I LOVE both apartments! The book lined dining room!!! The antique modern mix is so great. I want more modern in my life. Thanks, Joni!

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  6. Gorgeous! I see these neutral interiors and I suddenly want to remove all color from my home!

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    1. Don’t do that!! Color is back. All this white and gray looks dated to me.

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  7. joni,
    I always have problems editing my house. She obviously selects from a limited palette which makes for calm and peaceful rooms. The apartment is so well defined and curated. I wish I had the ability to limit my choices. It was fun to see like-minded people merging their belongings.
    Keep showing greet Houston looks.

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  8. I'm transitioning to all neutrals with a limited palette and with accents used in accessories. I like the calm feeling, too. I will say that designers are saying strong color is coming back!

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  9. I look forward to your blogs more than ANY other on the internet. Your digging and research is the best! Thank you!

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    1. Sweet!!! Thank you - it means so much to me.

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  10. I love your advice about doing what you like as opposed to what's trendy. Interesting to see how dated the parquet floors looked in her first apartment. It's always fun to see how women live and decorate their homes. For five years I was part of a small memoir writing group we called "Women, Windows & Walls." We once said we were going to rent a limo and driver, have some champagne and one night, drive up and down the upscale streets in San Antonio, hoping to get a peek into a lighted room and see what it looked it. Alas... I was diagnosed with breast cancer and we never did that. I always enjoy your detective work and the amount of effort you put into your posts. Brenda

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    1. Thanks! I used to stalk people looking through the windows at 5pm. I used to stalk Sally Wheat and wrote about it. IT was one of the more popular stories because everyone could relate to stalking a cute house.

      I hope all is better with you and you are feeling alright.

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  11. Joni: This was a wonderful post....I look forward to each and every one of them. Your small reluctance to embrace the custom cut carpet in the kitchen/breakfast nook area was understanding....mainly because carpet on a kitchen floor seems so impractical. But impractical interiors abound in many (or most) magazine layouts. All the decorative pillows on the master bed are impractical...(who wants to hassle with a bunch of pillows when all you want to do at the end of the day is drop into bed). So is the white upholstered screen in the living room--doesn't it block the view?? White towels anywhere are impractical (think of all the bleach that must be used in the washing machine). And despite what you (Joni) proclaim, white slip covers really are NOT practical unless one is willing to wash them every single time a smudge occurs (the bleach issue again.) The point is this: why should you/me/anyone be uncomfortable with the idea of carpet in a kitchen because it is impracticable-- despite the fact that you/me/anyone is OK with impracticality in other areas of the home for the sake of beauty and loveliness? Personally, I found the carpet in the kitchen/breakfast nook to be a welcome relief to all the hard surfaces already there. Strict use of only hard surfaces in any room is invariably tiring, so bravo to the designer of this absolutely stunning kitchen for dealing with that fact in a wonderfully imaginative way. Thank you, thank you, thank you Joni again for this marvelous post. i will review and study it for months and years to come. Kindest regards,

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    1. Bleach is my friend. I have only white towels, washcloths, and bed linens. The thought of not bleaching washcloths is, to me now, well, kind of gross. But that's just me.

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    2. I actually thought the floor was so pretty and usually there isn't a rug in the kitchen. It's just personal.

      As for white - well, I just disagree. At least you can see the dirt which is incredible how much there is even from clothes. I like to wash the slips - it's like clean jeans.

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  12. VERY interesting! As you say, the original apartment would be magazine fodder today--there is nothing that was so trendy then that it stands out as being out of style now. It's nice to see how she re-incorporated so many pieces--it shows that she chose them because they spoke to her and meant something to her, and not because she was ticking boxes, filling space with disposable stuff.
    As pretty as the padded divider is, I wouldn't have blocked those windows. What a view! I guess she has plenty of other windows, but still, that panorama, to me, deserves to be unbroken.
    And I'm with you on the kitchen floor. I cook all the time and spill plenty. I can't imagine trying to keep that floor clean. Since she's a trained chef, I imagine the kitchen isn't just for show.
    Her wall of books in each place shows what great decoration books are. A bookcase isn't a plain wall, yet it isn't busy, especially with all the books straight, library-style, and not full of "vignettes."
    Thanks for another fascinating and educational post.

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  13. I’ m still drooling over that fabulous kitchen, carpet or no carpet, and I usually don’t like grey . The bathroom is gorgeous too. I’m sure the black and white scheme suited the owners well and it inspires me to add a little glamour to my decor. Thanks for the peek at these beautiful homes and your usual meticulous research. I look forward to the pics of the owners’ new place which I am sure you will find. And by the way, to your reader who uses bleach on her slip covers, please use it sparingly as it is toxic and cause respiratory problems.

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  14. Thank you for another awesome post! I always enjoy your blog!

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  15. The mirrored walls in these apartments remind me of our time in Puerto Rico. When we moved there 30 years ago, every house and apartment we looked at had at least one mirrored wall. The apartment we chose had a vast mirror covering one entire wall in the master bedroom. Not so great when you are nine months pregnant and have to look at yourself as you struggle out of bed first thing in the morning!

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  16. I have that exact lovely tureen and it is treasured! How fun to see it in another space!

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    1. Really? Who makes it? I am dying for it!!!

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  17. Another great post! I always enjoy your posts and attention to detail. I also didn't like the carpet in the kitchen. I know it would be a nightmare to keep clean for me, but I thought it was drab and looked as though it belonged in an office space. I loved the kitchen, otherwise, and the living and dining areas in the new apartment. I thought the bedrooms were too masculine and impersonal for my taste, and reminded me of hotel rooms. Veranda adding the flowers to the little table in the bedroom made the room a lot more welcoming to me-I guess my taste is geared toward things a little less modern and with at least a few feminine touches. I much preferred the master bedroom in the first apartment with the skirted bedside tables and more personal items displayed- but that's me and my taste.

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  18. I'm going to guess that the carpet in the kitchen area by the stove and sink and prep areas is hiding a less than attractive gel mat/underlay that is good for people who stand on their feet a lot. You can buy those mats - Chefs mats? - in different sizes or a whole floor underlayment. Being a former chef she probably always uses those mats. I too would prefer to see a prettier floor in the kithen itself. I could totally see an egg rolling off that island and going splat on the floor. But overall that place is stunning.

    Wendy

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  19. Is this the tureen? https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-RED-CLIFF-HEAVY-IRONSTONE-FOUR-PIECE-TUREEN-ROUND-UNDERGLAZE-MARK/382516186523?hash=item590fbdcd9b%3Ag%3Af74AAOSw7ThUiwzx%3Asc%3AUSPSPriority%2106470%21US%21-1&_pgn=2&_sacat=20086&_nkw=ironstone+tureen&_from=R40&rt=nc

    Wendy

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  20. Joni, not crazy about either of these apartments. All the gray and white looks dated to me.
    Saying that, thanks for alllll the work you do in bringing us your posts!! Always a treat.

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  21. Your blog is such a joy to visit Joni! Thank you!

    This post was of particular interest to me given I live in a small apartment myself, I love seeing how people decorate smaller spaces and yet manage to add a touch of luxury and personality. The book lined dining room stood out to me as just love the feel of living in a library!

    I appreciated that her design spirit was sustained across the two apartments. Very clean clutter free living. The carpet in the kitchen didn't offend me visually but practically I would go mad trying to keep it clean! Loved the beautiful marble in apartment 2. Expensive but I think soooo worth it.

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  22. I have had the Veranda photo of the dining room in apartment two pinned to my office mood board since the issue first arrived. And thank you for the reverse image, showing the bar and dresser; I had wondered where food service might happen in a room full of books.
    Best wishes! D

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  23. This is ME! So ME! I hope so hard this is how people see my house - traditional bones, traditional base mixed with contemporary / modern and light bright airy. I want to be able to put my house on pause (and have) during life milestones: ailing parents, career changes, etc. and come back to focus on something that still works! The parquet discussion made me laugh / cringe. My grandparents built their house in 1956 and chose parquet because they'd seen it in Paris. I loved it and still do - but when we replaced our hardwoods after Harvey (I always hated how narrow and ORANGE they were so I was secretly delighted and thwarted their drying out at every chance I got, shhh) I wanted parquet and the husband said NO on the grounds they look old-fashioned. Sad face.

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  25. Joni, Perhaps you have already planned your next blog feature, but if not, would you consider blogging on French and/or English gardens? Some of your readers might be focused on landscape design besides INTERIOR design during the current season. A study on the Monet Gardens would be lovely.

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  26. The only thing that keeps me from considering a high rise or townhome is my pets. Otherwise, this kitchen is wonderfully enticing.

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  28. I would be quite content residing in either space but have to agree with you Joni, re the floor covering in kitchen #2 is questionable. Also with so many mirrors throughout I would definitely want a house keeper which I imagine they had as otherwise keeping them sparkling clean IMHO would have been a nightmare ... ☺. To conclude; found the blend of classic and modern very impressive! -Brenda-

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