One House: Version I and II


A house recently went on sale in Houston.  It is owned by an upcoming young, talented and beautiful (the triple threat!) interior decorator.   The designer has not lived in this house very long and as luck would have it, I have the photographs of the house from its previous sale in 2008.    Both times, the house was beautifully furnished in the Houston style – lots of seagrass and linen.     I love seeing how the house changed from 2008 to today under the two different owners and decorators.    This house must really have a special designer vibe – it was also owned by another interior designer in the late 1990s.  



image This one story house, built in the 1950s,  has a fabulous location – right off Weslayan between San Felipe and Westheimer.

Located in Oak Estates, in the shadow of River Oaks, the one story, 1950s house is small – with only 1,986 sq. ft - which makes it perfect for a young family or empty nesters.   It’s kitchen has been updated with Carrara marble countertops, slate floor, new stainless appliances, and there is an expanded master suite with an adjoining study.   The house was previously a 3 bedroom, but one of the bedrooms was turned into a master closet, making it now a 2 bedroom 2.5 bathroom.   Listed at $775,000, the HAR information is available HERE.



Walking into the foyer, it’s obvious someone with impeccable style lives here.   A collection of antique French pots and books sit atop a painted console.   A glimpse into the living room shows an antique buffet and mirror. 



image YUM!   Custom cut seagrass in the living room, along with beautiful creamy silk curtains.   The curtains are perfect – reaching to the top, they are full and luscious – exactly how they should be.   Notice on the left, there are two antique buffets and mirrors flanking the front window.   I love the tufted ottoman and the French settee.     Two Fortuny pillows sit on the sofa and a mirror and pair of sconces are hanging above.   Note:  Be sure to set your monitor on maximum view to see the entire picture. 


image The living room, looking back towards the entry hall.  


image The house has a nice, open flow to  it.   The dining room opens from the living room and the family room opens from the dining room.   The kitchen is next to the dining room.   The dining room has two benches instead of chairs.   The linen slip, with its ruffled flange, is rough – perfectly matched to the table.   There is also an antique trumeau and a painted buffet.   The first time I saw benches used like this was  in Pam Pierce’s house.   See pictures at the end of this story.


image Connecting through the dining room is the family room – here the owners used Stark’s antelope carpet – a favorite in Houston.   The designer homeowner cozied up a sectional sofa with a custom made slipcovered ottoman in linen.   What a great idea – especially when blending his and hers – the ottoman really makes the typical sectional look atypical.  


image And looking the other direction – the bookshelves are filled with French pots and books, turned backwards to give a unified look.  I know this is a controversial way to shelve books, but I love the way it looks, especially when the books are a collection of cheap paperbacks!   I think it looks great.   Notice how thick the shelves are – this is a great way to update a bookshelf.   Notice here, you can see that the flange trim on the sofa is darker, giving a contrasting accent to the sectional.   Pillows like this can be found all over the Ebay and Etsy or at Restoration Hardware.  



Restoration Hardware’s pillows, similar to the homeowner’s.



image New Orleans antique dealer Karla Katz has a collection of these French pots on 1st dibs HERE.





image Off the dining room is the kitchen and breakfast room.    




Vagabond Vintage sells burlap runners like those seen in the breakfast room.  Order VV through Olivine HERE.



image The kitchen has stainless appliances and a new range hood.   There are  Carrara marble countertops and new open shelving.   The backsplash appears to have come from Chateau  Domingue HERE. 




This collection of tiles from Chateau Domingue are late 19th century.    They are actually colored cement tiles, called encaustic tiles.   Mostly the tiles are used on floors, but in Houston – many have been using them as backsplashes in powder rooms and kitchens.  



image Another view of the kitchen with its simple linen curtains.  It looks like the wooden range hood was built around the steel one – which is a great idea to  copy!    The cabinets are painted a light gray to match the marble and encaustic tile backsplash.  Notice how the shelves are a rough wood, rather than smooth.  Great kitchen.





image The master bedroom was enlarged and has a small sitting area and expanded bathroom and closet.  



image Beautiful new bathroom – love the cabinet and the antique marble vessel sinks.   Great Rohl hardware.  Really well done.  Walker Zanger tile. 



image The guest room is simple and sweet.  I like the shutters opened like that.   The skirted table is a simple burlap - Wisteria and Ballard Designs sell similar ones. 




Wisteria sells these, so does Ballard Designs.  HERE.




The second bathroom is softened with a custom made linen shower curtain and sink skirt.   Another linen is used as a shade. 



image Nice landscaping and patio, along with vintage outdoor furniture.




Another view of the back yard – the trellis is a great way to soften the garage’s blank wall.





image Here are the HAR pictures from the house when it was sold to the current owner in 2008.   Which version do you like best, I or II or a combination of the two?

Version II:   In this arrangement, there is a lot more furniture and the room looks totally different than Version I.  I love the Louis Philippe mirror and the French day bed and chairs on the back wall.  But, I am definitely missing the beautiful lush silk curtains from the first house.  


image The living room from the other view.   I love the French chairs and table.   



image The dining room is set up like Version I with a long rustic styled table and a buffet in the corner with a mirror over it.  The chandelier is crystal here, as opposed to the Italian styled one in the current house.  The same curtains are used here as in the living room.





image Here, you can see the host chairs are slipped in white linen with a gray trim.  These owners have more contemporary pieces, like this mirror and the art work. 



image The family room – I do really like this a lot.  I love the KWID print and the white slipped furniture.   The art work is perfect here.   This owner chose to use baskets in the shelves instead of books.  The walls are painted a deep taupe and there is wall to wall seagrass here. 


image Another view – I really love this room!  Very nicely done. 



image This owner chose to use a leather banquette and a Saarinen table.   Different, but very functional.  




The kitchen is so different now in Version I with the open shelving and new hardware.   Version I is such an improvement over all these upper cabinets.  I also like the new range hood in Version I than here




These owners chose to use the 3rd bedroom as an office.   Great carpet, furniture, and I love the dark chocolate walls. 


 image The master bedroom with dark taupe walls has linen slipped headboard and chair with two Oriental end tables and a crystal chandelier.   Totally different decor from Version I.   





One of the bathrooms – nice and simple in gray tile.    But I do miss all the linen – the shades, the shower curtain; I think it warmed up this bathroom in Version I.



 image This bedroom is much more decorated than in Version I.  Love the Rogers and Goffigon linen duvet and shams.   Very cute!



image The backyard is set up for kids under this owner.


So, which is better, Version I or Version II.   Actually there are elements of both houses that I like.  I like the updated kitchen and bathrooms in Version I better.   And I like the living room and dining room in Version I.   But I prefer the family room and the bedrooms in Version II over I.   Agree???


Pam Pierce Slipcover Details :

image Remember the dining room in Version I – with the two linen covered benches?    I love this look, and credit is due to Pam Pierce for making it popular.




In Pierce’s own house photographed for Veranda, her dining room featured two benches slipped in linen.   This was the first time I had seen this look updated for the 2000s.  




Chateau Domingue’s Ruth Gay has a similar look in her house.   I love this dining room – notice the beautiful jars on the buffet.  Gorgeous.   And notice the tablescape.  Just beautiful.   AND, it was Pam Pierce, of course, who was the designer who helped Gay with her house.




image Recently, Southern Living published this picture – with two linen slipcovered benches.  My first thought when seeing these was they were inspired no doubt by Pam Pierce.  



 Another style that Pam Pierce first did and many others followed was her skirted tables.   Instead of running the fabric with two seams up the side, Pierce gathered the linen on top of the table.   It’s hard to see in this picture, but again, Pierce championed this look. 




In The Stone House featured here, the homeowner’s skirted dining table is modeled after Pierce’s.   The gathering is pulled onto the tabletop here.


image In The Bennison House, interior designer Jane Wood HERE used a similar type of skirted table, the seam is just at the edge of the table. 





And in Sally Wheat’s living room, HERE,  she used a skirted table with the seam running on top.  FYI – Sally’s living room looks nothing like this today.  Not one piece in this room is here today except for the curtains.   Her new living room is contemporary!

Elisabeth’s Dorm Room

Last month my baby left for college – moving from Texas to Boca Raton, Florida, to major in Photography at Lynn University.  You have to know Elisabeth to appreciate it – she being in Boca Raton and all, majoring in Photography.   Not exactly the same as toughing it out through pre-med at some freezing, northern Ivy League school.   No, she’s out catamaraning in the Atlantic with new friends.   Ben and I just pray she is actually attending a class or two here and there.  Of course her leaving the nest for a dorm  got me all excited – thoughts of decorating her dorm room took up endless hours of daydreaming.  Reality is a bitch.   Elisabeth really didn’t want too much of my help with decorating, although she said she did to be nice.   In the end, she decorated her own room and I tried to keep my mouth shut.  It was hard. 
Dorm room designing is big business today.  Late summer, all the large discount stores like Target and K-Mart have special sections for dorm room decorating.  There is even an interactive web site to design your own dorm room with actual 3d plans from your college.  HERE.    Stores like Pottery Barn Teen, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters cater to dorm dwellers.   It’s all so different now than it used to be.  When I went to college in 1972, I took my sister’s 3 year old pink bedspreads  (one for me and one for my roommate – hi Helaine!) and one print for the wall.    This summer, we sent a car load of Elisabeth’s things down to Boca, plus numerous boxes via Fed Ex.   I tried to put a sunburst mirror from Ballard Designs in the car, but Elisabeth had a screaming fit and refused to let me send it.  I tried, I really tried. 
Boca Raton, Florida on the Atlantic Ocean.   This is the view outside from our hotel room.  

Fantasies of a dorm room – these pictures fueled my dreams of what I wanted Elisabeth’s dorm room to look like.  She had other ideas.   Here, Max Sinsteden, featured in New York Magazine, totally changed his dorm room into a Ralph Lauren advertisement.   Max worked part time for Charlotte Moss which explains where he is coming from.   Something tells me we’ll be seeing much more of his work in the future.  Looking down – Max brought oriental runners to cover the floor and he skirted a chest in plaid fabric.  His bed has bolsters in paisley and doubles as a sofa/day bed. 

image Max was lucky and was able to paint his dorm room.  I’m sure he’ll have to paint over it when he moves, but so what?  It’s totally worth it.   Elisabeth’s would have shot me if I painted her dorm room.   I love this gallery wall.   

image Max even brought all his design books – I spy An Affair With A House by Bunny Williams and another book on Elsie de Wolfe.  

Max skirted a table in plaid fabric and set up his own bar.   An array of liquor like this would get Elisabeth kicked out of school!   Max even added curtains with a trim, no less. 

image This dorm room is famous for being Edgar Allen Poe’s at the University of Virginia.   Great wood floors and beautiful antique furniture.   So unlike the dorm rooms of today. 

This dorm room at Harvard’s Westmorly Court was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s.   At the time, the dorm was brand new and boasted central heat, electricity, and modern “hygienic” bathrooms.   FDR’s suite was over 600 sq. ft. with four rooms and 14’ ceilings.   There was a working fireplace too.   His mother Sara decorated his room in the Victorian style.  

 image 1880s Princeton dorm room had beautiful wood furniture and cute curtains, along with wallpaper.
Dorm rooms were not always as boring as they are today.   This dorm room from the turn of the century actually resembles Max’s above.   I love how dressed up they were just sitting around studying.  

image Another cozy dorm room, along with a quilt and lots of pictures on the wall.  

 image I love this dorm room – notice the fishing net that holds all the pictures in it.   This room has wallpaper and trimmed out pillows.

image Those hair-dos!  Notice all the bentwood chairs.

image This pretty dorm room has matching fabric on the chairs and table and valances.  Love the lamp. 

From the 50’s – cute wallpaper and bedspreads.   They must be wearing uniforms!    Dorm rooms with character like bay windows and paneled doors are a thing of the past except at older colleges. 

image Here is an historic photograph of James Meredith studying in his dorm room, while an FBI agent talks on the telephone.  In 1962, after then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy brokered the deal, Meredith was the first black student admitted to the University of Mississippi.   Neatly dressed in a tie, his dorm room is dismal and quite depressing. 

 Fake Dorm Rooms:
image This summer, My Home Ideas HERE decorated a dorm room.   I sent Elisabeth all these pictures – I had visions in my head of us making those burlap headboards together.   She thought this was really cute, but she had her own ideas for her dorm room.

The burlap wrapped “headboards” are the cutest. 

This bed had a different shaped headboard.  Love the mix and matched bedding.

image I thought this was another really cute dorm room.

This picture had me really going.  It is so “Elisabeth” who has a purse fetish.    I guess you have to buy purses to match the sheets???

 image They must have liked the purse idea too! 

image If only.   Love the cow hide rug and the quilted stools.  

Pottery Barn Teen is filled with great ideas for dorm rooms – except the furniture in dorms is never, ever this cute.

image Oh, yeah, sure!   Make your dorm room look like a boutique.   I can just see all the neatly folded clothes out on display. 

image More fantasy.   Would you have to buy a wardrobe to match your decor?   Please.   T-shirts and jeans don’t look cute on hangers.

I Suwannee had a “design a dorm room” contest on her blog HERE.   Lots of blogs made up inspiration boards of cute ideas for dorms.   I only hope their daughter’s let them decorate their dorm room.

Real Life Dorm Rooms:

imageHGTV’s Rate My Space has over 600 dorm rooms featured.  Most are of girl dorm rooms.  And most girl dorm rooms are black and hot pink with either damask or zebra designs, or both.  They also have either an Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe poster in them.  Another big trend is to cover white walls with sheets, construction paper, or posters.    Most of the Rate My Space rooms are beyond awful, but a few are cute.

image The typical pink and black – with both damask and zebra, along with the popular chandelier motif.

 image Another popular color scheme is turquoise with either black or brown.   Lots of damask prints and lots of faux chandelier chic. 

image I thought this was cute – monogrammed poster board paper headboards.

 image Look at the shade – a KWID inspired fabric!   I thought this was cute for a real life dorm room.  Great rug and futon.

Mom helped out with this room.    You can always tell the ones where Mom had a big hand in the decorating.  No way a daughter would have a bolster pillow made up touting her “big sis” sorority status. 

Shabby Chic Dorm Room:   This girl taped wallpaper on her walls.   I can only imagine Elisabeth letting me do that to her room!  

sd image
Most depressing:  OMG.  Arsenic and Old Lace.   It’s just all so dreary and dusty looking.   Notice the feather pen on the skirted table. 

 image This one is really cute – a Tiffany gift box inspired bedroom.  Clean and simple.   Cute student too.   

Elisabeth’s Dorm Room:

image Here’s what we started out with – a cross between a classroom and a hospital room.    Her room is huge with two giant walk in closets and its own bathroom and vanity area.  This is her half of the room.   I tried to get Elisabeth’s roommate to “match” but they bought their own bedding.  At least there is no carpet – just lovely gray linoleum.   Lots of beautiful furniture comes with the room.   

The window area.  What I would GIVE to add curtains and rip those blinds down, but Lizzy would disown me!  

Elisabeth bought the brown and white damask bedding herself, online, from Pine Cone Hill.   She had it monogrammed in pink and added the pink peony sheets from Pine  Cone Hill.     I bought the two lamps from Target with matching brown shades.  

imageElisabeth bought the “Chanel” lamp at More Than You Can Imagine” HERE in Houston.   She also bought online those cute vinyl baskets in brown with pink monograms.   I found the small Dash and Albert rug at Olivine HERE.  I wanted to buy her a large Dash and Albert rug, but she insisted on a white Flokati rug, with matching pillows.   

Here’s her white rug.   She made the two photo collages for her wall.

We bought her cute desk chair in white from PB Teen.   We are still looking for a little futon or sofa to go against the windows. 

I bought her white towels with brown monograms from Pottery  Barn.   Yes, her initials are SEW.   Sarah Elisabeth Webb.  And no, I didn’t think of that before.

Thanks Dad, who happily pays for it all. 

Her College:   Pictures for my family

Here’s a few pictures from her college, Lynn University.   It’s a small, private college with only around 2,500 students, many of whom are international students.   The campus is over 100 acres, so it’s very spread out.  I took these pictures with my new I-Phone.  They came out just as good as my Nikon!

There are numerous lakes throughout the campus.  See the ducks?   The campus is right across the street from the much larger Florida Atlantic University. 

image The school was started in the 60s, so the buildings are mostly contemporary in style. 

image This is a cute coffee shop on campus.

This is right outside Lizzy’s dorm.  That’s her under the huge Banyan tree.  

Hmm.   The latest in fashion – wear a plastic shopping bag on your head.  Elisabeth and her room mate take a break from hours of studying.