Saturday, May 30, 2009

Battle of the Sexes


I have mentioned before that I am obsessed with lanterns these days.  Not just any lanterns, of course – that would be too easy and cheap – but antique French lanterns like this:




This beauty came from Chateau Domingue, the wonderful architectural elements store in Houston.   But, even though I love the antique lanterns, they can be very pricey.   So imagine my delight last summer when I happened into one of my favorite shops, M. Naeve, and found not one, but two identical lanterns – albeit reproductions – at a very decent price.   Sold!   I knew exactly where they would go – my family room and the stair landing.   But, it was going to be a long, hard road to get them hung and I knew exactly why my beautiful new lanterns were going to become a major issue in the Webb household.  This is one of the issues:



Issue I:  The ceiling fan that has been hanging in my family room for 15 years.  


houstonshopping 169

Issue II:   Ol’ Mr. Slipper Socks Man himself.


Now understand, I hate to brag, but my house is my domain.   I, and I alone, am in charge of each decorating decision.  And by large, that’s a true statement.  Except for a few issues – one of which is ceiling fans.   Mr. Slipper Socks Man has to have “air moving around” to be happy – even in the winter.  And it’s not just because Houston isn’t scalding hot (which it is) but maybe, just maybe, if he would let me move the thermostat down from 78 degrees he might not need his “air moving around” 24/7 – but that’s what he claims he needs to be happy.  And I’ve humored him and let him ruin my bedroom and my family room with his ceiling fans.   But these two gorgeous lanterns were just too much to pass up – and frankly, I’m tired of humoring him.  I hate ceiling fans and I’m done with them.  But to get them hung I knew it was going to take a lot of skillful psychological maneuvering.    I was up to the challenge.

OK, it took longer than I thought.    The two lanterns sat in the garage for a year, waiting for him to change his mind about his insistence on a ceiling fan in the family room.   After waiting in vain for a year, I finally had to take the matter into my own hands.  The lanterns needed light kits installed, so a few weeks ago, I dragged them out of the garage to Alcon on Alabama who miraculously electrified them both in less than a week.    When the lanterns were finished I brought them home and placed them on the floor by the front door - a BIG hint.   The lanterns sitting by the front door seemed to say:   “Hey, Mr. Slipper Socks Man – we aren’t going away.  We’re here to stay, get used to it, bud.”    So, they sat there for a week, and we never once discussed them.  But he knew, he knew exactly what I had on my mind.  And bless him, he is so sweet – and I guess that’s why I humor him because, he is the sweetest man in the world.  He finally comes up to me one day, out of the blue, and we have this conversation:

“You can go ahead and put up the lanterns, I’ll just get a space fan.”

“Really? You don’t mind?   Because I thought I could always just put one on the landing and the other one in the guest room.”

“No, go ahead, it’s O.K.”  

See?  I told you how sweet he is.  Had I only known then what plans he had in his mind.

Sam and Randy Bennett, the best electricians in Houston,  bar none,  (these guys can install a sconce anywhere and not leave a mark) came out and installed the two lanterns the next day.  One went on the landing, the other in the family room.   To tell you the truth, I am in love.  Do you blame me?    Look:


tablescapethursday 010

Like I said, I hate to brag, but does a light fixture get any prettier than this?  I’m in love, seriously in love.  Yes, I know it’s not an antique, and yes, I know an antique would look better, but hey – it’s good enough for me.    In fact, I couldn’t be any happier. 


tablescapethursday 021

Full on view – wow!   To me, this lantern is worth more than a 10 carat diamond and a closet full of designer clothes. 



tablescapethursday 005

The landing with the second lantern.   Love it, but I’m not as “in love” with this as the one in the family room.  This is like comparing your Chanel purse with your Cole Haan purse – you like them both – you just like one a little better.  Not that I would know, I don’t own a Chanel purse, but I’m assuming I would feel that way. 



Another view – hard to get a good shot.  


So, Mr. Slipper Socks Man had a migraine the day these were installed and left for work late.  On his way out, I told him I would get a space fan for him.  Fine, just get a good one, he warns me.    You know it!






tablescapethursday 115



I thought this was a good fan.  It’s small, but really powerful.   Quiet too.   And kind of cute, in a old fashioned way.  Easy to remove before company comes over, a good compromise.     Mr. Slipper Socks Man comes home and admits (he hated to do this, I know) that he loved the lanterns.  He actually used that word “love” which is a rarity he reserves for his daughter always, and me sometimes.  The fan though, really, really bothered him.   A lot.   He moved it around a few times.  He asked me “have you lost your mind?” – it was:

1.  Too small.

2.  Not powerful enough.

3.   Too loud (it wasn’t!)

4.  A total disappointment.

5.  It was a big mistake to “let” me take down the ceiling fan and put the lantern up.


He was so miserable he went upstairs to the bedroom to watch TV before the 10:00 news.  Another rarity.   The next night, he stayed downstairs until only 8:00.    I knew he was silently fuming over the loss of his ceiling fan only to be replaced by my kind-of cute retro fan.   I figured time would take care of it.   I was wrong.    The third night he came home with a huge package from Brookstone.  I have no idea what a Brookstone is, but I can only imagine  how much I loathe that store.  


lanternnew 011


It’s not funny.  Not funny at all.  I”m not laughing.  I am the one fuming now.   I mean, really, is HE serious?   OMG, just looking at this picture makes me want to cry.  And I’m serious about that.   I am at a loss of how to handle this.  He, though, is in heaven.  He proudly points out all the features to me:  a remote control!!!   It oscillates!!!  It’s really quiet!!!  (It’s not.)   He neglects to mention it’s most obvious adjective:  It’s Ugly!!!!



lanternnew 008

You see it there, on the right by the TV on steriods, another one of his dreckorating ideas.    I need a valium.   Look how TALL that thing is!!!!!!  OH and I almost forgot, he also bought a mini version of this for Elisabeth’s room!!!   I might kill him tonight.




Oh wait, there’s more.    Mr. Slipper Socks Man is really dreckorating tonight.   He moved the rattan child’s size chair in front of the fan to hide it.   OOOHHHHHH – yes!!!!    That REALLY hides it!!!  I can’t see that humongous, ugly, black thermometer at all now.  Whew!  Problem solved, Mr. Slipper Socks Man to the rescue.  Another job well done.  Ok, I’m going to go cry now.  This is just not getting any better.  





Which bring me to this:   The Skirted Roundtable is discussing this very issue this week – “Designing for the Sexes” – and no, it wasn’t planned at all.  I had no idea I was going to be embroiled in my own “Designing For The Sexes”  fiasco.   We also discuss -  in the Blogging Segment – how to grow your audience.  Be sure to listen this week!!!   AND as an added bonus this week – we have a new feature:  “Saturday Short” – a sort of bloopers from the Skirted Roundtable, things that made the cutting room floor.  I haven’t even heard it yet – but judging from the picture of the “recliner” I have a good idea what it’s about!!!!!  Very funny!!!

Click HERE to hear!


Ben just read this – he has one request.  That I show him looking like a “human being.”   Here he is on his company’s web site:



Aw, he’s soooo cute!!!!   And he’s cool too!

Joan Rivers Puts a Big Number on Her Penthouse

SELLER: Joan Rivers
LOCATION: East 62nd Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $25,000,000
SIZE: 5,190 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: ...The Penthouse boasts a suite of superb reception rooms, a dramatic 2-story Gallery & light-flooded Living Room with original architectural detail painstakingly restored by museum-trained artisans. These rooms are distinguished by soaring 23’ high ceilings, exquisite original boiserie, elegant parquet-de-Versailles flooring and original marble fireplace surrounds. A spacious corner paneled Library and well-proportioned Formal Dining Room featuring 18th century French panels overlook a sunny, south-facing terrace with majestic views of the city and Central Park....

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama loves us some Joan Rivers with her potty mouth, scathing humor and a face that looks like Madame. So when we heard from New York Ned and then read in the New York Times that the sassy septuagenarian had listed her Upper East Side doo-plex penthouse we just about peed our pants.

It should come as no surprise that the ballsy and brassy Miz Rivers–who is, let's be honest, thisclose to becoming a clownish caricature of herself in the same plastic surgery vein as Cher and Michael "The White Lady" Jackson–listed her 5,190 square foot penthouse on swank East 62nd Street with a ballsy, brassy and blistering $25,000,000.

Property records are a bit wacky on this one, but as best as we can tell from the people at Property Shark is that Miz Rivers purchased the 3 bedroom and 4.5 penthouse condominium in 1988 for an unknown amount of money but an amount that we would bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly was a fraction of the current asking price.

Listing information reveals Miz Rivers' residence sits atop a 42-foot wide limestone mansion built in 1903 by noted architect Horace Trumbauer in "the neo-French Classic style" for a ladee named Alice Troth Drexel who had married into the famous Drexel banking family of Philadelphia. Sometime later the once grand house was chopped up into 12 condominiums, at least some of which still feature original details.

Miz River's aerie, according to listing information, includes a "dramatic" gallery and living room with 23-foot ceilings, parquet de Versailles flooring, original fireplace surrounds, and original boiserie which is really a nice gay decorator word for carved paneling. Miz Rivers has had a Fort Knox worth of gilding done in the main reception room and in the larger of the two, which looks like the sort of place in which Marie Antoinette might feel comfortable, the ceiling has been painted like a clouded sky. Your Mama wonders if a system of fiber optic lighting hoo-has turns that blue day sky into a dark night sky with twinkling stars just like the ceiling does at that horrid mall at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

The dining room has much lower ceilings than the reception rooms, but is no less ornate with it's 18th century mirrored panels and gilded details. We're sort of surprised to even see a dining room in Miz Rivers' residence because we thought the crass comedian had stopped eating about 100 years ago and instead just injects herself with a combination of nutrients, Restylane and formaldehyde.

The library, with its wonderfully wacky Cheetah print carpeting includes more paneling, another original marble fireplace mantel, built in book shelves with actual books–say what you will about Miz Rivers' but at least the beehwatcha reads–and a giant dark caramel colored tufted sofa where she probably sat and watched herself on the boob-toob while she won the most recent season of that deplorable Donald Trump's Apprentice.

The dining room opens to a tiled and planted terrace which is a lovely feature but does anyone really imagine that Miz Rivers actually sits out there? She's really not a creature made for being out of doors unless it's to dash from the back of a car to the front door of a building. She's not a vampire, of course, but certainly the sun would quickly shrivel and melt the ol' gurl in 2 minutes or less.

The New York Times reported that Miz Rivers wants to sell her penthouse of old-school Upper East Side opulence in order to move to California to be closer to her daughter Melissa, who lives in Los Angeles and is the surgified spitting image of her mother.

Other showbizzy residents of Miz Rivers' building include film producer Alan Ladd Jr. and Tessa Kennedy who is the mother of actor Cary Elwes and film agent Cassian Elwes.

Miz Rivers also owns a country house north of New York City in Litchfield County, Cee-Tee.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Mish Mash

Your Mama has a bit more mish mashing to do this Friday morning. We are going to try to be brief today (which we rarely are) because Your Mama has to run out to the LAX to pick up our finely feathered and usually drunk friend Fiona Trambeau who is winging her way down to celebrate her 147th birthday. And children, trust Your Mama when we tell you that we absolutely must not be late or else there will be trouble. See, our little lamb is terrified of flying and last time she headed down for a visit she steeled her worked nerves with half a dozen early morning Bloody Marys and ended up on the baggage pick-up turnstile in just her pantyhose and tube top squealing like a pig because her pie-eyed mind thought she was riding the damn Matterhorn at Disneyland. Well, we do not need to tell the children, Your Mama does not care to have a repeat of that ugly situation.

Okay then, here we go...

Even since before high-haired super star singer Rihanna vacated her colorful rental house in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, she was out shopping for a new house to buy. Your Mama kept hearing whispers coming down the gossip grapevine that she was peepin' and a pokin' around very contemporary cribs in the Hills of Hollywood in the five to six million smackers neighborhood.

Next came rumors and reports that Miss Riri scooped up a big ol' house in Bel Air for twelve million dollars. Not true. At least not as far as we could figure. Then she disappeared from Your Mama's celebrity real estate radar until yesterday when she popped up in the Gimme Shelter column of the New York Post which reported that Miss Riri is relocating to Noo York City for the summer and will be forking over $18,000 to shack up in a Soho building with a part time doorman.

Listing information for Riri's rental shows the 2,305 square foot spread includes a living/dining room with 4 windows over looking Greene Street, a small but well equipped kitchen with sparkling white counter tops, a master suite that occupies on its own floor and includes a sitting area, bedroom, walk-in closet and a windowless bathroom. Downstairs there are two more windowless poopers, a windowless office space and two bedrooms, one of which opens to the 464 square foot terrace that Your Mama can promise the children offers not a bit of privacy so it's a good thing Miss Riri is planning on tenting the terrace. At least that's what the Post is reporting she's a-gonna do. Enjoy New York City Miss Riri and be sure to tell The Chicken Your Mama said hello when you see her.

A couple of weeks ago we gave a run down on all the wildly rich residents of 820 Fifth Avenue which is, as all the children now know, one of the most exclusive buildings in all of Manhattan. At the time we were stumped as to who owns the 10th floor. We know that part of the 1oth floor has been doo-plexed the the ninth floor unit owned by financier Michael David-Weill but we couldn't sort out who owns the remainder of the 10th floor. Turns out, the owner/occupant is Belgium, at least according to an informant we'll call Le Échotier. Apparently, the government of Belgium uses the co-operative unit as the residence for the Consul General and has set the place up with "a small amount of office space, a waffle iron, and Belgian and American flags intertwined here and there." A waffle iron! That was funny.

Yesterday Your Mama mentioned that porcelain skinned and cold-eyed Australian actress Nicole Kidman sold off her Darling Point digs that clung to a hillside overlooking the glistening waters of the Sydney Harbor for $13,200,000 (AUS)*.

Since then a couple of kangaroos have whispered in Your Mama's ear that Miz Kidman and her country crooning huzband Keith Urban snatched up a 420 square meter** duplex penthouse for which they reportedly laid out around $6,000,000 (AUS).***

The Lavender Street apartment complex, according to recent reports, is just a hop, skip and a jump from the Greenwich Peninsula homes of Miz Kidman Cruise Urban's parents and television presenter sister Antonia Hawley and her litter of little ones. The two floor aerie is said to include 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, open plan living areas that open to wide terraces that overlook the Sydney Harbor.

* $13,200,000 Australian equals $10,308,012 at today's rates
** 420 square meters equals 4,521 square feet
*** $6,000,000 Australian equals $4,685,460 at today's rates

Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills just rang our bell to let us know that noted Los Angeles property developer John Bersci has finally gone to escrow on his historic personal residence which he first listed with an asking price $11,495,000 but has had to slash all the way down to $7,995,000 before a buyer presented him or herself. Well, good for Mister Bersci.

Speaking of house flippers, back in mid-April of 2009, Your Mama had a sit down with our gabby gal pal Kenny Kissentell who let it slip that talent manager turned high end house flipper Sandy Gallin was fixing to put his latest Bel Air project on the market with an asking price so high we dared not repeat it when we relayed the rumor to the children because our ears simply could not believe the figure Kenny was passing along to Your Mama was correct. Turns out, Miss Kissintell was right. We should have known. Beehawtcha always is.

Miss Gallin rarely puts his posh properties on the open market, but times are tough for sellers of 8-figure residential real estate extravaganzas in the Platinum Triangle so he's listed the Siena Way residence with a couple of high profile real estate agent men named Kurt and Ernie who are marketing the entirely over-hauled house with a hair raising asking price of $32,000,000.

Some of the children may recall that Miss Gallin purchased the Siena Road residence from the estate of Emmy winning Hollywood actress Jane Wyatt back in the spring of 2007 for about eight million clams. Anyhoo, ever since then he and his team of smart architects and nice gay (and probably well-built) decorators have been bizzy as beavers giving the elegant and dignified Paul Williams designed manse a full face lift, a fine set of veneers and a really good boob job, meaning he gussied up and restored what he could, replaced what was not, and added a huge new wing that increased the size of the stately estate to a reported (and huge) 12,000+ square feet. Your Mama hates to call Miss Gallin a real estate size queen, but when the shoe fits...

The newly rehabbed residence, according to listing information, includes 7 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms including an entire wing devoted to a master suite with dual bath suites so that the owners need never bear the indignity of pooping in the same terlit. The front door, flanked by two perfect oval windows, opens to the front hall where Your Mama was thrilled to see that Miss Gallin retained the original curving staircase. Well done chappy. The living room opens into what listing information calls a "living lounge" which opens to a serene and commodious covered porch with a cobblestone floor, fireplace, and vines that cling to the chunky square pillars.

In addition to all the expected rooms, listing information indicates the house includes a kitchen of stone and stainless steel (with a large and potentially lethal pot rack), a billiards pub (which sounds like a conscious attempt to man up the house), a glass-encased wine room (hello!), a media room with a gigantic u-shaped sectional sofa, a ginormous gym (y'all know how the gays and Hollywood hotties like to work them muscles), steam room (ahem...), a fully equipped guest house and a yoga room. Good heavens, does every rich person in L.A. still do the yoga?

The grounds too, natch, have been completely re-worked and including a narrow driveway and motor court of crushed pebble–which surely sounds dee-voon under the tires of a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom–and a back yard of unnaturally green and prairie flat lawns that are accessible from many of the main rooms. The swimming pool is a heroic 100+ feet long. Think about that for a hundred feet long. There are also, according to listing information, fountains that flow over river rock and "concealed" spots under garden arbors for quiet contemplation and gin and tonic drinking.

Listen kids, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are not nor ever will be in the thirty-two million dollar housing market, but if we were, this isn't so far from what we'd want even though we think thirty two million is a hell of a lot of money for this house. None the less, we swoon over traditional shells with properly and masterfully modernized interiors...minus the gym and the yoga room of course, because we'd prefer to leave all that pushing, pulling, gyrating and pretzeling to all the body fascists and youth chasers that people the streets of Los Angeles, of which Your Mama is neither.

Now then, we gotta go gas up the big BMW and haul it down to the aeropuerto to snatch up Miz Trambeau before...well, you know.

Thursday Morning Mish Mash

We've got a few celebrity real estate items we need to get off our chest.

In early March of 2009 singer/actor/songwriter Jessie McCartney listed his house in the Hills of Hollywood for lease at $4,900 per month. While Your Mama has no idea if anyone actually leased the modernized 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom cottage, we do know that the entertainment mini-mogul who currently appears on some program we've never heard of called GRΣΣK, recently listed the modest and comfortable looking La Granada Drive domicile for sale with an asking price of $1,199,000.

Last week, Your Mama discussed the real estate melodrama facing toothy Manhattan socialite Marisa Noel Brown and her (former) financier husband Matt who bought an East 78th Street townhouse in January of 2008 for $13,500,000, gutted it, had plans drawn up for a multi-million dollar renovation and just last week flipped it back on the market with a much lower than they bought it for asking price of $12,000,000.

At the time we discussed the brouhaha, we had not seen the floor plan but since then a plan has popped up and since Your Mama knows all the children love them a little floor plan porn we figured it might be fun to peruse the plans Missus Noel Brown had for her new crib before the primary (if not sole) source of their riches–her father's failed hedge fund–went belly up.

A quick peep over the layout (below) tells Your Mama that Mister and Missus Brown hired the right architect for the job because for a somewhat narrow townhouse the floor plan appears well resolved, easily lived in and almost entirely free of the funky formations and awkward transitions too frequently seen in these skinny New York City townhouses.
Of special note is the full floor master with a generously sized sitting room that looks to Your Mama's boozy eyeballs to have two fireplaces, a bedroom that features a large if not exactly private window looking out over the wee gardens behind all the neighboring properties and a long dressing area and bath that connects the two spaces.

We would also like to point out that both the elevator and the elegantly oval staircase service all seven floors, that each of the 5 family bedrooms has a private pooper as do the 4th floor study and the garden level staff room which is, we have to say, punishingly puny. Up on the top floor we're thrilled to see not only a front facing terrace that probably has a sliver view of Central Park, but also an outdoor kitchen for summertime grillin' and chillin'.

We're sure the new owner will want to hire their own architect and put their own stamp on the design, but they might consider saving themselves a few pennies by working with the plans Mister and Missus Brown's plans because they're good. We know y'all like to sass and complain but you do gotta admit, they are good.

We do not normally discuss properties featured in films because they don't generally belong to rich and famous people. However, since we have been getting dozens of emails about the glassy suburban Chicago house featured in Ferris Bueller's day off that has been listed for sale at $2,300,000, we're going to flip you over to Mister Big Time who has all the 411 anyone might want on the stunning property that is in serious need of a complete restoration/redo.

In late February of 2009, Your Mama discussed the 21 terlit Bel Air behemoth that noted philanthropist and art patron Iris Cantor heaved onto the market with a toe curling asking price of $53,000,000. Turns out the ladeee has also listed a New York City penthouse (floor plan below) with an asking price of $11,900,000.
Missus Cantor, for those who do not know, is the wildly rich widow of Bernie Cantor, the founder of the financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Some of the children will recognize the Cantor (Fitzgerald) name as the company that suffered devastating human losses on 9/11 due to their location on the 101st-105th floors of One World Trade Center. Others will recognize the Cantor name from one of New York City's greatest outdoor treasures, the soo-blime Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anyhoo, as pointed out by Mister Abelson at the NY Observer, the real story isn't that The Widda Cantor listed the 3,906 square foot co-operative at 110 Central Park South. Oh no. The juicy news is that she bought the 4 bedroom and 4.5 bathroom spread in May of 2006 for "about $15,000,000" and, as mentioned above, currently has it on the market at $11,900,000. Missus. Cantor's wizened real estate agent told Mister Abelson that Mrs. Cantor never occupied the 24th floor apartment that carries colossal monthly maintenance of $13,500.

Listing information on StreetEasy shows that Mrs. Cantor listed the 4-terrace aerie in May of 2008 with an asking price of $16,000,000. Four months later the price was hacked to $14,000,000 and just last week she had a go at the asking price again, chopping off $2,100,000 bringing the current number to $11,900,000 which is somewhere around $3,000,000 less than she paid for the place. Less!

Now surely Missus Cantor can afford to lose three million clams without having to go on the food stamps. However, Your Mama does not care how rich a person may be, it still hurts like the dickens to lose three million smackers on an ill-timed real estate purchase.

P.S. Iffin eleven and some million isn't in your budget but you still want to live up in 110 Central Park South, listing information indicates that Missus Cantor would also be willing to lease the apartment at $35,000 per month.

We hear from Babbling Babette that American Idol judge and (former?) pill popper Paula Abdul is house hunting. In Tarzana, CA. It is Your Mama's understanding that she made a three million dollar offer on a house in the guard gated Mulholland Park community which was not accepted. Ugh. Yawn. Whaaaat?

We also hear from a gentleman we'll call Famous Freddie that word on New York City's West 12th Street is that Scientolofreak Tom Cruise and his baby maker Katie Cruise bought a mid-block townhouse that records reveal recently sold for $15,075,000. Now children, Your Mama has zero confirmation about whether there is any truth to this real estate tale so do not go speaking on this like it's gospel. It's just rumor and gossip at this point. Besides, we always took Mister Cruise as the full-service doorman building type of guy rather than a townhouse sort of fella if only because a townhouse would put him at the mercy of doorbell ditchers and fervent fans who might think it's cute to stand out front of the building flashing their naughty bits and hollering about how much they loved Top Gun.

And lastly, Your Mama received a very lovely and friendly email from a ladee named Lynne Langdon who is the listing agent (and owner) of a house in the Hollywood Hills we discussed earlier this week. She kindly asked that we correct a error regarding the listing information indicating the house is "celebrity owned." See kids, we thought the celebrity being referred to was Miz Langdon, who was indeed a bit of a star in China as it turns out. However, the celebrity Miz Langdon was referring to in the listing, she says, is her huzband, a celebrity photographer named Harry Langdon who may not be much of a household name himself but has snapped photographs of and head short for dozens of famous folks including Aretha Franklin, Tyra-nosaurus Banks, Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ryan Seacrest and Mister Missy Elliot, Halle Berry and Christina Applegate.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009




Hello and welcome to the Tablescape Thursday blog party.  If you are a Cote de Texas reader who is not familiar with blog parties – this is how it works.  One blogger will host a party around a very specific theme which other bloggers will then write about.  For instance, each week, the popular blog Between Naps On My Porch, hosts a blog party on Thursday centered about beautiful tablescapes.  If this is your first blog party – take the time to visit blogs listed here who are each hosting their own Tablescape Thursday – you will be sure to get a host of new ideas for entertaining, either your own family or dinner party guests.   By the way, if you are wondering where the blog name Between Naps On My Porch came from – just take a look here!    This surely is what all porches should be – comfortable, cozy, and beautiful.  

Are you ready for a  Cote de Texas Tablescape Thursday Party?    Enjoy!




Since it’s not quite scalding summer hot in Houston yet, I thought I would set up the table for lunch here on the courtyard, where I usually blog away at my iron table and chairs from Wisteria.



tablescapethursday 100

Everything is so green now, the flowers are at their peak – in a few weeks they will start to get that parched summery look, but for now, May is proving to be the prettiest month on my courtyard.   Even more miraculous is the fountain is clean and clear for a change.  Once it rains a time or two, the water can turn a little murky.   But today it’s crystal clear, so eating by the fountain will be particularly nice and atmospheric. 



tablescapethursday 067

The pink, fuchsia, and white impatiens were planted over a month ago and they are really filling out.



 tablescapethursday 070

My favorites though are the caladiums.  One summer I had all giant white and green caladiums and each year they get pinker and greener it seems.   In another month, the beds will be a riot of tall, thick caladiums – I can’t wait!!!!





tablescapethursday 074

One of my favorite spots in my courtyard is this bench with two antique urns on pedestals.   The entire vignette is actually my sister Cathy’s, but when she moved to a high rise,  I inherited the lot.  She is back on terra firma now, but it’s hard to return this to her, although one day, I’m sure it will be back with its rightful owner.   A few minutes after I took this picture, the skies opened up and it started pouring.  Think about that monsoon scene in the movie “The Year of Living Dangerously” – that’s exactly how it is in Houston.  One minute the sun is hot and it’s a beautiful day, the next minute, its raining bucketfuls  – not just a little shower, but a hard driving downpour that can deposit inches of water in a short amount of time.    Needless to say, I need to change the lunch plans, and quickly.



tablescapethursday 104

So, instead of eating on the courtyard, I set up the Tablescape Thursday blog party on the covered porch.   Can you see the table hiding behind the plants?



tablescapethursday 061 

I used an old bamboo folding table between the two white wicker chairs.  The blue and white garden stool is from Wisteria, now discontinued which is such a shame!

  tablescapethursday 063

For the tablecloth – I repurposed a Dash and Albert rug from Olivine, in Uptown, and layered over it, a classic linen placemat edged in blue scalloping.



tablescapethursday 047

Lunch will be gazpacho, a chilled soup, so I decided to use two small tureens - from my collection of antique Mason Ware - instead of traditional bowls.  Since each piece of Mason Ware is hand-picked, I don’t have a pair, but instead, chose two that blend together.    Pink roses fill a silver vase and everything else is made of glass, including the tall dessert stand, used to bring some height to the tablescape.




This Mason Ware tureen in the Japan pattern,  is mostly cobalt blue and white with orange flower accents. 




And this tureen is green and white with accents of cobalt blue and orange.  This  piece still has it’s bottom plate, which is really special. 




Besides the cold soup, we’re going to be having salad – which will be served on the blue and white transferware plates that I collect.  I have just two pieces in this  pattern, one of my favorites.  It’s such a romantic scene, with urns and a balustrade and columns.   Underneath the transferware is a white china plate with a scalloped edge. 




Getting hungry…..where’s the food???????    Nobody told me I had to actually cook to participate in the Tablescape Thursday party!!!!  And where’s my guest??  Anyone?  Maybe my springer Georgie would join me, but she is so scared of the camera.            


tablescapethursday 103

 Everything looked so pretty and elegant on the porch for a change, that I kept it like this all afternoon, just flitting about and admiring it – yes, I am that weird.  I had actually forgotten about the “party” set-up all together until Ben came home from work, walked outside and saw me sitting there with my computer on my lap, blogging away – with half our dishes outside.   He said -  with one eye half cocked – “what is going on?  Why is this table all set up?”    “Oh, it’s nothing, don’t worry about it.  It’s for the blog” I dismissively tell him quickly.   Except he was not about to be dismissed so quickly.    “You know you are a very, very strange person, you DO know that, don’t you?”   Not really.  I don’t think there is anything even remotely strange at all about setting up a table for an imaginary party and splashing pictures of it all over the internet, do you??????


 tablescapethursday 105

To see other Tablescape Thursday parties, go here and scroll down to the end of the post to reach the entire list of participants!

UPDATE: 820 Fifth Avenue

A couple of short weeks ago, Your Mama gave a thorough run down on all the ridiculously rich residents of 820 Fifth Avenue, one of New York City's most exclusive apartment houses where the famously fussy and fearsome board has been known to reject purchase applications of big name and big money buyers like mono-monikered stitch bitch Valentino, bald billionaire Ron Perelman, casino tycoon Steve Wynn, oil heir Freddie Koch and pharmaceutical heiress Libbet Johnson who was reportedly cleared to purchase one apartment but nixed when she inquired about buying both the fourth and the fifth floors in order to create a monumentally massive duplex situation.

In our little discussion, Your Mama discussed the 4th floor spread currently owned by real estate magnate Ara Hovnanian and his abstract ar-teest wifey Rachel. According to New York City real estate tattler Max Abelson at the NY Observer, the Hovnanians recently and quietly floated their full floor apartment on the market with a heart stopping asking price of $36,000,000.

Shortly after Mister Abelson let the Hovnanian real estate cat out of the bag, Miss Beeswax whispered to Your Mama that the Hovnanians had already secured a contract to sell the apartment to an unknown buyer and all that remained to seal the deal was for the wannabe resident of 820 to pass muster with the iron-fisted board and more specifically with the 3rd floor resident, high society doyenne Jayne Wrightsman who is rumored to hold the keys of the Golden Kingdom at 820 even though she does not technically sit on the board.

This week, Mister Abelson came right out and identified the wannabe resident of 820 as 40-something year old real estate wunderkind Jeff Blau and his nutrition nut wifey Lisa. Mister Blau, the head honcho at the real estate juggernaut Related Companies, reportedly offered thirty one million smackers for the Hovnanian apartment but, according to one of Mister Abelson's seemingly very well placed sources, before Mister Blau could write that big check he received word from the board that "it would not be appropriate to go forward with the application." Oh, ouch. The market may be down but apparently the boards of New York's most difficult to access buildings are going to maintain a stiff upper lip and adhere to their stringent (and arcane) standards for gaining entry. It's a weird world ain't it children?

Before anyone throws a real estate pity party for Mister and Missus Blau remember that just last year the deep pocketed pair forked over $21,000,000 for Scott Bommer's full floor apartment at tony 1040 Fifth Avenue which is, of course, the same building Jackie-O called home for about a thousand years before her death.

UPDATE: Sheree Whitfield

Listen puppies, y'all know Your Mama does not like to dance on the real estate grave of anybody. However, sometimes we just can't help it. Egotastic Atlanta Housewife Sheree Whitfield presented herself as an arrogant, selfish and myopic ladee who play-acted that she was richer, more stylish and possessed more class than all the other ladees on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Pleeze. It wasn't just the damn editing by Bravo's cunning and crafty editors that made Miz She By Sheree look like a damn fool, beehawtcha didn't display an ounce of humility on The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion show neither and now, Miss High and Mighty result has been pushed off her pedestal.

First there were mad rumors hurtling down the gossip grapevine that she was bouncing checks for cakes and private investigators. Then, as Your Mama discussed in late December of 2008, egotastic Atlanta Housewife Miz She By Sheree Whitfield, listed her 8,903 square foot Sandy Springs, GA mansion with an asking price of $2,850,000.

The high price (and the bad juju Miz She By Sheree left behind) kept buyers away and eventually the asking price dipped to around $2,400,000 before it was ripped off the market and seized by the bank in foreclosure. That's right children, Miz She By Sheree's real estate pride and joy was taken by the bank. As we understand, Miz She By Sheree was actually booted from the Sandy Springs crib by her ex-huzband who was awarded the house in the dee-vorce. So technically, it was Mister Whitfield who allowed the house to go into foreclosure. This seems an odd choice for a rich man, but one probably designed to stick a stake into the heart of his ex-wife at the expense and comfort of his children.

Anyhoo, soon the bank-owned property on Long Island Drive in Suburban Atlanta was re-listed with an asking price of just $959,000. After only 9 days on the market, the house went to contract and sold for what listing information shows was $1,100,000. The children will note that Miz She By Sheree (or somebody) took the kitchen appliances when the premises were vacated.

Do we even want to know where Miz Thing has landed her 747 of an ego? We're not sure our weak heart could handle the humiliation by proxy, but wouldn't it just be dee-lishus if Miz She By Sheree was shacked up in NeNe's basement? Oh lawhd, now that would be some damn fine poetic justice.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kirsten Dunst Lists Nichols Canyon Crib

SELLER: Kirsten Dunst
LOCATION: Nichols Canyon Road, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,700,000
SIZE: 2,062 square feet, 3 bedrooms 2.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: An inviting Mid-Century home awaits atop the much desired Nichols Canyon area of the Hollywood Hills. Behind massive gates and a state of the art security system sits a home updated by Brian Murphy and designed by Hallworth Designs. This celebrity retreat comes complete with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The living room hints at just a few of the luxuries of this home with heated floors, a pitched ceiling and exposed beams. Curl up with a book in front of the fireplace in the reading nook adjacent

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This morning, while swilling sugared up coffee and waiting for our afternoon appointment to roll around, we absent mindedly perused all the new listings around the dog friendly Runyan Canyon area–where Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter often walk our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly–and came across a modest if not cheap Nichols Canyon property listed at $1,700,000 that we immediately identified as being owned by actress Kristen Dunst who, for some reason, Your Mama likes to call Little Miss Kiki.

Along with her long and impressive list of film credits (The Virgin Suicides, Bring It On, Mona Lisa Smile, Marie Antoinette and, of course the Spider-Man franchise), Little Miss Kiki also has a long and impressive list of hook-ups, romantic liaisons and relationships with high profile males including but not limited to Drew Barrymore's on and off again boytoy Justin Long, actors Josh Hartnett, Ryan Gosling, Orlando Bloom, Andy Samberg, Zach Braff and Tobey Maguire, rock stars Johnny Borrell , Fabrizio Moretti and Adam Levine. But then again, what single Hollywood acktress of note hasn't Mister Levine laid?

Anyoo, property records show that Miss Dunst purchased her Nichols Canyon Road residence in December of 2003 for $1,250,000. This was back when Little Miss Kiki was paired up with up an up and coming superstar named Jake Gyllenhaal, who reportedly lived in sin with out Little Miss Kiki in this very house.

Listing information and property records indicate the modest house measures 2,062 square feet with 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom. The house hides behind solidly impressive gates and up a curving driveway to a small motor court with a small front facing two car garage where Little Miss Kiki and her current male companion–whomever that may be–can enter and exit without being snapped by the paps. Listing information also reveals the property is protected by a state of the art security system so any of you idiots who think it might be cute to go ringing up on Little Miss Kiki's bell should expect to be electrocuted, sprayed with mace, hosed down with boiling water and/or even worse.

For a small house, the the front entrance hall is large and is separated from the sunken formal living room by a pretty pair of capiz shell curtains painstakingly made by the lightening quick hands of a gal named Gwen who happens to be one of Your Mama's good pals back in the En-Why-Cee. The living room appears to have heated terrazzo floors, a peaked and beamed ceiling painted an airy white, navy walls (which sounds awful but does not look nearly as horrid as we might imagine), and a paned sliding glass door that opens to a large multi-level entertainment deck sitting in the tree tops at the front of the property.

The dining room sports glossy white floors, an even more shiny dining room table surrounded six dining room chairs and two wing back chairs on the ends, and the rear wall has been fitted with custom cabintery which makes for perfect storage for things like linens, board games and bongs. We're not saying Little Miss Kiki stores her bongs there, we're just saying that if she did have bongs to store, this would be an excellent spot for them.

The glossy white floors continue into the all stainless steel and marble kitchen which already has our imperious house gurl Svetlana turning cartwheels with conniption and looks nice if you don't have small children with filthy hands or canines with wet noses. A sky lit and all white breakfast area would feel a little bit surgical suite if it were not for the large teak table and chairs that provide a welcome relief to all the blinding stainless steel, glistening white floors and sleek white cabinetry.

In the family room, an entire wall has been custom fitted with gorgeous wood cabinetry that hides all the electronics and one of the Little Miss Kiki's many wing back chairs sits in the corner by the paned slider that opens to the front deck.

The high-gloss and slippery looking white wood floor is continued into the master bedroom where Little Miss Kiki and her team of nice gay decorators have kept in clean with just an over-sized upholstered headboard, heavy ivory curtains with a navy blue palm tree patten and another of wing back chair from Little Miss Kiki's collection. A secluded court yard area off the master bedroom has a patch of lawn for and an in ground spa for romantical evenings with whatever man-friend Little Miss Kiki currently fancies.

Property records and previous reports indicate that Miss Dunst will go far from homeless once someone snatched up her Nichols Canyon hideaway. In 2001 Miss Dunst purchased a 4,333 square foot house on Toluca Lake Avenue which we believe is occupied by her family. On the east coast, records show that in July of 2007 she forked over three million Spider Man dollars for an 8th floor co-operative crib in the same Canal Street building where rock star Michael Stipe forked over $5,750,000 for Casey Affleck's 8th floor unit in January of 2007.

David Niven Jr. Lists Bird Street Nest

SELLER: David Niven Jr.
LOCATION: Blue Jay Way, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $5,750,000
SIZE: 4,808 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Extraordinary architectural villa in estate section of the Sunset Strip. Fabulous family room / kitchen ideal for the gourmet chef. Dramatic living room opens to pool & rose garden w/ tree top views & amazing outdoor entertainment pool area. Features include: sky lights, high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood, terrazzo & tile flooring. Library, spacious master suite w/ dble bath & closets plus 5 bedrooms each w/ bath. Pure style sophistication & privacy.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Sometime over the long Memorial Day weekend, as we sat on the sofa hooked up to an IV drip dropping a steady stream of gin and tonic directly into Your Mama's veins while watching the opening rounds of the French Open, we received a covert communique from Our Fairy Godmother in the Sunset Strip who informed us that David Niven Jr. listed his house on Blue Jay Way with an impressively optimistic asking price of $5,750,000.

Mister Niven Junior's famous father is, as any moe-ron could figure out, the Oscar winning, pencil 'stached Tinseltown legend David Niven. Junior, who was born in England and whose name appears in the Peerage thanks to his mother's semi-royal bloodline, went on to produce a few films (The Girl with the Hungry Eyes, Psycho Cop Returns, Blue Flame), work as an entertainment executive and promote philanthropic causes such as Recording Artists, Actors & Athletes Against Drunk Driving.

Property records show that Mister Niven Jr. purchased his Bird Street nest in November of 1983 for $1,200,000, which was a lot of damn money for a house back in 1983. Records filed with the County of Los Angeles show the "L" shaped "villa" measures in at 4,808 square feet and listing information indicates there are 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms including a master suite with dual baths and dressing closets.

Located just above the Sunset Strip and all those celeb friendly outdoor eateries along Sunset Boo-lay-vard in the Sunset Plaza, the in need of an update residence will appeal to all those Ed Hardy wearing Hollywood "producer" sorts who spend a lot of time in tight black jeans and hanging out at the Sky Bar hoping to snag a too tan wannabe starlet with 5-inch Lucite heels, fake chee-chees, and naive dreams of seeing her face on the silver screen.

The children are going to skewer Your Mama for saying this but, here it goes anyway...Although the rose colored wallpaper is heinous, the parquet floors are tired, the built-in shelves bizarrely off-center, and the fireplace mantel far too diminutive for a room of this scale, there is–if you'll look closely–a kind of decorative sophistication to the large living room where all that rose colored, traditionally shaped and upholstered furniture is played against the Lucite and glass coffee tables. We know we're being uncharacteristically charitable, but once upon a time, before all the Los Angeles property flippers started trying to make every house look like a freaking Armani furniture showroom, this kind of mix and match day-core was considered to be quite chic. Or maybe all that gin has finally turned Your Mama's mind into baby food.

Anyhoo, the wood floored library has been painted a visually uncomfortable and not particularly dignified shade of royal blue and has large floor to ceiling windows, built in bookcases topped with a large, carved shell detail and an obscene beige colored leather sofa that, fortunately, will be removed once the property is sold. In the dining room, china cabinets with the same sea-shell detail as seen in the library flank sliding doors to the rear terrace. Sliding doors? For reals? Sliding doors? Like this is some sort of tract house in Bakersfield? Pleeze.

Anyhoo, the open plan kitchen, breakfast and family rooms have been done over and include white, glass fronted cabinets that rather disconcertingly do not reach the ceiling, sand colored granite counter tops, a beige tile floor, a mac-daddy Viking range that costs as much as a damn Kia and a large work island under a gigantic pyramid shaped skylight which we can only hope has some sort of UV deflecting coating lest Chef be fried up like a bug under a magnifying glass.

The house wraps around a courtyard where a long rectangular pool is surrounded by wide entertainment terraces perfect for cocktail parties, nood sunbathing and the riding of Big Wheels by any resident tots.

According to bits and pieces we read on the interweb, Mister Niven Jr. lives primarily in the UK. And to be honest puppies, given that bit of information, this Bird Street residence could very easily be occupied by someone other than Mister Niven Jr., someone like, say, Barbara Niven, otherwise known as ex-Mrs. Niven Jr. But we don't know because, truthfully children, Your Mama don't know nuthin' from nuthin.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Tanglewood Redo, Chapter II



The family room then.


A few months ago I showed you a project I was working on – The Tanglewood House.   The clients were living in an older house in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Houston.  The debate was whether to tear down the house and rebuild on their lot OR completely gut and remodel.   In the end they compromised and did a smaller remodeling job than originally planned, with their sights set on perhaps rebuilding sometimes in the future.   I was first contacted by the client, a reader of Cote de Texas,  to help pick out finishes for phase one –  a gut job of their master bathroom.   Out of the space, a new master bathroom was created, along with a new powder room.  As work went on, the job got larger, as is always the case.   First we would do a minor redecorating of the master bedroom, along with a minor redecorating of the family room.  Much work was also to be done outside.  In the end – a new roof was put on, outdated dormer windows were replaced, the facade was painted, new shutters were built, new landscaping was installed along with new gates, and on and on.   Inside,  all the doors were replaced and painted black to give them some presence, and new hardware was purchased.   Most of the inside of the house was painted.  Plans to restain all the wood floors were put on hold until this summer.  



image The family room, today.


In the family room – we purchased all new furniture, covered with pricey fabrics.   Also, a large built in was designed to hide two computer desks for the children.   We added woven shades and curtains at the French doors, along with a large seagrass rug.    All new accessories were purchased to fill the many added shelves.  In short, the minor redecorating job had turned major – as is always the case.   The clients’ initial budget was increased too many times to count.   When the family room was completed, the clients were very pleased with the results.  The furniture arrangement worked perfectly for their TV watching and the new computer desks were functional and in use, day and night.  Extra meals were eaten on the gate leg table that doubled as a work space.   All in all – everything was wonderful.   Except for one thing – well, two things exactly:  the living room and the dining room.  Both rooms were still as dated as the family room had once been, and with that room now looking so fresh, the front rooms looked even more tired by comparison.   Added to this was the fact that I had robbed the living room of two club chairs to be used in the master bedroom redo. 


westu 111 The two new arm chairs swivel for easy TV watching in the family room. 


My client, the wife,  knew that something had to be done to freshen up the front rooms and quickly – the eldest son was graduating and out-of-town family was arriving for a weekend of celebration.  In the middle of April, she asked me – could we possibly redo the two rooms, by graduation day in four weeks?   And could we keep to a strict budget – pretend we were on some HGTV Makeover Show where an entire house is transformed for $500 in 24 hours?   Sure – no problem!!!

Actually, I liked the challenge.   I knew if we worked fast, used what she already owned, picked out reasonably priced fabrics, paid a rush fee to the upholsterer, and bribed Monica – my partner who facilitates all the soft goods – that we might possibly be able to transform the two rooms in a few weeks time, bringing them more in line with the already updated family room.  Miracles do happen, don’t they?   Here is what we had to work with:


imageLiving Room Before:   There was a nice sofa, in a green velvet and two English styled chairs.



image These two toile chairs had already been moved to the master bedroom for that room’s makeover.



image Facing the sofa was a pair of French styled chairs covered in velvet.  A bay window – with shutters – lets in the only light in the room and to top that – it’s a northern exposure, which means the room sits in a dark shadow 24/7.



image The dining room was painted red, so chic ten years ago.  The table was beautiful – a metal, baker’s table style base with a glass top paired with typical French rush seat chairs.  There was a gorgeous antique armoire in the dining room that stored all the china.   The small window, like the adjoining living room, had plantation shutters and, again, a northern exposure.



The plan:   everything would be slipcovered.  The floors in both rooms would get large, custom cut seagrass rugs to unify them.  Both rooms would be painted in a rich, dark caramel color that would blend with the family room.   The three cushioned sofa would be remade with one bottom cushion and two back cushions only.  Curtains would be fashioned alike for both rooms to tie them together.  A new, larger dining room light fixture would be purchased.  A mirror from the old master bathroom would be painted antique gold.  A collection of antique egg prints would be framed.   All the small accessories, lamps, tables, and what-nots would be sold.  There was one end table and one trunk that we would re-use.   The only piece of furniture we would buy would be a new coffee table and we would add a larger skirted table. 

Since everything was getting slipcovers except for the two red English chairs, keeping fabric costs down was imperative.  White linen can be one of the most expensive or cheapest fabrics you can buy, depending on where it’s made.  And white linen is also one of the best looking fabrics there is.   I found some at Glicks for $16. a yard!   Pindler and Pindler came through with an Ikat and a printed cotton for just pennies more.   In fact, the fabrics were so inexpensive, yet still trendy and up to date – they were the deciding factor in getting the green light for the entire project.    The amount of yardage needed was large and if we had chosen something in the price range of even $25 a yard – the whole redecorating job would probably not have taken place.  By choosing great looking, yet inexpensive fabrics, the price tag was very reasonable.

And so, my client and I tallied up all the expenses, the guesstimates and estimates of what is was going to take to totally transform these two rooms.   She presented her husband with the figures and we waited for his final approval, knowing that the deadline of the graduation festivities was fast approaching.  About a week later, I got the phone call that all was ok-ed by the “big boss” (thank you Mr. P.!!!!) and I ordered all the fabric to be shipped overnight.     Here is what the two rooms look like, just a few weeks later:


NOTE:  open your  browser to full screen to see the photos at proper size.  Thanks!!!!



Angela living room 019

The living room today. 


The green velvet sofa was upholstered in muslin, then slipped in white linen.  The three cushions became one bottom and two backs for a trendier, more up-to-date look.  The red English-styled chairs were upholstered in the Pindler and Pindler Ikat fabric with an exaggerated nail-head detailing.   A large mirror was repainted in an antiqued Italian gold and surrounded by white ironstone, picked up at The Gray Door at the Urban Market.  White garden stools from Wisteria double as side tables.   The oval coffee table, the only piece of furniture bought for the room, was slipped in the white linen.   A large seagrass rug was custom cut a few inches from the walls, which were painted a rich caramel color.    For side tables, we used an existing Spanish styled, dark walnut stained table, and an Oriental, black trunk on a frame.   The crystal lamps are from Restoration Hardware. 




Angela living room 034

Facing the sofa is a large skirted table, topped by the Ikat fabric.  The two French styled chairs were slipped with a large scalloped detailing in the white linen.  The other Pindler and Pindler fabric, a cotton print, was used for the curtains.   Two large urns from  The Garden Gate were planted with palms that thrive in low light interiors. 



Angela living room 096 Looking from the entry hall into the living room, and dining room.



image The view when entering the front door. 



Angela living room 048 The view facing the entry hall.  In the entry hall, we painted the banister black to match all the new doors which were also painted black.  An antique gate-leg table was placed there along with four botanicals moved from the master bedroom, now with new ivory mats and newly painted black frames.



Angela living room 028  A set of antique egg prints was framed in gold with oversized white mats.



Angela living room 025

Accessory Details:


Old alabaster grapes and books covered in music paper accessorize the coffee table.  The piece de resistance of the entire room, to me, is the serendipity of the burlap feed bags.   The feed bags were originally purchased on Ebay and made into pillows for my own house.  I decided the pillows didn’t look good on my sofa, so they went into the no-man’s land of my garage.   For my client’s living room,   I had ordered pillows made out of the Ikat fabric.   On the way to the installation, at the last minute, I grabbed the feed bag pillows just in case they might look good  in the living room.   Once the white slipcovered furniture arrived, there was no question in my mind that the feed bag pillows would look spectacular – and in the end, they actually “make the room.”   The Ikat pillows?   The upholsterer forgot to make them.   Sometimes things work out in ways you never planned or ever imagined!  I would like to say these pillows were specified from day one, and perhaps I should!



Angela living room 053

On the skirted table, I used a coral rose I had bought for the client at Urban Market, along with some trendy antique spine-less books from Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy.   At Olivine, I picked up the metal finial in a rusty finish.



Angela living room 099 The Dining Room: 

Since the two rooms are connected, it was important that they flow visually.   To achieve this continuity – the walls in both rooms were painted the same caramel color and both rooms have seagrass matting.   Also, the curtains in both rooms are identical.




Angela living room 093 The Pindler and Pindler print was used for both the curtains and chair slips.   The large chandelier comes from Aidan Gray.   The gorgeous burled wood armoire is the focal point in the room.



Angela living room 071

Facing the window.    The curtains, made identically to the living room, help to connect the two rooms together visually and also soften the room.  By hanging the curtains right under the molding and out past the window’s sides – the window actually appears larger.   Additional ironstone plates and platters purchased from The Gray Door at Urban Market pop against the deep caramel walls and further tie the living room and dining room together. 




Angela living room 075

And the view to the butler’s pantry, onto the kitchen.



Angela living room 079

A close up of the slip covers.   The slips come in two pieces.  The top piece has ties that run down the middle of the chair’s back.   The bottom piece has a down cushion built into it to make the chairs more shapely and luxurious looking.  A skirt with double ruffles is attached to the cushion.  Ballet slipper ties run down the back legs for extra detailing.    The client and I have discussed one day replacing the glass top with a piece of stone – yes/no/maybe?     


Let’s take one more look back at where we started four weeks ago:


The living room with an area rug, green velvet sofa and red chairs.  Certainly nice – certainly pretty, but ready for an update after a decade’s time.



Once the club chairs moved to the bedroom, the living room needed a change.



Angela living room 018

A few weeks later, the same room with the same furniture and just a few new accessories and rug.





The dining room – painted red, with a too small chandelier, no curtains and bare dining room chairs.  Again – very nice, very pretty, but ready for a freshening up.



Angela living room 095

The dining room today – flowing into the living room – creating a cohesive look between the two rooms.  The dining room’s slipped chairs soften all the hard edges, making the room warmer and cozier.   The larger chandelier is more in scale with the armoire and the curtains add additional softness to the room.



I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Chapter II of The Tanglewood Redo.   And I hope I have shown you how much change can be accomplished with a little paint and a little (well – a lot) of fabric.   Another important key to successful redecorating is editing.   These rooms were filled with numerous small tables, lamps, art work,  and accessories – all built up over the years.   By clearing it all out and using just a few key pieces,  what is left became more visually attractive.   And, most important to remember when redecorating - you don’t always have to start all over.   Consider what you have and how you can reuse it.   Just by making slipcovers and reupholstering two chairs – we were able to achieve a totally different look.  


Look for this house’s master bedroom and bathroom, and powder room remodeling in the next few weeks!   To read the original Tanglewood Redo story, please go here.