Friday, September 30, 2011

Ellen and Portia List Horsey Hidden Valley Compound

SELLER: Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi
LOCATION: Hidden Valley, CA
PRICE: $16,500,000
SIZE: 26 acres with 8 cottages

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen, children, The Dr. Cooter came home from the hospital yesterday with a nasty flu and today our big ol' belly also feels churned up with a tetch of the flu too. On top of the icky sickness, our sassy but ever-so-helpful house gurl Svetlana left three days ago for a vacation in an unknown locale she would only describe as "The Old Country" and we have Momma Cooter coming in for the weekend, which means despite feeling pukey there's linens to be laundered, rugs to be vacuumed, and terlits to be scrubbed.

Given all that, we are not feeling particularly pithy and we are certainly in no mood for a lengthy treatise on today's subject matter so rather than blather on (and on) like we usually do we're going err on the side of brevity today in our discussion of the Thousand Oaks, CA horse ranch chat show honcho Ellen Degeneres and her actress wife Portia de Rossi have had on the market since at least June (2011) with an asking price of $16,500,000.

The Sapphic lovebirds acquired the 26-ish acre spread in the tony Hidden Valley enclave in June 2009. In all honesty, children, Your Mama could not for the life of us come up with an exact purchase price but we do know from previous reports and listing information we excavated out of the internets the fully equipped equestrian property was last listed with $10,000,000 price tag.

The property, tucked into oak forested foothills where it takes advantage of the cool ocean breezes the swoop up and over the Santa Monica Mountains from Malibu, includes a total of 8 residential cottages of varying sizes, three of which are shown above in listing photos. All of the cottages were all done up and did over by Missus Degeneres and her missus the the assistance–we've been told–of interior designer Jay Holman who made use of a strictly restrained, casually sophisticated and muted palette of white, grey, taupe and pale earth tones.

The cottages feature renovated bathrooms and kitchens stocked with high-end appliances, wood and polished concrete floors, vaulted and beamed ceilings, and easy access to the screened porches, decks and terraces that extend the living spaces outdoors. The day-core tends towards a kind of kick-up-your-feet comfort that includes a lot of rustic vintage wood furniture stripped of paint, un-dyed linens, and many clusters and collections of mirrors and portraits that look like they could have been snatched up at the Rose Bowl Flea market.
The extensive equestrian facilities include five horse turn outs–whatever those are–a hay barn, dressage and jumping arenas with an adjoining judges stand, and an upgraded horse barn with six double-size stalls, tack room, kitchen, industrial washer and dryer set up, and a lounge area with radiant heated floor.

In addition to all the horse-related structures and amenities the property features scads of entertainment and relaxation spaces that include a tree house, windmill, screened yoga pavilion and a couple of large barns that both have radiant heated poured-concrete floors, kitchen facilities, and exposed interior architecture with soaring ceilings.
Miz Degeneres and her team of decorators and landscapers have peppered the pastoral property with numbers lounging, dining and entertainment areas that range from a simple woven hammock in an oak grove to a antique farmhouse table that sits in the sun-dappled shade of a massive oak tree to a partially walled patio shaded by market umbrellas. The property does not appear to have a swimming pool–why the ladies didn't install once we don't know–but there is a recently resurfaced and fenced tennis court and basketball hoops for the sporty types.

This is not the first horse ranch Miz Degeneres has owned. In December 2005 she paid $2,800,000 for a picturesque 20-acre ranchette on Roundup Road in Santa Ynez, CA that she flipped in March 2007 for $3,050,000. In May 2005 she paid an undisclosed amount of moolah for a larger spread in Santa Ynez, a 119.8-acre ranch on Armour Ranch Road. Fickle as she is with her real estate she quickly flipped this one back on the market as well and sold it in December 2006 to a prominent couple from Seattle. Property records for the ranch are murky but it appears that it was sold for $9,500,000 but we don't recommend anyone quote us on that price like it's gospel.

Until recently Miz Degeneres and Miz De Rossi had their primary residence, a multi-acre compound in tucked privately into the mountains above Beverly Hills, on the (open) market with an asking price of $60,000,000. The listing for the property disappeared from the internet a few weeks ago amid rumors that indulged Formula One Racing heiress Tamara Ecclestone looked at but declined to purchase the property. Your Mama recently asked around a bit about the status of the property but it seems that everyone is very tight lipped about the matter.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

Thursday, September 29, 2011

UPDATE: Jennifer Lopez

Last week rumors and reports began to circulate that soon-to-be-divorced entertainment industry heavyweight Jennifer Lopez was about to buy a behemoth house in the Hamptons.

The real estate gossip gals at Newsday first reported that thrice married Miz Lopez Noa Judd Anthony had an accepted offer and was about to go to go into contract for an all but brand-new 15,000-plus square foot shingled "cottage" with views over and deeded access to Mecox Bay in the supah-swank Water Mill enclave.

Two days ago Newsday elaborated that the posh pad in Water Mill for which Miz Lopez "made an offer" sits just across a narrow lane from a planned (but not yet approved) sailing club that would like to operate out of a small 18-x-10-foot shack on the pond's shore. This may or may not influence her decision to move ahead or shut down the (alleged) purchase of the Mecox Bay manse.

Today word comes down the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine via Jennifer Gould Keil at the NY Post that the Mecox Bay property may not be quite as sold as the many reports on the matter have indicated. Miz Gould Keil revealed that the Mecox Bay house is "still open to other potential buyers for walk-throughs." However, it is Your Mama's experience that in that neck of the real estate woods, since many accepted offers fail to go into contract, it is quite customary for a house to remain on the open market until the contracts are signed by both the seller and the buyer.

Miz Gould Keil went on to reveal that in addition to the Mecox Bay pile she may or may not be close to signing contracts for Miz Lopez has also peeped at least one other high-priced property in the area, a more privately situated 3.5+ acre estate in the Georgica Estate area of East Hampton (shown above) listed with an asking price of $16,900,000.

Listing information shows the intricately articulated and roughly 11,600 square foot shingled sprawler includes 8 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms. It was designed by noted Hamptons architect Peter Cook whose name tabloid readers will recognize as Christie Brinkley's philandering former hubby.

The rambling mansion's main living spaces include a double height foyer, formal living room with fireplace, formal dining room, paneled library/family room with fireplace and built-in book cases, and a center island kitchen with sky-lit vaulted ceiling and breakfast room wrapped in windows and French doors.

A long hallway extends off the foyer and leads to two guest/family bedrooms each with private bathroom and a titanic master suite comprised of entry vestibule, octagonal study, large bedroom, vintage-style bathroom and large custom-fitted walk-in closet/dressing room. A staircase in the entry vestibule of the master suite leads up to a second octagonal room suitable for use as a fitness room, yoga studio, hair and make-up facility, or–for those so-inclined–a doobie-smoking retreat. The master bedroom opens to a private covered porch with long view over the thickly planted back yard.

Upstairs there are three guest/family bedrooms, one with private balcony and all with private bathrooms. The extensive service wing spreads out over two floors and includes and quarter-round butler's pantry/staff sitting room, bedroom-sized laundry room, back entrance from the rear motor court and garage, and a two bedroom/2 bathroom staff apartment accessible by a private staircase.

The house sits privately down a long gated driveway at the head of a circular drive that loops around to a rear motor court. Numerous decks, terraces, patios, screened and covered porches surround the house. Broad lawns dotted with massive and mature shade trees stretch out in every direction. Just off the semi-circular covered porch that extends off the rear of the house there's a vast stone terrace ringed by a picket fence that keeps kiddies from accidentally falling into the heated swimming pool. Shade seekers will appreciate the adjacent pool house vine-draped pergola.

Now listen chick-a-doodles, Your Mama has absolutely zero inside intelligence on Miz Lopez's (alleged) real estate activities in the Hamptons so we really haven't any idea what house she may or may not be interested in buying. We're just passing along the rumor and gossip and thought the children might enjoy a little late-afternoon Hamptons real estate hoity-toitiness.

listing photos: Corcoran

Jonah Hill Heads for The Valley

BUYER: Jonah Hill
PRICE: $2,175,000
SIZE: 4,650 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Like so many other famous folks with deep pockets, actor/screenwriter/comedian du jour Jonah Hill (Superbad, Knocked Up, Get Him to the Greek, 21 Jump Street) appears to have come down with a raging case of The Celebrity Real Estate Fickle.

In August 2009 the then still rather rotund jokester sold a West Hollywood (CA) condo for $835,000, $215,000 less than the $1,050,000 he paid for the 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom crib just shy of two years earlier.

The following May (2010) Mister Hill dropped $1,865,000 on a Richard Dorman-designed ranch-style mid-century residence tucked into a quiet enclave off Mulholland Drive above Laurel Canyon. The house, originally built in 1959 by property developer Fillmore Crank and actress/hotelier Beverly Garland, sits right around the corner from the house where button-pushing comic superhero Sacha Baron Cohen and actress Isla Fisher lived until they acquired their much more a-list style compound down the road a piece.

Last week Your Mama heard from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial who whispered in our ear that property records they peeped indicate newly slender Mister Hill purchased another home in the somewhat unlikely and entirely unexpected haute-suburban locale of Tarzana, CA. It took Your Mama a few days to sort through the matter but we finally received word from our always eerily well-informed celebrity real estate snitch Lucy Spillerguts who confirmed that a trust linked to Mister Hill and his accountant-to-the-stars father had indeed dropped $2,175,000 on a mini-estate tucked into the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in an affluent and leafy neighborhood in Tarzana.

Property records show the deal went down in mid-July (2011) and listing information shows the fenced and gated single story quasi-Cape Cod-style residence contains 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in 4,650 square feet. The house was built in the 1950s but has been updated and upgraded in recent years and now features fine finishes such as distressed mahogany wood floors (that sometimes run at funny angles to the walls), travertine and marble floors and counter tops, intricate moldings, plantation shutters, and French doors galore.

The house, described in marketing materials "as if it were plucked right out of an elite neighborhood in Connecticut" features a formal living room with fireplace flanked by built-in book shelves, a formal dining room with wide bay window, and an over-sized office with vaulted ceiling. Listing photos depict the house as done up by the seller, an interior decorator recently involved in a legal imbroglio in Ireland. The traditional day-core is lovely if not exactly our decorative cup of tea. Those plaid slip covered chairs in the dining room may cause us agita but the rugs, children. Beeotch knows how to pick a damn rug.

Anyhoodles poodles, the expansive, open plan family room/kitchen has a painted coffered ceiling, fireplace, built in entertainment center, and a breakfast area with backyard view through one of the many sets of French doors throughout the house. The kitchen–more traditional than we would install in our own home but none-the-less a real stunner–has custom Shaker-style cabinets with glass-fronted uppers, Carrara marble counter tops and back splashes, commercial-style stainless steel appliances, and a snack/boozy-beverage-before-dinner bar. Ordinarily we scream and stomp our feet like a two year old about kitchen cabinetry that does not extend all the way to the ceiling. In this case, for some reason, it does not bug or betwixt our beady little brain. There are always, it seems, exceptions to our rules. A walk-through butler's pantry with sink and dishwasher connects the kitchen to the dining room and a de-voon mac-daddy walk-in pantry comes well-equipped with floor-to-ceiling shelves a commercial-grade, glass-fronted fridge that we can assure the children cost more than a used Honda.

Each of the sizable secondary bedrooms has access to an en suite bathroom and the super-sized master suite comprises a sitting room/study with bathroom, bedroom with fireplace, coved ceiling with accent lighting and plantation shuttered French doors that lead to a private terrace. There are dual walk-in closets with custom built ins and a large if decoratively banal bathroom with two sink vanity, hot tub-sized soaking tub and not just one but two showers, both with built-in benches and one with steam.

The property spans just .85 acres (37,026 square feet) according to listing information but manages to squeeze in various covered and pergola-shaded dining and entertainment terraces, a classic kidney-shaped swimming pool with spa, a citrus grove with "lounging pavilion," a Bocce ball court–which we love–large patches of grass and a lighted (and recently resurfaced) tennis court.

Other assorted amenities include expensive copper gutters, a concrete tile room made to look like slate, custom lighting indoors and out, and a built-in sound and security systems.

listing photos: Prudential California Realty

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Karl Lagergeld Kuts Asking Price of New York City Krib

SELLER: Karl Lagerfeld (allegedly)
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $5,200,000
SIZE: 2,151 square feet, 2-3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Our compadres over at Curbed reported today that a glammy if hardly furnished New York City apartment owned but never occupied by German-born and Paris-based couturier Karl Lagerfeld has just had a hardcore haircut that plunged the price tag from $6,500,000 all the way down to $5,200,000.

Property records show a corporate entity we can not directly connect to Herr Lagerfeld acquired the swank sixth floor spread, located in the high-priced Ian Schrager conceived 50 Gramercy Park North building, way back in November 2006. The complicated sale price shows up on Street Easy as $6,694,993.

Mister Lagerfeld, who churns out designs for Chanel, his own eponymous label as well as Fendi, was rumored (and reported) back in early February (2011) to be fixing to list the 2-3 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom condo that overlooks private Gramercy Park with a $5,500,000 asking price. However, dontcha know, within days of the first reports on the matter mercurial Mister Lagerfeld let the folks at fashion bible Women's Wear Daily know that he'd "never heard anything about such a price" and that, in fact, he wasn't selling the apartment at all.

Flash forward to late July (2011) when–not entirely unexpectedly–Herr Lagerfeld's contemporary condo-crib popped up on the open market with an asking price of $6,500,000. Its current $5,200,000 asking price means, as per our beloved bejeweled abacus, that even if his Gramercy Park pad sells for full price, Mister Lagerfeld faces a not-inconsequential $1,494,993 financial gut punch not counting real estate fees or the $7,436 per month common charges that our calculations show total over $400,000 for the near five years he's owned but made little or no use of the apartment.
The floor plan included with listing current listing information (above) shows the 2,151 square foot apartment opens to a foyer that spills into the living/dining room that features oak floors stained matte black, custom-designed built book cases for holding a small part of Herr Lagerfeld's famously vast book collection, and pretty-pretty Gramercy Park views through windows that stretch from the floor to ceiling. Sliding pocket doors join the living room with the adjacent bedroom/library, also with a wall of custom-designed book cases, plus a small dressing room and private bathroom.

The streamlined kitchen, originally open to the living/dining room, has been closed off and features sleek cherry wood cabinetry and sterile stainless steel counter tops. At first we worried about the wisdom of the enclosing the windowless kitchen but then we remembered that Herr Lagerfeld–now just a slip of a thing but a former chubster who in his heftier days was rarely seen without a fluttering fan that (sort of) hid a double chin–injests little more than "protein sachets," diet soda, and homeopathic granules.

A long hallway lined with, shallow closets, a powder pooper, and a laundry closet stretches back from the foyer, past the second bedroom with private facility to the north facing master suite comprised of bedroom outfitted with even more custom designed book cases, a single walk-in closet, an office/dressing area and windowless bathroom with two sinks, travertine soaking tub, separate stall shower and over-sized terlit cubicle.

Since Herr Lagerfeld has never officially occupied the premises we make the (possibly incorrect) assumption that the barely there day-core–even that headless and armless male mannequin-thing wearing riding boots in the master bedroom–belongs to Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota.

Ownership at 50 Gramercy Park North includes a coveted key to the private Gramercy Park plus access to all the many services provided by the impossibly chic Gramercy Park Hotel located immediately next door. Available amenities include valet parking, butler, room and catering services, housekeeping, event planning, personal shopping, priority reservations at swank eateries, a fitness facility, spa and private roof top club.

For what it's worth, a few moments research reveals the apartment directly below Mister Lagerfeld's real estate albatross is also on the market but with a lower asking price of $4,950,000. In January of this year an all but identically laid out apartment on the third floor sold for $4,150,000 after more than two years on and off the market with asking prices as optimistically high as $6,900,000. Make of that information what you will.

Until some in 2007 or 2008 the supermodel thin and dour-pussed high fashion dynamo who sports a pony-tailed pompadour and masochistic shirt collars, lived for 18 or so years in a palatial and heavily-gilded 18,000 square foot apartment in a converted hôtel particulier on the Rue de l'Université. A fascinating 2007 profile of Herr Lagerfeld in The New Yorker revealed that he was then in the process of relocating to the Quai Voltaire where he'd "purchased four apartments on two floors on two floors of a two-hundred year old building overlooking the Louvre." The profile went on to say that the lower floor would be done up and did over "Old World" style and the upper floor with furniture and artworks made after the year 2000. Photographs taken by Herr Lagerfeld himself were, apparently, published in the Japanese version of Elle Decor in 2008 and depict a very contemporary interior with a heavily disciplined palette of black, white, grey, and stainless steel.

It was also reported here and there in October 2008 that Herr Lagerfeld made the unlikely acquisition of an 19th century house with six bedrooms on an island in Lake Champlain, VT, but, sorry Charlies, we don't have anything concrete or specific on that other than he himself described the house as "very much Emily Dickenson," whatever that means.

listing photos and floor plan: Corcoran

Leighton Meester is A Valley Girl

BUYER: Leighton Meester
PRICE: $1,457,500
SIZE: 2,847 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We recognize we are far from the first gossip to arrive at this particular celebrity real estate soirée but we feel like discussing the matter anyway....

In her tee-vee life 20-something year old model/actress/singer Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) convincingly portrays Blair Waldorf, a deeply vain, status obsessed and designer duds wearing teenage socialite whose social and real estate milieu are the tony streets and posh apartments of the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

In real life, model-thin Miss Meester comes from less than ideal circumstances: She was born while her mother was in prison on a dope smuggling conviction; Her older brother had and–uhmugly issue with a female; Her younger brother has unspecified but apparently significant medical needs; And she's currently engaged in an ugly legal wrangle with her mother who claims Miss Meester agreed to provide her $10,000 a month income for the rest of her life.

The young actress, who admirably owns and takes an impressively sanguine approach to her rather complicated familial circumstances, also differs considerably from her character in her choice of living situations. If snooty-tooty Blair Waldorf were to buy a house in Los Angeles, CA Your Mama imagines she might go for a fancy mansion in the flats of Beverly Hills or a sexy bachelorette pad that cleaves to a steep slope just above the Sunset Strip. When Miss Meester when hunting for a house in Los Angeles, on the other hand, she settled on a well-maintained but architecturally prosaic ranch-style residence in Encino. That' right, puppies, Encino, the spiritual if not exactly geographic heart of the San Fernando Valley.

Property records and previous reports show Miss Meester paid $1,470,000 for the updated and upgraded but mostly very ordinary house in the upscale Royal Woods neighborhood back in June 2011. Originally built in 1948, the single-story house, situated on a knoll above the street and well-shielded by a thick cluster of foliage, measures 2,847 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms according to listing information we coaxed out of the interweb.

The interiors of Miss Meester's new west coast abode are typical of rambling suburban ranch homes in southern California, meaning there are too many too-low ceilings. To the right of the narrow entrance hall there's a living/dining room with honey-colored hardwood floors, plantation shutters over the wide bank of windows, and a wood-burning fireplace. It goes without saying, we hope, that Miss Meester has the good decorative sense to hire a nice, gay decorator to do something–anything–with that disturbing, fleshy-pink wall color in the living/dining room.

The hardwood floors continue into an adjoining, almost identically sized family room at the back of the house that lacks a fireplace but does have two sets of French doors that give way to a sizable, awning-shaded outdoor living/dining area. A wide opening with glass-topped snack bar separates the family room from the galley-style eat-in kitchen that has room for a breakfast table and is outfitted with perfectly ordinary (but probably custom and very expensive) white raised-panel cabinetry, dark taupe granite counter tops and back splashes, and high-grade stainless steel appliances. For some inexplicable reason the short back splash behind the range top was done with ebony river rock instead of the matching granite as was done on the opposite wall. Just. Say. No.

The home's four bedrooms divide up into a guest/staff suite, two generously sized secondary bedrooms–one with private entrance–and a decent-sized if not huge master suite that includes a small sitting area, fireplace with glass tile surround, walk-in closet, and an attached bathroom with double-sink vanity, soaking tub, and separate glass-enclosed steam shower.

The flagstone-floored outdoor living/dining area off the family room opens to the lushly-landscaped back yard and includes a wet bar for the boozers, a water feature we find unnecessary, and electric heaters that allow the terrace to be used year round. Brick-lined flagstone walkways wind around the back of the house where there's an amorphous grass patch, a beautiful Japanese maple tree, and an ivy-covered hillside, and a built-in barbecue center.

A stone stairway ascends the hillside behind the house to a broad flagstone terrace that surrounds a rectangular, black-bottom swimming pool. An adjacent cabana has a kitchenette area with dishwasher and fridge, dual changing rooms, and a convenient 3/4 bathroom that means no one must navigate their way down the hillside staircase, across the back yard and into the house when they feel the need to purge their bodily fluids.

Miss Meester's current boob-toob gig films in New York City so–we presume–that's where she lives most of the time. There are various older reports floating around online that mention Miss Meester's Big Apple apartment. One report from 2009 makes special note of the custom closets she had installed and another, also from 2009, says Miss Meester went all diva-like with her New York City neighbors and asked all the other residents on her floor to not smoke cigars and cigarettes in their apartments because she "'develops a sore throat if she's exposed"' to smoke. Your Mama freely admits that we do not know where Miss Meester resides in New York City and haven't an iota if she still lives in the same building where she (allegedly) banned neighbors from smoking or the same apartment where she had custom closets installed.

Although she only became a household name and much-yakked about style icon since joining the cast of Gossip Girl in 2007, the Teen Choice Award-winner has been in the Business of Show since since she was just a wee lassie who trod the boards of the local playhouse in Marco Island, FL. At the age of 11 she and her mother moved to New York City where she modeled and made a number of commercials. At 14 she and her mother moved to Los Angeles where she went to school and quickly landed a long list of small parts in various movies and television series. She appeared in Law and Order, Hangman's Curse, Boston Public, Tarzan, 7th Heaven, 24, Surface, Shark, Numb3rs, and Entourage. Since Gossip Girl she's frequently found her way to the silver screen in (mostly not very good movies like) Date Night, Country Strong and Monte Carlo.

listing photos: Prudential John Aaroe




Last year I showed a house that I had decorated that was across the street from my own house.    In the breakfast area, I used a large, contemporary styled lantern.



The lantern came from BROWN, a fabulous lighting and decor shop in Houston owned by the talented Jill Brown.   Afterwards, Jill was kind enough to host a giveaway of the same lantern here on Cote de Texas.   Needless to say, the giveaway was a huge success and many of you entered in hopes of winning. 



Here's the lantern we gave away.  The winner had the choice of the 4 lights or 1 light with an Edison bulb.  She chose the 4 lights, if memory serves me correct! 




BROWN is located in Houston in a charming house-like setting with Zen styled landscaping.



Jill has a certain aesthetic and everything about her and her store reflects it.  She is a true original, with a great sense of style and presentation.  Here, for a party for the magazine Garden & Gun, she set up an old-timey store on the covered front porch.   These were the goodies for the guests. 



Although BROWN's specialty is lighting fixtures, one area of the store is set up for general goods.  It seems as if Jill sells everything - from antique copper pots to candles.



As always, everything has Jill's "look" about it.  She loves Belgian styling, but she also very much into American antiques.



Even the design of her web site is uniquely Jill.   You can view her web site at www.shopbybrown.



Or, you can choose to enter the website  by the fanciful THING-FINDER, located HERE.




Here is a small selection of her wares, as sold on 1st Dibs.  Jill sells antique light fixtures and a line of new ones that she designs herself under the label Far-Fetched.



The store changes often - it never looks quite the same from one day to the next.  It's like visiting a magical place, you never know what fabulous treasure you are going to find at BROWN. 

So, what is the giveaway you ask?   Have I tortured you enough? 




The giveaway today is this original light fixture from BROWN.  It's a little hard to see exactly - but it's made of hand carved wood, painted a distressed light gray - perfect for today's trendy look.  It has five lights that extend from the center column on gracefully carved iron arms.    Each arm has a hanging tassel, also made of painted gray wood.  The light fixture is hand crafted of antique wood and iron and has a retail value of $3,100.  Yes, $3,100.!!!!   And it can be yours - if you win the giveaway!



Another view of the gray wood and iron light fixture.



And looking up at it from the bottom.   Disregard the chains - they are just used to hold up all the chandeliers. 






All we ask that you do is visit www.shopbybrown and go to either the store or the 1st Dibs site or both.  Look around at what is for sale and pick one item that speaks to you personally.  Then, come back here to the blog comment section and tell me what you picked and why!  That's it!!!

If you really want to be nice and you have a twitter account, please be so kind to tweet about the giveaway as a thank you to Jill.

Remember,  if you post anonymously, be SURE to leave your name and email address in case you win!!   If there's no email address, you can't win.  :( 

The contest will run this week and close on Friday at 11:59 p.m.  

Good luck to everyone and a huge, huge thank you to Jill Brown for hosting this wonderful giveaway!!!


For a peek at Jill's house, read a story I ran several years ago HERE.  The pictures were taken before I knew what I was doing with a camera, so be kind!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photographer Cindy Sherman Snags Springs Spread

BUYER: Cindy Sherman
LOCATION: East Hampton/Springs, NY
PRICE: $4,650,000
SIZE: 3,500(ish) square feet 4-5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Starting sometime in the 1940s writers and artists–many of whom became internationally recognized poster children of the Abstract Expressionist movement–began to collect and colonize in Springs, NY, a thickly wooded peninsula northeast of downtown East Hampton. Although you can hardly get further from the ocean in the Hamptons, these artists and writers chose the less than prime area north of the Montauk Highway in part due to its relative affordability compared to the by then already quite pricey communities located in more bikeable proximities to ocean beaches.

Early arty-farty residents and renters in Springs include a long list of art and literary world luminaries like Kurt Vonnegut, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollack. In 1945 Mister Pollack and his artist wife Lee Krasner paid–are y'all sitting down for this?–$5,000 for a 1.25 acre lot on Springs Fireplace Road. They borrowed the two thousand dollar down payment from art patron Peggy Guggenheim and they later bought an adjacent parcel that brought their holdings in the Hamptons to around 5 acres.

It was here in Springs–in a small shingled barn–that Mister Pollack painted many of his most famous drip paintings; Miz Krasner painted her powerful and sometimes aggressive-looking abstract compositions in the main house until after her husband died and she took over the barn-studio. Mister Pollack perished in an automobile accident on Springs Fireplace Road in 1956 while Miz Krasner lived and worked in Springs until 1984. The iconoclastic couple's home and studios remain preserved as the Pollack-Krasner House and Study Center.

Mister Pollack and Miz Krasner are buried in Springs' Green River Cemetery along with other creative types long and closely associated with the Hamptons including architect Charles Gwathmey, artist Hannah Wilke, and poet Frank O'Hara.

The Springs' deep roots with the New York City art and literary scenes may (or may not) have influenced the decision by conceptual photographer and art world queen bee Cindy Sherman to spend some big bucks to snatch up an historic, 10.2-acre waterfront spread in the still-arty enclave. Property records show Miz Sherman recently used an eponymous corporate entity to pay $4,650,000 for her new hideaway in the Hamptons that's less than three-quarters of a mile up the road from the former home and studios of Mister Pollack and Miz Krasner.

Property records Your Mama peeped reveal Miz Sherman purchased the undeniably pricey but still understated property from a former Wall Street executive and his wife who had themselves only bought the Springs' spread in June 2009 for $5,200,000. A few quick flicks of the well-worn beads on our bejeweled abacus shows that amounts to a $550,000 wham-bam-thank-you-maam to the financier's pocketbook not counting carrying costs, improvement expenses, and real estate fees.

A white picket fence runs along the front of the almost crushingly charming compound that encompasses a perfectly weathered and postcard perfect shingled farmhouse, a perfectly symmetrical barn/garage, and an additional shed/storage barn perfect for parking the rider mower required to cut the acres of well-maintained but not–thankfully–overly-manicured lawns.

A significant portion of the house dates back to around 1835 according to listing information we scared up out of the interweb. There are 4-5 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in about 3,500 square feet over three floors. The house has been updated and modernized–note the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and the L-shaped open plan of the living and dining rooms–while retaining many original and quirky architectural treasures such as wonderfully-worn wide-plank wood floors, twelve- and 20-pane sash windows, an exposed brick fireplace in the living room and a pleasing amount of hand-hewn wood beams throughout.

At some point an extension was added to the back of the house that now contains the eat-in countrys-style kitchen and a window-lined den/family room that has a long view across the tree-sprinkled backyard and over the prairie-sized lawn towards the sparkling water. A peninsula counter with butcher block counter top divides the eating area from the small but well-equipped kitchen that's admittedly short on work space but long on high-grade commercial-style appliances, an ample walk-in pantry and a windowed laundry room.

Front and back stairs lead up to the second level where two bedrooms at the front of the house–one has a fireplace–share a hall bathroom. The master suite at the back of the second floor isn't large but does have a wood-burning stove flanked by built-in under window storage cabinets, a small sitting area, and a smaller closet. The attached bathroom does have a window for P.P.V. (Proper Pooper Ventilation) but it is so dang tiny Your Mama frets that a claustrophobic would have to endure a panic attack just to do their dirty business or brush their teeth.

A door hides a narrow staircase that climbs up to the third floor, once an attic space with vaulted and beamed ceiling but now a casual but dramatic suite with living area/bunk room lined with closets, a separate bedroom, and a full bathroom. This third floor facility is, it should be noted, the only one in the house with a proper bathtub. That doesn't disturb Your Mama who would rather run bamboo shoots into our eyes than wallow in a vat of boiling and possibly bubbly water like we're stew meat but it might really irk those who do find bathtubs relaxing and don't want to climb a lot of stairs to access one. Anyhoo, with some good sound proofing in the floor this third floor suite would make a lovely and private master retreat, at least for someone who does not mind paying close to five million clammers to climb two flights of stairs just to get to bed.

The wee kitchen opens into a wee-er porch that connects to a decent-sized dining deck that wraps around the back of the house and has unexpected and delightful curved corners. The deck drops off to vast and broad lawns that surround the house and extend all the way down to the reedy marsh.

A gravel drive connects the street to the symmetrical barn/garage with cupola and weather vane. Perfectly aligned and over-sized barn doors painted a deep green slide open to frame the long view over the grassy field that stretches out towards the marshlands and water. The unfinished but spectacular interior has a poured concrete floor, soaring ceilings and a stand up loft space. It's almost too nice for parking a car, even a fancy one like Miz Sherman surely drives. An smaller adjacent barn/shed structure offers additional storage space lawn and garden care, beach chairs, patio furniture and market umbrellas.

A swimming pool fenced with pickets and surrounded by a blue stone terrace is set so far from the house–where the nearest bathrooms are located–Your Mama worries thoughtless children and lazy adults alike will opt to pee (or worse) in the pool or the encircling foliage rather than dart the long distance to the indoor plumbing facilities.

For what it's worth–and it ain't worth a god damn dime–this property picture perfectly defines what constitutes Hamptons real estate goodness for Your Mama and The Dr. Cooter. It may be a long slog to the ocean from Springs but we tend to cotton to and gravitate towards the understated charms of an historic compound like this over the flash and glamour of something like showbizzer Jennifer Lopez's colossal new crib in Water Mill that sits much closer to–but still not on–the beach, includes a 15,000-plus square foot main house, and was last listed at more than four times the price of Miz Sherman's new hideaway in the Hamptons. It's a no-brainer for us, really, but it's also irrelevant since Your Mama is not now nor will we ever likely be in the market for a five million dollar house in the Hamptons.

P.S. Now puppies, let's use our noggins. The listing photos reflect the day-core of the seller and not of Miz Sherman who we imagine has a slightly more off-beat way of managing her decorative choices.

listing photos: Town & Country Real Estate

Monday, September 26, 2011

American Idol Phenom Chris Daughtry Lists North Carolina Crib

SELLER: Chris Daughtry
LOCATON: Oak Ridge, NC
PRICE: $699,000
SIZE: 3,670 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Like bazillions of others around the world, once upon a reality television time Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter religiously watched American Idol. We watched Kelly Clarkson belt her way to victory in season one, we sat slack jawed when Ruben Studdard beat out Clay Aiken in season two and, against out better judgement, we managed to hang on long enough to see Carrie Underwood croon her way to pop country super stardom in season four. By the time season 5 came along our annoyance by the unnecessary boob-toob melodramatics that take place in the audition process–can you say William Hung?–and our tolerance for the fakey-fake bickering between (now former) judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowel had done waxed and waned. The show had, as far as we were concerned, had jumped the shark.

Had we found the energy to rally for the fifth season we would have seen a bald-headed rocker named Chris Daughtry quickly climb to the top of the A.I. contestant heap only to be unexpectedly eliminated as the fourth place finalist. His fourth place finish became irrelevant, however, when it became clear and obvious that Mister Daughtry and not winner Taylor Hicks who was the break out star of the season. Taylor Hicks who? Oh. Ouch. Did Your Mama say that out loud?

Anyhoodles poodles, the ever-industrious folks over at Zillow reported today that Grammy-nominated rocker–a man married to the same woman since 2000–recently put his brick-built house in the semi-rural suburbs of Greensboro, NC on the market with a $699,000 price tag.

Zillow reports that Mister Daughtry had the house–a black-shuttered traditional sort of thing with barely a smidgen of architectural élan–on the market back in late 2010 with an asking price of $720,000.

Property records show Mister and Missus Daughtry–who have 3 children together and another that she brought to the relationship–purchased their gated Oak Ridge residence in June 2006, just a month after his being nixed from American Idol. Records also show they paid $690,000 for the 1.17 acre spread that listing information indicates measures 3,670 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

The interior spaces of the house, a good portion of which are punished with a variety of faux paint treatments, features a double height entrance hall with wide columned archways that connect to the formal dining room and the not terribly "formal" living room that's focal point is a gas log fireplace flanked by some windows and a built-in entertainment cabinet for the telly. An angled breakfast counter separates the "formal" living room from the adjacent cook- and family-friendly kitchen and breakfast room. The kitchen, with walk-in pantry and decorative wood hood over the range is certainly better equipped than many but all we're going to say about it is that at least there's not a Suburu-sized pot rack hanging over the granite topped center island.

Other rooms include an office with built-in wood desk and bookshelves, a family room/den and a main-floor master suite with walk-in closet, tray ceiling, built in entertainment cabinet for the telly that's all but exactly like the one in the "formal" living room. The privately placed master also offers a private facility with two sinks, make up vanity, and a separate soaking tub and stall shower.

Trees and other foliage provide privacy for the fully landscaped mini-estate that includes broad lawns, a narrow dining deck that extends off the rear of the house, four-hole professional quality putting green, and a saltwater swimming pool and spa surrounded by terraces partially made up of geometrically set cut concrete squares with lawn growing in the gaps.

Your Mama has no inside intel about what Mister and Missus Daughtry's real estate plans are but given that they're a family of six we're guessing they want something a bit roomier where they'll be better able to escape the hateful glares and loud guffaws of their children when they become teenagers. But, then again, what do we know?

listing photos: Re/Max Realty Consultants

Sharon Stone Rides Again

SELLER: Sharon Stone
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $8,995,000
SIZE: 7 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms (total)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: There are few Tinseltowners Your Mama is more fascinated by–and fearsome of–than the famously tempestuous showbiz she-devil that is Sharon Stone (Bobby, Casino, Basic Instinct).

The naughty bits-baring Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning (The Practice) actress, indefatigable AIDS activist, single mother of three, and one-time Miss Crawford County has owned the same Beverly Hills, CA mansion since way back in 1995. None-the-less we've had numerous occasions to discuss Miz Stone and her real estate activities.

In the turbulent aftermath of her 2004 divorce from to San Francisco newspaperman Phil Bronstein–they owned a spectacular cliff top mansion in the San Francisco's wealthy Sea Cliff enclave–Miz Stone developed some ants in her real estate pants. In March 2006 the sometimes acerbic and often controversial actress spent $10,995,000 for a new crib in Los Angeles to call home. She selected a walled, gated, and secluded estate tucked up in to the tail end of a rugged, celebrity-lined canyon in the Post Office area of Beverly Hills.

Alas, the mercurial M.I.L.F. quickly had a real estate change of heart and withing months flipped the large, lavish an architecturally undistinguished mock-Med mansion back on the market with an asking price of $12,500,000. Since then Miz Stone has had the property on and off the market at least 5 times with increasingly lower asking prices.

Your Mama first discussed the property in December 2006 and since then have yakked and rambled on about it a number of times including in June 2007 when it was re-listed at $11,500,000 and again in April 2008 when Miz Stone made it available as a high-end lease with a monthly rent of $58,000. We last yammered on about Miz Stone's real estate white elephant in February 2010 when she once again re-listed (and then quickly de-listed) the sprawling property with an asking price of $8,995,000.

Miz Stone, bless her unlucky real estate heart, has once again climbed aboard the celebrity real estate merry-go-round and recently re-listed the estate with the familiar asking price of $8,995,000. If Your Mama flicks and slides the beads of our bejeweled abacus we calculate that even if she and her Real Estate manage to secure a full price sale Miz Stone faces a punishing $2,005,000 loss not counting carrying costs and real estate fees.

Your Mama has already dissected, dissed, and discussed Miz Stone's unwanted estate in Beverly Hills multiple times so we just can't bear to work it over again. Therefore just the basic 411 will suffice here and should iffin any of the children care to read more they can check out one of our several previous analyses of the property.

The property spans 4.85 hillside acres, offers garage parking for upwards of 14 cars, and includes 5 bedrooms in the main house and another 2 in a detached guest house. Listing information shows there are a total of 8.5 bathrooms. In addition to guest quarters the guest house also contains a state-of-the-art media room and gym. The rambling grounds and outdoor entertainment areas include a side patio with built-in barbecue station, resort style-swimming pool and spa, lighted tennis court with viewing pavilion, and meditation garden and meandering pathways with bridges and waterfalls.

Some of the other high-profile property owners in the area include Eric Dane (Grey's Anatomy) and Rebecca Gayheart, country queen Taylor Swift, and buff-bodied actor Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives, Chase).

As it turns out, listing her unwanted estate isn't the only (tabloid) news Miz Stone is making this week. Gossip juggernaut TMZ reported this morning that after hearing suspicious noises in her slumbering Beverly Hills mansion–the one she lives in, not the one that's for sale–Miz Stone phoned the po-po at 2 a.m. concerned that someone had busted up in to her house. Turns out there wasn't an intruder or or any sign of a break in. However, better safe than sorry for Miz Stone who has long been a magnet for sickos, stalkers and assorted moe-rons who seem to think its a good idea to bang on her gates and ring on her bell.

listing photos: Rodeo Realty

UPDATE: Kara DioGuardi

Two weeks ago Your Mama discussed a gated Studio City, CA estate owned by songwriter/music publishing poo-bah (and former American Idol judge) Kara DioGuardi and available for lease with a fat price tag of $45,000 per month.

Late last week the 3.5 acre hilltop spread, which Miz DioGuardi shares with her artist/contractor husband Mike McCuddy popped up for sale with an also sky-high asking price of $10,000,000. Miz DioGuardi told the Wall Street Journal she and the mister want to sell so they can spend more time on the east coast where they own a home or two in coastal Maine.

Miz DioGuardi also continues to possess and maintain a much more modest Spanish style house in the Beachwood Canyon area of Los Angeles that she unsuccessfully tried to sell in early 2010 when she hoisted it on the market with an asking price of $1,649,000.

The Studio City residence–originally built in 1923 and completely renovated and expanded from 2007-2010–sits at the end of a long curved driveway, measures around 7,600 square feet and contains a total of 5 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms.

Just as Miz DioGuardi's estate was (and remains) the most expensive rental property available in Studio City, it is now the highest priced property on the sales market in Studio City.

listing photo: Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills North

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reaching Outside The Box and Getting a Decorating Inspiration


NOTE:  So sorry to have been away so long.  I’ve had a rash of computer issues this week including Writers Live blogging issues, a computer virus (which is going around and is very serious!) and a crashed hard drive.  Makes me hate Windows and PCs and Sony Vaio.  I would love to switch to Apple, but Apple doesn’t support my blogging platform – so, unfortunately, I’m stuck with Mr. Bill Gates, a poor imitation of Mr. Steve Jobs. 

So, on now to decorating!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about regional decorating – or, a design look that comes to define a city, an area, a country.  Certainly, reading this blog, the “Houston look” of  slipcovers and seagrass is well known.   I’ll admit it, I am in a rut,  stuck deep in a certain “southern” look associated with magazines such as the late Southern Living and Veranda.   Some days, the appeal of Faudree and Carithers, et al,  seems more rooted in familiarity than approval.  In truth, I rarely step outside my box.  I look at décor in NYC by all the latest and greatest, still the Southern bred Charlotte Moss holds the most appeal to me of that lot.   Design in faraway environs like Seattle leaves me cold, just as mountain décor holds no appeal.   I’m a southern girl through and through, but do include the South of France in that equation.  So, I was surprised to find the work of a Canadian interior designer so appealing.   Canada?

While reading the blog of a fellow Texan, Get Grounded, I was introduced to the work of Jill Kantelberg, a designer who works out of Toronto.  Besides design, she also runs a popular décor shop that’s a must stop for all the decorators in her area.  Her merchandise is also found on the trendy 1st Dibs, which insures a certain cachet.



Kantelberg’s work is eclectic, it’s rustic mixed with antiques and contemporary shown before a backdrop of rough textures.    The cover of this issue of Canadian House and Home features the work of Kantelberg.  It’s appeal is immediate.  I was instantly drawn to the mix of the cool blue and white stripes against the raw wood walls and beams.  Is it a beach house or a country lake retreat?  Certainly, it’s not anything familiar rather it’s a totally new look and I find it irresistible.   Apparently, so did the Texas blogger Get Grounded and so do the Canadians.   Kantelberg is very popular and respected as an innovator with her rough luxe looks that predate the term and Restoration Hardware, both.



The house is located on the water, but whether it’s a beach or a lake is not specified.   This view of the family room with the blue and white striped sofas shows the ceiling is heavily timbered with planks and beams that run down the walls to flank the dark stone fireplace.   The walls, in contrast, are painted a stark white.  The floors are naturally shaped stone mixed with heavily distressed wide wood planks.   A wonderful antique console table divides the family room from the dining area and kitchen.

                               jill8    This view of the family room shows the matching painted cabinets that flank the fireplace.  Above each is a canvas painted a soft brown that picks up the color of the stone.  Now, if this was a southern decorator, there would be mirrors over those cabinets and the stone fireplace would replaced with a French limestone mantel.   Sometimes, it really makes sense to step outside the box, for once. 





This view shows the family room with the stairs behind the love seat. 



Behind the family room, an oval wood table is matched with wicker chairs.  The focal point, though, is the light fixture – a simple iron form with a crown of bleached limbs.




The plank and beam ceiling continues into the kitchen where the range is located under a mantel that resembles the great stone fireplace in the family room.   On the left, an antique store counter sits under a bank of windows.




A view looking straight onto the range hood.



In the master bedroom, the wood lined headboard resembles the design of the great fireplace and the range in the kitchen.  Brown and white and tan bedding continues the colors found throughout the house.  Beams are also found in this room, as is the heavily distressed wide planked wood floor covered in part by a soft cow hide rug.  The organic side table with wispy branches adds to the look.



A closer look at the unique headboard.




More rustic wood makes up the mirror and dresser.  



The bathroom features bluestone and a white vessel sink.  Antlers are made into sconces.




The guest room features a headboard made of old pine doors. 




It’s hard to piece together the pictures of Kantelberg’s work found on the internet, as the stories that accompany the photos are no longer available.   But, Kantelberg owns a 200 acre property in the Niagara escarpment outside of Toronto – whatever that means!!!  This gorgeous house and attached wing I believe is most likely her property.  The chateau’s design is influenced by both France and Belgium and it’s utterly charming.




Inside, there is a great room with a gorgeous stone mantel.  The room is a living area, a dining area and a kitchen – all in one.  A large iron fixture sits over the dining table.  Notice the French windows on the right and how on the left it is connected to a hall which links to another building.   The ceiling is a mix of timber planks and beams – so beautiful.



Here, a closeup of the wood beams that surround the French doors.  A large antique trumeau sits over a makeshift bar.  In the mirror’s reflection, an antique armoire is seen.







Past the dining table is the kitchen with its own large mantel over the range – which resembles the fireplace at the opposite side of the room.  An antique store cabinet acts as the island.   The refrigerator is hiding within an armoire on the right. 



A close up the range with its backsplash of terra cotta tiles.  I love the collection of pots hanging from the mantel.



The hallway that leads from the great room to another part of the chateau.  Damask portieres divide the two spaces.  Notice the faux deer heads that sit above each French window.   The door at the end of the hall is beautiful carved.   The repeating beams on the ceiling resemble steps.  Such a quiet, beautiful space.





Well, wow.  What can I say?  This is too pretty for words.   The antique console has such a gorgeous patina – its just stunning.  Atop is a collection of wood balls.  The romantic and feminine mural behind is in contrast to the masculine vignette.  I could look at this photograph all day.  It must be so gorgeous in real life.



Another gorgeous vignette, an entry hall perhaps with a skirted table and a French armoire.   A beamed and wood plank ceiling above with a terra cotta tiled floor below. 



The master bedroom has its own fireplace.  Again, a beautiful wood and beam ceiling.  A dressy antique English dresser mixes with a rustic canopy bed.   These two wing chairs are now for sale on Kantelberg’s 1stDibs store.





A terra cotta tile floor, a Persian rug, a wood ceiling, and a large mirror made from an antique door. 



Another beautiful bathroom that could be a sitting room.  Feminine and rustic at the same time.



Just when I thought I had Jill Kantelberg’s look down, I spied this wonderful French moderne dining room.



A close up of the wonderful chairs and table, and the triptych hanging behind a horse sculpture.  Totally outside my box, I find myself just loving Kantelberg’s aesthetic.  




I mentioned before that I had first seen this picture on the blog of a fellow Texan, Get Grounded – where Robin writes mostly about landscaping.   Robin had first seen this photograph a few years ago and immediately fell in love with it.  In fact, she gasped when she first saw it.  I have to admit, I did too.   What makes this room so appealing?   Robin writes: 

“The striped couches! The incredible architectural barnwood ceiling and doors! Sisal rug over wood flooring. My signature aqua colors. Minimal accessories. The rustic, beachy, comfortable feel, oh my.”

Robin contacted Jill Kantelberg who was kind enough to email her back and forth with ideas on how to get this look.  Robin lives in a 1979 builder’s tract house in Austin that looks nothing like this expansive lake house in Canada.  Yet somehow, she wanted this look for her own.  How to emulate it?  How to do it on a strict budget?   Robin looked at all the elements and decided that rough wood was important to the décor.



And of course, blue and white stripes were very important to the look.   Let’s take a look at how Robin is putting together all the decorative elements in order to get the atmosphere of this room in her own home.



Here is what Robin started with.  She loves the Shabby Chic look and had already started decorating in that style.



First, and what I think is a stroke of genius on Robin’s part., she added the two rustic wood bookcases to the back wall.  This is how she brought in the wood element into her room!  The bookcase doors have chicken wire which further adds to the rustic look.   She found them at this store and they were very price friendly.  Now, if I was Robin’s designer, I would tell her to add one more cabinet and place them side by side to get more of the look that the wall is paneled.  Perhaps she could save up to add one more.  I think these cabinets are so very important to the look, I would go the extra distance and add another one.  On the floor, she installed Shaw’s sisal look alike carpet to mimic the seagrass look in Jill’s room.  Now, you know me, I love the real thing, but Robin told me in person this really looks like seagrass! 



Next, Robin needed the striped fabric.  She found this striped fabric at Calico Corners, and then found someone on Etsy who made the pillows!  So far, she really is getting the look of the lake house.  Luckily her curtains match the striped fabric perfectly. 



And, here, without her beloved ottoman that she knows has to be replaced to continue on her journey. 



And here is the table she bought at Cost Plus which really fits the look perfectly.   It almost looks like driftwood.  Robin says she wants to get new lamps and blinds which she’ll do soon.  

I was really impressed with Robin’s drive.  She saw something she loved with all her heart and decided to claim it for her own.  Faced with a limited budget, she shopped carefully.   The striped fabric is perfect and really brings in the feel of Kantelberg’s room.  And, the bookcases with their rough wood and chicken wire doors go a long, long way to further that atmosphere.


Have you ever seen a picture that you loved and then tried to copy it for your own?   I did, about 20 years ago.  I’ve showed this before, but one more time won’t hurt!  I fell in love, really deeply love with this Dan Carithers’ room, which I STILL love to this day!!!



The original inspiration – taupe and white linen fabric, slipcovers, sisal rug, and lots of blue and white porcelains. 



I was lucky to be able to get the exact fabric in taupe and white linen stripes.  Hey Ben!! Hey Reggie!!(Poor Reggie was run over and died a few months later. Sad smile)



I bought this coir rug – they hadn’t heard of seagrass in Ft. Worth at this time.  I had the chairs slipcovered in the same fabric.  I used to LOVE those candlestick “lamps” that I got at Bombay.  Loved them!



I added this wicker chair – the cushions in the striped linen hadn’t come in yet.  To the right you can see my two French chairs upholstered in the same striped fabric.  Those chairs are still used in my living room today.  Instead of blue and white porcelain, I used my budding blue opaline collection.  I wish I had a picture of the entire room, it was really kind of cute for its time.  I was proud of myself and thought I had come pretty close to my inspiration room – considering that my house lacked any of the gorgeous architectural details of the Carithers house.


Have you ever used a designer’s photograph to decorate a room?  Send in the pictures – I would love to see them!!!  I think working off an inspiration picture is still a good idea.  When I meet with a new client, I always ask them to bring in photos of rooms they love. 


I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Jill Kantelberg’s work and stepping out of the box with me.  To see her web site, go HERE, and to visit her 1st Dibs store, go HERE.   And a HUGE thank you to Robin of Get Grounded for sharing her newly decorated living room!!! To read her story, go HERE.