Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Personal Style Depicted in One Photo

If you've been blogging for a while, then most of you probably have accepted the challenge Vicky at Room Service - Decorating 101 recently presented me:  "Select one photo that represents your own decorating style."  (If you haven't done this, do it and let me know. It's fun to see what people select and why. Vicky had selected an  antique claw-foot tub -- al fresco style.)  

Like so many of you, I also clip and file away favorite magazine pictures. This one -- for my post here -- comes from House Beautiful (February 2009). An element of surprise or a something unexpected; that's what I like in a room and home. See the artwork hanging under the table?  I favor the juxtaposition of traditional with simple, semi-formal pieces in slipcovers or casual settings . . . and always-always, I like it when old meets new. I love table vignettes -- a collection of books and "things" that introduce a visitor to the homeowner . . . no words necessary. I can't resist wingbacks -- and for whatever reason, I just adore the little hook or knob on the back of this one. 

So there you go. My personal style depicted in one photo. Your turn! Digame (talk to me).

Monday, April 27, 2009

There's No Place Like Home -- Even if it's in a Tree!

Would you mind too much sharing your living space with the occasional squirrel -- or snake?! The artist who lives here doesn't seem bothered; the rent is reasonable and it's quiet. Plus, this tree house offers the type of inspiration only Mother Nature can provide.

Dan Phillips, a former dancer and instructor at Sam Houston State College, along with wife Marsha, built this house using all recycled materials. Such as: Excess lumber discarded by other builders. Old windows pulled from renovation and demolition sites. Left over rebar. Broken pieces of glass. Trashed tile. (Studies reveal that about 38 percent of all landfill waste is construction debris.)  He also takes in old bottle caps and wine corks. Picture frames, obviously ditched by a former supplier, transformed a ceiling in another one of Dan and Marsha's places, er, creations. 
Dan  -- the ultimate recycler -- takes anything and everything, even bones.   This isn't the only house he's built. He's constructed a few, all from salvaged materials. He says his homes cost about $10,000 to build, plus land costs.

Qualified artists can get an interesting place to live for next to nothing. For more information, contact Dan via All his homes are built to code. 

This tree house, located in Huntsville, TX, is clad in Western red cedar ends cut as shingles. The balcony railing is made from a "trash" tree (the osage orange). The house, in fact, rests comfortably in the branches of one osage orange tree, also known as bois d'arc. Part of the flooring inside includes sturdy, Plexiglas pieces to view the trunk and ground below. Wine corks fill in parts of a floor, in addition to serving as cabinet pulls in the kitchen. 

Dan takes building green to a whole new level! What do you think?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Creative and Cheap!

When I launched this blog, I really wanted to concentrate on cost-saving ideas. But then I got a little side-tracked. This blog, as it turned out, has assumed a life of its own. It became obvious early on -- thanks to the people who left comments -- that we could all gain something from just viewing (and in some case scrutinizing) home images of the most modest to the more expensive, best-dressed homes. Even if the take-way from the latter was just something simple . . . like inspiration.

Well, this post reflects the original intent: creative and stylish. We're back to cute cottages. This is one on Galveston Island. And it belongs to my friends, Barbara and Carlos. The twosome possess this knack for turning one person's discard into their own treasured piece. They pile into the SUV of other friends and go "junkin'" almost every Saturday. If they find something, they make it their own. 

My favorite B&C creation is their white two-piece TV cabinet. They matched a cabinet with an old, dark wood-stained, 1960s stereo console. Can you envision it? They unified the two with paint, primarily, and added decorative paper, which they painted, to the stereo panels and cabinet doors. The doors probably had glass at some point.  (You could add molding and different feet if you also wanted to marry opposites.) 

I also included a photo of their dining room and sunroom. They painted an old table and chair set white . . . and created their own chandelier. Barb found the chandelier at a garage sale and then painted and bejeweled it herself. In their sunroom, they found the plantation shutters at a house that was scheduled to be demolished. They stored them forever, which proves if you see a good thing -- for free or cheap, grab it. You'll use it sooner or later. They didn't quite fit, so she made valances from the same upholstery fabric she used on her vintage wicker pieces. 

I love their creativity! It helps me see things in a different way.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Dining Room Feast

I've been a little under the weather. And, yesterday afternoon, I had the TV on, which always lulls me to sleep. That was a good thing. I needed the rest. I woke up to the tail end of the Rachel Ray show. Rach was raving about this soup she was preparing . . . how it would make anyone who ate it feel so much better. Well, I made it!  And, right she was.  De-lish!  If you've got allergies or a head cold, this is the best prescription: Lemon-Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup. 

And . . . I hope you have a great room or space where you can set down your bowl. If not, I've pulled some dining and breakfast spaces that might offer inspiration. They represent Galveston, Houston and Vail.  Enjoy! 

(Oh, if you want to challenge yourself . . . which two pairs come from the same house?

Interior decorating credits: Tami Owens, Cathy Chapman, Suzanne Duin,  Jane Osbourne, Kara Childress, Janet Gust, Trisha Dodson, Michelle Allman, Betty Prough, Heather Bowen, and Richard Price Homes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

IDEA House by Coastal Living

Yesterday afternoon, I toured Coastal Living magazine's Idea House, located on the far east end of Galveston Island.  Have you seen it?  If not, enjoy the images I snapped. (No worries, I won't reveal all in case you wish to take the tour....)

The ideas? Well, this is what I took away from the tour:  Texture and more texture. Lots of layers. Neutrals rule. Interesting nautical decor that doesn't seem too heavy handed. Splashes of controlled color. Romantic bedrooms. Long hallways. Oversized lighting. Art arranged collectively.  A mix and match of upholstered, and wicker and rattan pieces. And I loved one room concept, of course, since I just did a post on the topic -- 2 or 3 back -- of arranging four matching club chairs to promote conversation and intimate gatherings.

This is actually the magazine's 2008 Idea House, but it just opened (I think). Hurricane Ike, which hit the island last fall, caused its delay. A $10 donation is requested to help fund the work of the Galveston Historical Foundation. Just a FYI: Galveston was one of the nation's three most important ports  in the 19th century (the other two were New York and San Francisco). Its wealth and prominence during that time resulted in some amazing architecture. If you like historic homes, then you might want to put GHF's annual home tour on your calendar. It's the first two weeks of May.

A quick run-down on the photos here: The first seems to be a reading room on the second level; the second and third shots are of this large living area -- two separate sitting areas facing each other but divided by a walk area that leads to a balcony; and the next-- the fourth -- offers a peek into the master (which features a amazing four-poster bed). I think some of these are self explanatory. The final one is of a swinging bed on the top front balcony. 

What do you think of the Idea House? What are your favorite rooms or ideas?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Elegance in a Small Package

Our Colorado house sits on 25 acres, and our Aussie, Sam, enjoys the freedom to run and chase varied wildlife. He's the most content, though, in a much smaller space -- like my closet or the back of my Jeep SUV.  I think I understand. While I love to visit the larger dream homes, my favorites are often the smaller ones.  They're like a comfortable hug.  

Small spaces are challenging. This downtown Houston loft was once owned by a realtor who had moved here from a home almost double the size. She said she chose only her favorite things. She let everything else go. How freeing, don't you think? Could you do it? 

This loft is feminine, timeless and elegant, combining the best of modern and traditional . . . . You see here the stylish realtor's  living room, kitchen, a peek at her dining space (in the long corridor from front door to kitchen), foyer, the bedroom and tub (note the towel cubbies; every inch counts.)

Her decor is sophisticated, calming, mostly white -- but notice her one splash of color. I think it makes quite an impact. 

I especially wanted to share a less-is-more space after visiting the inspirational and lovely Small Space Style blog. 
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