Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Behind the Scenes of this Trad Home Cover House

This magnificent home -- owned by Brian and Kat Thompson -- graces the current cover of Decor, a bookazine published by Meredith Corporation, now available on newsstands.  Brian owns Thompson Custom Homes in Houston.  You also may recognize this gorgeous "new look" from a past cover of Traditional Home.  It's today's classic.  But you nearly didn't get to peek inside....

First a pitch to you.  
I hope you'll pick up your own copy of Decor.  Your purchase translates into support of an industry we all love.   Decor comprises, more or less, previously featured homes.  Editors' favorites, if you will.  They are all now showcased in a collector's issue of what editors have dubbed this fall and winter "... the most gorgeous rooms ever...."  

Ok, back to a little behind-the-scenes action:  Yep, the Thompson home almost didn't get published at all!  Timing is sometimes everything.  The moral of this story is:  If a home doesn't fit the needs of editors today, it might be a great feature the next year.  (So, I often wait or re-submit. Patience pays.)  Anyway, that's about what happened in this case. When Traditional Home first previewed it, the consensus among those who decide was that it was a bit too spare. Then one day out of the blue I get a call saying they want it -- and they want to shoot asap. (Of course, I'm pleased. And the homeowners and designers are as well!)  The magazine changed its tune thanks to you new, young traditionalists.  My fellow field editors, it so happened, also had been sending in suggested streamlined looks.  A Trad Home editor, who later later spoke at a designer gathering in Houston, said they began noticing a trend, especially among the "younger" set.  And they felt they needed to take heed, to respond to what these stylish sophisticates were doing in their homes.   For example, some opted to showcase outside views rather than to drape their windows. (Previously, the magazine wouldn't have considered a home without window treatments.)  Others -- like the Thompsons -- chose a less is more strategy.  

Less layering with more focus on textures and quality pieces that deserved stand-out attention, that is.  Good magazines know when to shift gears a bit.  I'm pleased to show some more photos here of the Thompson house. Most are my initial scout shots; they show you new and different angles of some rooms not featured in the magazine spread.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Joyce Horn's Elegant Maison

The best comes in due time. Or so it seems....

We photographed Joyce Horn's home three years ago. It now appears in an 8-page spread in the fall 2009 issue of Country French, a bookazine published by Meredith Corp.  No doubt Joyce has made some changes since then. She confided when we first met that she enjoys changing up her rooms -- perhaps not radically but occasionally so that she can appreciate another new find.  She's a romantic when it comes to French Provincial style. She likes to imagine the stories behind the gorgeous Louis-something pieces she collects and buys for her store, Joyce Horn Antiques . (If the truth be told, she's partial to the Louis XV period.)  She and her husband renovated (rebuilt might be a more accurate description) a 1958 "Italianate ranch."  Back before she established her store and professional reputation, she was shipping all types of things back to the U.S. -- even before she envisioned how the pieces might work in her future home.  Things like her limestone floors found in Burgundy. The 18th-century cherry boiserie (ornate paneling) discovered in Normandy. A small winding staircase -- one of the many features she had retro-fitted for U.S. construction -- located in Lyon. She collected stair railings, weathered zinc dormers, a pair of majestic elm columns, narrow windows.... Her eye for detail is amazing. Pick up the bookazine (a cross between a book and magazine) to read more about her truly inspiring story.
If you ever doubted your instincts, wondering if you should buy something now without having a place in mind for it, you'll find through her example that it all works.  In addition to the tour of Joyce's home, you'll get to eye more than a dozen homes. Here's a glimpse into her home....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My New Wheels!

I've been so remiss keeping in touch with my blogger friends.  I've done little online reading and even less writing.  I hope you're still "speaking" to me .  I've missed you all!!  I'm on vacation and, at the start, I promised myself that I would do nothing whenever I wanted.  Except to perhaps bake now and then.  To read a quirky novel.  Hang with friends.  Entertain.  Visit the parents.  It's been fun.  Anyway, I feel renewed and would love to get re-acquainted.  Oh, yes, the icing on the cake during this period was getting my shiney new bike -- shown here in my flowerless garden (I need to work on that! yeah).  It's called an Hawaii Cruiser.  I don't know if you can tell, but it's a covered in white flowers -- even the big-ass seat (oops, can I say that?!).  Well, I don't care; it's really comfortable.  I haven't been so excited about a two wheeler since my first back in what was probably 1962.  In fact, I'm on it almost daily.  I just pedaled over to Katie's Seafood to buy some fish and lump crabmeat.  A man and a hungry egret stood next to me in line. I love Galveston island. You never know who you might meet.  I just stuffed a few jalapenoes -- the fruit of my dad's bell pepper bush. (He thought he had planted bells.... So it's a joke now.) I have some decorating projects on the newsstands. I'll give you the first preview tomorrow; it's of Joyce Horn's home. Any self-respecting Houston-based Francophile knows her name -- and her shop!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Galveston Island's Dead Oaks Transformed Into Art

This proud Dalmatian sits in front of Galveston's central fire station -- in tribute to both the city's firefighters and the island's lost oaks. Thousand and thousands of grand old oaks died when Hurricane Ike pushed salt water inland just over a year ago. Retired photojournalist Carlos Antonio Rios shot these images, which give us a glimpse as to how the island's Tree Committee is nurturing a sense of optimism during a difficult time.  As you can imagine, cutting down the trees has proven both difficult and controversial.  Area  artist Jim Phillips did the expert sculpting shown here.  Some residents are so taken with the creative and sentimental artwork that many are considering commissioning similar pieces for their front yards, where their own oaks once stood.  Carlos, who is also a member of the Tree Committee, is a dear friend, and I appreciate him sharing some of his photographs.  

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