Friday, April 30, 2010

Church to Home

While collecting photos and information for my next post on bedrooms, I noticed an email in my inbox with a heading similar to my own headline here. I'm always interested in seeing atypical, adaptive projects, so I opened it up. I don't know if you've seen these images, but I'd thought I'd share them in case not. What do you think? Could you live here?
A couple in England now call this former church home. At least, they have quiet neighbors....

 Here's the short version of what is probably a more lengthy story:  A couple purchased an old church in Kyloe, Northumberland, England, to satisfy their housing need as well as save the historic building from (further) deterioration.  As you can see below, they did remodel some interior spaces to accommodate their daily lifestyle. However, they chose not to alter the exterior. As a visitor, you might initially wonder if you had driven up to the wrong address.

Has anyone remodeled an unusual space in which to live?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pros Share Their Tips: "How to Unbrown Your Furniture"

Hold your horses . . .  don't be in such a hurry to discard that old mirror, chest, door or chair for something new just because it's looking a bit tired!  Merri Pruitt and Jimmy Littleton -- owners of Pruitt-Littleton Decorative Painters -- are about to brighten our day with a show-and-tell of how to get something as spectacular and wanting as this piece:
A trumeau mirror -- a sampling of some of the pieces Merri and Jimmy plan to sell at their new vendor space, beginning in May, at Memorial Antiques & Interiors in Houston (8719 Katy Frwy). 

OK, so you might not have a trumeau mirror buried somewhere in the attic. No worries . . . The Pruitt-Littleton techniques will class-up just about anything, any style. For their demonstration with us, they're using a mirror a customer brought into their studio (because some of us prefer the pros apply such sought-after transformational magic). However, if you want to try your hand at it, here we go. First, find the piece you wish to transform. Like a brown mirror, for instance .  . . .

The Brown Mirror

Before:  Modify if needed. They chipped off some of the applique on top for
 a cleaner look. Be sure to glue any loose parts.

Step 1: Clean with Krud-Kutter Gloss-Off Prepaint Surface Preparation.  Scrub with rag and toothbrush. Let Dry.

Step 2:  Prime with white primer. Merri and Jimmy like Bin Primer which is also tintable.  If the primer is streaky and some or the wood shows through, that is OK.
Step 3: Ready to paint-basecoat. They chose and recommend Benjamin Moore's  Coastal Fog- AC#1 as a base color in Eggshell finish latex.  According to Merri and Jimmy, it's a great neutral with a wonderful slightly greenish cast. They brushed and then blotted the paint with a rag here and there. Let dry.

Step 4:  Next they chose to glaze the molding (raised parts) with a slightly darker color. Using Benjamin Moore Latex glaze clear they added it a small amount of  2142-10 Mediterranean Olive eggshell latex to the Glaze and taped off the molding. Brush the green glaze onto the molding and then rub it off with a rag.
The finished project drying in the garden:

What do you think? Do you plan to try it? I certainly do!!! And I will show off my own little master piece (positive thinking here) when it happens. If you try Merri and Jimmy's techniques, let me know or, better yet, share your projects with me. If I get a few, I will post them here for all to see!

Another Before and After project of theirs -- for inspiration:

Thanks to Judy Thompson, a realtor in Houston, who contacted me about this talented and very generous husband-wife team. She sold them this cute little bungalow (circa 1925):

I think I see a glimpse of their studio in back, down the driveway.

Merri says Jimmy likes to take a break on occasion and enjoy his "secret garden."

When Judy contacted me, she had written a nice albeit heart-wrenching story about Merri and Jimmy's arrival to Houston. Here is an excerpt:
"Decorative artists Merri Pruitt and Jimmy Littleton
have found success at a very high level wherever they have worked: adding
decorative flourishes to the iconic structures of New Orleans or the mansions of Houston’s River Oaks and Memorial neighborhoods. But their admiring Houston clientele knows little about the dramatic life change that occurred when they ended up in Houston. Like so many New Orleanians, it began
with Hurricane Katrina. The day after the storm, Merri and Jimmy had to abandon their 1905 cypress cottage and art studio to floodwater. After 25 years of work and accomplishment in the Crescent City, it was all gone—the portfolio, patterns, samples, everything. Little did they know what the future
held for them that day: Starting their business over in a new city where they had few contacts.
 Merri and Jimmy left their house in a boat and biked to I‐10, eventually hitchhiking their way to Laplace, LA, where her brother Randy picked them up and took them in. Their new home turned out to be Kemah, TX (on Galveston Bay near Houston). It was there that they decided not to return to New Orleans, except to ready their house for sale. Within weeks they were busy with work from members of the nearby Texas Corinthian Yacht Club. They met local designers Carol Glasser, Eleanor Cummings, and Marilyn Phillips who provided additional projects...."

You may already know Merri Pruitt and Jimmy Littleton's work from the pages of Southern Accents and Veranda. You can contact Merri and Jimmy at 281.857.7975 or via their Web site: 

I am participating today in Between Naps on the Porch's:

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Limestone Home is My Inspiration House

This is a house that's built to last. Its Texas limestone exterior conveys Hill Country classicism. Despite the fact that it's located in the heart of this country's fourth largest city -- Houston -- the architecture and overall style celebrate masonry work perfected by German immigrants who founded in the mid-1800s smaller settlements in the Texas Hill Country -- primarily areas around San Antonio and Austin. These early residents often used this same light-colored limestone to construct their homes. The clay tile roof (as opposed to metal) and voluminous interior (in contrast to smaller and modest) mark the main deviations from earlier homestead designs.

Architect Tom Wilson and Interior Designer Ginger Barber together created this master piece. It is my inspiration for what I'd like to achieve in our next home should my husband and I be so fortunate to explore new territories (and I mean that in more ways than one).

Front doors and entrances should make a strong memorable first impression. This one, with the massive wood and iron-detailed doors do. When you enter, you see the magnificent back view. Immediately, the architect established a relationship with the outside, which he reinforces with the huge picture windows all along the back rooms (you'll see some examples at various points below).

The foyer. The flooring is a cut travertine, and the beams above are cypress. The wood around the windows: mahogany.

I call this house my inspiration home, primarily because I've recently fallen back in love with the old limestone houses seen in parts of Texas. And I like how the designer achieved a nice aesthetic balance by adding feminine attributes to this home's masculine bones. (Since I got a little personal with this house, I must interject by saying I'd just alter the size.  Cottage is the optimal word for me; that's more my style.)  This home, while large and voluminous, does offer up some cozy spaces, which I appreciate. And, Ginger Barber, who is known for her monochromatic looks, softened it all up by adding natural fabrics and rich carpets. Additionally, she's kept the arrangement tight and clean. The contrasts work, I think. What do you think?

The crisp white slip covers certainly infuse a more casual style into a rather grand house. The fabric and pretty rug add appreciated feminine touches that soften the harder surfaces and materials.

Like the living room above, this dining space is intimate and inviting. Artist Joe Andoe did the painting. He paints with his hands.... The cypress used on the ceilings throughout the home conveys a contemporary feel to a fairly traditional house. The architect added old pine beams to cross over the cypress for both interest and effect.

Just a look to show how the architect separated the dining space from the living room. Floors are old heart pine.

Notice how thick the walls are....

More Photos of the home . . . hope you enjoy the tour:

The office or library. 

An open-concept space on the other side of the foyer. 

Notice the bank of windows looking out to Texas brush and olive trees.

Segreto Finishes did the plaster work throughout the home.

Master bedroom

Balcony off master

Indoor/outdoor bath

Dressing room

Tom Wilson's "trademark" screened-in porches.

Outdoor kitchen in screened-in porch area.

Back exterior

I hope you enjoyed the tour.... all photos provided by Tom Wilson Architects .

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuscan Villa Show House

2008 Pink Ribbon House by Covington Builders in Houston combining stucco with stone and using clay roof tiles. 

In my previous post, I shared a few of Leslie Sinclair's (of Segreto Finishes ) images of the 2010 Pink Ribbon Home Tour, which opens again next Friday for its final weekend tour. If you're in or around the Hunters Creek Village neighborhood in Houston, I hope you buy a $15 ticket to tour it. It's located at 10807 Bridlewood. Proceeds benefit the Sue and Lester Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine.  I decided not to steal their thunder by releasing more photos too early. I will show more after the tour ends. That sounds reasonable and appropriate, yes?  For now, though, I'd like to share a few scout shots I still have of the 2008 Pink Ribbon house, built by Covington Builders with architectural designs by Ernest Cole. Hope you enjoy . . .

Interior Designer Shannon Mann decorated both the foyer above and the dining room below. I especially like the foyer's tile work, the hallmark of an old soul. 

A sunken dining room just off the foyer. Pretty vaulted ceiling. Notice the unusual cornices at the top of the draperies. The trestle table was on loan from Carl Moore Antiques.
Mina and Robert love the Tuscan region of Italy. Their travels, coupled with extensive research, inspired the design of this home.  Meredith Publications did choose this house for inclusion in a future issue of a bookazine titled "Tuscan Style." It has yet to come out. How I wish I could show you the wonderful photos that photographer Alise O'Brien (located in St. Louis, MO) took. Wow! I worked alongside her as the stylist.  

Notice the different elevations between the breakfast room and family area in the above two shots. Lots of architectural interest. They use a repetitive arch design -- even when it comes to the base of the console behind the sofa! The iron on the staircase also continues on the open second floor.

I wish I could remember more about the curtain rod; it almost looks like tacking. Nice detailing, don't you think? Interior Designer Trisha Dodson volunteered her services for the breakfast area above, the family room and kitchen.

Farmhouse sink and faucet

This backsplash and hood is a signature look of the Covingtons'.

Interior Designer and store owner (Maison Maison Antiques ) Suzanne Duin took a rather odd and long space and turned it into a charming office/computer cubby. She also took on the second floor landing, bringing in a pair of handsome,custom wing chairs (see below):

If I lived here, this space would be mine! So cozy with a sophisticated air.

Suzanne also did this media/game room.

Elegant, luscious guest room by Interior Designer Chandos Dodson, who also did the adjoining guest bath:

The etched mirror adds a touch of glam at this pedestal sink.

Soft gray blues, creamy white and taupe comprise the color palette Julie Dodson chose for the master bedroom.  A closer look at the sitting area at the window:

The background "noise" seen through the window is a bit distracting only because the event planners were erecting a tent in the backyard.

His and her closets beyond the curtains. Segreto Finishes did all the painting, faux finishes and plaster for this show house. 

Check out this bath tub.

Guest room and sitting area:

(sorry to say I do not have a credit for this room.)

If you want more inspiration, I invite you to visit my 2006 Pink Ribbon post. If you're interested, please go here.

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