Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Orleans-Inspired Remodeled Bungalow

“You could hardly walk through it. It smelled dreadful,” says Diana. However, she and  husband David loved the old heart-pine floors and soaring 11-foot ceilings. The 1910 bungalow had been vacant for about five years. Yet, the son of the couple who originally owned this house presented a stipulation in the sales contract. Oh dear!

This is the house transformed:

They not only enlarged the porch but added new French doors to either
side of the front door. New Orleans architecture inspired the old wooden shutters.
It's quite a contrast to what the couple actually bought. In fact, David says, "termites holding hands"
were all that held up that small original porch. They added the second level and balcony, too.

Elise O'Brien, a photographer from St. Louis, and I produced this spread for Remodel, but Better Homes & Garden recently featured it on their Web site. You'll see more photos of the house on the Better Homes and Garden Web site. Hope you'll check it out!

As you see, Diana and David did move forward with their plans to renovate and enlarge.
But not without some struggle. Upon insistence from the 88-year-old seller, whose sister had lived in the family home until her death, the sales contract included a clause stating the buyer would not tear it down. And at some point, termite damage and rot made David and Diana consider just that alternative. But, in the end, it survived.

David used travertine and tumbled marble to make the fireplace surround. He went down to the lumberyard and bought a 14-inch wide rough, primitive-looking wood for the mantel. They found the base for the little accent table at a New Orleans antique store. They replaced the original top with limestone.

I met David and Diana by knocking on their door. We both lived in this particular inner-city neighborhood at the same time. (We both have since moved....) I regularly walked by the house and became convinced I wanted to scout it. So glad I did!

The dining room. They purchased the furniture from El Paso Imports. And Diana's mother made the curtains and cushion; fabric is from Calico Corners. They snagged the chandelier for $300 at a designer flea market.

David and Diana totally gutted the old kitchen and started fresh.
Slate tiles on the floor.

This was an old sleeper porch that they converted into a little breakfast area.

David and Diana certainly had their own ideas for their house, but they did consult with architect Carl Brunsting. It took 10 months to restore, renovate and expand. They added an 800-square-foot master suite (sitting room, bedroom and bath) upstairs.

The upstairs sitting room. Old iron used for railing came from New Orleans.

The master. Some of the accessories, such as the lamp, came from New Orleans.

Old doors lead into the master bath.

In the master suite upstairs.

Hope you enjoyed this home.

Two posts down, I gave you a quick tour of a holiday house featured in this month's Traditional Home magazine.

 Now, thanks to the magazine's Web site, you can see it all online here

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pattern Mix: Infusing a Little Excitement into Your Home Decor

When I was growing up, the word on mixing patterns -- florals with stripes, polka dots and plaids, prints with paisley, and so forth -- was a pretty solid no. "You want to match."  That advice is no more. It's all a GO -- at home as well as in the fashion world
. . .  One of the front-runners, Mondo Guerra from Denver, defiantly mixed prints and patterns to create electrifying designs in the 8th season of Project Runway (on Lifetime)

Some at-home inspiration for mixing and matching:

This is a home I produced for Remodel Magazine and that just recently was picked up by Better Homes & Garden's online site. (I'll show more of this one in my next post. A great remodel! Located in Houston. I like the soft pattern mixes here. It feels youthful and current. (Photography by Alise O'Brien.)

Despite the advice once received, I find that I like the energy of those rooms that dare to to mix it up. Youthful yet sophisticated. Don't you think the person living here (below) is fun, carefree and confident? 

From eHow.com: Pros Give 6 Pointers on How to Achieve a Look
similar to the One Above.

There's a certain depth and vibrancy that seems to pop up in all of these images.

 I didn't have to go far on my blogroll to find a woman (Michelle Zuniga)who loves to energize 
and personalize a room with color and pattern mixes. She shares the image above on her blog. 
If you'd like to see her work, visit 

I think the key to venturing into the world of mix and match begins with a common color and intensity level. 

I cropped and then enlarged this photo; I hope it comes across OK. I loved what 
Houston Designer Edwina Alexis
did at a Houston showhouse, pairing up a print with a stripe. Common colors....

Some pros suggest starting off in more doable fashion when desiring to mix and match patterns. Perhaps throwing an interesting mix of pillows of your sofa or bed:

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life makes her own pillows, and she enjoys mixing
it up a bit. A little pizazz goes a long way . . . .

From HGTV: How to Mix it Up Like a Pro. See their 8 tips.

For fun, a look from Mondo Guerra's collection on Project Runway:

What do you think or advise -- or like -- when it comes to mix and match?  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Traditional Home Magazine's Holiday House in Houston

Time does fly! It really seems like only yesterday that I arrived at the home of Lisa and Jerry Simon to help produce this season's spread in Traditional Home magazine. If you'd like a first-time -- or second -- peek behind the scenes, go here.

The Simons' home in Houston. (Photo by Werner Straube -- not seen in magazine)
Writer Candace Manroe makes note in her nicely written article that this eco-friendly  home won Houston's ASID's Best Green Design for 2009. The homeowners joined Interior Designer Sandy Lucas in selecting various antique items to decorate and re-use in the home.

The magazine's holiday issue is out now! So go find yourself a copy. It's chock-full of wonderful, inspirational images that provide decorating ideas you may want to bring into your own home this holiday season. In addition to the Simon's Houston home, you'll get to visit another one in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. There's another located in Boston's Beacon Hill. And Designer Barry Dixon turns a diplomatic dining room into a "celebrated winter wonderland. 

A holiday spread makes the breakfast table in the kitchen very inviting.
(Photo by Werner Straube/Trad Home)

A few of the photos in this post (like the three below) are not part of the magazine layout. I'm showing as part of my gift to you . . . .And in hopes you'll want to see more!

The powder room (Photo by Werner Straube/Trad Home)

Jerry's office

A fossilized footprint in the old French clay floor tiles in the kitchen. (so cool!)

Hope you enjoy the issue! Many thanks to the Simons who allowed us into their home -- and who shared their treasured family traditions . . . .

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My Mailbox: An Overstock Discount Code to Use for Additional Savings! Check it Out:

Looking for a mirror, lighting for your home or a mattress? How about any number of specials currently available throughout the site -- until Nov 24?! Well, here you go 
. . . Overstock comes through again -- offering all of us a 10% off discount code (121728) that we can use when shopping the following links:

(Links deleted on 3/21/11 at request of Overstock.)

Thank you, Overstock!

And happy shopping.

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Insider's Paris, an Intimate Tour

On My Bookshelf
The team at Elle Decor published this book, "Insider's Paris, an Intimate Tour," in 2003. It was printed in France and then translated. All photos below are taken from the book. But, no worries, there are plenty more within its 275 pages. 
It's only appropriate to begin with this one:

Le coq -- the rooster -- is the unofficial symbol of France, having appeared on everything from coins to war memorials. The country's association with the Gallic Rooster dates back to the Middle Ages.

André Chastel, a 20th century French art historian, once said:  "What is essential to French art is that it absorbs all others." Such could be said about the French aesthetic overall.  As you will see in this book . . . .

Authors Jean Demachy and François Baudot take us 
"into never-before-seen homes," from family dwellings 
to lofts. 

And they cover all the favorite areas of Paris, from 
Saint-Germain-des-Prés to Montparnasse, from 
the Marais to the Madeleine, Beaux Quartiers to Montmartre
and the Marché aux Puces to the Suburbs. Tucked 
inside the book, as a separate piece, is a list* addresses 
for restaurants, hotels, museums -- on both the right 
and left banks. 

(*Of course, the list is a bit dated but probably still useful.)

At home in St. Germain is a mannequin sitting on the couch. 
A Napoleon-era camp bed is upholstered in linen. 
And a 17th Century Venetian mirror hangs over a wall mirror.

The wide-oak floors come from the Aveyron region of France. 
The Bechstein piano and cello belong to the homeowner.
Also located in St. Germain.

This simple yet elegant bathroom is in the same home as above.

The authors call this decor "bourgeois bohemia," which
combines classic and modern, and ornate with minimal.
The bookcases are make from "railroad racks" from the 1950s.
An Indian quilt covers the 18th century day bed.

Slipcovers, constructed of raw linen by Pierre Frey, 
make this a very relaxed room. 
Located in Palais-Royal.

An artist's kitchen in Montparnasse. 
The table is made from old oak planks.
The 1940s stackable chairs have been re-issued by Habitat.

The couches are covered in Pierre Frey flannel and 
draped with a colorful quilt or throw. The throw
pillows are covered in old kilim. The coffee table
is from the 1960s.

A curiosity and love of nature is seen in many of the homes.
(A re-kindled 19th Century interest.)

Majesty of the 18th Century Revisited.
Located in St. Germain.

Homes reveal the liking of taxidermy.

The coffee table is covered with a taffeta quilt.
The sofa is upholstered in canvas. And the screen
at the window is made from old shutters.

You see a library table in the foreground and
an 18th Century Italian banquette in the back.

Leather and metal furniture sit beside a re-issued stove by Godin.
The Montparnase artist, a sculptor, who lives here likes the contrast 
of black and gray steel against white walls.

I enjoy looking at this book. It's one where you see something new -- or inspiring -- each time you pick it up. What did you see that you like or wish to apply to your own home?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Moisturizing Candle Softens Your Skin When It Burns! Fabulous!!!!

As some of you might know, my daughter and I had operated a store in Colorado. We closed it in favor of an online shop called The Green Plum, an online gift and home furnishings boutique. We continue to work on our Web site. . . . (Specifically, we'll be adding and pricing furniture and accessories between now and the end of the year.)

In the meantime, I'd like to invite you to join our mailing list for news about new arrivals, discounts and coupons. WE are offering two wonderful deals; one of which is 20% off this Moisturizing Candle:

As it burns, it becomes a moisturizer for your skin! Yes, you heard right. Sooooo fabulous! Not kidding you. So silky smooth. No wax. It's made from shea butter and soybean. It was a popular gift item at our store. And now, we're pleased to offer it online. Check it out here. It's regularly $27.50, which includes shipping costs to Continental U.S.  NOW, when you sign up for our store newsletter (periodically sent with discounts and new arrival info), you get the code to use when buying the candle. To sign up for the emailed newsletter, visit The Green Plum homepage. The discounted price of $22 is good between now and Dec. 1. The candle is available in 4 scents and burns for up to 45 hours. The glass container is re-usable.

Our second deal, via the newsletter, is for artists interested in joining our new Artist Co-op.

OK -- the commercial is over. Coming Up here at Love Where You Live:  A jewel of a home in San Miguel and An Insider's Guide to Paris! Plus, plus, plus....cheers!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Meet Meg Lonergan. And Get Her 5 Tips To Making a Home Both Personal and Exciting

I met Meg when on a Traditional Home photo shoot, and she worked for Sandy Lucas of Lucas Eilers Design Associates.  Recently, I received a news release announcing Meg's formation of Lesueur Interiors -- and her blog, Lagnaippe ( which means "a little something extra").  I think, of late, she's been posting from Paris. So, visit -- and tell her Bonjour from moi.


I have learned that Meg is a Louisiana native who counts Paris, Singapore and New Zealand among the places she has called home in her 27 years. Infusing a global palate into her Southern sensibility, Meg's  "well-defined, accessible aesthetic blends the gentility of her roots with the worldly sophistication of her travels."

Meg standing in her living room.

Recalling early memories of shopping for Persian rugs and re-arranging furniture with her mother, Meg says she loves "obsessing over every detail" needed to turn a house into a comfortable and approachable home. 

She shares, in her own words,  her 5 favorite ways to personalize your home:

1. Antiques, or old pieces, I love the character that vintage or antique furniture/art/curiosities bring to a space.

2. Candles. I always have a candle burning. I love them so much I just developed my own fragrance, which is a mix of cut hay, fig, oak blossoms, jasmine and black tea. For a while now, I've wanted to bottle the smell of walking down St. Charles in New Orleans on a humid evening in the spring, when all you can smell are those musty oaks. I love it. I think I got close with this candle. I have a strong sense of smell; it's the first thing I notice when I walk into a home.

3. Lighting, I love interesting light fixtures, I think they add so much to a room, and make it completely personal.

Her foyer 

4. Carpets. I love Persian carpets. The older the better, I even like them when they have holes in them from being so used and walked on. They are one of the easiest ways to add color and interest to a room.

Her bookcase stands between the living and dining rooms.

5. Books. Our floor to ceiling bookshelves are the first thing people notice in our house. I love that we have collected so many books that we forget what we have, often times we'll go looking for something new (or old) to read out of our own shelves. 

Meg's living room

About Her Own 100-year-old+ Home
"It was in pretty good shape when we moved in. Most of the changes we've made are purely aesthetic. For instance, every single room in this house was painted a different color --  from the LSU purple kitchen to the apple green powder bath.  Our bedroom was this horrific peanut butter type color. Because of it's small size, I painted the entire house white. A warm white, Ben Moore's White Dove. I painted all the trim and doors sort of a muddy gray/green.

"We added these amazing reclaimed cypress shutters from New Orleans to separate the laundry room from the kitchen. The color of the cypress shutters is perfect for our mostly white kitchen. It really warms everything."

Cypress shutters really jazz up the kitchen.


"Most of the lighting I've changed out, and have an eclectic collection from an antique French cloche in my entry to an Art Deco lantern in my kitchen.

"I designed our dining table.  The base is an old cast iron column I picked up at a flea market and had cut down, it still weighs about 400lbs.  The top is made from reclaimed cypress from St. Martinville parish Louisiana, planed and put together by a 73 year old man who also made our cypress front porch swing!  Around the table sits Phillipe Stark's Ghost chairs.(again, another solution to a small space, the acrylic chairs feel as though they hardly take up any space).

I added some mid century chairs that I pulled out of a dumpster in south Louisiana (the tag on the cushion said they came from Hurwitz Mintz which was a big furniture store in New Orleans from the 50's - 70's.) I recovered those in a colorful Ikat fabric. 

"My favorite is our powder bathroom, it is such a great mix of looks and speaks so true to my style. The walls are covered in this insane cane wallpaper, to me cane is  totally southern. Then I had a shower curtain made to hide this ugly shower/homedepot remodel that the people before us did, out of Brunschwig's Le Lac Toile, which is a traditional, colorful Asian Toile. And the iron lantern I had made is very simple modern shape, sort of industrial in a way."



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