Saturday, February 26, 2011

Made in America; take the challenge yourself! And an Update on the Novogratz Family.

In My Mailbox

Every once in a while I get announcements that are worthy of sharing. 
Here is the first of two:

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer launches this Monday (Feb. 28) a new series called "Made in America," which will focus on American manufacturing and our economy. The facts show that our nation is addicted to imports. In 1960, foreign goods made up just 8 percent of Americans' purchases. Today, nearly 60 percent of everything we buy is made overseas.

In its series launch, World News reveals its “Made in America” challenge, which took place in Dallas, Texas.  The World News 
team worked with a Dallas family to furnish three rooms of their 
home exclusively with products that are made in America. Is it possible? 
On the broadcast and online, they tackle 
the key questions:  

*Is buying American-made more expensive? 

*What staples are 
no longer manufactured in the U.S. at all? 

*And what difference would it make if 
everyone promised to buy more American-made product? 


If every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods, it would create almost 10,000 new jobs in this country.


The broadcast will feature several American manufacturers that are making products 100% made and assembled in this country. 

I found a site called "Still Made in America" that lists companies and their products -- all stamped "Made in the USA."

Here are some of those companies:

John Boos & Co. Woodmakers
Photo from Sur La Table

From Cool Sofa

The Latest About 9 By Design
The second announcement shares where our favorite decorating family  -- 
the Novogratz family -- will be this summer. If you haven't heard, they are moving to HGTV.

When we last saw Courtney and Robert Novogratz, they were sharing glimpses of their lives --both professionally and personally -- with us on Bravo.

The couple now has a new HGTV series called 
"Home by Novogratz."

The series will follow the couple as they take on residential design projects -- customizing eclectic finds, turning trash to treasure and mixing colors and textures in innovative ways.  On their new 30-minutes series, viewers can expect to see perfectly customized, spectacular room makeovers that reflect the talented couple's  unique ability to identify and determine the practical potential for everything from art to artifacts and furniture to fabric. 

Robert and Courtney have created design projects from stunning Manhattan homes to commercial projects like  Bungalow Hotel in Long Beach, New Jersey and Babkul at Fred Segal  in Santa Monica, California.  Their client list includes a number of celebrities and sports figures.  

Stay tuned for more details about their new show. In the meantime, visit them at 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

San Miguel de Allende Inspiration

The old colonial town of San Miguel de Allende is one of Mexico's most prized jewels. 
I have visited on several occasions and always fall in love -- again. And again.
It is no wonder why so many Americans retire to this city -- or just go to visit, to shop, or attend art and language classes. And, even, albeit accidental, to gain a visual dose of decorating inspiration. See for yourself:

... weathered wooden doors contrasted against faded yet colorful stuccoed walls ... bougainvillea blooms spilling over rooftops....

... centuries-old stone archways open to lush patio gardens.

... well-traveled cobblestone roads. 

Steep walls offer privacy while also firing intrigue.

Vibrant orange hue for the chic and hip new Hotel Matilda
More images I took of this hotel -- about a week before its grand opening:

The lobby

For art happenings -- and more -- going on in San Miguel, visit this link.

Shopping at Insh'ala Imports

Simple store shelving against a patterned wall.

A newly opened Artist Co-op

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Does Your Astrological Sign Say About Your Home?

I was surfing the Internet today, and one thing led to another. At some point, I got to Kelly Surtees' contribution on So for fun, I'd thought I would share her column, which suggests how our astrological signs might influence our home and lifestyle. 
True or False?

First, Meet Kelly:

The article, verbatim:

Most horoscope columns use a technique known as solar charts, where the astrologer/writer assumes you have the same rising sign as you do Sun sign. It’s simple, effective and actually quite ancient. Based on this system, the third sign from your Sun sign is the sign associated with your home, family and domestic areas. Here’s how it works.

If you are an Aries, your home and family sign is Cancer (Water).

If you're a Taurus, your home and family sign is Leo (Fire).

If you're a Gemini, your home and family sign is Virgo (Earth).

If you're a Cancer, your home and family sign is Libra (Air).

If you're a Leo, your home and family sign is Scorpio (Water).

If you're a Virgo, your home and family sign is Sagittarius (Fire).

If you're a Libra, your home and family sign is Capricorn (Earth).

If you're a Scorpio, your home and family sign is Aquarius (Air).

If you're a Sagittarius. your home and family sign is Pisces (Water).

If you're a Capricorn, your home and family sign is Aries (Fire).

If you're an Aquarius,  your home and family sign is Taurus (Earth).

If you're a Pisces, your home and family sign is Gemini (Air).

If your home and family sign is Water, then the relationships you share with those you live with are most important. You crave a home setting that is peaceful and nourishing, where you can escape everyday life. A great bathroom or shower space is necessary, and if you can set up home near water -- even better. You’ll also enjoy a quiet meditation space to help you tune into your feelings.

If your home and family sign is Air, then a home space full of technological gadgets, books and communication tools is most important. You’ll want to keep your mind busy when at home, and may like the background buzz of music playing. Having lots of air and light in your home, or better yet -- a view -- is ideal. Consider setting up a relaxed entertaining space to host friends and family who’ll drop by -- this is a busy home!

If your home and family sign is Earth, you’ll want practical and functional home space that helps you meet all your basic needs -- and pampers your body. Earth homes are usually simple and filled with furnishings that are easy to maintain. Body and food are in focus here so a great kitchen or well stocked pantry are important, as are quality fabrics and classic furniture that will last.

If your home and family sign is Fire, you’ll want a home in which you can be active. Setting up a home gym or dance space where you can sweat is ideal -- or invest in a hot tub or sauna. Since fire rules passion, setting up your bedroom for maximum intimacy is also a must. This may be a home in which heated discussions are had, but it’s all in the name of self-expression. A creative or art space can also help inspire.

As for me -- with my family home sign being air:  True.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Tuscan Style Home -- In Houston, Texas

Last spring, I showed my own scout shots of the Tuscan-inspired home built by 
Covington Builders for a Pink Ribbon fundraising event. At the time, I bemoaned 
how I couldn't show you the beautiful photographs that Alise O'Brien -- from St. Louis, Missouri -- took for Tuscan Style, a bookazine published once or twice a year by 
Meredith Corporation, which planned to publish the Covington masterpiece. 

Well, it's out! And, here -- hot off the presses -- are those pretty, styled pictures:

And, another shot we took -- that wasn't included in the now-released spread:
(just a little lagniappe -- "something extra" for you)

The living room. Fireplace is to left. Breakfast room and Kitchen to the right.
Foyer leading to dining room and from door in back to right.

The show house helped to raise money for Baylor College of Medicine's breast cancer research center.

As a field editor for Meredith, I had suggested this house for publication. Then, when 
it was accepted, I accompanied Alise to the "job" to style and ready each selected space 
for photography. We always look at scale, balance, colors. We moved around furniture, brought in pillows, flowers, books, dishes, food and wine (for props not us!). We strived to turn each space into a pretty picture, making sure all the Meredith-must details are covered.

If you'd like to see my scout shots (which pale by comparison) and other rooms in this show house, here's the link. Last year's post does relay more about the builder, the home and those involved*.

Tuscan Style is now at bookstores and other places, such as Target, Home Depot, grocery stores and Walmart. It's a 160-page book showcasing gorgeous homes and articles about them. 

Side Note: If you want more Italian inspiration, check out Betty Lou Phillip's book to the left. 

*Resources for Pink Ribbon House:

Mina and Robert Covington, Covington Builders, 
3419 Mercer, Houston, TX, 779027

Architect (semi retired)
Ernie Cole

Lothar Hofbauer
Element Garden

Pink Ribbon Designers:

Shannon Mann, ASID
2703 Wroxton Rd
Houston, TX 77005

Julie Dodson
Dodson & Daughter
725 Riedel
Houston, TX 77024

Trisha Dodson
Dodson & Daughter
725 Riedel
Houston, TX 77024

Suzanne Duin
Maison Masion/GB Design, Inc.
2129 Westhiemer
Houston, TX 77098

Plaster and Decorative Finishes
Leslie Sinclair
Segreto Finishes

If you own or know a pretty house, kitchen or garden -- especially in the Houston area, let me hear from you.

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