Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Galveston BOI Resident Remodels a Large Space for a Kitchen Suited Just For Her

Family and Tuscany Serve as Her Inspiration

When interviewing Sherry for a story -- which begins below -- for Coast Magazine,
I was drawn to her stovetop, with its over-sized lantern sconces flanking a rustic mantel where old wooden type blocks spell out the family name. The heavy burner grills, the brick work and arch -- and even the pot filler exude warmth and character . . . you just know this is a place where family comes first.

 This BOI -- "born on the island" -- resident wanted a different kind of kitchen space. Sherry built everything based on how she works when in the kitchen. She also kept in mind the type of entertaining she and husband regularly do.
The Story, as it begins in Coast:

Published May 29, 2011

For many, the decorating process usually begins with a focal point, such as a patterned rug, colorful painting, a favorite piece of furniture or an architectural detail. From that one source of inspiration, a space can blossom into a room that is both beautiful and useful. For BOI — born on the island — resident Sherry Mallia, that one “thing” that set her into motion was family.

Mallia grew up in a little 1950s ranch-style home in the area of Bayou Shores. When she met and married Wayne Mallia, she said the only way he could keep her on the island was to buy what she always coveted, an old historic home. In 1991, the Mallias found the house of their dreams, warts and all, in an area known as Lost Bayou Historic District.

“It really needed a lot of work, but I got that feeling you get when you know something is right. I could see what could be,” said Mallia, recalling the couple’s first visit to the Greek Revival-style house built in 1889.

Two children, one major hurricane and two renovations later, Mallia enjoys the luxurious comforts of her home. As the Mallia family grew, so did the house. Once 2,500 square feet, it’s now 4,500 square feet.

The pièce de résistance is the kitchen and family area — a newly designed post-Hurricane Ike space.

For the rest of the story -- and photos, go here.

Love Where You Live

Friday, May 27, 2011

At Home in Arkansas

The Editor of This Beautiful and Inspiring
Magazine, Published in "The Natural State,"
 Put Out a Call . . .

I saw her plea on Facebook . . . . Friend and Colleague Diane Carroll was inviting all who love their homes as well as those monthly peeks into the abodes of others -- and who need regular doses of interior design and gardening inspiration "to likeAt Home in Arkansas, the magazine she edits. I just received my first issue in the mail (thanks Diane!) and love it! It's brimming with large colorful images of redos, and chock-full of exciting decorating ideas and round-ups of new products.

Diane's comment yesterday on Facebook relayed excitement about having close to 
7,000 "fans."  They were short by a few. Well, between now and the time I sat down today to do this post, they have surpassed yesterday's goal. I was thinking it might be fun to help her -- and her hard-working staff -- to get moving forward on setting a new goal! 
10,000 isn't that far off!

If you like, please pay them a visit and "like" the page: http://www.facebook.com/athomeinarkansasmagazine

Tell her hello from Love Where You Live . . . .

Diane's editor shot as shown in the magazine.
She is married with two children.
Her husband is a sculptor, and together they have
renovated/restored an old Victorian in Little Rock.

A few selected photos
from this month's magazine:

A Redo -- Before and Afters are in the magazine
AFTER: The room is painted in Benjamin Moore's "Golden Honey."
Note the colorful Robert Allen silk draperies. The chairs
are upholstered in Clarence House fabric.
(photo by Rett Peek)

Wall color here is Benjamin Moore's "Broadway Lights."
Fabric on chairs by Hickory is Brunschwig & Fils; the ottoman
is covered in a Clarence House fabric. 
(photo by Rett Peek)

The countertops are a Calacatta marble from Walker Zanger.
The custom cabinetry is by Greenfield Millworks.
(photo by Rett Peek)

An artist renovation
of a 1960s ranch

Furniture is from Cleo's. And the paint color on the wall
is a custom blend from Sherwin Williams.
(photo, At Home in Arkansas)

Old-world meets cool contemporary

Desk is custom made by Keith Newton, and the chair is from deSede.
(photo by Nancy Nolan)

Barstools from A. Rudin.
(photo by Nancy Nolan)

Take time, if you can, to visit the magazine. It's worth it. Go to the right of the homepage for a link that will launch a digital version of the magazine. To do that,

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Zen Bath ... Houston Architect and Designer Loves Finding and Using Unconventional Materials

A Visit to Cost Plus World
Unleashes His Imagination!

When I first met Ted Mengers, he was designing furniture and accessories. His attention to both detail and allure made his work memorable. Our paths crossed again about eight years ago, when I was working for Houston House and Home magazine and he was pursuing a more personal project. He was remodeling an old cottage for himself, and I visited him as he informally unveiled his master bedroom and bath. Every other room was still evolving, but he wanted a personal retreat to enjoy amidst the chaos. So, wisely, he placed his bedroom suite at the top of his to-do list. 

You can barely see it, but he bought a $99 curio cabinet at IKEA and embedded it into the wall to the left to use as a medicine cabinet and storage. Notice, he placed his mirror to the right of the sink, because he wanted to enjoy the outdoor garden view. He has a towel hanger on the backside of the mirror.
Photo by Janet Lenzen for Houston House and Home, August 2003

Ted told me, when I visited, that he got a kick out of finding unconventional materials and turning them into useful and interesting items, such as sinks and benches. I must say, 
I was totally enamoured with his sink. He found it at Cost Plus World . . . in actuality, it was a deep serving dish. But, instead of a plain white $35 dish, he saw a sink vessel. He liked the idea of designing his minimalist space on a spare budget. So, this dish proved to be perfect, in more ways than one. He took the dish to his glass cutter, who had doubts, but it worked! No breakage. Do-It-Yourselfers can do the same by using a glass cutting bit, and placing a 2 by 4 on the back side to stabilize.

Photo by Janet Lenzen for Houston House and Home, August 2003

You can see the sink in the above shots. Love the river rocks for an unexpected, Zen-like aesthetic. Ted used a lot of glass in his bath to make it seem larger than the actual 9' x 13' space. In the diagram above, #1 represents the glass sliding door to the left of his sink; #2 notes the placement of the WC; #3 denotes the shower bench ; #4 recognizes the placement of the wall that divides the bath from the master; and #5 shows the placement of the bed.

His shower bench is comprised of three chunks of stone he found at San Jacinto Stone in Houston -- for only $28! He liked it because it fit the look he wanted. His flooring is pine with a slate border. The countertops are concrete.

Ted is president of Pyranak Designs in Houston.

If you have a moment, please leave me a comment . . . did you enjoy this post? Or do you have a great idea to share?  Make my day.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gardeners: Take Away Some Inspiration From This McDonald's Flowerbed!

Wow! This is Stunning!
You don't see this everyday at Fast Food Joints -- 
But I wish we did!

My husband and I were driving from Houston to New Orleans this past spring to attend the city's annual Jazz Fest when we spotted this lovely garden, located in a small town about an hour or so just west of Baton Rouge. And surprise, surprise, it was at a McDonald's!  I had to stop and take a photo. Bravo to the franchisee who made the decision to nurture these blooms! Why don't more companies and stores do this?!

If you have a moment -- or an inclination -- to comment, please do. 
I enjoy hearing from you!

Love Where You Live

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Do You Do When Mama Dies Too Soon and Leaves You With All Her Stuff?!

Author Frances Schultz
Addresses How to Incorporate Inherited Pieces 
Into Your Own Look
and then talks about her own Bee Cottage makeover

Frances' lead in the April 2011 online edition of the Wall Street Journal, caught my eye.
I immediately liked her style . . . her words invited me in, revealed her delightfully irreverent sense of humor --and then relayed some really great decorating tips. 
Frances' Facebook picture.

Her story, as it appeared in the WSJ:

"I would not have accumulated nearly what I did if I'd known Mama would die so soon. But I did. And she did, six years ago last month.

Mama, née Ruth Clark, lived in the small farming town of Tarboro, N.C. She was all the things a Steel Magnolia should be: a beauty, a wit, a Character (capital C). I mean, this is a lady who, on what would be the next-to-last night of her life, put on lipstick before the ambulance came and lied about her age to the paramedics.
"Her Federal-style house, which our family had occupied continuously for more than a century, brimmed with things. It also mirrored her spirit: elegant (Scalamandré silks), distinctive (14-foot ceilings), eccentric (embarrassing display of our childhood crafts at Christmas). She had left my sister and me a letter. 'If something should happen…If you are reading this, something indeed has happened…," she wrote, winking at us even in death. 'Please don't you all fight over my things. Just take what you want and throw the rest away…'"
Photographs by Annie Schlechter for The Wall Street Journal
KITCHEN TABLE -- Now the center of a cheery kitchen seating area, an antique mahogany drop-leaf table was updated with a coat of sleek white paint and small blocks attached to the legs to boost its height. (WSJ caption)

"Months passed before my sister and I could bring ourselves to deal with her possessions. We didn't bicker, thank goodness. The throwing away was difficult, but it was nice to have her permission. We reminded ourselves that our mother's things were not our mother. Giving them away to charity and friends was a joy. Storing items ostensibly for future generations was neurotic and against all anti-clutter dictates, but we did it anyway. In the words of another great Steel Magnolia, 'I'll think about that tomorrow.'
"Eventually, we whittled down our picks—dozens of items each—and set about incorporating those new-old things into our own homes. A few of the pieces were worth something—a fine Hepplewhite sideboard, an Art Deco diamond cuff. But mostly there was just a lot of stuff whose greatest value was sentimental.
"Mama had impeccable taste. But my style is less English and formal, more Continental and casual. I probably would not have aspired to a collection of Staffordshire porcelain dogs, for example; or an assortment of brown furniture. And yet now I wanted hers. Keeping it, though, would require a little work."
Photographs by Annie Schlechter for The Wall Street Journal
DOG LAMP -- The Staffordshire collection included figures, castles and many dogs, two of which were made into lamps for the guest room and given snappy red shades for a spot of retro-chic.  (WSJ caption.)

"Making room was an issue. My sister's sprawling house in Atlanta was more accommodating than my Manhattan two-bedroom. But I had recently acquired a cottage in Long Island, and there would be space there.
"It helped that the house, in East Hampton, was very Cotswolds-cottage-y, so the Staffordshire and English furniture would fit in easily. Other pieces would need encouragement in the form of painting, repurposing or outright reimagining.
"And here's the lovely part about making peace with a loved one's belongings: While so many of us are drawn to the new and perfect, inherited pieces have soul. Even if flawed, objects and furnishings with history have a story. They carry the energy of our affection. It radiates through the house. People can sense it when they walk through the door. We may not be conscious of it, but it's there."
Photographs by Annie Schlechter for The Wall Street Journal
MAHOGANY PEDESTAL TABLE  -- A dour old Victorian pedestal table is an unexpected companion to painted chairs, bleached wood mirrors and casual sisal carpet, but it provides contrast in the pastel living room and also stands in for dining, backgammon and bridge. (WSJ caption)

"Certainly our family isn't the first to confront the emotional reapportioning of a beloved's belongings. A few lessons from my journey . . . ."
Since I did lift this article from the WSJ, the least I could do would be to credit them and direct you to their link for Frances' tips and more photos that showed what she did. Just click here.

Frances's words recently graced the pages of House Beautiful as well, in addition to images of her own cottage makeover 
For Part I:
For Her Living Room Makeover -- and How Her Life Began -- go here.
House Beautiful magazine

Part II:
A Before and After Room Makeover
(The Staffordshire dog, which she talked about in the WSJ -- as part of her late mother's collection, enjoys new life here as a lamp.) Go Here
House Beautiful magazine

Part III:
A Guest Room Makeover.
Read more about it go here.
House Beautiful magazine

Thank you, Frances, for an enjoyable, informative and inspirational read.

Love Where You Live

Friday, May 13, 2011

One Woman's Idyllic Colorado Get-Away...

Romancing the Old West
at Snickering Trout Ranch 

"I grew up in Iowa, in the golden age of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hopalong Cassidy movies; and my childhood fascination with the romance of the Old West led me to move to Denver after college," says Suzy.  There my continuing love of the mountains and the West was joined by a passion for flyfishing. 

"My lifelong dream always was to have a log cabin in the woods by a stream; and my fishing expeditions eventually brought me to the Arkansas River and Salida.  I immediately fell in love with the area; and as I approached retirement, decided that there'd never be a better time or place to build that log cabin.  The minute I saw this beautiful lot by Hayden Creek in Coaldale, I knew it was THE spot I'd dreamed of all my life," she says.

"I can walk out in the morning to find wild deer bedded down in my "back yard", or flip on the porch light at night to catch a mama raccoon with her babies raiding the bird feeder. There are amazing birds and wildlife everywhere--a constant joy for a lifelong city dweller...not to mention fishing, skiing, river rafting, hiking etc. galore, says Suzy.

"I designed the home myself using plain old graph paper--a classic log cabin isn't terribly complicated!  Of course, the plans had to be checked by an engineer and approved by the building department--but a general contractor built the whole place using just my naive hand-drawn specifications. The designing really was the fun part, though--I spent years mooning over log cabin books and magazines, drawing and re-drawing the plans, and imagining what it would be like to live there."

Ready to Take the Tour? And by the way it's for SALE!!

Suzy says she used a "Swedish cope" style of building logs. Each has a rounded groove running the length of the log (see cross-section above) that cups snugly over the log below it for a tight seal.  This gives full weight-bearing for the length of each log, rather than just the ends; and the interlocking corners provide strength and stability to the entire structure. The cabin logs themselves are from Colorado -- not Sweden!

The magnificent awe-inspiring view from Suzy's living room

Suzy also designed the gas fireplace, which is built of imitation river stones (much to my chagrin -- because if there's one thing this area has an abundance of, it's ROCKS!) But the gifted mason who built it for me convinced me that today's imitation stones are impossible to tell from the real thing, and much easier to work with.  The mantel was hand-carved from a massive slab of beetle-killed pine by a local artisan, who also sculpted the big leaping trout above the mantel.

The kitchen was designed to offer all the modern conveniences while maintaining the authentic Old West log-cabin character of the place.  There are a few built-in cupboards 
-- but most dishes, glassware, etc. are stored in a big, antique dry-sink/hutch imported from an old general store in Mexico. There are all the usual kitchen features -- gas stove, refrigerator with icemaker, dishwasher, disposal, countertops and etc... The primary workspace is a massive, rugged, ranch table with overhead ox-yoke pot rack, all crafted from antique salvaged wood and hand-forged iron pot hooks.

Snickering Trout Ranch was built as an Old West getaway cabin and fishing lodge.  The interior wall decor is as much a part of its lifestyle as the massive logs it's built with -- so most of this unique, 40-year collection will stay. There's an antique wagon-wheel dining room chandelier; a bearskin bagged decades ago by a former neighbor in Jackson Hole WY; a 6x6-point antlered elk skull found on the Jackson elk refuge; antelope, moose, longhorn steer and deer antler mounts; ancient wooden cross-country skis; a mounted trophy German Brown trout, caught in the Arkansas River over 100 years ago; elegant buffalo, steer and moose hides; original landscape paintings and collectible Western art; and more.

The picturesque little cream-colored iron stove with chimney that you see against the dining room wall actually is the modern gas "furnace", controlled by a thermostat, that heats the entire house!

Coaldale is the kind of small, warm community where everyone waves to you, whether they know you or not. Neighbors bring food when you're sick and rally when you need help ... and there's a sympathy card on the post office counter for everyone to sign when there's a death in someone's family. It's a homogeneous community of ranchers and retirees, professionals and artists, and just plain folks. A couple times a year, everyone gets together at the historic old schoolhouse (now the Community Center) for a potluck chili supper or neighborhood meeting.  "After years of living in a huge, impersonal city ... it feels like coming home to where you've always belonged," says Suzy.

 Any flyfisher immediately will grasp the significance of the name "Snickering Trout Ranch"-- for we've all known the humiliation of being routinely outsmarted by a creature with a brain the size of a pea.  The name pays homage to the wily fish, which I easily can imagine relaxing behind a river rock and snickering with derisive amusement at our attempts to catch it, armed with esoteric "how to" books and several hundred dollars' worth of high tech fishing gear.

Suzy is a friend of mine and she has decided, reluctantly, to sell her beloved 2,000-square-foot ranch, which consists of 3 bedrooms and 1 3/4 baths. She plans to remain in this area of central Colorado and design a place suited to meet her needs today. 

Pass this post along if you know someone who might be interested....Thank you.

Offered at $369,900
Contact Gayle Ann Dudley, Pinon Real Estate Group, Salida CO
719-539-0200  -  1-877-539-0200  -  gadudley@pinonrealestate.com

Take a moment and leave a comment. They make my day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Have You Seen These Shopping Bags? They're Hysterical.

Some European Shoppers Showcase
Their Sense of Humor
in a Variety of Ways; Take a Look!

A friend emailed the photos below to me. These shopping bags are bold, daring and downright funny. 

Would you hang this one on your shoulder?

Have You Seen These?
Can You Picture Toting These About Town?

Well,if nothing else, I hope they made you smile!

Make my day and leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from you!

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