Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Recent Styling Work with Jenny Johnston Interiors

One of my late summer jobs was a trip to Shreveport, Louisiana, to style and photograph a design project for Jenny Johnston. This home is being lovingly updated by the second generation to inhabit it and many of the antiques and paintings are family pieces. It's Steel Magnolias Southern tradition combined with contemporary colors was so refreshing. 

Jenny's works always inspires me.  Her custom finishes, fabrics and love of color reflect her immense design talent.  I'm so happy to share a sneak peek of this portfolio work:












Sunday, September 7, 2014

Photo Styling, The Not So Big Picture

I love beautifully framed and displayed photographs.  I'm such a fan of gallery walls I have three, with one more in the works, in my home (is that allowed)? 

But what do we do with all those beautiful little images that are tucked away in keepsake boxes and drawers, or even worse, parked on our iPhones never to see the light of day? 

Beyond the gallery wall and photo book, I love living with my pictures as little art shows or installations throughout my home. Because they are rotated often, I see these little styling moments as temporary, which frees up my creativity and that simply makes it more fun for me.  

Grab a handful of your long lost favorite pictures and add some of these ideas to your arsenal of styling options. 

Folded book art becomes a rolodex of old family photos. 
Heirloom photos are protected under glass cloches and grouped together with a glass lab beaker.  

Glass curio boxes are an artful way of displaying images in a mixed media style. These Hipstamatic prints, made with my iPhone,  are layered on top of a blank vintage book page.  Add a special artifact or two to the display to personalize it even further. 

One of the easiest ways to view your photographs also invites everyone to enjoy them. A bowl of colorful vacation pics on a coffee table is hard to resist. 

Oh my.  Baby birds in their natural habitat.  These little boys are now big teenagers.  How did that happen?
(photo by Lori Vrba)

I hope you'll bring your buried treasures and memories out into your home where you can appreciate them every day in creative ways. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lake Tejas Summer 2014

I see that summer is winding down in more northern states.  Here in Texas we have another month or more. But we are feeling the shift in our schedules as school is back in full swing.  Ouch. Momma is not so much a morning person and high school starts too early.  At least the American Academy of Pediatrics has my back on this issue.

Summer break was full of vacation, work, rest, excitement, sleeping in, late night Sonic runs for milkshakes. And a little boredom. Just like it's suppose to be. 

No matter where we venture off to, our summer tradition of spending a day with family at  our favorite east Texas swimming hole, Lake Tejas, will always be the boys most favorite day of the summer. They are so happy here. 

(grainy pics courtesy of my iphone and a waterproof case)





It's exactly this charming and always feels about 15 degrees cooler than the concrete jungle. Bring a sandwich, rent a tube and float out to the middle of the lake and watch the show off the high dive. The older kids show off a bit for the young ones and the teenage boys talk smack as they're working up their courage to jump from 20 feet off the tower.  My boys learned to do backflips, watermelons and flying squirrels here as I floated below them holding my breath. It's so fun!

Lake Tejas is special to us as my father in law was a lifeguard here growing up.  It's a place we've all enjoyed through the generations and it's great to be able to share it with our boys. 

I hope your summer brought you happy memories and special days. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Manready Mercantile

Every summer the boys and I like to plan a day  of fun in Houston discovering new places.   One of our favorite stops this year was the new Manready Mercantile in The Heights.


I first heard about Manready Mercantile on Instagram and loved what I saw.  Since we're raising a couple of men I wanted them to experience firsthand some unique manly goods in a creative and fun atmosphere.  They loved it, and for just a minute it made me wish I was a guy because if I was, I would have know I had found the store for me. I loved the store styling.

Manready Mercantile is a lifestyle store with a vintage, outdoorsy atmosphere. They're well stocked with leather goods, accessories, clothing, candles and apothecary style personal care lines for men. Made in the USA and local.

With the motto "Work Hard Live Well", owner and Texas original, Travis Weaver opened his flagship store here in Houston just a few months ago. I love his story.  
Travis started his business with $20 and a lot of guts. He sold his signature brand of candles at craft fairs and flea markets and eventually online.  With approx 70 retailers now carrying his candle line (including One Kings Lane and Whole Foods) and a successful website, a storefront was the next natural step. 















I think what I'm most excited about is that I now have a place to pick up Christmas gifts for the men.  I think guys are hard to buy for, but I saw so many beautiful things I would love to gift. Beautiful leather key chains, vintage tools and pocket knives, hip t-shirts. 
It's perfect!

Of course we couldn't leave without picking up a few things. A new calendar with a vintage look, a leather wrapped mason jar for coffee or tea, and beautiful card decks.  




Ladies, Manready Mercantile often hosts social hours with complimentary cocktails for "man sitting" while you shop your favorite stores on 19th street in the historic Heights.  There's good stuff there!

                    Manready Mercantile    321 B W. 19th Street     Houston, TX




Monday, August 11, 2014

Burton, Texas The Cutest little Texas Town You've Never Heard Of

I'm going to assume that like me, until recently, you've never heard of Burton, Texas
I would love to introduce you!
Burton lies just off Hwy 290 between Houston and Austin. But what you'll want to take note of is that Burton is just 9 miles from Round Top, Texas, so if you're planning to go to the Antiques Week shows (we sometimes just call it Round Top) which are coming up fast, you'll want to add Burton to your itinerary.
Burton is full of good, old fashioned authentic American charm. It's quiet, very small with a population of approx. 350,  and cute!











This is The Nesting Co.,  an adorable florist that carries home decor.
One of the highlights of my summer has been working in Burton on a project with my dear friend, Holly Mathis, at Old Glory Antiques.



Shop owner, Holly Kuhn, opens Old Glory Antiques each spring and fall in an old Texas dance hall, during Antiques Week and fills the shop with fresh americana. AND at great prices!!! She's got such an eye for choosing interesting pieces of furniture and accessories that would make a room special...give it that nicely collected or curated feel. This is the kind of store I would take a client and just know we would find something unique for their home.  

The green cabinet on the right would make a fab media cabinet.  And the indigo chair...sigh...so good!



 The store will soon be open daily Sept. 26th thru Oct 4th during Antiques Week. I hope you'll visit Holly Kuhn at Old Glory in Burton. And stay tuned for more exciting news from Old Glory this fall. Country Living heard about the project and paid a visit recently so you'll want to visit before the rest of the decorating world comes and buys all the good stuff!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the Good Old Summer Time

I've collected seashells for many years. Hard core, head down, ignore my family and friends and wander off for hours alone by the waters edge, kind of collecting. 

California, Mexico, Florida, Louisiana, The Outer Banks, Massachusetts, Connecticut and even a few lakes, rivers and streams. There always a souvenir that finds its way back home. 











I try to edit myself sometimes because it starts to look a little nuts. But that just makes me sad because I love to look at these and remember the epic day of shelling with my best friend on remote Portsmouth Island in the Outer Banks. 
Or the day my boys built a fire on the beach at sunset on Cape San Blas. 
Or the first year of our marriage living in New England and seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. 
Or a day in Sanibel when there were so many shells you could hear them tumble in the surf.
Or finding big perfect sand dollars on the dunes on Shell Island and packing them so carefully so they would make the trip home. 
Or the early morning in Monterey we scooped up shells and sea glass with the colander from the rental house in the freezing Pacific. 
Or the time my husband jumped from a perfectly good boat into the clear blue water where we'd just seen a shark to retrieve a big perfect whelk shell for me on our 25th anniversary on Anna Maria Island. Now that's true love.
So, it's time to practice what I preach and live with what I love.  I love seashells.