Vintage Seashell Styling, Gifts from The Sea

Just a very small portion of the spoils of a greedy collector. The tip of the seashell iceberg here. I've amassed so many shells over the years that I've had to reign it in a bit. Too many cabinets loaded with boxes and bottles full of shells from vacations and day trips. This restriction doesn't apply to sea glass though. There's always room for more glass. 

As I was styling this vignette for the 4th, I ran across my copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergs "Gift From The Sea".  Written in 1955, Anne used shells for inspiration as she reflected on the life of American women. 

The reflections in the book are surprisingly still in line with life today. I enjoyed rereading a particular chapter referring to the "art and craft of housework" which she says:
"need not be an enormous project or a great work. But it should be something of one's own. Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day-like writing a poem, or saying a prayer". 

These shells are my own. Layered in with botanical specimens and my own palette knife painting of the California coast from a few years back. A sailors hat and a silver tray to hold sailor's valentine souvenir boxes. 

Happy 4th of July! May your own pockets be filled with the weight of gifts from the sea.


Recent Styling Work Country Living Magazine

Hello blogland, I've missed you so.... let's catch up!

As I type, this little blog of mine is in the process of becoming a much better place to be. I'm editing portfolio pictures, choosing logos and hoping to put it out into the universe very very soon. If all goes well we'll be migrating over to a fresh and clean Squarespace website. Fingers crossed for a smooth transition. But for now, I would like to show you something I'm so very proud of. I had the honor/pleasure/good fortune to style the cover of the March 2016 issue of Country Living Magazine.

Photo by Annie Schlechter This beautiful blue & white breakfast nook is the design work of Houston's own Bailey Quinn McCarthy, and was shot on location in Round Top at Rachel Ashwell's The Prairie. If you're a subscriber you should be receiving this issue any day now if you haven't already. Or, if you're like me and can't wait, you can download a copy to your ipad through the Country Living App ( I LOVE the app. Lots of options for viewing if you're an image junkie like me. One word for those of us with "mature" eyes: Zoom!) Also in this issue is a feature I styled on the latest edition to the Fixer Upper empire, the Magnolia House B&B in Waco.  It's a Texas takeover this month!  I think you'll love this adorable cottage and B&B. 

Team photo upper right: Allison, Chip, Jo, Me. From Left: Erynn from CL, Buff's Assistant Molly and photographer Buff Strickland.

Here's the Country Living team with our bests friends Chip & Jo. Texas is so proud of this family and their success.  They're every bit as friendly and down to earth as you would think. Jo is beautiful and one smart cookie. She can walk into a room and chat, put on make up and answer texts, all the while noticing every single detail from the pillows to someone's bracelet peeking out under their sleeve. I love that! Multi tasking is what it's all about when you have a family and work to do, right?

And then there's Chip. My assistant and super fan Allison asked Jo if he cuts up at home like he does on the show. Jo's answer..."he's worse at home!"

Here's the proof. What a lovable nut! Must be the paint fumes :)

And yes...he adores her.

So, back to the cover. Ya'll can't imagine the team work it requires to make these shoots happen. Along with the remarkable team from Country Living (thank you thank you thank you for the opportunity!), I am blessed to have access to some of the best local vendors and my own personal support team to whom I owe a huge thank you.

Paige Hull of The Vintage Round Top and Hilary Bracher of HAS Bins assisted on the cover shoot and kept the wheels from falling off and kept me laughing.

These women packed, unpacked, schlepped, sweated and repacked props and shipped their little hearts out and I love them to the moon and back.

The beautiful cake on the cover was made by The Pie Queen herself, Tara Royer Steele of Royers Pie Haven in Round Top, Texas. One day I'll tell ya'll about that cake ;)

Christi Wilson of The Brown Shed has such a great eye for antiques and a great inventory. I call on her when I need something specific and she ALWAYS has it. Usually in multiples.

Missy at Moose Feathers Florist in Brenham has access to just about any kind of stems you might need and can get them fast. I always order from Missy when I'm shooting in the Brenham/Round Top area.

And a very special thank you to one of Houston's best lifestyle stores Kuhl-Linscomb. If you haven't visited their sprawling showrooms you're missing out. They carry the best of everything; furniture, lighting, art, pillows, bedding, garden antiques, gifts, jewelry, tabletop, decor...its insanely good and a prop stylists dream.

Also, much love and thanks to parents that told me I could be anything I wanted. So I did. They also provided the spectacular lemons from their lemon tree for the B&B shoot. 

I hope this issue helps you kick off your spring decorating with some fresh ideas and inspiration! There is more excitement to share in the months ahead so please check back for updates on the new website.

Recent Styling Work ~ Rachel Goetz Interiors

I spent a day recently working with Houston designer, Rachel Goetz, to style and photograph one of her local projects located in The Heights. 

Rachel, a fresh face in the design trade, assisted this young family which includes three little boys, through the building and design process the whole way.  Here's a little peek at some of the work we did on this shoot.  I'm so in love with this kitchen space. 

For now you can find Rachel on


sharing the latest on her design work along with pics of her brand new sweet baby. She's got a great eye for details and is a props power shopper so I can only imagine the energy she brings to a custom build project. Thanks for a fun day Rachel!

Recent Styling Work In Country Living Magazine

A very special project that I worked on over the summer with my friend

Holly Mathis

was featured in the November issue of Country Living Magazine.  

In addition to assisting Holly I was honored to style the shoot for Country Living. You can see more images from the shoot and read about the house 



Photograph by

Annie Schlechter

I thought it would be fun to show you some of the rooms as Holly Mathis designed them for our  fabulous client Holly Kuhn of

Old Glory Antiques

, along with some of the details that weren't included in the magazine feature. 

This house is the real deal great old country house that we all dream of.  Twelve foot tall ceilings, wavy old glass in the windows, claw foot tubs....charm and character all over. 

And the icing on the cake is that homeowner Holly Kuhn owns the Old Glory Antiques shop that sits on the property so we had access to her fabulous inventory for this project.

The house is for private use of the Kuhns and their guests primarily when they come to Texas to open the shop for Antiques Week twice a year. This 4 bedroom house which includes a loft room is perfect for accommodating a large crowd which is a good thing because it's often packed with friends. 

This beautiful bedroom was shot for the magazine but wasn't included in the feature.  I love the soft colors of the blue ceiling and the shutters.  This room feels so serene and dreamy. 

Photograph by

Annie Schlechter

Photograph by

Annie Schlechter

Photograph by

Annie Schlechter

Photograph by

Annie Schlechter

For the window seat in the upstairs dorm room, Holly had a french mattress custom made by our friends at

LS Slipcovers

.  It's exactly what the space needed.  

Here's a detailed shot of the desk in the entry. Perfect for this guest house. I love how it evokes the feel of an old hotel check in desk.

Photograph by

Annie Schlechter

I have to say, Holly Mathis is blessed with some amazing design talent. I've admired her work for years and seeing her in action kind of blew my mind. She can make things happen ya'll.  Good things. Her friendship and support has blessed my life in so many ways and these two Texas girls were honored to work together for Holly Kuhn and have our project featured in Country Living. 

Holly's goal on this project was to freshen up the house while keeping true to the Old Glory brand style of fresh American antiques.

Here's a before and after of what we call the red bedroom. Keep in mind these before pics are extra messy because we were in the house working and things sometimes get worse before they get better. A custom made four poster Amish style bed was brought in which helped with the tall ceilings in this house. Perfect choice.

All of the following images were taken by me for our portfolio.

Red bedroom before & after

Styling tip *Bookends don't have to match. Using two different objects the same color is  more interesting, especially if one of them is a small vase.

Below is the canopy room before & after. Another beautiful tall romantic bed was used in this room. 

The moulding on the walls inspired us to get creative with the art.  We gathered empty frames from the shop along with vintage photographs to create a mixed media inspired installation.

Styling tip * Think outside the frame. We used vintage photographs and paper ephemera clipped to the existing wire to create this unique grouping.

 Here's the kitchen before and after. 

The industrial light fixture, striped runner on the stairs and cafe sign add so many layers of interest.

Here's a bedroom that wasn't included in the feature.  I especially love the beautiful bedding.

Styling Tip *Glueing old photos under glass paper weights is a unique way to share family photos.

 I've saved the best for last because this room is my absolute favorite in the Old Glory house. I love a dorm room and this one is especially wonderful with the matching iron twin beds and old sconces. As you can see, Holly chose a very colorful rug to anchor the new beds. It's like a party on the cheerful and colorful and fun. 

Styling Tip *Repetition in design is a good thing and pleasing to the eye. Use multiples when space allows.

The dorm bathroom got an update as well. 

Another sweet corner of the dorm room provides a writing desk for guests.

The scope of this project was so big that I could go on forever about the fun we had hauling chairs from room to room, eating m&m's while we were figuring out our next move and all the good people that were involved on this project. 

One of those special people was my good friend Paige Hull of

The Vintage Round Top

. I was asked to step in as the lead stylist at the last minute and needed an assistant. As ya'll know Paige has such an eye for vintage design and is a super hard worker so she made this shoot extra special for me.  This woman is a rock star.  

Ta-daa!  Thank you Paige!!!

There's more more more to read about the Old Glory project over on

Holly's blog

so head over for more interesting details and pictures. We definitely put the country in Country Living for November!

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:

Belinda's Dream 2014

My gardening occurs in fits and spurts between work, kids, the heat and my mood. I'm so thankful my favorite rose,

Belinda's Dream

, blooms her heart out in spite of my gardening issues. I thought she deserved a portrait for all her hard work this spring.

This is one tough shrub rose.  I've planted it at two of our homes and they've performed outstanding in the Texas heat. In Houston, they can usually be found at

Cornelius Nursery

or you can  make a day trip to

The Antique Rose Emporium

, located in Independence, Texas. 

The Vintage Round Top at Marburger Farm in Round Top, Texas

Today is opening day of the Marburger Farm antiques show in Round Top, Texas. I spent the day yesterday styling and photographing the booth of

The Vintage Round Top

. It's so fun to sneak in the day before to see what's going on in those big white tents before the show opens.  

Remember their booth from last fall

? They created quite a buzz with their vintage circus theme. 

I've got some sneak peeks for you of their new spring show, "The French Naturalist", taken with my phone yesterday. It's quite an experience so I hope you're able to visit them this week at Marburger. 

The Marburger Farm

show runs from April 1-5. Visit Paige and Smoot of

The Vintage Round Top

in Tent C, Booth 10 for beautiful antiques from France and colorful spring inspiration.

Holly Mathis Interiors Photo Shoot

If you're looking for fresh design inspiration this weekend, Holly Mathisis bringing it to you in a big way.  I recently spent a lovely day with Holly photographing one of her newly completed design projects. She's sharing all the details of this young Houston family's  home renovation on her blog

So inspiring! Bet you can't wait to see more :) 

Holly and I have such a great time together on these shoots, however, so much beauty in every room makes it a challenge for me to stay focused while I'm shooting sometimes. I loved how this couple merged their taste with Holly's design direction to achieve this fresh/custom/casual style that works so great for how we really live in our homes. 

The Vintage Round Top Featured in Country Living

I'm so excited to see the February, 2014, issue of Country Living that features The Vintage Round Top, the vacation rental property of Paige and Smoot Hull which is located in Round Top, Texas. I was honored to assist on this shoot and it was wonderful to work with so many local friends.  

The Hulls completely renovated the cottage with reclaimed materials and found objects throughout. I especially love these repurposed cow feed sifters, which are now custom light sconces, above the day bed:

Photographed by Max Kim-Bee
Photographed by Max Kim-Bee
I met and worked with Paige and Smoot last fall during the Marburger Farm antiques show where we bonded over all things vintage, so I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to work on the Country Living shoot with them.  Here are some of my behind the scenes iphone pics: 

The Hulls, ready for their close up.
Pie from Royers Cafe in Round Top.  Perks of a stylist...eating the props!
The gang at Royers.  Thanks for the pies Tara!!!
Think styling is glamorous work?  Ha! makeup, bad hair and not much sleep.  I love every minute!
Not everything we style makes the cut, but I loved this vignette from the sun porch dining area.
"Branches by Becki"

The lead stylist for this feature was Janna Lufkin. I am still inspired by the four days we spent together watching her work her magic at The Vintage Round Top. We had the best time prop shopping in Houston in the pouring rain and laughing at all the little mishaps that are bound to arise (flat tire!). Her aesthetic is so refreshingly simple and beautiful. In addition to her career as a talented stylist, Janna is also the founder of Raw Materials Design. You'll love her all natural, American made goods such as aprons, placemats and dish towels.


Janna styling the back hall entry.
A special thank you goes to my friends Michael and Ed at Leftovers Antiques in Brenham, Texas, who provided us with additional props. As I write this, they are in Europe shopping for more one of a kind finds for their beautiful store to share with us, so be sure to visit them soon.  They'll also be at the Marburger Farm antiques show which is coming up this spring. 

The striped rug by Dash & Albert can be found at  Leftovers Antiques.
To read more about The Vintage Round Top, visit Country Living for the complete story and more pictures of this charming vacation property. Or, pick up the February 2014 issue which is available now on newsstands.