Prop Styling for Business

I have the pleasure of guest blogging over on Tripp Films this week and I'm talking all about prop styling for your business. 

  Photo Buff Strickland | Styling Becki Griffin | Designer Holly Mathis for Country Living Magazine

Nikki Tripp is a Houston based videographer I've had the pleasure of working with recently on Old Glory Antiques branded video. I think videography is an exciting medium to promote business. I love the way it draws viewers in closer and allows more space for storytelling. 

Prop styling is an important component to a professional shoot and I'm sharing all the details of how I work on a branded shoot with Nikki. While you're visiting Nikki's website, take a look at her beautiful portfolio gallery and the services she offers.

If you've been thinking about taking your business to the next level, your visual story is a wonderful place to start and invest in.  I'm always happy to chat about your project! You can contact me via e-mail here.

The Pomegranate

Dramatic, gaudy and dangerous. Sweet, tart and delicious. The pomegranate is the seasonal fruit I look forward to the most. Clearly, the most beautiful fruit in the produce department. It's a shame grocery stores don't give them the presentation they deserve (I'm available...call me!)

Life got you feeling some sort of way? Grab a pomegranate and enjoy the slow tactile delight of de-seeding this beautiful fruit. Ignore all those worthless how tos offering empty promises of quick de-seeding results. They lie.  Give yourself the gift of time it takes to appreciate the color and textures of this mythical "apple with many seeds". This tutorial is the best way to de-seed and avoid damaging the arils. 

Add them to your Thanksgiving menu with this pomegranate relish, or these individual loaded sweet potatoes. For a lighter option, this delicious salad. Recently, I thought I had reached genius level pomegranate consumption status when I sprinkled some of the seeds on my morning peanut butter toast. It. Was. Delicious. A quick google search reminded me there are zero original ideas, but that I was in good company. Cheers to a beautiful pomegranate season!

Dining Room Styling for Fall

I feel like I could promote this post as an inspiring fall styling moment and get away with it, but that wouldn't be honest. In truth, I call our dining room the problem child of our home. The biggest problem is I feel a big disconnect between the pieces in the room and how they:
1. Reflect my current style
2. Work for our family
3. Make me feel

The other part of this truth is that I have put myself on a pretty tight budget this year (your welcome, honey!) Our boys are now seniors in high school and did you know college costs a bazillion dollars?! 

Do I think this is a pretty vignette? You betcha! Is it my dream dining room? Not even. But what I do love about it and all it's imperfections, is that it's the room in our home in which I have the most styling fun, and I like that. That feels really good.

So, like I do, I turned on some good music while all the guys were gone, rummaged through accessories I already had (yes...I have a lot of stuff and I bet you do, too!) and got my fall groove on. 

The jewel toned kantha quilt is hiding a stainless steel restaurant table and tons of my work props which are stored below.  I topped the table with vintage wicker wrapped wine bottles, thrift store brass candlesticks and a few other tabletop favorites. The power hitter is my big vintage chart art that depicts moss. This piece travels all around my house and sometimes gets rolled up and stored under a bed. Welcome back chart art! Sprinkled around the chart is a small European roe mount collection for dimension

The only thing I bought was a big bundle of bittersweet branches at the grocery store and a few pears for a little styling detail. The bittersweet is very long lasting (I know it's considered an invasive nuisance in some parts of the country, but wow...so pretty and wild!) Fresh flowers are for me like Starbucks might be for you. It's just part of the weekly spending.

Total spent styling this problem child of a room for fall? $22 fun dollars. And I am really enjoying it. Dream dining room, I can see you in my future, just not right now.

The Vintage Round Top Business Branding & Social Media Workshop Fall 2017

My friends Paige and Smoot Hull of The Vintage Round Top are so good at bringing together creatives and dreamers. Their fall workshop was a beautiful experience. If you ever get the chance to attend one of their workshops, my advice to you is JUST GO!

Workshop Dream Team L-R: Maria Lichty of Two Peas and Their Pod,  Photographer Ashleigh Amoroso, Paige and Smoot Hull, Kadie Smith of Drop Cap Design and Anissa Zajac of House Seven Design

The workshops will inspire you no matter where you are on your creative journey. Having access to these successful creatives, listening to their stories and asking them questions is like jet fuel for your passion. With social media being the force it is in how we connect and conduct business, learning from the pros in a beautiful setting like The Vintage Round Top can be the thing that takes you to the next level. 

Just as the name promised, the workshop covered business, branding and social media along with hands on photography tips and an opportunity to apply what was learned during a styling session. How cool is that?

Paige shared a detailed wrap up on her blog if you would like to dive deeper into the event. It's so important to never stop learning and workshops like this are a wonderful way to connect.

Recent styling work for The Vintage Round Top

The antiques shows in Round Top, Texas, wrapped up this week after nearly a month of shopping, socializing and sweating. It was a hot one!

Luckily, my friends Paige and Smoot Hull of The Vintage Round Top hosted a very cool Business, Branding and Social Media workshop at their beautiful property in Round Top. I'm so excited to share more details about the workshop in a follow up post. But first, the styling!

I collaborated with Paige to style a vintage modern table in the Boho Cottage for a private dinner for the panelists and workshop leaders the night before the big event.

Layers of new and vintage textiles, candles, succulents, pretty glassware along with vintage elements Paige and Smoot gathered in Europe were the stars of the show.

The bold graphic of the boho table runner from CB2 paired perfectly with Paige's antique tablecloths and brass apothecary canisters filled with eucalyptus. Linen napkins with the perfect amount of casual rumpledness from World Market. We recommend NOT ironing the napkins...who wants to do that anyway? There's a party about to bust out!

 If it's in the budget, I love to use colored barware to kick things up a sparkly notch. The shimmer of the soft gold glasses made the evening feel extra special.

Stylist Tip: Candleholders work great as small planters for table styling. The geodesic tea light candleholders are from CB2. They were perfect to tuck in between the lanterns. We used two different modern brass style lanterns at varying heights. See both styles here and here

What a gorgeous space! Round Top is certainly packed during antiques week, but if you've never visited when things are quiet and normal then you're missing out. From Houston, it's an easy relaxing drive that takes just over an hour. There are a few new restaurants, galleries and my friend Holly Kuhn has reopened Old Glory Antiques in a stunning new space I'll be sharing soon. 

And that's how we created a vintage modern mix for a fabulous evening with inspiring creatives. Stay tuned for more details from the workshop!

 

 

Style Matters Podcast

Earlier this summer I talked with Zandra and Karen of Little Yellow Couch and hosts of the Style Matters Podcast. We had the best time chatting about my work as a prop stylist, decorating and the fear that comes with making design choices, thrift stores, crappy art and we even went deep with the question "why does style matter?"

These ladies know how to ask good questions and kept me on my toes. We kept coming back to the conversation of how fear can be paralyzing. It's a juicy convo but one that I hope will inspire you to not take your choices so seriously. It's just decorating! 

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Click the arrow above to listen to our Style Matters podcast. 

Coastal Bedroom

Have you ever been so delighted in your decorating choices that every time you walk in a room you're smacked in the head with joy? This is now happening when I walk into our master bedroom.

We're just back from summer vacation and I've gone all in with my favorite place/vibe/dream and have covered the wall in coastal paintings. Some vintage, some painted by me and one sneaky poster print.

It was time for a little refresh in our bedroom and I didn't want to spend much so I gathered my paintings and started a gallery wall. I want to mention our master bedroom is on the small side but the paintings don't overwhelm the room at all. It gets tons of pretty natural light and I've kept most of the room neutral.  Don't be afraid of installing big art in a small space. 

 I hit up HomeGoods for night stands. By some lucky miracle there were two matching night stands at the same store (you know that NEVER happens) so I grabbed them right away. 

I stripped the bed and simplified by removing some of the decorative pillows and adding a light cotton summer blanket. I did splurge on one big beautiful linen pillow by Pine Cone Hill that I picked up at Kuhl-Linscomb in Houston. With the wall now being a bit beachy bonkers, the bed needed just a little color and simplicity. One big soft blue pillow was all it took.

I've been really lucky finding coastal paintings for ridiculously cheap prices. I think it's because of the amount of shopping I do as a stylist. It just naturally puts the odds in my favor that I'll find a deal. The painting in the image above right was $1.00 (don't hate me). There are actually two on this wall that cost $1.00. The other was coated with a think layer of tobacco smoke scum I had to scrub off but was worth it. 

The abstracts are palette knife paintings I did myself. The only framed piece came from my friends at HASbins (top right corner). I do have one cheater piece (top left corner, also from HASbins). It's a thick poster print that was originally a store advertisement. The colors and dimensions were exactly what I needed to finish the wall so I'm using it as a place holder until I stumble upon a painting or paint one myself. It doesn't bother me a bit that it's a poster. I love the moodiness of it. 

I removed the wall mounted lamps I had previously and replaced them with some trendy brass and marble task lamps from Target that I found on clearance (the website has them at full price now, hmmm).  I love that they're adjustable and have built in dimmers. The play of the modern lamps against all the vintage is nice as well. It's all about the mix. 

This room is officially freshened and done. Until Christmas anyway. 

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.

 

Old Glory Antiques Denver

My spring work season has been a busy one, just like I like it.  A nice big flurry of projects before the slower days of summer.

I recently made my 3rd annual trip up to Denver to photograph Old Glory Antiques for owner Holly Kuhn. Spring has officially sprung in Denver!

Holly's style is hands down one of my favorites. She mixes beautiful American antiques with large scale art and just the right amount of accessories so that one isn't visually overwhelmed and can easily envision how each piece might work in their own home.

The fun starts at the front door with these whimsical glass vessels displaying vintage silverware. How many great ideas are running through your mind of how to play with these? I especially love them on that gorgeous farm table.

Holly keeps a great selection of custom chairs, many one of a kind, with beautiful fabric details.

As a stylist, you can only image how I go a little bonkers over the accessories at Old Glory. A little patina, a little texture and that collected over time look, hits just the right note.

Becki Griffin _ Old Glory Denver2017 LoRes-60.jpg

Inventory moves fast at high altitude so checking in often is the best way to get that special piece before it's gone. 

Like this absolutely delicious little console in the perfect shade of french bleu:

This trip was made even better because I teamed up with my friend and colleague Holly Mathis to also work on a little side project while we were there.

Old Glory Antiques owners, Holly and Brian Kuhn, recently moved to a beautiful new home and invited Holly and me to come for a quick fluffing session ahead of her son's upcoming wedding. The Kuhns had just moved in two weeks prior and were to be hosting extended family so we kicked it into high gear and fluffed guest bedrooms and living spaces. 

Full reveal to come as Holly and Brian settle in, but I did snap a couple of styling shots with my phone before we high-tailed it back to Texas:

The biggest and best news I have to share is that Old Glory Antiques is coming back to Texas! I don't think I've been this excited about a store opening in a very long time. Old Glory Antiques is currently under construction in Round Top with Holly Mathis working on the details locally while Holly Kuhn is holding down the fort in Denver and gathering the inventory for the Texas store. The exact opening date is still to be determined and as soon as I hear something solid I'll shout it out. 

You guys...it's going to be so good. As soon as I get the "ok" I'll share a few sneak peeks of the inventory. 

Until then, if you're in Denver stop by Old Glory at 1930 S. Broadway.

Holly Mathis in Country Living Magazine

The April 2017 issue of Country Living Magazine features the beautiful home of my friend Holly Mathis and it is soooo pretty! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to style the home for the magazine and so excited for Holly to get the opportunity to share her inspiration and offer a crash course filled with advice for designing a beautiful home on a budget. 

                                                              Photo:  Buff Strickland

                                                             Photo: Buff Strickland

This lovely little 1890's cottage was a soft place for Holly and her two boys to land as she was starting a new chapter in her life as a single mother. I'm so proud of the home she created for her little family. It's filled with cozy but practical design ideas for moms and boys, like the beautiful  linen slipcovers from Bemz

 Holly and Austin photographer  Buff Strickland

Holly and Austin photographer Buff Strickland

I thought it would be fun to share some of my behind the scenes iphone shots from this shoot and tell you how Holly and I met.

I love a good dog on set. Hunter is quite the charmer and takes good care of Holly and her boys.

I have to say, this was an emotional shoot for me. Holly and I met by chance 5 years ago at a blogger luncheon during the Round Top Antiques Week shows at Royer's Round Top Cafe. Texas designer Carol Hicks Bolton was the speaker that day. As you may already know, Carol's talent and stores in Frederickburg are legendary, so the workshop was sure to be a good one. Carol is the real deal, OG industrial, european antiques, taxidermy, all things cool, collectible and romantic, designer I want to be when I grow up. She's magic. Seriously. (ps. OG = Original Gangsta. Carol's a design gangsta from back in the day....in a good way!)

Detail of Holly's bedside table with beautiful cottage roses from Moosefeathers Florist in Brenham, Tx. Coastal painting by me :)

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I spied Holly Mathis sitting behind me in her signature blue jean jacket. It was like seeing a movie star in the grocery store! I had read her design blog and admired her work, just like you guys, and I couldn't believe she was sitting RIGHT THERE! So, during the meet and greet I worked up the nerve to introduce myself and we hit it off right away. Just a couple of designing ladies sharing our admiration for Carol and enjoying lunch on a beautiful day in Round Top. 

Styling detail of Holly's antique secretary from Leftovers Antiques in Brenham, Tx.

Fast forward 5 years and we're standing together in her living room as it's being photographed for Country Living. I love how life, and God, works like that.  

Blue and white styling options for Holly's shoot from Kuhl-Linscomb in Houston, Tx.

I've had the pleasure of working with Holly quite a bit over the last 5 years. She's been a divine source of inspiration and has generously invited me to ride shotgun on a few of her projects, like the Old Glory house design project in Burton, Texas, which was also featured in Country Living

Detail of dining table styling with classic blue and white pitchers.

There are so many great resources in the story! Holly knows her way around fabrics and lighting and antiques like no other and she's spilling it all.  Everyone deserves to have a beautiful home at any price point. It can be done! 

Love this vignette at the end of Holly's hallway. So pretty! 

The story is on news stands now and is the perfect nudge if you're looking for inspiration for spring.

Congratulations Holly! I'm so proud of you ! xo

Business, Branding and Social Media Workshop at The Vintage Round Top

Three and a half years ago I got a frantic call from Paige at The Vintage Round Top. It was just before the fall Marburger Farm antique show was to open during Antiques Week in Round Top and she needed a stylist asap to help with the booth styling. We had never met, but I was available. Our styles meshed wonderfully and I love a last minute adventure, so I said an enthusiastic "Yes!"

This was no ordinary flea market booth. It was a full on production with custom lighting, a vintage circus theme and a beautiful inventory from their recent buying trip to France. Rarely do you shop at an antiques show where so much thought is put into every detail to create a shopping experience as unique as this. 

I was invited back to assist with the spring show booth as well.  Paige and I love a good style story so we created a booth that was a nod to an unknown French naturalist who we think would have fit right in with our squad. Sometimes you create your own story and magic. Those are the best times.

These shows were just the beginning of a wonderful personal and professional relationship that has resulted in many collaborations, photo shoots, magazine features and thousands of phone calls and belly laughs. Yes...thousands! 

Paige and I have traveled together, created together, cried together, talked each other off the ledge and inspire one another on the daily. Fun fact: neither one of us can read a map or a tape measure worth a crap but together we somehow work it out. Our job is making things pretty....don't judge :)

                                     Me and Paige junkin' in Brooklyn, NY, recently. We get around!

And speaking of pretty, I'm so excited about the new cottage that's being built at The Vintage Round Top. The Boho Cottage is part of an expansion of the 1450 Cottage and is stunning!

                      The "great room" at the new Boho Cottage. Perfect for events and workshops.

It's almost done! And I can honestly say it will be spectacular! It's also the location of their first event which will be a Business, Branding and Social Media Workshop to be held on Saturday, March 25. (This event is now SOLD OUT!) 

I'm so excited to be part of the workshop panel, along with Travis Weaver of Manready Mercantile, Jordan Breal from Texas Monthly Magazine and social media influencers and photographers Hunter Lawrence and Sarah Lawrence. You can read more about the workshop here

If you missed out on workshop tickets at Boho Cottage, the same day there will be an open house and Pop Up Shop held at the 1450 Cottage. If you've always wanted to see their beautiful vacation home in person, this is a great opportunity to walk through and shop their artisan made home goods, unique vintage finds and European antiques which will be for sale the same day as the workshop.

Also, I will have my wood panel art on site and will be taking custom orders. It's a great opportunity see see these Texas cow prints in person, so be sure to  bring your measurements with you!

Here's a sneak peek of a new piece that's coming to the web store in just a few days. Meet "Loverboy". This painted pony is such a beauty. And he knows it. I was told his good looks often made up for his bad boy behavior. We've all known one of "those", amiright?

If you missed out on tickets to the workshop, I hope you'll stop by the pop up shop and open house and say hi! Come enjoy a fun weekend in the country and shop the shows in Round Top!

Pine Shelf Styling

We speak so often of our homes telling a story, that sadly, it's almost become a cliche'. I do sincerely love the thought and apply it to my clients and my own home. It's one of the first things I love to chat about with new clients...their lives and how to bring the proof of their lives into their homes . I think that matters. What's more original than your life and how you live it?

When Christmas was done and the decorations put away, I felt twitchy about our dining room. I've been patiently waiting on the "just right" cabinet to show up for the past year and it hasn't happened yet. It needs to be big and accommodate collections and props and serving pieces and textiles and silverware. Not too pricey, not too trendy, not too small. Jussssst right to suit this Goldilocks. 

Then I remembered, in the rafters of our garage was a pine shelf we bought during the first year of our marriage when we lived in Connecticut, 29 years ago. My memories of this shelf play like a flickering 8mm home movie.  I've used it in every house we've lived in in one way or another but I had never brought it into this house. I remember finding it in an antique shop and forking over a whopping $50 for it. I loved the pine and way it smelled. It's heavy and always needs big screws to secure it to the wall and it leaves big holes when it's taken down. I don't care. I love it. 

We hung it over the stainless steel restaurant prep table I use as a buffet and filled it up with the things I love that I had on hand. Ironstone, botanical transferware, brass candlesticks, pieces from my coral collections and a few bits from nature. Keeping it neutral and natural. We've been eating dinner in here more often which we all enjoy.  Lighting the candles in the evening and really lingering, even if it's leftovers, has been a nice change. 

A couple of wonky unframed vintage paintings and my New Years tradition of paperwhite bulbs. There really is no easier indoor plant/flower to grow in my opinion. Vessel, rocks, water, bulbs, done. I usually get blooms in 2-3 weeks that are long lasting and very fragrant.

I am loving how it feels in the room. The collections, the plants, the contrast of the white against the wall, the story behind the shelf. We went back to New England last summer for vacation for the first time since we lived there many many years ago.

Full circle moment, I believe, is what this is called.

A Suburban Home Renovation

It might be a good idea to start this post with a warning.

"Caution: This  blog post may produce extreme house envy. Symptoms include throwing out everything you own and starting over. Or hiring designer Holly Mathis. Or both."

So perhaps it's best I don't share all the images just yet. It's for your own good. Trust me.
This summer I did a little styling and photographed this beautiful home for Holly and absolutely marveled at the renovations that were made. 

This home, in a lovely suburban Houston neighborhood, got a major update with Holly's help which gives it so much style and personality. Cabinets were removed, a window added, along with shiplap ceiling, open shelves and beautiful finishes and lighting.  The quartz countertops are gorgeous. This young family has 6 children including a brand new baby and the nursery is absolutely adorable.

The strong lines and large scale of the Darlana lantern contrast beautifully with the white kitchen. Lighting by Visual Comfort through True Blue Home

The new quartz countertops are beautiful and extremely durable. A great choice for a big family kitchen.

                                 Smart spice storage is so simple and easy with 4oz spice jars.

The family does have a television. It's hidden in the lower right cabinet and raises and lowers by remote. Genius!

Beautiful details and fabric in these custom slipcovers by LS Slipcovers topping off the basic Henriksdal chair from Ikea.

Buffalo check, polka dots, shiplap and tons of natural light pouring in to this nursery for brand new baby #6 for this family! Art from House of Belonging.

Holly is sharing details and sources for this project on her blog so be sure to pop over. I'm sure she'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
 

Recent styling work for Country Living Magazine

Ahhhh, sweet summer how I love you. Mosquitos and all.
The minute the boys walk in the back door from the last day of school, after the last final exam, may be my favorite day of the year. We did it! another school year in the books and we're ready for the sweet reward of sleeping in, swimming and spontaneous road trips.

In my mind it looks like this recent Country Living cover I styled from the May 2016 issue
 

                                                    Photographed by Annie Schlechter

A porch, a pony and a killer view. We shot this on location at The Prairie  in  Round Top, Texas, which was the perfect backdrop for the talented cover designer Andrew Howard. Classic wicker, blue and white pillows, the perfect little antique tea cart (thank you Kuhl Linscomb) and painted wood tile flooring.

That's Rooster the horse that lives down the road who came to visit on the day we shot. He's a big ol' retired rodeo horse that likes to munch on flowers so imagine us trying to distract him to get the shot before all the flowers disappeared. He was such a good boy and anytime we have a horse on set is a very good day for me. 

Stylist Tip: The pink flowers on the coffee table aren't flowers but blooms from a crepe myrtle tree.  They're one of my favorite stems to cut and bring inside and are plentiful during Texas summers. 

In the June 2016 issue of Country Living  is a sweet feature of the playhouse Houston designer Bailey McCarthy built for her daughter, Grace. The McCarthy's replicated the Texas dance hall Gruene Hall at their farm in Bellville. 

                                                      Photographed by Buff Strickland

You can see more of this feature in the current issue and click here to see more images.
Spending the day with these little cuties sure made me miss little voices and watching Grace belt out tunes from Frozen brought back memories of the shows my sister and I would put on. Anyone else big fans of The Partridge Family?

                                               Photograph by Buff Strickland

Stylist Tip: Old fashioned root beer floats are so delicious and simple to make. We used Mug Rootbeer (no caffeine!) 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, lots of whipped cream and a cherry on top. Tasty and super cute in vintage mugs from HASbins, the popup shop of my assistant and her partners. Chill the mugs before you make these to keep the floats nice and cold.

I hope summer is good to you and that you get in lots of porch sittin' and ice cream eating and magazine reading. 

Our Home Featured in Better Homes and Gardens April 2016

It's finally here!
A year ago the fabulous team from Better Homes and Gardens paid us a visit to shoot a few rooms in our house for their spring garden issue.  Photographed by Brian McWeeney and produced and styled by one of the best in the business, Janna Lufkin.  The team, headed up by Shelley Caldwell of BH&G,  pulled together a story that's true to me and my style and how we live in and enjoy our home.

I am so grateful to them for this wonderful opportunity to be featured in the April 2016 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. 

Photo: Brian McWeeney

 

My personal style is a mix of custom pieces, vintage and fine art, personal collections and flea market finds. As beach lovers, our dream house would be a cottage by the sea with a killer view. Our reality is that we live in a typical builder house in the middle of suburbia. However, we live with the things that bring us delight and create an atmosphere that suits our home and lifestyle which keeps it from feeling anything but typical. That's also a philosophy I share with my design clients. 

Photo: Brian McWeeney

 

The white slipcovers seen in the article are custom from LS Slipcovers in Houston, TX. I'm so in love with those slips. I know they're not for everyone and I get asked all the time how I live with white sofas and 16 year old twin boys. The truth is they're probably the cleanest thing in my house because the covers can be washed. Yes, they get Cheetos smashed into them and dirty puppy paw prints. But they come out of the washer looking brand new and smelling like Heaven. I couldn't do that with my old upholstered sofa's. Read more about the slipcovers here.

Art plays a big part in my personal style. Antique botanical charts, pressed botanicals, and coastal paintings (some by me) mix with bead board walls to create the light and airy cottage look we love.  Also included is the beautiful work of my dear friend,  fine art photographer and mixed media artist Lori Vrba of Chapel Hill, NC.

The Messenger by Lori Vrba

 

Don't afraid to mix and layer your art.

In fact, don't be afraid of anything when it comes to decorating. Fear holds so many people hostage from simply enjoying their homes. Fear wastes so much time! I think fear is a decorating epidemic. I've worked with so many clients that are absolutely terrified of making a mistake or a choice that they stay frozen and never make any progress. They're worried about trends, or rules or what their mother-in-law might think. I want to give you permission to have fun with your home. Don't take it all so seriously. Have a little fun playing in your house. 

I approach decorating my own home like I would a styling job. Adding and editing as I go. Not everything works all the time. It's a process and I'm never done. And that's ok! I allow myself mistakes and time to enjoy the hunt for new things. I hope the story inspires you to live with the things you love and bring you delight as well.

*You'll have to be a BH&G subscriber to enjoy this feature as it's not included in the newsstand version. You can also purchase a digital version of the magazine through their app in the itunes store. As much as I love to hold a copy of the magazine, I really enjoy the digital version as well for zooming in on details.

 

 

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.

Styling Work with Ridgewater Homes

The fall season has been hectic with photo shoots, design clients, baseball tournaments and school plays. We're counting down the days to a nice long Thanksgiving break and spending some time in the great outdoors.

But it's the great INdoors that's kept me busy. I recently spent a couple of days shooting for Houston custom home builder Ridgewater Homes. Their designer Rachel Goetz and I loaded up with props  and headed to Friendswood to photograph a couple of their new projects for their web gallery.

Every styling job has it's specific needs and style, but it's really not much different than how you might freshen up any room. We always use fresh flowers, plants, produce, books, baskets, throws, pillows, small interesting accessories and art.

Styling is just as much about what you take away as what you might add. Editing is key! Add and take away. Add some more.  Move it a couple of inches over to the left. Add another book. Take away the candle.  Move it again. Step back, ponder the space, bounce ideas off each other, snap the pic, high five each other and move on to the next room. 

That's how it goes and I love every minute of it!

Styling a room for a portfolio is a little like getting dressed up for Easter Sunday. Your regular dress is fine but why not step it up a notch and go all out? That's where we stylists come in. Most homes I work in are perfectly lovely for the way they're lived in day to day but need a little work to look their absolute best through the camera's lens. My own included!

Here's a look at what we did for this living room shoot:

We opened up the room by rearranging the seating and removing the pretty white chairs for this portfolio shot. Again..edit edit edit. 

Rachel brought in new lamps (love these!) and the shelves got some love with pretty accessories. What a gorgeous space!

I have more styling work to share so be sure to check back soon!

Before we Say Goodbye to Summer

I have grown to deeply love summer. Moving to this house four years ago changed my cranky heart. I knew it would. And it's a good thing because summer in Texas is long and difficult and will wear you down. It's now my favorite season and my home's as well. So me and the house loved us some summer with bright pillows and kantha quilts and some new lamps and layers of vintage art. 

Wanna see before I change it again for fall?

My husband and I collected river rocks on our family vacation to the Frio River this summer and drew mandala designs on them while the boys slept late in the mornings. Always take a sharpie on vacation with you because art is everywhere. 

Sadly, we didn't make it to the beach this summer so I taped up snapshots from past summers and it makes me smile every time I walk past the pictures of my babies on the beach.  Babies that are now 6' tall!

And while I see the rest of the country pulling out scarves and sipping pumpkinmochagrandeeverything, it's still a balmy 90 degrees here in Houston where summer lives on forever.  

I'll be in the pool if you need me.

xo

Recent Photo Shoot with West 23rd St Design

I hope you're enjoying the dog days of a scorching August summer.

Our 15 year old boys are working their first jobs as life guards this summer and it's been a challenge to juggle four work schedules. It forces me to guard our time off together like a hawk and make sure we do more than see each other coming and going. But we've made it work for us and I'm so proud of the boys hard work. They're saving for a car so we have that ahead of us. 

As for me, I've had the opportunity to collaborate with some new clients whose work I've admired on Instagram. Kristy Keele, a Houston based decorator and owner of West 23rd St. Design contacted me recently to photograph her house.

 Here's a peek at our session:

Kristy is so good at mixing colors and pattern and keeps her traditional style sassy and fresh with vintage art and interesting objets. I seriously feel like I need a glass table in my life.

The details; layered, thoughtfully chosen, a mix of high and low price points.  Kristy  has a sharp eye for treasures and makes frequent stops in some of Houston's best thrift stores for herself and clients. 

Kristy's home office is inspiring as well. Fabric, design books, props, mood boards, art. All the things we decorators love to have at our fingertips. 

One of the perks of this job is seeing up close and personal how people live. What a lovely thing...to put so much of yourself into your home. I have such admiration for all the little details in Kristy's home. Such eye candy!  I don't think she'd mind if I told you about her headboard.  It was one of my favorite things in her home.  It's a kantha quilt simply folded and laid over an upholstered headboard. Genius! and so pretty.

If you're looking for something special for your home, Kristy also sells on One Kings Lane and Chairish. Follow her here on Instagram