Thursday, September 29, 2011

Veronica Swanson Beard

Yet another talented Swanson girl...Veronica. My plan was to share the October issue of Harper's Bazaar Magazine so you could see Veronica's Manhattan apartment. However, I suppose Bazaar prefers to stay "old school" and make you run to the store to buy it in print! Tisk, Tisk Bazaar...get with the blogging world and share! I have to say the effort to see it is well worth it with a glossy turquoise kitchen, luxurious fabrics and a high glam aesthetic. Veronica refers to her personal style as, "a fine balance between designer flash and casual finesse." In 2009, she started a clothing line with her sister-in-law, Miele Beard, called Veronica Beard. They specialize in classic blazers, dresses and tailored separates to stand the test of time. A media darling, you can also see Veronica's Southampton house in an issue of Elle Decor. I'm starting to think my mom raised a bunch of slackers compared to this family! Of course, a little extra help from the family fortune never hurts when financing your dreams but I do admire these girls for being independent thinkers and making their own creative mark on the world. Bravo!

Photo: SFLuxe Magazine

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Traina House

As promised, this is the home of Alexis and Trevor Traina from the September issue of Elle Decor. I'm not surprised she likes saturated colors and her creative flare is displayed throughout the home. What does one do in a peacock room? I have no idea but you have to admire someone who can have such unique ideas. Their 107 year old Georgian house in San Francisco required 3 decorators, an architect, several craftsman, and two garden designers. After 3 years, voila, it became "a sensory explosion of drama and romance" explained Alexis. Her husband, Trevor, is a serious art collector with over 300 exceptional pieces so the plan to renovate a house suitable for his art collection, their children and dogs was no small feat. With a posh city spread and a vineyard for the weekends, life is grand!

Photos: Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Friday, September 16, 2011

Swanson Vineyards

When my very creative friend told me to look up her niece in the September issue of Elle Decor, I couldn't wait to see it! Alexis Swanson Traina is so fantastic and interesting, I decided to show more than just her house (which will be the next post). Alexis is the creative director for her family's vineyard in Napa Valley. What a dreamy life! Sometimes wine connoisseurs can be a touch on the snobby side, so I absolutely love that this vineyard takes a high brow product and makes it fresh and fun. I have not tried the wine yet but it has had rave reviews from many national publications. The prices are great and the wine names and packaging are just plain fun. Who wouldn't love getting a great bottle of wine with a pretty box of bonbons?!? I read where Alexis was inspired by the literary and culinary salons of 18th-century Paris. No wonder I loved her style! I don't even drink wine very often and I am certainly not an expert but don't be surprised if this becomes my new favorite hostess and Christmas gift! Check out her blog too. She is very clever indeed.

Photos: Swanson Vineyards
Alexis' Blog: Napa For The Curious And Eccentric

Monday, September 12, 2011

Incredible Casa In River Oaks (Part Two)

Front view with pretty landscaping and an impressive wall for tranquil privacy.

Entrance hall with a solid wood, imported door and stylish iron railing...a grand entrance indeed!

Beauty in the details - custom tiles, handsome millwork and pretty colors throughout.

Notice the style of the doorways and century old beams throughout the downstairs.

Again, pretty mahogany doors with ample windows for light as well as seeing a great view. These doors open to the patio and pool - perfect for a party!

Speaking of parties...this house will be open for a cocktail reception Tuesday, September 13th from 5-7 PM. This Spanish Colonial Revival style house was built in 2010 by award winning builder, Jennifer Hamelet, owner of Mirador Builders. I love Jennifer's taste so it's always fun to see her houses. As a female builder, she thinks of things men may not be in touch with such as plugs for the hairdryer in the bathroom drawer! Of course she tackles more complex problems than that but as a person who likes to stay organized in a pleasing way, I appreciate her attention to detail. The flow is great for guests and every feature was thought out to represent the integrity of the style. With 5 bedrooms, a cook's kitchen, multiple living spaces, two outdoor patios and a pretty pool, whoever owns this house will be the envy of all their friends. I would love to be the owner who says, "Mi casa es su casa!" Hope to see you at the party...Adios!

To see this house contact: Julie Webber
For more information on this property click here: John Daugherty, Realtors
Photos: John Daugherty, Realtors
Mirador Builders

Incredible Casa In River Oaks (Part 1)

Master Bedroom

Secondary Bedroom

Cozy patio with summer kitchen...notice the custom tiles in lieu of a rug.

Mature trees and lush landscaping

Gorgeous pool and tasteful surroundings

I love this house at 2525 Eastside in Houston. Lucky for you, it is for sale! This post is one of two because I have to show you more photographs and I never have time to figure out how to add more to one post. So sorry! One of these days I will hire a professional to fix all my blog issues. Anyway...this house is fantastic and I will tell you about it in the following post.

Photos and information: John Daugherty, Realtors
Mirador Builders

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

Ronald Reagan standing above his sign, Rancho Del Cielo, in California.
August 30, 1986

Giving a Radio Address to the nation September 4, 1982.

The best picture ever! 1976

A ride with his favorite girl. 1958

How cute is this!?! They are sitting by Lake Lucky at the ranch, March 4, 1982.

Fall is the time when Texans like to don their boots and head to the ranch for bird hunting, football watching and good times with family and friends. Even the biggest city slickers like to get dirty every now and then! I'm writing this on September 11th so to me, Ronald Reagan represents a time when people felt patriotic and came together - much like Americans did after the 2001 attack. In Spanish, "Cielo" is defined as Heaven or Sky. President Reagan clearly loved this ranch and wasn't there just for the photo opportunity. While at this ranch, he not only gave a radio address but also signed the 1981 Tax Reconciliation Bill, the 1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation, met with political leaders, and took official phone calls from the tack room. Maybe it's because I'm Texan but I trust a man who isn't afraid to work with his hands, connects with the land and animals, looks and touches his wife with genuine adoration and names his dog,"Victory". Have a blessed day!

All Photos via Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Friday, September 9, 2011

College Gameday Style

"Bear" Bryant girls for Alabama and Texas Longhorn beauties in chaps for some kind of official duty.

TCU Horned Frog girls sport cowboy boots with anything purple or white.

Ole Miss Rebel girls in their Sunday best. Their "Diddy's" would be proud.

Ole Miss fella completes the outfit with a koozie.

USC girls show the latest in Yoga and Pilates abs.

I found my favorite email pointing out the differences in Southern football spectators and Northern football spectators. Here is a snapshot to get you ready for the weekend:
Women's Attire
* Up North: Chapstick in their back pocket and a $20 bill in their front pocket.
* Down South: Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, powder, mascara (waterproof), concealer, and a fifth of bourbon. Wallet not necessary, that's what dates are for.
Campus Decor
* Up North: Statues of founding fathers.
* Down South: Statues of Heisman Trophy winners.
Game Day
* Up North: A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.
* Down South: Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting on Game Day "live" to get on camera and wave to the idiots up North who wonder why game day is never broadcast from their campus.
* Up North: Raw meat on a grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.
* Down South: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance by Jerry Jeff Walker, who comes over during breaks and ask for a hit off your bottle of bourbon.
After The Game
* Up North: The stadium is empty way before the game ends.
* Down South: Another rack of ribs on the smoker. While somebody goes to the nearest package store for more bourbon, planning begins for next week's game.

For those of you who are not football fans, I promise to get back to interior design soon but when I saw the "Bear" Bryant girls, I couldn't resist posting on it. What will you wear to the game this weekend?

For complete North vs. South piece, click here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Does This Lighting Make Me Look Fat?

As they say on Sesame Street, "One of these things is not like the other!" Hmmm...what could that be? Trust me, size matters. Like this person, I have a chandelier I adore and wish I could use it in my current house. I fiercely protested against my mother telling me it was too big for 8 foot ceilings. Usually my determination can overcome huge obstacles, however, in the end, mother knows best. My chandelier sits in bubble wrap amongst Halloween and Christmas decorations in storage. Sigh...I guess it could be worse. It could be hanging above a sink in a tiny bathroom with waaaaaay too much stuff in it. Yes, bathrooms and kitchens help sell houses but an over-sized fixture doesn't trick the buyer into thinking they just emerged from Cal-a-Vie Spa. Rest in peace Liberace.

Photo 1: Nate Berkus design via 1912 Bungalow
Photo 2: Bad MLS picture via Hooked On Houses

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I can see why they would build the house around this tree.

I love everything about this picture. That window is the perfect frame.

Ok, so this isn't the best "tree" shot but I like the overall landscaping.

A Harad Tree Hotel in a village in Northern Sweden.

The inside consists of a double bed, bathroom and rooftop terrace.

"If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" Remember that thought provoking question Barbara Walters asked Katherine Hepburn?!? I would love to live in a house with many tree views but to have to access it by a rope bridge...not so much! I do love the creative thought put into this tree suite. It's made of lightweight aluminum with a reflective shell. I wonder if sarcastic birds sit by and say to each other," Hey, watch this, watch this...that bird is about to get laid out!" Then they would all laugh hysterically when it happens. Yes, I have a warped sense of humor! I'm guessing the accomplished architects don't think of weird stuff like I do...

Harad Tree Hotels

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's Friday, Let Your Hair Down

AHHH, where to begin? So many title choices for this post and so little time. I try to keep you guessing on what I will post about. Just when you might see yet another white slip-covered sofa in a charcoal gray room - BAM! - animal hairdos! Remember when people used to stay home to wash their hair on Friday nights? Yeah, me neither but they say that in movies! I found so many outrageous hair shots in my research for this, I will probably need to revisit this topic. For all the Longhorn fans out there, I hope this is inspiring. I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wild About This Wallpaper! Part Two

Elegant damask or dime store stickers? Both! Payton Cosell Turner (Howard Cosell's granddaughter) had to do her senior thesis at Maryland Institute College of Art so she made a sticker wall covering. Inspired by 1970's wallpapers in her late grandfather's house, Payton saw beauty in bugs and bubbling beakers. This sticker piece was made with 5000 flower stickers alone. She ordered from companies like Paper House Productions in packs of 30. Can you imagine the attention to detail and patience she must have?!? I am always blown away with people who can take something mundane and make it fabulous! I also like that it is kitchy and elegant, hip and grandma, all rolled into one. At 25, Payton started Flat Vernacular with her fiance, Brian Kaspr. They produce hand-drawn and screen printed wallpapers as well as custom designs. If you ask me, I think she is on a roll! (insert cheesy drum sound here)

Photos by Elle Decor Magazine (Click here to see more)

Wild About This Wallpaper! Part One

I absolutely LOVE this wallpaper by Flat Vernacular!!! I will post right after this one with Flat Vernacular's latest, greatest wallpaper featured in the September issue of Elle Decor Magazine. You won't believe how talented this girl is!

Photos from Flat Vernacular