Friday, August 31, 2007

Point of Departure

When I was in Pizzo this summer, I posted that the house looked worse than last year when we bought it. Did you read that? Did you believe me? Those of you who still associate the Italian word palazzo with a glamorous palace got the wrong idea.

In Italian casa means 'home'. It can be a 'house' or an 'apartment'. A villa is a big house with a big garden. And a palazzo is a big house with no garden. Italians have nice sounding words for simple things and our palazzo is far from glamorous.

I reported that almost all window glass was broken. Probably kids threw stone at the windows. Of course some of the glass was broken before and all windows need to be replaced anyway.

Wild plants are growing on the floors of several rooms inside the house. Outside they grow on the walls as well as on the terrace and the balcony. Rain water is following their roots. We need to isolate the house well to avoid the penetration of rain water.

And last but not least more graffiti was on the doors.

I hope that all this 'wildness' will fade soon after we have the permission to start the renovation works. The permission is expected to be given in September. Let's see if the architect can keep his promise :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

O at Home

The new issue of Oprah's magazine O at Home is on the stands, and usually, it's not exactly something I would blog about. But isn't this cover beautiful? I adore it and it really caught my eye today! Gosh, I wonder why? Could it be because of the ultra-chic woman pictured below?

Probably. Thanks to my favorite fashionable blogger from New York, the fast-becoming famous Habitually Chic, I already knew Charlotte Moss was going to be in O at Home this issue. Those of us who devour every word Habitually Chic writes, were informed by her that Charlotte's new "must see" store in NYC had been photographed by Oprah's staff. This picture of Miss Moss was snapped by none other than Habitually Chic herself at their meeting last week. In case you missed this interview, read it here.

The current O at Home is wonderful, for reasons other than Charlotte, but she is certainly the star. I'll give you a sneak peak of the bedroom featured on the cover. It's typical Charlotte and it's to die for! Enjoy.

No one does four posters better than Charlotte. Styled to utter perfection, the photograph is typical Moss, with attention paid to everything, down to the smallest detail.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guardian Statue by Annechovie

My very second post to my blog, Cote de Texas, was entitled Concrete Statuary and in case you missed it, this was the post:

My favorite shape is the urn, as in a crusty, old, concrete garden urn. I love placing urns inside the house with or without something inside of them. Another accessory I love using inside the house is garden statuary. This lady has been guarding my front window for many years. She is not an antique, but a copy of one. She is concrete, of course. I abhor all those "light weight" fake concrete items on the market today and would rather pull my back out moving real concrete than using the faux thing. My lady had been in the corner of the window for years, but recently I moved her to the middle of my window, framed softly by the silk curtains. She's much happier now that she can be easier seen.

Ok, ok, like I said, it was one of my first posts! Hopefully they got better along the way. Truthfully though, I've always liked that post because I adore the picture that accompanies it. I like the way the statue is framed in the draperies, I like the lighting, the glimpse of my tree outside the window - I was proud I had taken this picture.

And so, when I noticed that quite a few of the design bloggers were having an artist paint a special vignette, I wanted a painting too! The question became, of what? Style Court had had her newly upholstered chair immortalized, Patricia Gray chose to have a client's room painted, and online, there were renderings of pictures from design magazines that I liked. The artist behind this work is none other than Anne Harwell, aka, annechovie. Anne takes commissions for her renderings of interiors in the Mark Hampton style, but she also does exteriors or anything else you might want. If you have a special "view" you like or perhaps you have something else in mind you would like painted, Anne is more than happy to work with you to create exactly what you want. She's very pleasant to work with, sweet, kind, and most importantly patient while you make your final decision. My experience with Anne was first rate and I highly recommend her. To see all the work she has posted online, visit her Etsy store here. Below, is Anne's lovely vision of my guardian statute.

Anne, thank you so much, I adore my piece and I am most grateful to you!


Two from Texas

Interior designers from Houston have gotten quite the national press this year. House Beautiful had a cover story of Carol Glasser's design of my friend's Swedish home in River Oaks. Elle Decor did a cover of another Houston designer, Randy Powers. Veranda this month featured Houstonian Renea Abbott's work on its cover. But none of these veteran designers had quite as much press as Joe Shaffer. Joe's client, an owner of a real estate company, has two homes - both of which he designed, and both of which were featured this year. The Houston home is shown in Veranda and the country home is in Elle Decor. It's fascinating to look at how one woman, one designer, and two homes are either alike or different. The Houston home is a vision in soft celadon. The color weaves its way throughout the home tying the upstairs with the downstairs. The Houston home features predominantly French antiques juxtaposed with contemporary art work. The country home outside of Fredricksburg is also filled with French antiques, but some are of the more provincial kind. Again, there is a continuity of color, but this time it's creamy and gray tones. Both homes feature patternless, neutral fabrics and both homes share an air of sophisticated intelligence. Which home would you prefer to own, given the choice?

A tablescape sets the mood of the city house, contemporary art work mixes with sophisticated antiques.

One end of the living room with a French antique sofa, French chairs, a whimsical collection of antique suitcases, and an antique carpet.

A larger view of the living room showing antique Fortuny draperies, antique barometer, and important contemporary art.

The dining room takes on a relaxed atmosphere with a short, flirty skirt over a curvy iron table. I adore this room.

The sitting area of the master bedroom. Note the striped blue and white dhurri and blue and white garden seat set underneath the tea table. I love the symmetry of the mirrors and lamps on the commode between the two windows framed further out by the striped pillows.

The other side of the bedroom showing the gorgeous bed.

Country Home:

Texas limestone house with original tin roof set in the Hill Country. This type of architecture was popular with the German settlers who populated this part of Texas. The Hill Country is Texas' Provence.

Limestone walls in the kitchen, chandelier dresses up the rustic antiques.

Pale neutrals set a quiet tone in the living area. These antiques would work in the city house too. The lack of drapes in the country home gives a sparser look as compared to the cosier Houston home.

Another view of the living room. Striped pillows are the only patterned fabric. Linen fabric dresses down the French settee.

Another living area matches the mood of the other room. Love the architectural piece over the door.

French provincial commode with gold mirror. The owner had been accumulating antiques she bought in France for years in anticipation of owning a country home.

Crystal sconces are an unexpected touch in this rustic bathroom.

Gorgeous, curvy iron bed in guest room.

Louis XVI adds elegance to the attic styled bedroom. The owner, a single woman, hired a local landscape architect to help with the project. Apparently, he now lives in the house with her - according to Star, I mean Elle Decor magazine.

As for me, I'm unable to choose which house I prefer - I like them both too much!

Monday, August 27, 2007


Pizzitani who had to leave Pizzo must feel homesick for the rest of their lives, until they can come back to this special place on earth between the sea and the sky.

I just came across this picture (I am working on our bathrooms, yes me too) and I stared at the photo for several minutes... thinking of all the Pizzitani (people from Pizzo), who had to leave this beautiful place on earth to find work somewhere else. And lucky Pizzitani who live here and cherish the value of life in Pizzo.

(Picture courtesy by CC, my husband)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I was Tagged

I have been tagged lately by Katiedid and South of the Sahara. Thank you for showing interest in the blogger behind this blog. I owe you answers.


- I am very happy and thankful to have seen a lot of this world. I am German and have lived 32 years in Germany before moving for 5 years to Thailand. Now, I am living in China since 2 years. For my work I have travelled to over 20 countries, where I spent a month in average. My favourite countries are Ireland, Thailand and Italy. My favourite city for many years was Paris.

- It happened to me to fall in love with an Italian whom I met in my hometown Stuttgart. He looks more Scandinavian than Italian and I am the one with the ‘Italian’ temperament in the family.

- I do not care about brand names and I own less pairs of shoes than my husband (well, he is Italian).

- I suffered from asthma when I was little. For many years I could not run as much around as other kids because I could not breath. With swimming, lots of swimming and even more swimming I was cured when I was about 11 years old.

- Although I was a real good and talented swimmer, I was playing tennis daily for many years and I loved skiing, I have lost my interest in these sports. Maybe I have overdone it. Maybe I am just too lazy.

- I met Keanu Reeves in person once. He looks even better in reality than in the movies or pictures. Although he has a fantastic voice he does not talk that much - same as in the movies.

- I am ‘collecting’ languages. At school I learned first French, then English and Latin. French and Latin helped me to learn other languages like Spanish and Portuguese (which I lost after not using it). I learned Italian to be able to communicate with my new family (which made me loose my Spanish). I know some words in Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Dutch, Swedish and Danish. Nowadays I am trying to learn Mandarin as every other foreigner living in China does. Besides my German mother tongue, I am best in French, I think.

- Although I dreamed of becoming a graphic designer, painter or writer I choose to study the more ‘safe’ economics. 20 years later, I am now changing my ‘destiny’. Two weeks ago a resigned from my old job (that was on hold) and feel free now, to do what I always wanted to do. First of all I am writing in blogland, here and there. And maybe other dreams will come.

I found eight things about me. So I am done. Who else wants to join the game? You are tagged, tell me!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Check Mate!

One of my favorite fabric houses these days is Chelsea Editions or Chelsea Textiles, depending upon which side of the pond you are located. Chelsea specializes in hand embroidered fabrics made in India. Besides selling fabric, they also sell reproduction furniture based on Swedish antiques. Though Chelsea is famous for their embroidered fabrics, it's their check fabrics that speak to me. Chelsea sells checks in every colorway, but, apparently, they must not be very proud of them because the checks are absent from their web site! Despite their second class status, I've become check crazy. I recently came to this conclusion looking around my house and going over projects I've worked on lately. I just can't get enough of checks. Here's what I mean. This is my sitting room with it's checked daybed and checked french chair:

And here's my unfinished bedroom with it's Chelsea checked headboard and drapes:

And here's a client's Swedish sofa that I covered in a Chelsea check:

And here's a pink Chelsea check:

Oh, look, here's a taupe check:

And here's another Chelsea check on the bench and a Chelsea embroidered duvet.

I'm not the only designer who loves checks. Mario Buatta has a thing for them too. Here he uses a check on the settee:

And here in a Houston home, Buatta uses a red check for the draperies:

Buatta must like big scaled checks, he uses a yellow one for these draperies:

Mariette Himes Gomez uses checks in the traditional way, on the back of a French fauteuil:

Someone who loves checks more than me, New York designer Jeffrey Bilhuber surprised people with his excessive use of checks in his new apartment:

Bilhuber's dining room:

Houston's Michael Siller also covered an entire room in his house with checks. Do you think he inspired Bilhuber?

Dallas designer Cathy Kincaid uses checks to line the bed's canopy.

Michael Smith is known for using this blue and white check in his designs. It shows up again and again:

Kathryn Ireland uses checks alot, also. Here she uses a dark blue check to contrast with the all white French styled bedroom:

In this vintage photograph, socialite Gloria Vanderbilt sits under one of the collages that she was famous for making. The check in the collage matches the fabric on the couch. The two matching Venetian mirrors are drop dead gorgeous! Playing next to her are her two sons. One is the famous CNN reporter: Anderson Cooper. Are you aware of what happened to the other son?

In France, checks are frequently used as a secondary fabric to toile:

John Stefinidis, interior designer extraordinaire, likes to use checks:

New Orleans' Gerrie Bremermann uses checks often. Here one shows up on the duvet:

Houston Designer Ginger Barber uses a check as the only pattern in an otherwise neutral room:

Despite the luxurious fabrics used in this room, a simple check shows up on the pillows:

Interior Designer Diane Burns uses silk checks in her French styled bedroom:

A checked fabric livens up a bedside bench:

Victoria Hagan puts the check on the floor with an Elizabeth Eakin rug:

Here, Ikea gets in on the check act with it's slipcovered sofa:

And finally, here on Chelsea Edition furniture, is, of course, a Chelsea Edition check!