All In the White Family

I love getting emails from readers, especially when they include pictures of their houses.   One reader, Deanie, started sending me pictures of her house last year while she was redecorating it.   Deanie lives in Grapevine, Texas and at one time was an antique dealer.  But now, she had a dilemma – unpainted brick walls versus her husband.   You see, Deanie’s house had several interior brick walls, including the fireplace wall, which didn’t fit in with her new all white décor.  The problem was that Deanie’s husband was partial to the yellowish-orange brick walls and wouldn’t bend on the subject.  He absolutely refused to allow Deanie to paint the brick!

If I have heard this story once, I’ve heard it a 1,000 times.  Usually the decorating dilemma is dark stained paneling or furniture that husbands refuse to paint light.   Why do men just love dark stained wood?   It’s the mystery of the ages.   My solution to this problem is always the same:  look your husband squarely in the eyes and ask him “and where exactly did you get your degree in interior design?”   This tactic may not work of course if you husband is like mine who retorts “the same place you got yours,”    which is a stab at me because he knows I didn’t graduate college after attending it for four years!  Deanie came up with a much better game plan to persuade her husband.  She enlisted the help of her daughter, Dana.   Dana wrote a faux legal brief, acting as the attorney to her client, the lowly unpainted brick.   The gist of the legal argument is summed up in this paragraph: 

By Dana
My case is as follows. The aforementioned male house recipient has trusted his wife and devoted partner with countless creative updates and ideas for almost 40 years of their marriage. Although he prides himself in NOT reversing his decisions on most occasions; hopefully I have made a good enough case for him to reconsider his prior position regarding the future of my Client. Questions: Why is he preventing my Client from receiving the FULL benefit of his wife’s talent? Why won’t he succumb his willful determination to keep my Client in its most basic natural state? Why won’t he give her the best 65th birthday present by taking a trip to Home Depot, purchasing a single lifeless brick…paint it creamy white, wrap with a ribbon and give the best gift of all….PERMISSION TO PAINT MY CLIENT????!!! It behooves me to also mention that ALL family, friends and professional interior designers support my Client’s transformation.

Needless to say that when Deanie’s husband received the fake legal brief from his daughter begging him to let Deanie paint the brick, he finally relented.   Of course, once the brick was painted he loved it!  Isn’t that always the case?   Is there anyone out there that has finally gotten their husband to agree to paint the dark stained wood lighter, only to be made to repaint it dark again?  Of course not! 
Over the course of the past year, I have received periodic updates from Deanie showing me the changes she has made to her house as she transformed it from colorful to all white.   She also sent me pictures of her daughter Dana’s house.    I also received pictures of Dana’s sister in law Leslie’s  house.  And I was sent pictures of Leslie’s mom’s house.   More pictures came from Leslie’s aunt showing me her daughter’s house and a friend’s house!  I had serious problems keeping up with the family tree.   But apparently, everyone in this extended family loves antiques.  They love decorating and they love shopping for their houses – they even go to Round Top, although some of them live in Tennessee and Louisiana.   I thought it would be fun to look at one extended family’s decorating approach.

Deanie’s House:   The problem with the brick walls

BEFORE:   How Deanie’s house looked when she moved in.

When Deanie moved into her house many, many years ago – it looked like this.  The large fireplace wall was clad in brick and was the undesired focal point.   Perhaps if the brick was another color, or if it was stone, it would be less bothersome, but this was not the case.  For years and years Deanie had to decorate around the brick because her husband refused to allow her to paint it.  Apparently he is quite fond of yellow-orange brick, though no one else is!  The blue carpet was replaced with terra cotta tiles.  The kitchen is located on the other side of the fireplace – and yes, the brick is there too!

After Deanie started redecorating her house in all white – the brick wall bothered her more and more.

In the middle of the redecorating, Deanie had yet to repaint the armoire, but all her upholstered pieces were now slipped in white. 
The armoire has since been painted gray.

And finally, after her daughter Dana, sent her husband the fake legal brief – the brick wall was painted. 
Behind the shutters is the sunroom, which also had many brick walls.  Those were painted too!

And for Christmas this year.   The furniture is arranged to make room for the white (of course) flocked tree.

The painted fireplace is so pretty and soft looking now!
Since it has been painted white, the fireplace is an asset and the focal point of the room.

The sunroom was enclosed – it was once a porch.  So, of course the walls are made of brick.  
Here is how the sunroom looked before the walls were painted. 

And, after the walls were painted.  Deanie also painted all the wicker furniture gray, for a more trendy look.  She also added grain sack pillows.  
I think this room looks so cute! I love the wicker painted gray and I love the coffee table. 

And looking at the other side with the now painted brick wall.  
I should paint my white wicker gray like this.  It really gives it an entirely updated look. 
Now, let’s take a look at her daughter Dana’s house. 

Dana, Deanie’s Daughter’s House
Dana recently moved to a rental house.   The house came furnished but Dana didn’t like the furniture, so Deanie came to Nashville and moved the owner’s furniture into storage so Dana could use her own! 
Dana also loves white slipcovers, and she likes to add touches of blue to her décor.   I love this slip with the gathered ruffle edge, so cute!   

Looking the other way towards the living entry hall. 
The alabaster lamps and shades are really cute.  The sofa table is an English antique. 
Imagine that these rooms were painted a dark green when Dana moved in.
The white paint makes all the difference – it’s so bright and cheery and fresh looking now.

The dining room has a white table with black chairs.  Nothing looks better than a crystal chandelier.
Many of the pieces in the house came from Deanie’s house or were bought by Deanie and Dana at antique fairs.  
A close up of the entry hall with its antique buffet painted white.  I have that same exact lamb!!!
Dana’s house is so cute, especially for a rental, and I’m sure they’ll be happy here for years.
Now, I also received pictures of Dana’s Mother-in-Law and her daughter’s houses.  So, that makes two sets of mothers and daughters in an extended family.  Of her family, Deanie says:  “We are definitely partners in our madness over all things old and making our homes look the best we can.  Its in the blood I guess.  We all love a lot of the same things but our houses are completely different with our different tastes.”  Her daughter Dana says of the bunch  “We ALL love Roundtop, decorating(we NEVER stop), laughing, great food and company, cultivating 'anything' we see and just living beautifully and full!” 
  Elizabeth’s House:
Dana’s mother in low, Elizabeth, recently moved back into her house in Nashville, after living in Texas.  While in Texas, her house was rented and it was painted by the renters.  It now all has to be repainted and just the front rooms have the new paint.  Here is the living room with its gray buffet and darling blue and white slipped sofa. Deanie said that when she started decorating with white – Elizabeth didn’t understand it or like it.  Now, she has many white and painted pieces herself.
The dining room is in the prettiest shade of blue gray.  I love the color of the walls!!  
She mixed a crystal chandelier and a dark table with a painted console.

Elizabeth’s family room is still to be painted, but you can see her large white slipped chair and ottoman. 
I love her green lantern – it is one of a pair.  The hide rug adds another trendy touch.

The bedroom has a white slipcovered headboard with white and pale blue bedding, along with painted white end tables. 
White with light blue is my favorite color combination for a bedroom these days.

 Leslie’s House:
Elizabeth’s daughter Leslie (who is Dana’s sister in law!) painted her living room a light blue gray, just like her mother. 
She mixes urns and columns and mirrors – as did her mother, Dana and Deanie.

The entire family all has white slipcovered sofas!  And they all have crystal chandeliers.   Leslie mixed in baskets and mirrored furniture. 

The antique French armoire is a real focal point.   When starting out, you should try to buy one large antique for each room, then build around it when decorating. 
The antique will last through any decorating style or trend and is a great investment. 

Elizabeth and her daughter in law Dana both moved to Nashville to start a church.  Elizabeth and her husband are the pastors and Dana is head of the Children’s Ministry.  Dana’s husband also preaches there.  Besides her work with the ministry, Dana has four children who keep her quite busy.   Needless to say, Deanie is very proud of her daughter, and who wouldn’t be! 
Looking at these four families – two mothers and two daughters – and how similar their houses are, yet different at the same time, think about your own family.  Does your house resemble your mother’s or your sister’s?  Or do you have totally different styles than theirs?   In my own family, it is similar – my mother and sister and I all love the same things, but in different ways.  We all love antique furniture and accessories.  They don’t love slipcovers and seagrass like I do, but we all three love French design.  On my husband’s side, the daughters in law also all love decorating.  
I wonder if all families are like this?  Do the women all love to decorate in your family too?  I would love to see more extended family houses and look at how the decorating is related from house to house.   I think it would be hard to be the only one in the family who decorated.   If you spent money on your décor but your in laws didn’t, would they think you were extravagant or wasteful?   My mother always advised me to “put your money into your house and not into your clothes,” which I do.   I would much rather buy a new accessory than an pair of shoes.  It helps that most everyone in my extended families – on both sides – have the same mindset. 
A huge thank you to Deanie, Dana, Elizabeth and Leslie for sharing pictures of your beautiful homes!!!!

Kristin Mullen who writes the blog Covetable Designs is having a giveaway to tie in with a big announcement.  Kristin who designed her own gorgeous home in Dallas, above, has started a new decorating business, Design Online, for clients who don’t live in Dallas but want to hire Kristin.  Be sure to visit her blog for all the details about the giveaway HERE.

And, don’t forget that Kathryn Ireland is the guest interview this week on The Skirted Roundtable, HERE.  Last Saturday, we recorded a new interview with a HUGE surprise guest!   That will be online after the holidays, so watch for the announcement.  Thank you as always for your continued support.  Pictured above is a dining room from Kathryn Ireland’s book Classic Country.

And Finally:
Cote de Texas welcomes a new sponsor:  Chic Provence Design Tour.  Interested in a shopping trip to Provence this spring?  Go HERE for the brochure!

Decorating in Birmingham With Dana Wolters

The Wolters home in Birmingham.   Beautiful new construction by architect Dean Robinson. 
My friend, and a sponsor on Cote de Texas – Jackie Sharbrough of The Urban Market – sent an email introducing me to a friend of hers who is an interior designer.   I love learning about other decorators, especially when their portfolio is so beautiful!   The designer is Dana Wolter and she is certainly garnering a lot of press lately.  Her Alabama house was featured in the Christmas edition of Southern Living Magazine and was in the Nov/Dec issue of Birmingham Home & Garden magazine.   With good reason – her house is beautiful!   A quick look at her web site shows so many wonderful interiors that I thought you would enjoy seeing her house for yourself, especially since it was photographed decorated for the holidays.

Dana Wolter, Interior Designer

Dana is the mother of three young daughters who keep her very busy, yet she still manages to run a successful design business.   She graduated from the University of Alabama and spent her early career in sales.  As is often the case – designing for friends got her into the business and she opened the doors to Dana Wolter Interiors in 2005.  I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of Dana in the years to come.

The first glimpse into Dana’s house shows a beautiful staircase decorated for Christmas. 
Straight ahead, you can see into the family room.

The entry is roomy enough for a settee and chairs.   The built in cabinets have the same iron motif found on the window transoms. 
I love the hide rug Dana placed in the entry.  

The living/dining room is a mix of antiques and contemporary pieces.   The palette is serenely monochromatic.  Dana likes to layer textures, starting on the floor with the natural rug leading up to the fabulous ceiling of pecky cypress.  The sparkly crystal chandelier is a perfect juxtaposition to all the rough luxe.  

An antique mirror and console mix with a contemporary lamp. 

The window seats flanking the fireplace are set apart by luscious curtains and fabric walls.  So cozy!

A close up of the window seat.  Here you can see the stone floor found in the living/dining room.

The dining area of the living/dining room has an unusual seating arrangement – a high back, velvet covered banquette takes the place of chairs on one side of the table. 

The family room is Belgian inspired with its long linen slipcovered sofa and industrial styled coffee table.  
The Christmas tree blends right into the décor with its white, silver and gold colored balls.

Looking the other way, a contemporary triptych hangs behind the sofa.   The lighting fixture is an Italian inspired wood chandelier.
Such a pretty room!

The breakfast room has another banquette against the bay window.  The walls are paneled and the table has a zinc top.  
Dana says the upholstery on the banquette is an extremely hard wearing polyester.

In the kitchen, an unusual combination of pecky cypress paired with white marble makes up the island. 
More texture comes in the stainless quilted backsplash.   So pretty!

The master bedroom continues the quiet monochromatic scheme.  Again, a mixture of modern and antique makes an interesting interior. 
But the headboard is the real focal point – it extends from wall to wall.

In a daughter’s bedroom, one wall is covered in wallpaper – cute window seat too!
Notice the Christmas tree and reindeer! 

A close up of Dana’s holiday table set in the dining room.

And a close up of the holiday table set in the breakfast room.

More From Dana Wolter Interiors:

In another house that Dana designed, a warm family room sits next to the breakfast room. 

Here, Dana used facing sofas and a large ottoman/coffee table, along with two arm chairs.

In still another house, a kitchen and breakfast room was remodeled by Dana.  
She again used pecky cypress on the island.   Notice the great trough sink on the island!k 

And – using her trademark - a high banquette sits along a back wall.  The contemporary damask is really eye catching. 
These kitchens photos are by Jean Allsopp Photography

And one of my favorites on Dana’s web site: her daughter’s bedroom.
So cute with the contemporary fabrics and hide rug mixed in with vintage furniture.

To see Dana Wolter Interiors web site, go HERE.

And finally, a huge thank you to Dana for sharing her beautiful photographs with us!  Thank you!

Kathryn Ireland’s New Hideaway Retreat

We’ve had some great guests on the Skirted Roundtable over the past year and a half.   We’ve talked with a lot of different people in the industry – magazine editors, design bloggers, authors, stylists, shop owners, and fabric designers, but I have especially loved having the chance to interview the interior designers I have long admired.   Our first  “big” interview was with Vicente Wolf, which I actually missed (the only one I ever did miss!)  Next, we interviewed Charlotte Moss.  My nerves were shot for that one, I was so excited to be talking to someone I absolutely worshipped! 

Kathryn Ireland at her Ojai ranch.

Since then, there’s been Alessandra Branca, Bobby McAlpine, David Easton, Mary Douglas Drysdale, and Suzanne Kasler, – to name some of the other designers that have made me giddy.   Saturday, we will be interviewing someone that has me foaming at the mouth!!   Trust me, I never – even in my wildest dreams – thought I would one day be chatting with the likes of David Easton or Alessandra Branca!  Never!!!  I guess the lesson here is never give up on your dreams and never stop trying.   This week’s guest ranks right up there on my list of favorites. 
The interview almost didn’t take place.  Kathryn Ireland is a busy, busy lady and our wires got crossed a few times before the four of us were all able to sit down at the same time and talk.   It was a late night for Linda and me, but it was still dusk for Megan and Kathryn, being as they were both on the west coast.   Kathryn Ireland!!!!   How many times have I lingered over the rows of her fabrics hanging in the Decorative Center?   How many samples have I checked out over the years?   I’ve clicked onto her web site more times than I would care to admit, as Ireland was one of the first interior designers to have a decent web site with lots of photographs and press clippings.   You could spend hours there looking at it all.    I bought both her books and quickly devoured them.    In short, I love Kathryn’s aesthetic and have for years and years.  And now, here she is – on my telephone – well, my Skype.  To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.  Kathryn was a tad more laid back about meeting me. 

Kathryn Ireland’s casual and comfy living room was recently updated.  I love her suzani covered chairs!! 
It’s such a perfect space with its barreled ceiling, stucco walls and casement windows. 

Kathryn had just arrived home from work just before we started and was exhausted – you could hear it in her voice – but she quickly rallied and had us all laughing, talking about the “neck lift” she wants.  A friend came over and handed her a glass of vino to help her relax.   I could just visualize her sitting in her wonderful living room – all comfy on her down filled sofa – munching on crackers and cheese, and gazing at the roaring fire.   She’s a star with a bigger than life personality.  She is charismatic and self deprecating at the same time.    Her clientele roster is filled with names of A-listed movie stars.  She even teases about her "name dropping,”  but she can’t help it if her clients are famous.   Her style is casual.  Rarely have I seen her do a “dressed” up room, but she does do them – perfectly.  

A dining room – one of the dressier interiors from Kathryn.  Isn’t this gorgeous?????  The curtain rods are perfect, as are the curtains, the striped French chairs are also perfect, as is the crystal chandelier.  Just look at the darling casement windows, the sconces, the beams!  I would eat in this room every day if I lived here.

During the interview, we talked about her ranch in Ojai which she rescued from years of neglect and turned it into a much loved vacation spot.  Her book  “Creating A Home” is all about the ranch and the process she went through to transform it.   Once it was finished, she had planned to sell her house in L.A and her farm in France and live in Ojai 24/7.   Unfortunately, her 3 teenaged sons vetoed that idea and she was forced to sell it – to actress Reese Witherspoon.   Kathryn reveals that Reese bought everything – all the furniture, accessories and dishes, including the forks!  Must be nice Reese!  

The Ojai ranch started out as stables for the Libbey family in the 1920s.   
Added onto by Wallace Neff, the ranch had been neglected for over 30 years when Kathryn bought it.  She spent 3 years restoring the property.

The same view as above – today!


A wider view of the central gravel courtyard.  The kitchen is to the right, bedrooms to the left, and the main living room is in the middle.
Spread throughout the property are numerous guest houses, stables, a swimming pool, and other charming buildings.

 The main living area.   Kathryn used many of her own fabrics in this house – especially those from her new Mexico Meets Morocco line.
The tiles on the stairs are original.  Upstairs is a balcony that overlooks the two story room.

Looking towards the fireplace.  The Juliet balcony leads from the large center rotunda.

In the interview, Kathryn told us that once she sold the Ojai property, she wanted a getaway somewhere closer – so she chose her own back yard. 
She turned her garage and pool area into a private retreat.

The swimming pool’s pillows are from the Mexico Meets Morocco fabric line.

Kathryn’s garage was turned into her own personal retreat.  She said she really feels like she is out of town when she stays in her private room. 
I love the lamps and lampshades – they look like the ones from her master bedroom. 

Kathryn sells this bed on her web site.  It’s beautiful!  Hard to believe this was once a garage.

The table and rug are Moroccan. Here the curtains are plain linen.

Now, the curtains match the wallpaper, which is from her new line of papers.  It looks great when paired with the matching fabric.

The lampshade is changed in this picture.  The side chair is also sold on Kathryn’s web site.
Here you can see the rug is layered over seagrass.  

I have always loved this bedroom by Barry Dixon, but it wasn’t until I read Kathryn’s blog, that I noticed the fabric on the walls and pillows is hers!
It’s in the Quilt Collection, called Paisley Stripe. 

She was recently a guest of Dixon’s and got to stay in the “Kathryn Ireland Bedroom.”  This is one of my favorite fabrics of hers.
Remember when it was recently seen on this blog?

Remember the master bedroom in the Crested Butte condo that Jenny Johnston did HERE
She used Kathryn’s Paisley Stripe fabric also.

To listen to this week’s Skirted Roundtable with Kathryn Ireland, go HERE.   You’ll enjoy it! 
Also, note, our sponsor, Hot House Estate Treasures, is offering Skirted Roundtable listeners a 30% discount, so be sure to check that out on the Skirted Roundtable blog!!!!
And to visit Kathryn Ireland’s web site and blog HERE.

Houstonians, don’t forget this Sunday is the Southampton Holiday Home Tour. 
For more information, go to the end of the blog story HERE

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