Frugal Friday Decorating: How to Customize a Builders Standard Closet the Couture Chateau Way

Frugal Friday Decorating: How to Customize a Builders Standard Closet the Couture Chateau Way

Earlier this week I shared how I love tassels…and that we use them on our custom hangers in custom silver leafed closets

Our silver leafed closets are a Couture Chateau Signature. Something only the homeowner knows about. Private & Delightful.

Silver is gorgeous in closets as it provides a gentle reflection for the clothes. It illuminates without overpowering.

Today I am going to share a secret with you.

When we work on smaller projects or are doing a guest room or vacation home that doesn’t have a huge budget but our Clients sill want that signature “Couture Chateau Closet”….this is how we get it…frugally :)! Since we are working on some Tahoe Cabin Projects right now, I thought it’d be a great time to share…

First…your basic closet. No walk in, no nothing…just a basic closet…

This is a closet pic from I thought it was a great real time picture of a normal closet.

Second, strip that puppy bare….patch & repair the walls…make SURE you are working from a SMOOTH finish texture. Then, bring in Martha. Martha Stewart’s Silver Metallic Paint that is :). Available at Home Depot.

If you are really serious about mimicking the Silver Leaf thing, you will have to do some faux finishing, but more often than not, we just paint the entire thing in Martha’s Silver. Don’t forget the ceiling & side walls as it’s the reflection of the silver that makes the closet feel so magical.

For our Couture Chateau Custom Closets we add down lighting that highlights the center of the hangers. For a DIY Approach you can add strip lighting, but be careful to make sure it’s no – heat and you have proper ventilation and on/off switches. Wiring is always tricky and you should consult a licensed electrician in your area if you want to go this route.

We also add cedar, but we frame out the unseen INSIDE walls that hold the doors so you don’t see the Cedar, you just get the benefits.

Home Depot Again…these cedar planks can be mounted on the inside wall where the closet doors hang if you want to hide them. Typically they go on the floor but often the aesthetic isn’t right…so we customize!…a couture chateau in the making…

Use the Container Store’s Basic System in SILVER.

From the basic Elfa System you can literally take it from Frugal to Frighteningly Expensive very quickly…

Here are some of the things we talk to Frugal Clients about adding:

Custom Upholstered Fascia Pieces to Match the Silver. We have used white leather, silver leather, hot pink!…and more…

Custom Poles: You need to make sure it fits the hardware, but we have custom painted, custom upholstered & custom wallpapered those puppies…

Hangers: For Budget Friendly Custom, Tuesday Morning & Home Goods have those slim line Hangers that we make slip covers for out of matching fabric. The Container Store does have some plain covers that you can customize by adding trim or a monogram. We have never used them so I can’t vouch for those…but they seem like a viable option.

Or, just hang a tassel on your favorite hanger & you’re done! 😉

So there…one of my most TIGHTLY kept design secrets.

A Couture Chateau Frugal Friday Closet for my Friends!

xoxo Ann

Thursday: Spotlight on a Cabin Design Project

Thursday: Spotlight on a Cabin Design Project

I love the Mountains

I love Cabins & somewhat Kitsch Decor

This image I pulled from pinterest. Click on photo for link. I do not know who it is credited to but absolutely love the scale and proportion!

It takes the serious out of so much of what we do as Designers and brings humor and whimsy into our lives

I so wish I could work with this architect. He’s out of Big Sky Montana and I love his aesthetic for cabin living. Photo by Audrey Hall.

As I’ve said before…and will say again…

“Taking yourself too seriously is the kiss of mediocrity”

Here are a few inspiration photos for a project we are working on in the Lake Tahoe Area

The Flooring on the main level will be Hickory

This will be a Family Cabin that hosts many generations & many friends.

A type we are thinking about…these look great but can be hard to make on a daily basis so we are really hammering out these details…tbd…This photo was taken from an online rental….linked thru pic

It will get USED. It will be LIVED in.

I love this kitchen inspiration. Credit on Pinterest. Click to see thru.

Dogs, Wet Bathing Suits, Skis, Snowboards, Earthen Backpacks from Jeep Excursions…you name it!

We even started a Pinterest Board to help navigate this project. Check it out here: Cabin Decor.

Happy Cabin. xo Ann

Wednesday Interior Design Style Points: Yom Kippur a Day Set Apart

Wednesday Interior Design Style Points: Yom Kippur a Day Set Apart

Though I am not Jewish, today is a Holy Day for many of my friends. It is set apart.

As a Designer and Decorator, I have been humbled and learned much from my Jewish friends and colleagues who take great care and understand the value and import of each component that goes into intentional purposeful design.

One of my biggest learning experiences was when I designed a Kosher Kitchen decades ago. I can now see it as the genesis of my love of custom detail.


I had to measure and design individual spaces or compartments that were lined with cloth for every single item.

Every cabinet was measured for what item would be placed in it and made to size. Every cabinet was then custom lined with an appropriate cloth.

It made me realize that even the smallest items had value and import and deserved to be stewarded and have a place.

Each PIECE had a PURPOSE and was VALUED. Nothing superfluous went into that space. Everything mattered, was measured, had a specific place and was accounted for.

Embrace your custom value and purpose today :). You matter and are accounted for!

What Interior Design Choices can you make that will enhance your life? Make you more of who you are supposed to be?

I love this lamp – it is made of what some people think of as throw away or ridiculous material…but in the hands of the right designer becomes something fabulous and beautiful! Great symbolism for never overlooking the details. From Demilked. Swoon.

Live a custom life. There is only one you!

xo Ann

Tuesday Tidbit: Interior Decorating, My Tassel Habit

Tuesday Tidbit: Interior Decorating, My Tassel Habit

Tassel Types

If it’s sitting still, I will hang a tassel on it :)!

Fortuny Glass with Cascading Tassel

Yes, I love tassels.

Contemporary Hand Made Tassel

Counted 17 in our Studio. Big, Small, Most all of them Custom of course…

Pink Tassel with Swag 😉

Can you pronounce the French word: Passementarie? It loosely means the decorative use of trim.

Antique Gold Tassels

Even in super contemporary, clean lined, no clutter spaces, you can ALWAYS find a spot for a Tassel

A Tassel from a Site we found called Inviting Smiles! Click the pic to go to the site.

For our Full Service Clients who have closets as part of their project, we ALWAYS make signature Couture Chateau Custom Hangers….and…you guessed it…we add a tassel.

Especially fun when the Closet also has our signature Silver Leaf Lining.

Silver Leaf makes the most fabulous statement behind a rack of beautiful clothes – especially when the custom Couture Chateau Hangers have petit custom tassels!

Easy way to “couture that chateau” up?….add a tassel ;)!

Check us out on Pinterest. Yup, new to it, but it’s a start.

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Custom Interior Design & Decorating, our Passion!

Monday Matters: Custom Interior Design & Decorating, our Passion!

Well, on Friday we had to send one of our best employees back to school…

We will miss his work ethic, enthusiasm and sense of order!

But what we appreciated most was his constant reminder that what we were passionate about mattered.

Even as a 20-something, knee deep in life and school, he “got it”

We are all about YOU. All about CUSTOM for YOU. Because YOU MATTER.

Doesn’t matter if you live in a Tent

“Writing under the stars at Longitude 131”, Northern Territory Australia! Click on photo to go to Northern Territory Reference: “Glamping”

A Yurt

Yurts, Credi: Wikipedia

A Backpack is your home

I have a son who loves to live for weeks, months at a time out of a backpack while hiking Alaska or New Mexico! There is style and custom that comes from no trace living as well…:)!

or a Mansion

This is from – a site we follow on twitter! It is kinda fun to see what goes on in this galaxy – one we are not exactly familiar with ;)!

There is something UNIQUE that you bring to the world

Alpaca – he has great hair or is it fur – for making blankets! We love him for that !

And at Couture Chateau we want YOU to live a custom life

We all matter…you matter…no matter the shape, size or bank account. There is something you have to contribute and the space you live in should enhance that “Younique!” (Hey, should we trademark our new office word? “You-nique”)

Because there is only one you!

Have a great week and know we care about YOU and what you bring to this world.

What room can we customize for you? Let us know!

xo Ann

Frugal Friday: What Are the Best Inexpensive Home Design Resources?

Frugal Friday: What Are the Best Inexpensive Home Design Resources?

Here are SOME of my Top Go-To’s for our DIY Clients….not all of the places…just some!

1. Calico Corners Sale: Once or twice a year Calico Corners has a sale on their services. For true DIY Clients, this is a fabulous resource. They will find out what things really cost and often come RUNNING back to us ;)!! after they get their quotes. However, for the homeowner desiring retail execution of their design vision and managing it all themselves, this is a practical way to go.

2. Ikea: Check out my “Confession of an Ikea Hacker” Blog Post. I need a 12-Step Program :)!

Check out our blog post on Ikea Hacker. I will not apologize for loving this store. It sparks my creativity every time I go :)! Then I need a massage & a pair of Prada shoes…but…;)!…

3. Macy’s Furniture Outlet: I have found remarkable rugs & sofas here.

Macy’s Furniture Outlet, Union City, CA

4. Home Goods: Know what you are looking for! Major labels appear here sometimes……!

Major Labels sometimes show up at Home Goods. KNOW what to look for & you can find some deals.

5. West Elm: Great prices for great style. Yes, it’s retail, but I like their accessories. Well made & polished.

West Elm’s Cottage Pillow Cover. Sublime. $29! Cheaper than our office trip to Starbucks!

Happy Frugal Friday!

Build your Couture Chateau!

xo Ann

Thursday: Spotlight on Easy to Engage Designer Services, Today our Couture Chats!

We had a Fabulous Invite Only Clearance Sale Last Week

4 Antique Queen Anne Chairs from Sale

Everyone knew what to do with the Products…tag & buy fast :)!

Restored Antique Settee with Covered Buttons on Reverse

Gorgeous Back Side of Settee with Covered Buttons!

But we did have some questions about “What do you actually do?”

Our Couture Chats don’t usually involve wine, but they could!

As the Holiday’s Approach, I thought I’d Spotlight an EASY TO ENGAGE SERVICE

This week we will start with our Couture Chats

We provide tissues if the Design Dilemma is leaving you DRAINED! Sometimes the smallest things that are out of order in our home leave us emotionally broken. We want to have a nice space that works but don’t know where to start!

Have you ever thought: I need a new comforter before Mom and Dad come for Thanksgiving?

I should paint the powder room a fresh color before they arrive?

I’d like to update the Family Room with Accessories but not sure where to start?

I’d like to decorate for the Thanksgiving Holiday but don’t want it to be to “theme” as it needs to work into December as well?

How much does a slip cover really cost and will that solve my “kids with food” on the sofa issues?

If any of those sound familiar, one of our Couture Chats might be just the thing.

Two Hours in the Studio with Ann, $700.

YOUR Questions, YOUR Fears, YOUR Design Issues, YOUR Preferences, YOUR Real Life Dilemmas

What we do BEFORE:

Personality Test

I love this! Even how we deal with Personality Tests shows us something about ourselves ;). It is just one of the tools we use to help YOU find your personal style!


Taking the time to answer questions helps us all edit issues down to manageable scale

Telephone Q & A Time

Actual talking time! What a concept!

There is Homework also so don’t think you are off the hook ;)!…

Call 925-386-0720 or email us today if you are interested in a Couture Chat! We skype them also…our NYC Buddies luv this…xo Ann


“Ann saved me from making a huge mistake. She counseled me off the ledge. I was managing my own Project and was really happy with the results until I got stuck on a stupid design decision. She immediately saw through the issues because she had done so much prep work with me ahead of the two hours.”                C.V., Alamo, California

Wednesday Style Points: My Interior Design Go To Furniture Basics, the Farm Table

Wednesday Style Points: My Interior Designer Go To Furniture Basics

Farm Tables: I LOVE Farm Tables with Attitude

Painted Farm Table: French. I have two of these in my own home. Love them.

Another Side View. At 85″ Long and just the right height, a farm table works for dining, studying, a buffet, office desk…just about anything! Including standing on when you need a dress hemmed!! 😉

Why do I love this style? Because even if budget doesn’t allow for the Vintage French Version Above…you can EASILY Build one! (or have your carpenter build one)

Seriously….4 Gorgeous Legs….Some Pine….and Voila!

One of my FAVORITE sites is Custom Made

We OFTEN build a simple custom table that is JUST RIGHT for our client…

We have a Custom Draw Leaf Table in our Office…

Love this because it so easily adapts to conference length! This one has turned legs, the one we kept has fluted legs.

What does your Favorite Workhorse Table look like?

xo Ann

Tuesday Tidbit: Couture Chateau on ivillage, 16 Beautiful Fall Decor Trends!

Tuesday Tidbit: Couture Chateau is on ivillage!

Page 12, check it out! A Couture Chateau Design Project from Moraga, California is Featured! How fun to have a local project make the “Beautiful Fall Decor Trends” ;)!…

Check out the post on Trends for 2013

Seriously! I am so stoked! You’d a thunk we made the cover of House Beautiful!!

Here are some more shots from the same room

Detail of Chair. Our amazing restorer applied five coats of lacquer to a fabulous vintage chair. We had new cane put on so the finish would absorb properly.

This is a favored client, he and his wife have EXCEPTIONAL taste

The menswear upholstery weight stripe is a wool blend. It is an absolutely stunning piece of fabric – here it is with a Versace Fabric we also have. Yum!

They understand refined design and attention to detail

I love the tonal qualities of gorgeous brown with gorgeous gray. The table is entirely hand hewn. Every inch.

They value the people in their lives and sought to create a fabulous backdrop where the living takes center stage. They understand from the core that excellence in Craftsmenship translates into the soul of a room.

A true Couture Chateau.

Tweet. Pin. Share!

xo Ann

Designer Clearance Sale: Friday Frugal Finds & Saturday Sneak Peek All in One!

Couture Chateau’s Designer Clearance Sale Friday Frugal Finds (on a Saturday….!)

A Settee & Fabrics from our Sale…

& Saturday Sneak Peek All in One!

The Orange Mid-Century Chairs sold….we will miss them :)!!

Well, let’s just say no one will ever convict me of being a Computer Whiz :)!

Here is a rolling rack of everything from $5 pillow sham covers we used in a Design Seminar as examples of Retail…all the way up to $175/yard Woven Tweed!

Our In Studio Clearance Sale was an absolute delight yesterday

We sell entire Bolts at this yearly Clearance Sale and will often share where we used the fabric and how on the tag! Some of these bolts are still available. We are still sorting through, but will try to have them up by Monday. No rest for the weary this weekend!

Great Food, Great Friends & Some GREAT Frugal Finds!

As soon as we get our “Bugs” out, the online Sale will go live.

Piles of Fabric…did you see the Pillows made from Tom Filicia’s Fabric for Kravet? We also had a yard or so in a remnant piece….

It will last for three days only.

Our prayer is for a Monday start……California Time….kind of like “Lake Time”, “Tahoe Time”… ;)!

xo Ann