Wednesday Style Points: Our Couture Chateau Extended Community

Wednesday Style Points: Our Couture Chateau Extended Community

Design and Style are not strongholds of the wealthy, they are strongholds of the soul

Style Points = revealed in how we handle adversity

With grace and humor we are following our friends, mentors and those we consider part of the Couture Chateau Family

We will blog tomorrow with a spotlight on something simple

Today = we mourn with those who mourn

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Couture Chateau

Monday Matters: Couture Chateau 

We’ve had a busy few weeks & are gearing up for some November Features

An amazing piece we found. Restoration on the way. Original set markings from MGM Studios…will keep you posted on progress. If you are an expert…PLEASE share your thoughts on origin/age. Three well respected peeps have already tried & disagreed…(!)….where does that leave me?

All plans & customizing details for those pesky photo shoots…& then…

I want to sit with friends and just chat. I worry about those I love who might be in harms way.

My mind and heart wander to the East Coast with friends in the path of Sandy

Hurricane Sandy from Space….

The mid-westerner in me goes to the radio (!) for the weather report…

Canned goods & communication

So on this Monday, a reminder of the things that matter

You 🙂

Let’s change the world TOGETHER 1 design choice at a time…

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Frugal Friday: My (not so secret) Party Table Top Placemats

Frugal Friday: My (not so secret) Party Table Top Placemats

Big family, love to entertain, love to host, love to decorate = $$$$

Today? My secret table top placemat tip

When we design a Dining Room, we include custom lined and interlined Couture Chateau Placemats, Table Runners and Napkins

When I host a party & need a frugal fix for placemats…..shhh……:

1. Source bulk inexpensive fabric. I try to plan for 2-3 yards per place setting. 2 of my FAV online sources: Design Diva & Glamourous Fabrics. Both of these retailers carry overstock or out of season designer brands including Clarence House, Donghia & Brunschwig. They also run sales & specials. I have purchased fabric as low as $8/yard.

From Design Diva Fabrics, Clarence House $17.50/yard Special for 1 Day only. I think a gorgeous white china would look divine on this classic pattern.

2. Grab your: Cork Boards or Cardboard Boxes Cut to Size

If you have some table space, cork boards are super fun! Keeps the settings “tight”. People love the innovation. It’s a party afterall.

3. Start wrapping, duct taping, glue gunning, double sided taping that designer fabric on

Yes, this Couture Chateau girl wraps & glues in the name of a fabulous sit down dinner party

I have used: Toile, Chenille, Plaid, Burlap, Quilting, Suede, Linen…heck, I even used SHAMS. Yes, I used shams, twice actually: Ralph & Peacock Alley. Just cut heavy duty cardboard and slipped it inside, taped those puppies shut and voila.

Peacock Alley makes nice product 😉

Peeps thought we had suuuupppper xpensiv custom placemats

Royal Crown Derby China from grandmother helps…but…

I love this pattern…we used Blue Mikado on the White Shams…

yes, of COURSE I gave it up….notice the title (not so secret)….!!

My point: Frugal Friday = making your custom home “you”

Don’t be afraid to TRY an idea

Point of order: DO NOT RUSH, especially with these “crafty” type things

If you do…it will look cheap. Trust me, it will.

Remember that old saying? Good – Fast – Cheap?…you only get two at a time

So pull out the thinking caps & remember

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Off to Arizona this weekend…will see you Monday!

Thursday Spotlight: 3 Designer “Learned Responses” to Holiday Decorating

Thursday Spotlight: 3 Designer “Learned Responses” to Holiday Decorating

I love this time of year

The air is clean

Gatlinburg Color Changing

Sweaters come out of hiding & the Decorator in me gets to dress with layers


Problem is Clients, Friends, Family…(ok, I) tend to have mini panic attacks

The Couture (custom) Chateau (your, my home) is done, but the holidays loom

What to stage with

Which holiday to decorate for

Disclaimer = I am allowed to say “Learned Response” due to the following:

A) 200 rotting pumpkins looked SO good when they lined the driveway weeks ago (year withheld)

In a field? Gorj. On my driveway? Not so much. Image Credit: K Bruce Lane. Linked.

B) I bought ALL of (insert ANY holiday item) to make my Custom Vignette ala the windows at Saks

Now it looks like a graveyard of cheap (insert ANY holiday item). I’m embarrassed. Can I take (insert ANY holiday item) to the dump so no one will see me?! (recurring)

and my fav C) “honey, I need 1,500 lineal feet of fresh lighted garland for the fence”

My husband? BLANK STARE

so I only used 500 that year…(recurring)

and so I spotlight my

“Top 3 Designer LEARNED RESPONSES” for my Friends (you)…ok (me)

1. Pick Seasonal Colors that will work for at least 2 or 3 Holidays

This is similar in base color to the ones we use

My sisters will attest I have feather wreaths with EVERY color mixed in. They are out and re-purposed from October – December

USES: Charger for Vases with fresh seasonal flowers; Centerpieces; Wreaths on Doors; Hanging on Chair Backs with ribbon; Overscaled Ornaments on Trees = all from 1 Blasted Custom Colored Feather Wreath Prototype

DESIGNER TIP: Budget & fabricate CUSTOM standbys that can do quad-duty and work in conjunction with your year round decor

I don’t have photo access to the vases we used, but this is similar at 10″ high. The shaping is conducive to flowers & candles while still being wide enough to get a hand in for candy.

Client Example: We purchased 25 red 12″ Tall Vases and customized them. They have lined steps with candles; served as centerpieces with flowers; been en masse @ over 5 friends homes for parties; served as bowls for candy & work Thanksgiving – Valentines Day. Your custom modified standby doesn’t have to work Halloween – New Years Eve, just think in terms of multi-use. Pick a shape or type that you gravitate to. Wreaths, Vases, Baskets…

Designer Confession: So I have 40 of those wreaths in different sizes, but stilllll….they rotate…..(!)…..

2. Do 1 schematic WELL rather than 4 POORLY

We’ve all seen it…the ‘craft’ that looks like ‘c–p’ (forgive the language, but pluheassse)

If you can only do one thing, do it right and do it REAL

DESIGNER TIP: One gorgeous pumpkin, uncarved, on a clean porch is WAY better than a poorly done “story”

Client Example: Many Clients travel during the holidays. ORDER and have delivered the best real pumpkins you can source. SMALL Odd number groupings (1-3 people!) un-carved are good for Gates & Porches. They are appropriate through December 1 when a Gardner or Neighbor can easily handle if still out of town.

Designer Confession: How do I know? Reference = 200 rotting pumpkins lining a long driveway & a smelly dump run in heels of course 😉

3. DON’T Custom Decorate the entire house. You are not a department store. Really, you’re not…even if your home is over 11,000 square feet. Not EVERYTHING needs to be swagged.

As Tobi Fairley says “your eyes need a place to rest”

The holiday season is in overload and your home should be a respite, not a rev-up

Leave ROOM for the PEOPLE in your life to set their drinks or books down

DESIGNER TIP: Don’t use real garland inSIDE your remodeled house. It gets sap everywhere & drops more than teenage boys. Let’s just call this Epic Fail # 113

Client Example: Have custom faux garland fabricated with proper LABELED storage boxes. DO IT out of season for your specific home. Make it bare enough that you or a local florist can easily accessorize. Have holes & clips fabricated IN so fresh greenery appears naturally sporadically placed.

Designer Confession: Refer to Epic Fail # 113: My Fresh Garland in & on every surface Broken Vaccum Cleaner Sap on Untreated Limestone Year

The joy in all of this?

We create ROOM for the PEOPLE in our life to set their conversations in the air

and that is the most beautiful holiday decoration we can have

Do share some of your stories – we need to laugh!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Next week: How to spend $100, $500, $1,000+ well on Custom Holiday Decorating


Wednesday Style Points: Details Make the Room

Wednesday Style Points: Details Make the Room

Yesterday we spent all day photographing for November Features

What kept us all day? DETAILS

a couture hem detail from Tien Chiu

How does the hem hang on a custom swivel chair with interlined plackets

Interlining comes in different weights. One of my favorite materials!

How does the hand knit throw blanket drape on an ottoman when it’s cashmere? what about cotton?

I love this site…”A community for hand spinners….”. Do you drool over the detail in hand spun yarns like I do? Swoon.

When we put rooms together, the envelope – the floor plan – of course those things matter

But what makes a room couture?


Think about it. DETAILS make you – well – you.

Have a look around in your “best dressed” space at home

What do you notice? What is it that makes the space so special?

For me, it’s the custom details

The way the gilt lines a coffee table

The interlined chair skirts that look “thick”

A Silver Leaf (not pink;)! lined lamp shade

What do you notice?

I would love to know the custom details that make your spaces sing…

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Tuesday Tidbit: My Architectural Fragment Addiction

Tuesday Tidbit: My Architectural Fragment Addiction

I discovered it young

Some kids collect dolls, toys…I collected mini-alcohol bottles (that story = another time;)!!, candles & fragments from “things”

These “fragments” are from the Plaza Hotel in NYC. I re-purposed them as mirrors heading downstairs to our family rumpus room. Divine. Makes me feel as if I am in NYC about to have tea!


Why I love them (the “thing” fragments that is): They do three things REALLY well

I have these column fragments clustered together in the living room. At different times of the year they serve as candle holders, book ends, stocking hangers or tray holders on a buffet table! Talk about custom life…;)

Am I speaking as if these things have life? Yes, kind of…they do…

Hello fabulous! Lucite AND Architectural Fragment? This from Arteriors Home. OK, I will grant permission to use a Designed and Fabricated Combo just this once ;). And if they aren’t still making this one (2010) then let’s custom fabricate one with pieces from meaningful buildings or homes in your life!

1. Architectural Fragments add unexpected “custom” to a room

Do you recognize this photo? This is in a Client’s Entry hall and is made from Historically Significant Columns we had customized into a table. It greets guests as they enter the front door. I love the “energy” custom fragments bring to a space. They are not flat. They bring the past with them – in a good way.

3. Architectural Fragments reveal things a homeowner likes they may be uncomfortable taking risks on in larger pieces

Not quite ready for Indiana Jones in your living room? Then use a small fragment on a coffee table to hint at something that has meaning for you. This pic from Nyssa in Turkey. Photo linked to credit.

3. Architectural Fragments are affordable sculpture

This is an under-lit lucite sculpture base. One of the things we did was place a rock from the Sea of Galilee onto this for a client – it is magnificent on the bookshelf in their home office, especially at night. The fragment = earth’s architecture has personal significance and enhances their custom life. For them = reminder of what is important.

I am not talking about Pre-Fab Architectural Remnants…the kind you find at major retail outlets

I am talking about the real deal

It can be a piece of column

A piece of molding

A rock….anything!

Do you have any of these in your home? What are you using them for?

At last count? 22. Everything from bookend to makeup mirror holder & beyond”

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

Monday Matters: Fall Decorating Projects…Vintage Trove Style

Monday Matters: Fall Decorating Project, Vintage Trove Style

What a blessed few days with Joss and Main.

This sale is over, but am hopeful there will be more.

Here is one of our pieces from the sale: Mid Century Ice Bucket. Original Wood Handle. I love this piece and it found a wonderful home via Joss and Main.

Wanted to share a few photos. How exactly do you use this stuff?!

Here is the vintage ice bucket in a photo shoot for a feature slated November, 2012. What I love about vintage is the custom past these items bring with them to the table. I think there’s something fun about an ice bucket that has “lived” through some amazing parties…and now it brings that fun to your home!

Sometimes it’s hard to visualize.

Sometimes we see a column like this in a sale and have no idea what to do with it! What I love about different personalities is the possibilities are endless.

How does an antique column fragment work for someone who lives like this?

I believe antique architectural fragments add dimension. Use them as candle holders as book ends…use them anywhere…so much more interesting than a brand new bowl.

For someone who loves the Pottery Barn Look?

Another example from Pottery Barn. How fun to use a custom piece for your home instead of all store bought. No one will have the exact same item.

Here is an Antique Child’s Rocker we had available. Original finish, hand caning.

From an early age I was taught that rooms should always have a chair for young people. It makes them feel welcome. Antiques with hand tied original cane seat are a delightful addition to any room, contemporary or traditional. The finish is original but it has been re-glued for stability.

Have a look. How fun to place in a room like this one.

I LOVE this pic of Ralph. I can “see” that child’s rocker anywhere in this space. The room is collected, comfortable and is made for people to dwell in. There is no worship at the altar of “sterility”. That = real life living. Divine.

Or this!

I do love seeing the Child’s Rocker in this room

How do you use those meaningful accessory items?

Let’s have a great week together.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Frugal Friday: Couture Chateau on Joss and Main Vintage Trove Today!!

Frugal Friday: Couture Chateau on Joss and Main Vintage Trove Today!!

Sign up for the sale HERE:

We are so excited! I honestly never thought this day would come. Having a grateful moment this morning.

Thank you to all my friends (KIM!) (Faryn!) who walk along side and teach me. We thrive in community.

Today on Joss and Main, Couture Chateau is honored to be part of Vintage Trove

Two of the items pictured above are from us, can you guess?

Hint: I love jars….and all things French…and Italian…and…

Italian Tole Lamps. Tole refers to painted , enameled or lacquered decorative metal, usually tin plate. These lamps are my favorite. Whimsical with original shades. Some repair needed on shades, but to even have the cardboard shades when they are close to 100 years old is remarkable. I hope they find a happy home! Made in Italy.

I have always sourced and sold Antique and Vintage pieces.

Absolutely LOVE scouring for fabulous product. The quirky, the overlooked, the “need love” pieces.

Gorgeous Acquired Set, Queen Anne Chairs. Delightfully quirky and beautiful. Reversible cushions held on with tassel ties. Original finish.

Hope you can find a delightful item to brighten your home.

Happy Hunting!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: High Point Market, The Good, The Better…The Custom. Ann’s Top Three Take-a-Ways

Wednesday Style Points: High Point Market, The Good, The Better…The Custom

Oh….I looove Market.

So many fabulous and fun vendors and talks (hello Charolotte Moss! What a woman!)

My top three take – a – ways:


Manufacturers are becoming more Designer Friendly. Someone got the memo.

“We are Designer Friendly” was the VERY first thing I heard after a lovely Hello. Thank you! And Holly – the showroom is FABULOUS. I can hardly wait to find a project to use some of your pieces in.

I have been in this business a looooong time. Had the honor of starting in the manufacturing end for a very progressive thinker: Designers were of the highest order to that manufacturer and the business thrived. There was an understanding that the “Feet on the Ground” with the taste makers trickled down, not the other way around.

Fashion + Art has always understood that. Remember Cerulean Blue…

Perhaps the Fashion + Decor Theme had something to do with it.

Whatever the case, it was a lovely time to be at Market.


Thank you. It was refreshing.


I got to see my “peeps”. I learned from my “peeps”. I was happier in community with my “peeps”.

My “peeps” opened my eyes to some of the manufacturers I would never have gone to on my own. Accessory companies, upholstery companies and all sorts of lighting options. In the past, I have scheduled appointments and been very business like….well, this time…there was that (all business like) but there was “float”.

I like float. I needed float.

Charlotte Moss talked about time in her Kayak. That inspired me.

Float allowed me to enjoy a book signing (Charlotte, Rhonda, Scot, Suzanna)!

Float provided me an introduction to Quintessence. Hello Heaven. Thank you Traci Zeller.

Along for the fun with Traci Zeller as she style spotted at Stanford Furniture…how fun!

And yes, lovely and classic in person. Simply divine.

Float. Try it. New for me ;)…I think I like it…. (!)…..


I met several manufacturers who are offering completely customized options now.

Hickory has always done this….but others are following suit. A wonderful thing as we “Live our custom lives…”

That is NEW. Trust me. It is NEW.

So – exciting stuff for the Design Industry.

Will check in when we are back in SF….& I’ve had my latte from my favorite local “custom coffee shop” ;)…my own kitchen…

“Live a custom life. There is only one you”™

xo Ann

Tuesday Tidbit: My (lowercase p) plaid Habit

Tuesday Tidbit: My (lower case p) plaid Habit

I hesitate to share this habit I have for plaid…because there is an Emperor of Tartan…and his name is Scot – as in Scot Meecham Wood

I will call it plaid (lowercase p) for today in deference as I am a serious admirer of Scot’s talent with (Uppercase T) Tartan!

There are not many Designers who can skillfully master using this in custom spaces without making it look like a Marie Callender’s from 1970

Scot has what must be an ordained from on high way with the nuances of scale & pattern…& one heck of an installer…

I mean seriously…do you KNOW how hard this is to get right?!

Don’t believe me?

Our Sheldon, aka “Fabulous Beast” would look terrific in this.

Try it!!

Designer trying to use plaid well? DIY Person? 2 Couture Chateau “must do’s” for custom plaid drapery: Interlining & Hand Hemming.

The interlining prevents sag & keeps the plaid hanging well, especially important with pattern match. Use a lightweight one if needed & the hand hem? Well…I just love a hand hem 🙂

I’d like my drink now ;)!. Image linked. Beaux Mondes Designs

 I like it pink & loud: So fun for a custom teen room or studio office

How fun. (Source: thomasfleming, via giveitawhirl)

And sometimes full of vinegar

It’s the POW-er of plaid that makes it fun. It does the same in a home space. So instead of wearing it, we customize it into a fantastic piece for a client who understands…the custom fur piping on a plaid Queen Anne chair in the Aspen Home. Divine with a book. Thank you Michael Kors! And yes, I’ll take the boots ;).

So (p)laid & (T)artan…

I love this Oscar De La Renta piece…found it on Shrimpton Couture…AFTER it was sold ;(…

Here’s to making it current. Here’s to customizing your home with pop of pattern.

But please –  before you (or I for that matter) use it in a space…

I mean…how fun!

take a lesson from the Master. And “For the Record”…am glad there’s a curator out there who scans the world for people skilled enough to install it!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™”

xo Ann