Thursday Spotlight: Happy Valentines Day, My FAV Use of Red in Rooms & I am Grateful For YOU!

Thursday Spotlight: Happy Valentine’s Day, My FAV Use of Red in Rooms & I am Grateful For YOU!

I LOVE the scale, proportion & punch of oversized art, especially on a tremendously bold wall. Image linked.

This is an older image from Arch Digest. Image linked. I love the drama of the space & can imagine having a fabulous cup of tea…

Have you seen this one from Bob Vila’s blog? Serious fun.

Image linked. Drama again. Very fun. Could I actually live here? Probably not, but a visit would be divine.

I love how the contemporary white chairs play off the bold sofa. The slight curve on the leg of the coffee table plays off the straight line of the upholstered wall. Seriously well done. Image linked.

What is your favorite use of red?

Is it an accent? Are you bold enough to use it on a wall? On a sofa?

Or is it one of those “NIMH” colors ;)!….as in “not in MY house!”

Let me know!!

Truth? I don’t actually have any in my main house…..cabin? YES! Main house?….only a tiny bit, barely 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day – from my heart to yours.

I am grateful today….because I get another chance… May today be one where if no one else tells you…I will…YOU MATTER & I am GRATEFUL for YOU. As you are, where you are, who you are.

I am grateful to walk alongside and share this thing we call life.

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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: A Video From One Of My Favorite Sources, Custom Made!

Wednesday Style Points: A Video From One Of My Favorite Sources, Custom Made!

You know I’m all about custom

Our tag line is “Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™ after all

As we are working like dogs getting our First Ever Webinar product completed, throwing in some travel & clients, this week has been a bit hectic & it’s only Wed 🙂

Enter style points.

Custom Made has style points.

Be sure to check out their video & let them know you love them as much as I do & that you heard it from this little blog called Couture Chateau by Ann McDonald. If I weren’t working here, I’d find a way to work there!

Do yourself a favor – inspire your day & WATCH the Second & Third Videos as well as the first…you will be blessed….

Also, if you need a refresher on Why To Buy Custom, read the article below. It is from the heart… this Designer I know…;) written for a company she thinks is pretty awesome…


My Top Three Myths About Purchasing Custom

If you go to the original article in October, you can see photos of some of our Client’s custom details.

As the Founder of Couture Chateau, I tackle myths about custom daily. The truth is I love this discussion because it opens a door to share my passion for the intentionally made. Here are the three things I hear most from my clients and what I tell them in return.

1. Too Expensive. Beautifully crafted items can be costly. However, ‘custom’ is one of the few true value exchanges left in the world of manufacturing. It’s the place where consumer and creator are most closely linked. This value exchange translates into magical aha moments; we realize a part of us and our vision for living is being made manifest by the hands of skilled designers, craftsmen and women. It is pure delight when we see our dollar glean that value. Everyone wins.

2. Takes Too Long. Not all custom products take a long time. A custom cupcake, for instance, takes one afternoon. A custom piece of furniture with custom fabric may indeed take up to 6 months, but the beautiful part about that process is the thought in every detail. We live in a “now” society, but the things we truly value, we wait for. With custom, the process is interactive and wait time becomes part of the product. Once we realize this, it’s the start date that delineates ownership, not the delivery date.

3. What if I hate it?! It’s not returnable. For over 20 years I have observed that the process of engaging skilled fabricators who make items to size and scale vets most of these issues. It’s the intentional interaction between thoughtful use and production that causes us to self-select function, form, purpose, detail, color, scale and price. The quick impulse purchase is often the regrettable return, rarely the custom.

When I started out, my passion was to honor the individual craftsmen and women I encountered in the luxury design trades and find a place where their skills would be curated by enthusiastic patrons in everyday life. What I have delighted to discover is that the story of how a custom item is created is often its most treasured attribute. The relatable process transcends social boundaries and is cherished by creator and curator alike.

As we say at Couture Chateau: “Live a custom life. There is only one you.™”


Have a Style Point Day !

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Getting My Desk Aligned With My Heart So I Can Design With Clarity

Monday Matters: Getting My Desk Aligned With My Heart So I Can Design With Clarity

Monday morning. Ahhh….

I do love my city by the bay. As wacky as it can get…there is still beauty rising each morning. A hope for the new day.

Oopps…lots of things that didn’t get done around the house this weekend

Lots of small things that were left behind on the desk

Working on the Webinar…If you haven’t seen our Video, make sure to watch it HERE

Monday matters.

Good coffee helps – and since you know me, so do good shoes!!!

I know when the over the knee boots come out, it means business! I dragged my favorite pair to Arkansas last week for Mastermind & they always make me feel more empowered. Silly but true. 🙂

What is on the docket for your week?

What is on the list for your home?

Are you buying some fun Valentine things to set the table with?

So simple & fun, especially with kids around. Image linked.

Cards to those near & far who need to know you love them?

Me? A bit of travel, Tahoe & elsewhere to meet some clients

I love the drive. About 3 hours – a great cup of coffee & lots of thinking time when my cell reception goes out. Any project in Lake Tahoe is inspiring to me.

A bit of this & a bit of that

I need to clear my desk, make sure it aligns with what my heart is telling me about our venture outside these four safe studio walls….& designing with clarity these Systems so they make life EASIER! Not burdens or rules or regulations, but adaptable, scalable customizable systems that set you free.


It’s the good stuff.

Because we are here.

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

xo Ann


THANK YOU to ALL who have contacted me or commented on this phase of  my business. Overwhelmed with joy & marvel at the abundance of blessing. We are testing one of our first webinars with a small live group at the end of Feburary & will have systems available in March/April.

I am so excited about the clarity of mission here:

To equip you in an overwhelmed world

To embrace the custom you & be intentional about how you DESIGN YOUR LIFE

So you may steward the opportunities around you & find your calling in the clearing…

If you haven’t emailed us to let us know you want to be on our mailing list, do so. I am working to be FEARLESS, so can you. It’s the word for 2013.


Sunday Stewardship: Find Your Life Envelope; So We Can Steward The Design Part Easily!

Sunday Stewardship: Find Your Life Envelope™ So We Can Steward The Design Part Easily!


It’s all about making sure you take your ten talents & make 10 more

I know YOU have talents. And gifts. And fears. And HOPES. And DREAMS.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed and can’t cut through the noise to create a meaningful life?

Do you ever wish you could take back the reigns of your life & really DESIGN it so you have no regrets 10, 20 even 60 years from now?

I know I do

I know my clients have

The core of my Design Business has always been about building a COUTURE LIFESTYLE.

Sure we pick the right sofa (remember the Frasier example)

But the process is about equipping to take control of our homes, intentionally, so we can live out the life we are called to live. Where ever you and I live. From India to Canada, US to China…UAE to France…it matters not.

If we are to live a life of meaning, it must be intentional.

But it must be OUR – YOUR intentional. Not the catalogs, or the prevailing wisdom, or current trend.

Check out my video on our new Design Systems Simplified Products. THIS is what I am working on.  It’s the process that equips us to get there. I hope it excites you the way it excites me.

It’s all about cutting through the noise of life and getting to WHO you are, WHERE you are and designing your custom life from there. Whether it’s an apartment or a 22,000 square foot home.

Design Systems Simplified. Come on the journey with me. For the first time ever, I am opening these very private doors and sharing the soul behind the brand. I created this company because I needed to live it. May it bless & equip you, may I have the honor and privilege of walking shoulder to shoulder as we discover YOUR custom Life Envelope™ so you can get on with the living.

If you are interested in our products & services after watching the video, email me:

These new to market “Design Systems” will not be publicly available until after March. Our Full Service Clients use them every day.

Our mailing list is small and intentional. Our mailing list includes those who want to make a difference with their life. I hope it includes you.

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

xo Ann


Mission: To EQUIP those in an overwhelmed world to design their homes & lives with intent and purpose so they can live the custom life they are called to

How: simple repeatable scalable systems designed from 20 years in the trenches of luxury interior design

Saturday Stuff: Getting My Decor Right So I Can Live My Life

Saturday Stuff: Getting My Decor Right So I Can Live My Life

I pretty much think most of life’s issues can be solved thru Design + Decorating

Ok, well, most of them…

I mean a cool coffee table can make a girls day!

Ok, some of them…

Truly? maybe all of them 😉

Doesn’t funky wallpaper cover all our painting sins ;)?

I mean, it’s Saturday…family is all home…family room can get rather chaotic, everyone is cooking some fabulous breakfast, dishes everywhere, a teenager leaves the pan on the stove & a glass of milk on the table before rushing out to get a run in…

The phone rings, someone get it!

Or maybe it’s a sippy cup dripping with juice stuck to the high chair because last night everyone hit the wall

The phone rings, someone get it!

Or perhaps the cat thought your wine glass was a great toy & you wake up to find Max the Persian purring over a few drops of Merlot….

The phone rings, hey Max…where did you HIDE it?!

Whatever it is, it’s “STUFF”

Life stuff – and whatever surrounds us, those design & decorating things, either make life stuff easier or harder

Remember that Frasier example from a few days ago

So this Saturday, my house is a bit disordered however the systems we set in place catch it from going completely overboard (most of the time)

What is your Saturday Stuff?

Did the sofa catch the remote last night?

Did the cat knock over the wine glass?

Is the sippy cup stuck to the cool table from Pottery Barn?

Yes, my teen’s cleats are on the English Coffee Table so the dogs won’t chew them…just an older version of that sippy cup 😉

Design. Real life living. It’s the good stuff…

What’s yours?

What are your systems?

How do they handle your stuff?


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

xo Ann


Don’t forget to send your email to if you want to be a tester! We have fewer than 5 spots left! Are you FEARLESS enough? This Webinar is on “How To Custom Decorate With Retail Product & Make It Look Like The Pro’s”

How To Use Retail & Make It Look Like The Pro’s…let’s avoid the “nice Pottery Barn House” because you are so worth it!!

We are working on zipping up the name, so LET ME KNOW! What do you think of:

“Help, I’m a West Elm Addict: Decorate With Retail & Make It Pass The BFF Test”

“My Catalog Life: How To Get My Family Room Right Using Retail”

“My Family Room Wins: How To Start & Actually Finish A Decorated Room Using Only Retail”

Remember, as one of my testers, you will be on the inside track. Your feedback MATTERS! These are systems I have used for years with my full service clients and am SO excited to get them out to you!!

I want you to say YES if there is even the smallest part of you that is thinking about it! We will start testing in late February. Tomorrow we should have a short video for you to watch.

FEARLESS. It’s what 2013 is all about.

Thursday Spotlight: Who Am I & How In Heaven’s Name Does That Relate To My Sofa?!

Thursday Spotlight: Who Am I & How In Heaven’s Name Does That Relate To My Sofa?!

Spotlight: Who Am I?

My favorite sofa style for me? High arm, high back, deep cushion…in navy or red velvet……opposite a white contemporary piece….

I love the mix of old & new, contemporary, traditional. For me? Who I am today? In my living room, this mix feels like a great dinner party…enough tradition to keep it real & some spark to make it interesting….

Spotlight: Who Are You?

The roll arm…always a classic. Image from Apartment Therapy. Linked.

And how in the name of anything does that relate to my sofa….

Yesterday, I shared a photo from the TV Series Frasier. We saw how the choice of Frasier’s Bespoke Sofa ala Coco Chanel contrasted to his Father’s choice of recliner.

Both of those pieces were perfect for who the characters were – at that specific time

Knowing who you are so you can be consistent in every area of your life, starting with your “nest” is important

I believe with all my soul that we need each other to encourage, equip & figure it out. We cannot do this alone…we simply can’t

It can equip you or hinder you

This is such a great visual to me….to the ant, THIS is shopping! They work together to find just the right piece to be who they are…so silly & yet so relevant…image linked.

Can you imagine how uncomfortable the character Martin would have been on the sofa & vice versa?


Yes, you know…one of my trademarked systems 😉

1) from a SAFETY standpoint, he had physical limitations. he needed his recliner to accommodate those issues

2) from an ORDER standpoint, he needed the recliner with a table close by for his drink, remote & as an easy spot for his dog Eddie

3) from a BEAUTY standpoint, that recliner had lived with him for years. It was a pleasant memory and comforting spot where he could delight in all that life had handed him. It was beautiful to HIM

Am I telling you to go buy a recliner?


Though this one might be ok. Image linked.

Am I letting you know that it’s ok to decorate for you, today? YES

In 7 years we will re-asses. My Decorating Principle # 1: Decorate with no more than 7 years in mind.

Who are you?

Does your sofa fit?

Does it do for YOU what Martin’s recliner does for him?

Does it do for YOU what Frasier’s sofa does for him?

I hope so

Spotlight. You.

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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: Living Who You Are, Where You Are, Why You Are & Choosing The Right Sofa To Match

Wednesday Style Points: Living WHO You Are, WHERE You Are, WHY You Are & Choosing The Right Sofa To Match 😉

I loved the sofa that “Fraiser Crane” had in his home…it was his character to a t.

As we trek through this week of Mastermind, peeks & valleys combined, I am reminded of this core truth about why I Decorate & Design:

I Design & Decorate to equip my clients to live

1) WHO they really are

2) WHERE they really are

3) WHY they really are

Because in the marrow in my bones I believe they bring something unique to this world that must be free to thrive. By creating a Custom Space that is Safe + Ordered + Beautiful just for them, they can do just that. Thrive. Bless. LIVE.

And Martin’s chair…not exactly Coco Chanel, but worked for who he was, where he was & why he was….would I work to find an alternative? of course, but even Frasier in the end knew this was the right piece at the right time for the right person……discovery….a life long process of choices….in 7 years we can find a new one ;)…

So can you

It is so critical to understand that you exist for good things

That HOW you live can either enhance those good things or destroy those good things

My inspiration came from yellow flowers in my blue kitchen sink (behind) & red cake was one of those mornings when the aha moment came!

Do you see one of my kitchen sinks in the background? It’s unusual & it speaks to who I am, where I am & why I am. We must be willing to risk in order to thrive. What is a risk you know you need to take? Is it a good risk? Will it bless you and those around you?

You have permission to embrace who you really are today so that you can be who you really want to be tomorrow….and leave all the encumbrances behind…

It’s the WAY we get at who you are, where you are, why you are that is Style Point fun…those 20+ years in the trenches of design that give me insight into how we get to a place to make that clear so we can choose the sofa…

It shouldn’t be misery to find out

It should be a safe process of discovery, with action along the way…move forward so you can get on with the living…

So you can get your style points ON!

What is it today that you wish you could just “be”

What gift or talent do you have today that you need to embrace so it isn’t lost or wasted?

So in 5 or 10 or 20 years you DON’T say “what if I had”, because you didn’t……

What choice would you make in your home + life if you had no fear?

How would that help you to live?

Image linked

Have you ever tried to thrive from a place that “wasn’t you”?

Have you ever felt that “aha moment” in a space that said “I’m HOME” to you?

My kitchen sink...

One of my other kitchen sinks…I always have that sigh of “I’m Home” when here…it fits me, who I am TODAY

Style points. Embrace them. They are yours alone.

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

xo Ann


Don’t forget to email me & let me know you are FEARLESS enough to participate in our test Webinar at the end of February. This will be our first roll out of our “Design Systems Simplified” Business & the end product will sell for well into the thousands of dollars. These are systems we use with Full Service Clients with great success. Limited number of spots available. This first Module will be on How To Custom Decorate With Retail Product And Make It Look Like The Pro’s. Our other test modules will include “How To Re-Decorate & Not Get Divorced” & “How To Decorate A Home Managed By A Family Trust & Used By Several Generations”….there WILL be modifications to the titles, but these are just some of the fun things we are rolling out the next few months. Email me now. The space may be gone if you don’t. I want you there if YOU want to be there! xo

Tuesday Tidbit: Exquisite Design Detail & How It Reflects Us

Tuesday Tidbit: Exquisite Design Detail & How It Reflects Us

It’s Tuesday! Most productive day of the week ;)….so far…

As you know I am in Arkansas with my Design Mastermind Group. We had a fabulous dinner last evening & have so many new wonderful women as part of the group

My tidbit for the day: Design Detail

My challenge: How It Reflects Us

I love grand design

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!

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!

I also love the detail

You may know this picture…it’s been around a while. Detail of life. Constructed with care to do things set before us….image linked.

I think one of the reasons I love the detail is because it reminds me that special starts small.

Rearcher Michael Davidson, from under the microscope. Image linked to article from 2012. Detail is beautiful. We just have to be willing to stop and look.

There is something exquisite in all of us that needs to be paid attention to in order for us to thrive & when we capture the detail, we capture that exquisite

Not everyone “sees” the detail

I believe as designers + decorators + people, we live victoriously when we are able to “see” the detail, the exquisite around us

Not everyone captures the exquisite at first passing

Detail. Precise. You are precise in every detail! Special in construction.

That’s ok

Exquisite is for those are available to perceive it. It’s a process that can take a lifetime.

It may not be time for someone to notice just yet….

Tuesday Tidbit: What is YOUR detail today?

What is the exquisite in your life you need to stop & notice?

Are you reflected in that? I hope so!

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

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Planning For A Week of Master Mind

Monday Matters: Planning For A Week Of Master Mind

As many of you know, I get together every quarter with a fabulous group of Designers in Little Rock, Arkansas

I am part of Tobi Fairley’s Master Mind program and it has changed HOW I run the business of my Design Business

I believe this PASSIONATELY about our spaces…also true with PEOPLE…

The simplicity of Tobi’s program spoke to me: It’s about the business of Interior Design. I grew up with an archaic drilling that inherited wealth was ok, but to earn it? omg…how gauche…PROBLEM: If I don’t earn from a well run business, then my business closes. No jobs for those I delight to work with & the gifts & talents I have been given to steward in this area simply die. Hard lesson for me. Money was simply never discussed in “polite company”….

Ummm….times have changed….

LOVE this. Pick wisely. You matter enough to do so.

That has been a hard lesson to get into my soul. I think it’s why I laugh SO HARD when watching Downton Abbey. “What’s next…the London stage?”… will never know how much I relate…

I see this so much with my Clients & is WHY I am so passionate about these upcoming Webinars. I want so much to INVOLVE for Understanding so your life is EASIER. Design Systems Simplified!

In my heart I knew it was right to join this group of fabulous women. But it was a risk…I mean, there were (are) those I know who eye roll as a daily habit…oh well…

Says it all.

So this Monday matters.

I look forward to a week of:





Designer Stuff!

It will also be a great hiatus from our Webinar production that has been on the front burner these past two weeks.

DO let us know if you’d like to be one of our limited live Webinar Testers. Send an email to This is a product which will contain an Introduction Module + 6 Additional modules and will have a price tag well into the thousands…if you’d like to be on our short list of test participants, you will receive some of the material for free! We are scheduled to start testing the last week in February. Limited number of spots available so be fearless and email me!

Monday Matters & so do YOU!

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

xo Ann

Sunday Stewardship: Make Your Bed & Live…

Sunday Stewardship: Make Your Bed & Live

Yes, you heard it 😉

Make your bed

Simple but it matters. Stewardship. Seriously.

One of the things I am most passionate about are systems.

Those of you who have been with us a while know that about me

I like systems because I believe in my heart systems FREE us up to LIVE CUSTOM

Not psychotic self imposed perfectionist systems


The most basic one?

Get up + Make Your Bed

It’s actually a system if you think about it. 2 Steps.

Step 1) Get Up

Step 2) Make Your Bed

Even if you hate the comforter & want to redecorate, practice with what you have & do the best you can with what you have so that when you get the new stuff you will have the Habits & Systems in place for Stewardship

Get up + Make Your Bed

Even if you have 25 housekeepers…..

Get up + Make Your Bed

It sets the tone for the day…& this simple system….sets the tone for your larger life


Hopefully this was your smile for the morning!

And have you made your bed?!

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

xo Ann