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

Thursday Spotlight: Custom Boxes for Presents to Use All Year

Thursday Spotlight: Custom Boxes for Presents to Use All Year

I love beautiful custom wrapping & boxes, especially at Christmas

Yesterday, you saw some in our article in the Lamorinda Weekly

custom wrapping on one of the boxes

A fun local piece with quotes by an employee, a client & a friend.

Today, we will spotlight the custom boxes UNDER that tree

The nice part about this is you can find them in retail and discount settings all year long if you don’t want to have them made just for you.

These boxes are made from Waverly Fabric, similar to the ones we upholstered and then wrapped with geo mesh & faux florals

Time intensive to DIY; expensive to have made custom, but IMO, worth it either way.

DIY Boxes. Take the time to line in silk or linen. Match to gift or home of recipient. Wrap with fabulous bow.

Can you imagine how delighted one of your gift recipients would be to receive a custom box made just for them?

Line in silks & other fabulous fabrics.

There are so many uses after the holidays: Bookcases, Bedrooms, Guest Rooms…Play Rooms!

upholstered box

A simple upholstered box with silk or linen lining can be reused all year. Finish off with a simple bow of geo mesh, some wired ribbon and a faux flower. Truth? Great in a pinch…we can wrap these quick!

Be sure to check our Holiday Help Page and make the next few weeks work for you and your family.

YOU are worth it.

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

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Realistic Timelines for Custom November Holiday Projects

Monday Matters: Realistic Timelines for Custom November Holiday Projects

We do a lot of custom around here

Custom Fabric

One of our Custom Crewels. All hand over – under woven on ivory velvet. Sumptuous. Spectacular as drapes.

Custom Furniture

Even Custom DIY!

One of the funniest things we deal with are Clients with unrealistic timelines

This past week + weekend do you know who had one?


Rather humorous to see my Assistants just “look” at me when I described the to do list a week ago


So we worked on Saturday (thank you!!)

Asst Project Facilitator Daniel made a glorious mess.

And a bit on Sunday (forgive us Lord)

today = tackle a realistic calendar at the Morning Meeting

4 Things I wish I had remembered about Custom Timelines = take your own advice Ann!

1. Don’t rush custom. It impedes quality.

Last week was filled with custom DIY Type Holiday Projects. I left no margins = mistake. PLAN your time out. Include breaks & walks to clear your head, your Assistants heads AND your skill set!

2. The great custom idea in your head takes TIME to communicate effectively.

This is sneak peek of just one. The time that goes into making a shot is incredible.

Light bulb Design moments = super excited to get them fabricated & photographed. Instead of making sure I had specific instructions I relied on quick sketches & “kind of like this” communication. Thank goodness we are a flex group around here. Some good music in the background and fresh coffee pretty much saved the week. Next time, drawings!

3. CLEAN the mess before you start another one.

We are using this as a jumping off point for a clients custom light fixtures in a cabin project that has NOTHING to do with the Holiday Crush. We have FIVE chandeliers in our small space that need to be prep’d for our artist. They take up a LOT of space…

We have a small Studio Space. At 600 square feet, we r tight. Everything does double duty. Throw in some Client Areas & a delivery of 5 Chandeliers that need to be prep’d and all of a sudden, organization = CRITICAL.

As you watch your home morph into combination spaces: Home + Holiday + Gift Storage + Wrapping Center + Mailing Machine, much like our little studio has over the past week: Holiday + Regular Client Business + DIY, take a few minutes to review the list.

Monday Matters = Starting the week off right

Hope it helps!

Looking forward to sharing these pics with you. Can hardly wait. Maybe that’s the problem…I’m just like a kid at Christmas!

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

xo Ann

Saturday Studio Time: Custom Holiday Feature

Saturday Studio Time: Custom Holiday Feature

Working today. Grumble? Not exactly….

We are out in front of the Studio doing some retro Holiday Crafty Type Painting

Here’s a sneak peek….stay tuned and have a GREAT weekend

Daniel, our Assistant Project Facilitator and Inventory Chief…working today out in front of our Studio Door.

As soon as we are free to share this feature, we will.


Customizing with Color

Using Recycled Material

Up-Cycling Holiday Basics

Are you working on a Holiday Craft this weekend?

Love this Ikea Blanket. Cozy up on the sofa. Malin Band Throw. $19.99

Let us know! We’re in!!

“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

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

Thursday: Spotlight on our Designer Fabric & Trim Clearance Sale, First Time Like This!

Spotlight on our Designer Fabric & Trim Clearance Sale, First Time Like This!

Well, we are in a big mess!

Our Pillow Shelf – all of these will be for sale. The bottom ones were made for a show sample, the middle ones are Tom Filicia Fabric, the top ones are made from Crate & Barrel fabric and interlined

Fabric all over, trim piled up

For 1 day a Private INVITATION ONLY sale

IF ANYTHING IS LEFT, we will then open up online with Shopify on Saturday for 3 days

Will let you know how it goes !!

We’re already wiped, so…time for more coffee and of course to get my hair done first !

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: Bespoke Design Makes A Difference in Your Home

Wednesday Style Points: Bespoke Design Makes A Difference in Your Home

A Client took this photo as inspiration for a Custom Artwork Piece we were having made…

Bespoke: Custom, Made to Order

This was another photo that a Client took, which we modified into something very custom which held special significance for them…it blesses them each day!

We love how custom, hands on things in your home bring life and soul into a space

This photo, taken by our Client on one of their many travels became the inspiration for another custom piece of art. This client’s passion and gift is photography which we take and turn into design elements for their home….encouraging them to fan into flames their gift to bless others

At Couture Chateau we care deeply about building spaces that equip our clients to be the best they can be

We love custom because hand made items bring a story with them into a space

Those things are blessings to both the TRADESMEN & WOMEN who create them & the CLIENTS who love them

Have a great Wednesday – embrace the Style Points that belong just to you!

xo Ann

Monday Matters: We Love Our Workrooms!!

Monday Matters: We Love Our Workrooms!

HAND Made Table – Each Piece of Parquet was hand cut, fit and distressed…

As we prep for our sale and start to price out some items

Custom Pillow Collections by Ann McDonald of Couture Chateau

It becomes clear how much labor and love go into each product

Hand Made Couture Chateau Lining Fabric

Hand crafted details

Custom Pillows: Lined and often Interlined with our Couture Chateau Fabric!

We are GRATEFUL for the hearts and hands that make our lives better!

xo Ann

Monday Matters: Labor Day

Monday Matters: Labor Day

Happy Labor Day

What do you Labor and Toll at?

Our Studio Space is a mess as we prepare for our Sale…we are laboring to make it right for our friends…!…

Do you feel rewarded for your efforts?

Sometimes this is how we feel…we work long hours and get a “raisin pay”….our heart is to always give the best away to those who work alongside us!

We wanted to take today to say THANK YOU to those who WORK ALONGSIDE US at Couture Chateau

I have always loved this image…it is humble, honoring to work and reminds me that every stitch matters…”Young Woman Sewing, The Artist’s Sister Anna Hammerchøi,” by Vilhelm Hammerchøi, oil on canvas, 37 by 35 centimeters, 1887

We are NOTHING without the skilled men and women who are EXCELLENT at their trade

An Upholstery Shop

We believe in compensating them WELL for their CONTRIBUTION to our lives and homes

Fair Trade…in the USA, it means we use well compensated local workrooms that are as small and local as we can source. It is our belief that skill is a gift and a gift should never be treated as something disposable. Gifts should be honored and rewarded. We are grateful for the gifts our tradesmen and women bring to the table so that we might furnish beautiful spaces for you!

Happy Labor Day!

xo Ann