Thursday Spotlight: Couture Chateau Decorating Principle # 5, This One? Sometimes = Tough

Thursday Spotlight: Couture Chateau Decorating Principle # 5. This one? Sometimes = Tough

Couture Chateau Decorating Principle # 5: Personal issues must be addressed for Decorating to Delight

On Sunday of this week, I started sharing my Couture Chateau Decorating Principles

Normally these are reserved for our Full Service Clients

However, in the spirit of being FEARLESS for 2013:

1) I am sharing nugget versions on the blog

2) I am putting together an affordable downloadable e-product as well

Universally Applicable + Uniquely Customizable

I created processes + binders, surveys & systems which are extensive

Nuggets = Digestible

Remember the Principles we’ve shared so far:

 #1. Decorate with no more than 7 years in mind

#2. Remove any item that is emotionally unsafe

#3. Fiercely protect the heart of your home

#4. For Decorating to inspire it has to be authentically you

I share my next Decorating Principle carefully

Personal issues are tough

We feel stupid when they are exposed

Boiled it down but still included 3 of my parameters (there are 12)

Parameter #1) personal issues DO NOT need to be resolved, but they MUST BE addressed


Parameter # 2) personal issues CAN get messy, but messy is ok

Example: Client is “Destination House C” owned by a Multi Generational Extended Family Trust

Many cooks in the kitchen

Parameter # 3) Messy ONLY equals dis-function if we pretend we aren’t

Enter Decorator & Decision Time

A property could be vast & exquisite….

Or it could be an Alpine retreat someone bought decades ago for adventure. It matters not. The issues we deal with are the same.

Trustee M: “The Decorator is moving the Miro into the 2nd Floor Lakeside Suite”

The Melancholic Singer by Joan Miro #1480. 

Trustee F: “Don’t you stay in the 2nd Floor Lakeside Suite?”

From Elle Decor, Charlotte Moss. A Master Suite.

Trustee M: “Not always”

Alexa Hampton

Trustee F: “Yes you do, you can’t have the Miro, I want it to stay in my room”

Trustee M: “We don’t have rooms. The house is owned by the Trust.”

Trustee F: “Then I want to stay in the 2nd Floor Lakeside Suite”

Trustee M: “I thought you stayed on the 1st Floor because the morning light bothered you on the 2nd Floor”

Does the painting get moved?

How is the issue resolved?

Does it matter?

Sound ridiculous?

Have you ever heard someone describe a family that disintegrated over something seemingly small?

Me too

Personal issues. Everyone has them….

I don’t want to decorate where a family can disintegrate over something small

Addressing the personal issues AHEAD of time can prevent that

What we find out in the Decorating Principle Process:

Grandmother bought the painting when it was inexpensive, as a child, with her father because she liked the patterns

Grandmother cannot travel any longer to “Destination House C”

Her ONLY wish for the Decorator is to move the painting into the Lakeside Suite on the 2nd Floor because the colors & patterns reflect beautifully when the sun streams in. It reminds her of when the painting was in her room as a child, when it was inexpensive & she just liked the patterns & shapes…


For the Decorator to have a beautiful photograph taken of that vignette to hang in her current home

Do you know this?

Or are you still mad about not having the Miro in “your suite”

Or are you still ticked at Trustee F for derailing an efficient business meeting? I mean ruuheally…can’t she get a life?

Decorating Principles Processes? = you BOTH know it and are at peace with it.

You know WHY the painting is being moved.

Personal Issues. Everyone has them….

Enter Delight

We moved the painting to Delight someone

If we are hung up on personal issues, we CAN’T delight for Grandmother

If we are hung up on personal issues we don’t WANT anyone else to delight

Trustee F will PERCIEVE Trustee M is trying to control things

(Trustee M is the Trust Director & runs a successful business)

Trustee M will PERCIEVE Trustee F is indecisive and jealous

(Trustee F is an Artist who is deeply fond of Miro)

Addressing personal issues makes room for grace which leads to ability to delight

The point is, personal issues can be anything

Dogs, Paintings, Colors…Patterns…Memories…even Moods & Goals…

Think about it – what are some of yours?

Since we are only working in 7 year increments, they aren’t forever….

We are all messy. Trust Funds or Trailers. All.

Messy does NOT have to equal dis-function. Messy can be cleaned up.

It’s why I developed these Principles. They help us navigate & clean up.

Thursday Spotlight

Spot clean the mess. So YOU & YOURS (mine + ours) can delight.

And yes, the Miro got moved

for 7 years…


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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: The Day After

Wednesday Style Points: The Day After

The presents are opened

The paper is shredded

The snow has fallen &…

I am tired!

Traditions are beautiful when we embrace them with our Heads and Hearts

But the day after sometimes our heart is disappointed & our joy is less than full


The Home was beautiful, the Tree perfect, the Meals divine…the music is still playing…

We bought into the process completely. We followed all the rules. We have access.

But something has gone wrong

The Birkin Bag is fabulous, yes, but why isn’t my life suddenly transformed?

A Pink Birkin Bag….simply gorgeous

Our homes are much the same way…we create these fabulous spaces & places

We custom design the fabrics, the furniture, the trim and they seem to come alive

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!

The mirrors lining our stairwell are from the Plaza, removed when it converted to condos. I love them but they are not alive. No. It’s the PROCESS of the mirrors & their shared memory with those in our family that makes them so special.


The coffee still spills, the pie crust isn’t perfect even though it came out of a French Range…

Another photo from my own home where in the kitchen we have not one but two for baking and one for cooking. Again, beautiful? Yes. Alive? No.

From the kitchen where two ranges live. This one for cooking, the other for baking. Again, not alive…

Something has gone wrong


We buy the best hand bag or take the time for the most exquisite custom design, not because it will transform us

but because the process vets us – it reminds us of why we are alive & for whom we exist

It’s different for all of us – those data points on life

For me? They exist in my home + my work

The custom designing process or working towards the best available is about making what is in YOU come alive

Those style points that equip you to breathe deep in the chaos of the day after

You get a glimpse of a gift given or received that lifts you out of the ordinary

And reminds you that it’s ok

You are so much more than ordinary

Worth so much more than a Birkin Bag

Perfect? Never. Messy? Sometimes.

Worth it? Always.

Style Points. They are yours alone. Custom crafted into your soul, fingerprints really – of you.

I love the mess of the day after. I even love the mess of the “somethings gone wrong” void that comes with it.

It reminds me that living is process and the way we embrace the process is our style

May today be a day where your style points – your unique custom stamp – is a blessing to those around you – starting in your home

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

xo Ann

Frugal Friday: My Favorite Frugal Lamps to Customize

Frugal Friday: My Favorite Frugal Lamps to Customize

+ 1 really cool chandelier (luv RL)

I love lamps

Problem is most of the ones I really covet are terribly expensive

Here are my tops for go to FRUGAL lamp + lighting and how we custom upscale them

1. Pier One

Fabulous Coral Lamp from Pier One. If you look closely at the Beach House on ABC’s Revenge, you’ll see it there too! At $125 a complete steal.

I own two. Painted Coral? Navy? Yes. Easy to customize with color + shade is nicely constructed. Takes a monogram or transfer nicely.

2. TJ Maxx-Tuesday Morning – Home Goods

Ralph Lauren Perry Chandelier, in Brass, which I found at a TJ Maxx. Granted, knew what I saw when I saw it…but the point is, you CAN find some great things here at this “Family” of stores

What we did: customized with a fabric sleeve to cover the drop. We had to modify the lamp due to a sloped ceiling and thought why not coordinate that with the bed skirt in the room. Almost ready to be photographed, not quite!

3. Target

These are really beautiful lamps from Target. At $194 for two, a real deal. They look so much more expensive than they are.

Why I like these from Target. They are so sleek. I think they’d work in just about any setting. Here I do recommend changing out the shades for a true lux look. Sometimes the “give a way” for a less expensive lamp = standard shade.

4. Home Depot

Home Depot Antler Chandelier $189. Can’t buy the box for that!

Do you remember earlier in the week when I shared the painted antler pic? Can’t say that I would use this without some kind of customization – but will share that we have now used this actual chandelier as a “base” over 7 times. The price simply can’t be beat. All white? Solid Silver? Combination? Bring it on…besides which it gives off fantastic light!

So there you have it. Some of my favorite customizable frugal finds = lamps + lighting.

Have a great day!

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

xo Ann

Tuesday Tidbit: My China Habit

Tuesday Tidbit: My China Habit

I hesitate to call this a habit…

yup, have this one…Royal Crown Derby Blue Mikado. My mother’s pattern.

More like a collecting thing…HA! my husband would say…

And this Hutschenreuther pattern which was grandmothers

more like an addiction…

Franciscan Medallion Blue China

Possibly a hoarder?….no…(!)…well…sort of…

And in case you need a moose while at our cabin…

Except I USE them all….and even CUSTOMIZE them when needed with transfers or monograms

I mean don’t you always need 150 white buffet plates just in case :0?! Lordy….I may need to go to confessional after this…

What about when you need BLUE rimmed buffet plates for 150 ??

Really I do…

These match the office carpet…so…we just HAD to have the complete set in case 25 people needed to sit and match the carpet…LOL…OMG I have a prooooblem ;)!

Problem = I LOVE china. All forms, all styles, yup.

Blue Danube China

Anyone out there share my “habit”???

Adelide is fun too!

(two of my sisters and I can impulse set 200 places for sit down 5 course meals)

Calyx Ware :)…yup…this too…

Scary. Blame it on the Hotel Background.

Furio China from Thailand…these look fabulous on vintage tables! The matte black is gorj with food.

And more

Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles also…:) works from Christmas to Valentines Day!

The scary part? This isn’t close to all of them. Doesn’t include the Holiday Patterns, the other Cabin Patterns and several I use when it’s just 6 – 8 ladies for lunch….shhh…..but don’t worry, they aren’t hidden in boxes, I do take care to keep them orderly in the China Cabinet (s)….so that makes it ok, right ;)?….

My mid-western routes. I blame the Hotel thing for my need to be able to serve 200 drop ins 5 courses on china and silver!! 🙂

The upside: If you stop by for a meal, at least the table will be nicely set, JUST for you

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

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