Tuesday Tidbit: Happy New Year, Let’s Make It A Year We REALLY Live.

Tuesday Tidbit: Happy New Year, Let’s Make It A Year We REALLY Live.

Hopefully today is a day of Rest + Reflection

Goals + Perspective

Hopes + Dreams

At Couture Chateau, you know our Mantra:

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

I believe that with all my heart

From my heart to yours

I believe that with all my soul

I believe with all my soul that you are made for amazing things. That your custom life matters.

If no one else shares with you how VALUABLE you are – as you – let me say it now

YOU are valuable


I KNOW you were made intentionally & for something special

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

This photo taken in my Family Room. The wine from the Benziger Family…..

My HOPE for 2013:

1) May it be a year we REALLY live

This photo is with a group of fantastic women. Risks in life...they are most definitely WORTH it!

This photo is with a group of fantastic women. Risks in life…they are most definitely WORTH it! Can you find me in the back row? I’m to the left of the Exit Sign…

2) May it be a year we really DWELL

A Vignette from my Living Room...with food on recycled Christmas Cards as plates.....

A Vignette from my Living Room…yes, those are up cycled Christmas Cards with fabulous Hors d’oeuvres from Dianna Condon…the point is, we must drink the Champagne while we can, enjoy the tastes while we can…DWELL where we are while we can & BE a blessing to those around us…

3) May it be a year we LIVE with Passion + Intent

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

I am passionate that our Homes shape us. We must first live in SAFETY, then ORDER…and finally BEAUTY. At any point in our lives we may have to deal with one or more of those three….some of the hardest work we do as Designers of Custom Lives is to create spaces that are SAFE emotionally and ORDERED for the Custom Lives being lived by our precious clients. The Beauty most ofen comes from those LIVING in the homes. It is merely reflected in the things we design + place….

4) May We find that thing we were made to be or do….and BE it – DO it

5) May our kindness & graciousness increase


7) May we together Move FORWARD, not back

We look forward to a year of BLESSINGS & ABUNDANCE even in the face of all that has passed before and is still to come

Happy New Year, 2013

With Love + Gratitude,

Ann McDonald

I will be with these amazing women next week - but as we get updates will share on our Facebook page! xo Ann McDonald

A picture taken after a long day of Project Photography & Work (thank you Peter!)….it’s who I really am…just like you. xo & Happy New Year!!

Wednesday Style Points: How to DIY Luxury Style, Guest Article

Wednesday Style Points: How to DIY Luxury Style, Guest Article

Today I have the honor of being a guest contributor to our Local Weekly Paper

Live. Love. We are ALL LOCAL!


It’s all about 5 Steps to Make Your DIY Luxury

Support!  Tweet!  Share!  Pin!

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

xo Ann

Thursday Spotlight: Curating Your Luxury

Thursday Spotlight: Curating Your Luxury

I had the deep honor of being quoted on Elle Decor’s Luxury Now Feature on their Website

Am I on the other side of this life? In the shadow of the greats. Deeply humbled.

Being in the same company as Elle Decor and those I admire is beyond comprehension

Labored and Learned

The Reading Paintings of New York’s Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910)

Humbly acknowledge “the more you know the more you realize how little you know”

Curated Luxury = Your Custom Life

What is it that speaks to you

What is it you value

In the aftermath of life’s “foxes”, stripped down, simply: how do we choose to live

What we keep, what we cherish, what remains….those are my luxuries

A cashmere cape from a husband who knows who I am ‘right now’

As I struggle with “foxes” of weight and loss, the grace of people who know you = luxury


A virtual moment with a friend in the aftermath of Sandy with what little power they have left


A realization that life will never be without issue = stop the worry, embrace the pain

Embracing the pain & loss to move forward today. Image linked.


Filling my Couture Chateau with simple things that speak to me, not by $$$$, but by heart

My kitchen sink…custom…curated…combined


Thank you Elle Decor

(if you do not “know” them, you should)

Luxury Now

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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: Can I Wear a Ball Gown to the Studio Because I am an Interior Designer?

Wednesday Style Points: Can I Wear a Ball Gown to the Studio Because I am an Interior Designer?!

Anne Barge Collection 2011

Why Not?! (ok, I DO know why not…but stillllll:)

designed by Danish firm Holgaard Arkitekter, picture linked

Here’s the rub: the details on some of these couture gowns & even custom RTW are SO inspiring!

Randolph Duke 2008. I mean hello Navy & Copper!

I mean…how practical…set the scene: Couture Chateau Team Custom Designing a 30 something’s home in Florida in our Bay Area Studio…wearing Elie Saab…BOOM (!) inspiration strikes by donning Gown & voila, Design Done :)!

Elie Saab Haute Couture Spring 2012

All right…maybe custom gowns don’t give us super powers, but I KNOW capes do ;)….

Style Points: I see a RTW or Couture Collection  and swoon over how that can translate into Custom Interior Design

In 2010, Lee Jofa auctioned custom skirts designed by Oscar de la Renta made out of the designer’s line of home fabrics.

I love the inspiration highway between the two. It literally is the way to “wear it”…by “living with it”

The Couture Collection becomes LIVABLE. We get to enjoy and embrace that custom in the everyday

With our coffee. With all that life throws at us. With the ups. With the downs.

Life really is better in “pretty” or “fabulous”. It just is.

 And the cool thing about Custom? What is “pretty” to me is different than what is “pretty” to you!

THAT is the point! It’s CUSTOM 🙂

As people, we are couture. We are layered with different experiences and headed towards different places. If we weren’t…nothing would get done! I’d be sitting with an idea of a gown with no computer…no coffee…no shoes…and certainly no house!

What’s the Custom inside of you…?

So here’s to Style Points. Ball Gowns and Tuxedos, Vans & Hoodies, Custom Intentional Design in all it’s glory.

So someday I will confess to a Vans Addiction…but you didn’t hear it from me today…;)

Pinterest link HERE. Check it out!

Live a custom life. There is only one you.

And let me know what you are wearing today! At least we aren’t in our bathrobes with fuzzy slippers….well…ok…the Peninsula Hotel ones from B Hills r pretty fab & could be considered nice enough for office wear 😉

The Robes from The Peninsula Hotel in B Hills – soooo soft!

xo Ann