Sunday Stewardship: “Pick Pieces That Transition Well” our Feature on ivillage

Sunday Stewardship: “Pick Pieces That Transition Well” our Feature on ivillage

Yesterday we shared our Headboard featured on ivillage.

Today in honor of Stewardship, we show a project where EVERY item was purchased with an eye towards other uses

This fun high contrast Dining Area for a 20 Something was designed using our VIP Day Service

This Feature is DIY High Style, Low Cost

For the project below our goal was 3 fold:

1) Fab

2) Practical

3) Less than $3,500 including Design Fee of $1,500

We came in well under budget!

Here’s How:

I chose a three color classic combo that packed punch

Black + White + Turquoise

Here is the post from ivillage:

Pick Pieces that Transition Well

Ann McDonald designed this dining room for a 20-something who loves to entertain. She wanted a strong visual punch and had a good-sized space to work with, but not a lot of money. Ann decided to design the space with items that could do double duty later if her client moved out of the apartment and into a house. They started with an outdoor rug from Cost Plus and ended up running with an outdoor theme thinking that all these pieces would work well on a porch some day. To create a room divider and block off the apartment’s laundry area, Ann’s client created a large curtain panel using outdoor fabric she found at a discount chain for $15 per yard, plus a curtain rod and rings from Ikea.

Dining Room

The first design choice we made was the rug. It’s an outdoor room size rug from Cost Plus that was in store only.

This classic Damask Outdoor Rug is from I love using bold pattern outdoor rugs, especially when the budget is tight. Why? Because you can pack a punch while using well priced nice quality basics (the CB2 Table, a Stripe Drapery…) that will transition life with you.

Since the Client is in her 20’s & enjoying apartment life I wanted to spec something that could easily transition, handle wear + tear & make a statement


Entertaining traffic? Not a problem! Spilled drink, pets or spots wash out with soap & water.

The second choice was the white classic table. No, it’s not an original Saarinen 🙂 but the style is classic and at $199 from CB2, absolutely unbeatable.

Odyssey Table by CB2. $199. This is a classic style that packs a punch. Saarinen’s replica version is available at Design Within Reach for $1,800 + depending on size. We simply didn’t have the budget to spec DWR’s version.

Truth? I have one just like this in the Design Studio. It gets used constantly!

I had originally specified Kartell’s Victoria Ghost Chair in Blue at $330 each, but found these Turquoise Chairs at Home Goods for $ 65 each. Savings too good to pass up. Designer + Client Happy!

Kartell’s Victoria Ghost Chair is a classic.

They are simple, classic and strong for an inexpensive chair. The color is what really takes them over the top.

For the drapery (room divider) I spec’d out reversible panels of outdoor black & white striped fabric with a leading edge band in beige dots.

So the Client may re-use the drapery fabric at some point for an outdoor awning, I specified flat panel. This also made it possible for savings on custom labor costs – she is a terrific seamstress and sewed the panels herself.

By making them reversible, she gets the same pretty view from the Laundry Area that she does in the Dining Room.

Suntex Sun Duck Fabric in Black & White Stripe, about $18/yard on line. Client was able to secure for about $15/yard locally. I did specify a custom leading edge band out of a beige outdoor dot which coordinates with the wall color (out of frame).

Drapery Hardware & Clips are from Ikea

Ikea Syrlig Curtain Rings hold the flat panels in place. We spec’d a simple tie back so Client wasn’t drawing drapes constantly to get in and out of Laundry area.

Client handled installation themselves

Matte Black Dishes from Target

Dishes from Target. The matte finish looks incredibly high end and for a custom signature, we paint the underside of mugs in matching Turquoise! Hand wash the mugs please…& if you do DIY this custom trick, use proper paint from craft store.

Custom Napkins by Couture Chateau out of hand dyed black Belgian Linen

Custom Hand Made Napkin Rings by Couture Chateau

I found this DIY from Wood Turning Online. Absolutely stunning, I love using hand fabricated napkin rings. Image linked. You can also source custom napkin rings from my FAV site: Tell them Ann McDonald sent you ;)!

Sunday Stewardship: Are you planning a DIY Project this weekend?

What about one where down the road you can TRANSITION an item into another space?

Let us know!

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


Not EVERYTHING we do is large scale 🙂

This DIY Project was achieved from a simple VIP Day, $1,500.

Here is the link to our website where you can read a detailed description

As you know from my Frugal Friday posts, VALUE is important to me

We DO design single rooms and remote projects. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Who knows, your project may end up featured on the Blog!


Saturday Stuff: “Think Outside The Headboard Box” our ivillage Feature!

Saturday Stuff: “Think Outside The Headboard Box” our ivillage Feature

I love ivillage

I read it long before being asked to contribute so am always grateful when I can share projects. Please pin, like, share! We’d love to do more.

This Feature is DIY High Style, Low Cost

Not EVERYTHING we do at Couture Chateau is large scale 🙂

This DIY Project and the one we will share tomorrow were Designed with Client’s using VIP Days which accommodate all budgets

As you know from my Frugal Friday posts, VALUE is important to me

If you have a smaller or remote project, contact us. We’d be thrilled to chat via email. Who knows, your project may just end up featured on the Blog!

For the project below, 12 Foot Sloped Ceilings were presenting issues and the Client did not have a large budget. The room doubles as office & guest room.

Here is the Description from ivillage

Think Outside the Headboard Box

Many bloggers have shared step-by-step tutorials on how to make upholstered headboards, which are an affordable, albeit labor-intensive, way to spruce up your bedroom, but Ann McDonald of design firm Couture Chateau came up with an even better idea. When she found a 3-section divider made out of coconut shells at Home Goods for $39.99, she knew it’d make the perfect headboard for her client’s guest bedroom. The ceilings are over 12 feet high at one end of the room and Ann’s client wanted something that would make a strong visual statement. Ann loved the divider’s textural quality and lucky for her, it was a perfect fit for a queen bed and worked well with the casual vibe of the room.

Guest Bedroom Suite, Doubles as Low Use Home Office

The Client handled the installation themselves. The 3 screen panel is attached with a cleat system from Home Depot and can easily be moved

The Coverlet is Barbara Barry from Tuesday Morning

Barbara Barry Quiet Curve Coverlet & Toss Pillow in Sea Glass. I love how the color of the coverlet plays against the strong browns. You can find this same coverlet on ebay & other re-sellers. Client found it new at Tuesday Morning. Image linked to ebay

Barbara Barry Coverlet from House of Linens. Notice this one has a different stitch pattern. I love her pre-fab coverlets because they are well priced + classic. About $150 depending.

The Shams are Ralph Lauren Home Collection, Wool with Velvet Trim

The shams pictured here are European Square, Ralph Lauren. The ones we used are no longer available, but the price point is similar about $130. We splurged on the shams because we saved elsewhere. Ralph can be found on line or at major home stores like Macy’s.

The Prints are antique architectural renderings framed by Aaron Brothers

This is from All Posters. Image linked. We used antique renderings the Client already owned. I specified Aaron Brothers  custom framing using a stock frame. By paying only for the labor & upgraded preservation glass the framing costs per print were less than $150 each. Turn around is about 3 weeks.

The desk ( barely in frame) is from a consignment store and we changed handles for a more contemporary look. Couture Chateau custom lining on inside of drawers with patterned fabric over board so guests would feel special!

I don’t often use animal prints, but custom lining the inside of drawers in “wow” fabric in Guest Suites is one of my trademarks. So fun! This fabric is a chenille and runs about $23 per yard. Image linked to Fabric Domain website. Easy to DIY with heavy cardboard & good glue.

Because this space functions as both an office and guest room, the Client needed a place to keep office items. Since I specified to custom line the drawers, wasn’t keen on a bunch of pens possibly leaking. Solution? A shadow box frame that opens from the front! The Client can clearly see pens, paperclips, sim cards and simply pick up the box when guests arrive.

No cleaning out messy drawers. Happy Everyone 🙂

These are from Exposures. Image linked. The real trick here is to use a shadow box that isn’t too heavy and opens from the front. It one of those tight space design tricks. No cleaning out drawers last minute before a guest arrives. Just pick up your box and leave!

Saturday Stuff: Are you headed out for a DIY Project this weekend?

Let us know!

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


Tomorrow: Stewardship Sunday, “Designing with Transition in Mind”


Stewardship Sunday: Last Minute Simple New Years Eve Party from Upcycled Christmas Cards

Stewardship Sunday: Last Minute Simple New Years Eve Party from Up-Cycled Christmas Cards

As I shared yesterday, even a non-crafter can get on board with up-cycling Christmas Cards. If you missed it, check out the post here. You can also see our complete feature on ivillage here. Like, share, pin – we’d like to MORE for them!

For today, some still simple, slightly more labor intensive ways to throw a last minute New Year’s Eve party using your pile of beautiful cards

Why do I love this so much? It is customized from your life + friends in your home = divine

WHERE to start? Hand written? Cranes Embossed? Printed? Casual...Formal...

Take them all out & start sorting by color & thickness. If you want to “save” take a picture of the pile & then start cutting, sorting, shredding

Thank you to Dianna Condon Cuisine for providing the incredible Hors d’oeuvres used on our Couture Chateau Photo Shoot!

3 New Year’s Eve Party Uses for Up Cycled Christmas Cards:

1) Hors d’oeuvres Plates

Pouring Champagne (which had to be tasted)! We had some fun with this.

Look CLOSELY at what is under Dianna Condon Cuisine’s Brownies…they are ALL Up-Cycled Christmas Cards! And the shredding is cards as well. Simple uses can create striking vignettes. You just have to think out of the box.

2) Name Cards or Place Cards

Name Cards: Cut, Laminated & Sharpied! From our feature on ivillage. Notice the name card holders? These are the same ones we mentioned in our 11-16-12 Frugal Friday Post – they are picture holders!

3) Coasters

Coasters from our ivillage post. How simple can these be?! Purchase the “slip in” kind at Aaron Brothers or other Craft store, cut & insert!

Recycled Cards as Coasters for a Casual Christmas "In My Kitchen" Party

Recycled Cards as Coasters. No laminating, just cutting! From our Couture Chateau feature on “Casual Kitchen Entertaining”

Easy to Create with these supplies:

Scissors (Pinking Shears + Creative Shapes)

Laminating Machine (We use Kinko’s at $2.00 per sheet)

Sharpies or Dry Erase Markers

5 Easy Custom Tips for Taking it Over the top:

1. Color Coordinate

Make individual Gift Bags. Use color coordinated duct tape & “press them” to make an opening. Add some of the card shredding. Use duct tape as a handle as well! For more ideas check out our entire feature on ivillage.

2. Make Gift Bags with Cards + Color Duct Tape + Card Shredding

People LOVE to see their cards go to good use! Here cards are under glass on one of our table settings. Use a riser (the snowflake) to make inserting & removing or adjusting easier.

3. Use cards from people attending the party

4. Match food types to colors (brownies on red, white + black)

Make name or place cards by  cutting + pasting elements from several cards. Just cut and apply to make customized personal statements. From our feature on ivillage.

5. Make over the top place cards + menus by cutting + pasting cards

Please like, pin & share these images!


Tomorrow, we share a video from Ann’s Master Mind Group with Tobi Fairley

It’s the consultant group that retro fitted our 20+ year Design Business with an Amazing Client Roster into the new economy. Ann shares some of her reasons for participating & you will see why we still have faith as it feels like the world crumbles around us…

Looking forward to an amazing New Year

At least it’s never dull!

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

xo Ann

Saturday Stuff: Holiday Decor in Transition

Saturday Stuff: Holiday Decor in Transition

We hope you had a lovely few days

We hope Thanksgiving was what YOU needed it to be, for your family, your self – Your Custom Life

I am grateful and hopeful

As you make the transition from Thanksgiving, know our homes are just like yours & a bit of chaos reigns

Extended family & friends head home. Thanksgiving Decor is phased out.

I actually love the activity. The process of change is fun.

Pouring Champagne in my Living Room where these photos were taken. The custom Couture Chateau Chaise may be available on Joss and Main soon. We brought it up for this shoot.

Next week  = Custom Holiday Decor & Entertaining Tips

Making sure everything is just right for the camera

Today? Have a fabulous Saturday!!

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

xo Ann

Tuesday Tidbit: Couture Chateau on ivillage, 16 Beautiful Fall Decor Trends!

Tuesday Tidbit: Couture Chateau is on ivillage!

Page 12, check it out! A Couture Chateau Design Project from Moraga, California is Featured! How fun to have a local project make the “Beautiful Fall Decor Trends” ;)!…

Check out the post on Trends for 2013

Seriously! I am so stoked! You’d a thunk we made the cover of House Beautiful!!

Here are some more shots from the same room

Detail of Chair. Our amazing restorer applied five coats of lacquer to a fabulous vintage chair. We had new cane put on so the finish would absorb properly.

This is a favored client, he and his wife have EXCEPTIONAL taste

The menswear upholstery weight stripe is a wool blend. It is an absolutely stunning piece of fabric – here it is with a Versace Fabric we also have. Yum!

They understand refined design and attention to detail

I love the tonal qualities of gorgeous brown with gorgeous gray. The table is entirely hand hewn. Every inch.

They value the people in their lives and sought to create a fabulous backdrop where the living takes center stage. They understand from the core that excellence in Craftsmenship translates into the soul of a room.

A true Couture Chateau.

Tweet. Pin. Share!

xo Ann