Frugal Friday: Do You Ever Wish Someone Would Explain How Decorators REALLY Decorate?

Frugal Friday: Do You Ever Wish Someone Would Explain How Decorators REALLY Decorate?

Do you ever wish you could go behind the scenes to hear how projects come together, what tips & systems decorators use that they are not sharing?

Do you ever wish someone would explain how the whole “trade vs retail” thing works and why the light fixture your decorator specified is the same one you found on line?

Do you ever wish someone would give you simple, practical, non-phd level counsel & tools you could actually USE?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we have something fun coming for you.


Over the course of the next few weeks we are:


2) VIDEO RECORDING a series of three FREE Video Trainings

3) VIDEO RECORDING our first ever Video Blog

4) Consolidating our first ever publicly available Information Product as part of my Design Systems Simplified Program. The FIRST Information Product we will have for sale will be the one below:

women shopping - fashion logo version 2 (non-editable web-ready file)

THIS particular Information Product is the compilation of a ton of work, some fabulous testers & an extension of our In House, In Person Seminar we held in October of 2012

It is designed for EASY use, EDITED for content – not a ton of fluff & will be in Webinar Form, the same way we teach & work with Full Service Clients.

Like I said, FINALLY!

Stay tuned: March & April are the roll out dates


Make sure we have your email so you can receive the FREE products, with actual information – not fluff.

If you haven’t seen my short 1 minute video yet about this series of products, “Design Systems Simplified” then check it out here:

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

xo Ann

Send your email to to be placed on our never sold, never traded, uber private mailing list to receive the most up to date release information on all these products & to receive our Video Newsletter Blog, starting in March, 2013.

Tuesday Tidbit: My Christmas China Addiction

Tuesday Tidbit: My Christmas China Addiction

So, yes, you know all about this don’t you…

Spode Christmas Tree

Am CERTAIN some of you out there share this tidy little habit

Susan Wignet Christmas China, a pattern I bought for our cabin when the boys were young and learning to read. Silly part? They still ask for it when the season rolls around…

We have the luxury of hiding it away 11 months of the year, but come day after Thanksgiving…all bets are off!

My more grown up Hermes addiction fits in nicely…

What are YOUR favorite patterns?

Ditto an old Versace…

Have you ever had a CUSTOM China made?!

Rosenthal China is another one of my addictions (they are the manufacturer of Versace Holiday Patterns) and I have several of their non holiday patterns…this is an absolute favorite…image linked to

And yes, we use them all

Fitz & Floyd

I even went to my sister’s house this past week and complimented her on a plate…to which she replied “you gave that to me”!

This was the plate I had given my sister! Fitz & Floyd Christmas Deer Pattern

Knew I liked it ;)!

Confession? I have more……..

Since you know we love to entertain, yes, they really do get used.

Your turn – share some of your favorites!

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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: Be Present & Don’t Panic Just Because Thanksgiving is on Thursday :)

Wednesday Style Points: Be Present & Don’t Panic Just Because Thanksgiving is on Thursday šŸ™‚

Style = Stronghold of the Soul if you ask me

Points = Reference, Data, Markers, Milestones….

Our Style Points (good or bad) are often revealed under pressure

I used to think I had to be able to bake like this. I have let that go…am better at other things & everyone around me is relieved!

When deadlines loom, especially on the HOME front

Do we panic?

Or are we present?

Gratitude paves the way for being present

Not always easy. I like things quite perfect, thank you very much…but it’s a process!! And so this is for the custom ME as well as the custom YOU.

We have food. We have tables. We have shelter. We have breath & therefore hope.

Guess there is something You and I still need to do cause we’re still here type thing…

I am not the “pie maker” in the family! Wish I had the touch, but no crust from my kitchen will make you swoon. My father tried to teach me. “It’s all in the wrist Ann” but to no avail. Decorate the baking area IN the kitchen? A+. Bake in the baking area? C. With GRATITUDE I am PRESENT to relinquish this task. I do not PANIC trying to be something I am not.

Have a peek at two extreme “Couture Chateaus” that comfort & reassure me.

As preparations for a perfect American Thanksgiving are underway…

These places inspire me because I imagine the people who inhabit them have style points

I actually love the simplicity of these tents. There is purpose + function here. And a bit of color!

They are living the life they are meant to live – custom – couture – as they are

I have always loved stone. Longevity + Strength. Never perfect, ages beautifully.

Whether its a backpack or a manse

Just for today, be the person you are supposed to be – and let that come through in all your preparation, whether it’s something as simple as selecting cheeses & olives or as massive as cooking & decorating for 50+.


And next week?! ALL those Holiday Pics we’ve been taking.

For now – best. From us to you.

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

xo Ann

Frugal Friday: My (not so secret) Party Table Top Placemats

Frugal Friday: My (not so secret)Ā Party Table Top Placemats

Big family, love to entertain, love to host, love to decorate = $$$$

Today? My secret table top placemat tip

When we design a Dining Room, we include custom lined and interlined Couture Chateau Placemats, Table Runners and Napkins

When I host a party & need a frugal fix for placemats…..shhh……:

1. Source bulk inexpensive fabric. I try to plan for 2-3 yards per place setting. 2 of my FAV online sources: Design Diva & Glamourous Fabrics. Both of these retailers carry overstock or out of season designer brands including Clarence House, Donghia & Brunschwig. They also run sales & specials. I have purchased fabric as low as $8/yard.

From Design Diva Fabrics, Clarence House $17.50/yard Special for 1 Day only. I think a gorgeous white china would look divine on this classic pattern.

2. Grab your: Cork BoardsĀ or Cardboard Boxes Cut to Size

If you have some table space, cork boardsĀ are super fun!Ā Keeps the settingsĀ “tight”. People love the innovation. It’s a party afterall.

3. Start wrapping, duct taping, glue gunning, double sided taping that designer fabric on

Yes, this Couture Chateau girl wraps & glues in the name of a fabulous sit down dinner party

IĀ have used: Toile, Chenille, Plaid, Burlap, Quilting, Suede, Linen…heck,Ā I even used SHAMS. Yes,Ā I used shams, twice actually: Ralph & Peacock Alley. Just cut heavy duty cardboard and slipped it inside, taped those puppies shut and voila.

Peacock Alley makes nice product šŸ˜‰

Peeps thought we had suuuupppper xpensiv customĀ placemats

Royal Crown Derby China from grandmother helps…but…

I love this pattern…we used Blue Mikado on the White Shams…

yes, of COURSE I gave it up….notice the title (not so secret)….!!

My point: Frugal Friday = making your custom home “you”

Don’t be afraid to TRY an idea

Point of order: DO NOT RUSH, especially with these “crafty” type things

If you do…it will look cheap. Trust me, it will.

Remember that old saying? Good – Fast – Cheap?…you only get two at a time

So pull out the thinking caps &Ā remember

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

xo Ann

Off to Arizona this weekend…will see you Monday!