Wednesday Style Points: What’s On Your Bedside Table?

Wednesday Style Points: What’s On Your Bedside Table?

I never thought I’d be able to itemize every little item that sat beside me as I slept…

But given my appointment with…let’s just call it…’forced rest’…I am now able to list every bloomin’ object on my night stand!

I have a poor man’s version of this chest on my side of the bed. It holds more than I can possibly hide! Mine does not have the gilding or original handles…but I love it still…

What have you got next to you?

Style Points!

I happen to love this feature in the publishing world

But nothing reminds me to update like comparing my list to theirs!

What have you?

Dare I say I take my tea in a pretty cup?


Mine are stacked high…

This book was given to me by Leslie Hassler, a dear friend from Mastermind. It is officially noted, tagged & highlighted!

Well, at least I can say I am learning…

Another book on my nightstand…

And always to keep me grounded…in the right place…this and the Good Book 🙂

What are your Style Points on your nightstand?

Would your nightstand make the magazines?:)

From House Beautiful.

I’m thinking about updating mine…!

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

xo Ann

Thursday Spotlight: Happy Valentines Day, My FAV Use of Red in Rooms & I am Grateful For YOU!

Thursday Spotlight: Happy Valentine’s Day, My FAV Use of Red in Rooms & I am Grateful For YOU!

I LOVE the scale, proportion & punch of oversized art, especially on a tremendously bold wall. Image linked.

This is an older image from Arch Digest. Image linked. I love the drama of the space & can imagine having a fabulous cup of tea…

Have you seen this one from Bob Vila’s blog? Serious fun.

Image linked. Drama again. Very fun. Could I actually live here? Probably not, but a visit would be divine.

I love how the contemporary white chairs play off the bold sofa. The slight curve on the leg of the coffee table plays off the straight line of the upholstered wall. Seriously well done. Image linked.

What is your favorite use of red?

Is it an accent? Are you bold enough to use it on a wall? On a sofa?

Or is it one of those “NIMH” colors ;)!….as in “not in MY house!”

Let me know!!

Truth? I don’t actually have any in my main house…..cabin? YES! Main house?….only a tiny bit, barely 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day – from my heart to yours.

I am grateful today….because I get another chance… May today be one where if no one else tells you…I will…YOU MATTER & I am GRATEFUL for YOU. As you are, where you are, who you are.

I am grateful to walk alongside and share this thing we call life.

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

xo Ann

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

Saturday Stuff: Never Worked Harder, Trying To Work Smarter…

Saturday Stuff: Never Worked Harder, Trying To Work Smarter…

Saturday Stuff. For me it tends to be the things piled up from the week that still need attention

Into my Home Studio I head, to get some early quiet work done

Today? Tweaking some information for my Webinar.


I believe what they say about passion projects. You do them because you just HAVE to….

I now understand

I am doing this Webinar & Seminar Series because I have to….in a good way…

Here are a few images that are clearing my overloaded brain right now

As I am working on this Webinar, I feel like we are cutting through the fog & rising to what is good about what & how we put together a space for clients. It’s hard work but good work…

May they be a blessing to you this Saturday

I love images like this. They remind me we don’t always see clearly…

And remember another one of my Decorating Principles: Shopping is not Decorating ;)!

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

xo Ann

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

Monday Matters: Designed Intentionally = Grace Full Homes

Monday Matters: Designed Intentionally = Grace Full Homes

You know it when you enter the door

Is your home a place where friends are welcome?

Is the home you are visiting the place where grace lives?

Does it have a grateful vibe?

Are people welcomed? Is visiting a pleasant endeavor?


One of my favorite holidays. It represents all that is good about our Hearts & Homes.

One of my favorite holidays. Truly.

As you spend the next few days getting ready for Thanksgiving, remember, there is only one YOU.

YOUR intentional choices, in design, in life, matter.

I am writing these for myself & my staff this week. Printed & posted, letting the Magazine Worthy Spread go….& embracing the process of creating the practical custom holiday home filled with a clean powder room, a welcoming living room & an open heart for who ever needs the blessing.

1. EMBRACE who you are right now.

It’s ok to be in process…EVEN if you are hosting Thanksgiving!!

Practical Reality: If your home space isn’t what you imagined it should be…let it go. Clean the best you can, create order & let the custom life you are creating RIGHT NOW shine through. It’s ok to be “in the process”.

I love this image…if you have no time or budge to set an over the top table…buy some lemons & make proverbial lemonade! Apples, grapefruit – even bell peppers work for this simple custom place card…from Country Living

2. ENGAGE who you are hosting

There is NO such thing as the Perfect Family! Even Adam & Eve had trouble with their kids ;)!

Practical Reality: Remember everyone is dealing with something. For whatever reason, you are in their path. Offer yourself, your ears, your heart, your home with sincerity. Sometimes our friends just need a clean living room to soothe their soul & the custom path you have walked is exactly what they need.

I know & I confess, I CARE about preparation

Preparing our homes for this favored Holiday of mine takes a TON of work

A simple lovely table.

No doubt about it

Couture Chateaus = Layered, intentional woven spaces + places

Monday Matters: Those tidbits that help us begin the week

They remind us that even our Couture Chateau’s are a process….

Be encouraged. Where ever you are in this process, please be encouraged.

It matters. YOU matter.

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

xo Ann

Wednesday Style Points: Tole Cache Pots = “LBD” of This Time of Year

Wednesday Style Points: Tole Cache Pots = “LBD” of This Time of Year

We’ve been BUSY these past few days…so I will get right to it!!

(Fact: We have been using Tole Cache Pots all week & so have our clients)

1970’s French Tole. Missed this sale on OKL, but am SURE we could find someone to fabricate something similar with our Couture Chateau “made just for you” on the underside…;)!

tole also tôle  (tl)


A lacquered or enameled metalware, usually gilded and elaborately painted.

[French tôle, sheet metal, variant of table, table, slab, from Old French, from Latin tabula, board.]

So yes….this happens to be an official waste basket, but I have been known to use these for fabulous mini evergreens around this time of year!! I mean, something this pretty should be “up”! Image linked: Pink Palazzo Tole Wastebasket, Taigan

Love it.

Why the “LBD”?

a) it lives in your home all year

b) it fits your home decor all year

c) it can be “dressed up” or “dressed down” = customized per occasion

d) it faithfully pulls through as a design staple

I mean…good enough for Brooke Astor…good enough for me…;)!

These were auctioned off by Sotheby’s from the Estate of Brooke Astor. I can see them bare like this or filled with delightful things!

Later I will show you some of the variations we have scattered throughout my home & my client’s homes. Just yesterday, we received a cell phone shot from a client hosting Thanksgiving. She used wheat. Next month am certain it will hold greens. Lovely!

We found this stack on Hound Hill Design. What I like is that you can literally shop Home Goods to Sotheby’s for the ones that fit your home. Contemporary to traditional. No excuses!

oh, and…..

e) I simply LOVE them empty. Austere. On a clear clean table or chest. Just like that perfect “LBD” it can stand alone!!

“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

Frugal Friday: Semi-Upholstered Walls

Frugal Friday: Semi Upholstered Walls

I love Frugal Friday…it’s the day we quietly slip off Louboutin and put on DSW

Hello classic. Louboutin at Niemans. $700+

you know you have done it…:)

Sweet fun. Marc by Marc Jacobs at DSW. $199 – ish


How to customize your Couture Chateau when you really want fabulous upholstered walls but need that frugal alternative

This Lee Jofa Silk has such a beautiful hand. Found this beautiful picture on ebay of all places…

I blame my training in NYC for this obsession

 Silk Taffeta in a Park Avenue Private Elevator & Entry?

What a way to learn. Divine.

Problem was, I spent the next few years trying to figure out how to DIY it…(sort of)

Here you go:

1) Drywall Panels. The Acoustical Kind. 4 x 8 sheets. Hardware Store or Lumber Yard. Pay for delivery if no big suv = cumbersome & semi-fragile. Have used 1/2″ & 3/4″.

Basically Drywall that is rated for Sound Proofing. Different Texture than regular drywall. Brown or white, available at Lumber Yards. Has a “cottony” texture on the face.

2) Proper Framing/Fir Strips or Attachment for Hanging. We use 3/8″ plywood strips at upper edge & attach cleat hanging systems (metal or wood).

a fir strip is essentially a piece of wood used to stabilize or even out a surface. for our purposes we attach at the leading top edge on the back and use it to strengthen the hanging cleat. if fabric won’t hold with staples into panels, use additional fir strips around the perimeter of the entire panel on the back.

3) Wrap, Upholster (no batting), Install.

4) Trim out with fantastic gimp & nail heads.

We have 10 custom panels in our 600 sq foot Design Studio

Why I like this Custom Alternative (where appropriate):

A) Custom Wall Upholstery is expensive. Very. Especially done right.

B) This = slightly temporary. And easily customized. Can morph from frugal headboard (no batting, no plywood in size) to pin board upholstery in teenagers room to simple wall upholstery. It’s easy to make it “you”.

C) If you have a fabric you love but don’t have $$$$ to purchase the 120+ yards necessary this is a FRUGAL alternative


You know the drill…skill & time. Rush + poor execution = looks cheap!

This is not “cheap Friday”, it’s Frugal Friday….;)


When I “unearthed” this trick, I was a (broke) 20 something designer watching a temporary installation going up. I asked what the set designer was using.


You can learn a LOT from set designers ;).

They are always making custom spaces and places, “couture chateau’s” for peeps.

Have a fantastic weekend. And remember…

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

xo Ann

Monday Matters: My Top Three Myths About Purchasing Luxury Custom, Guest Posting on Custom Made!

Monday Matters: My Top Three Myths About Purchasing Luxury Custom Inteior Design. Guest Posting on

The link is HERE:

The first time I found their site…I squealed in our Side Door Studio “I FOUND MY PEOPLE” ;)!

Check us out. Pin, Comment, Share…because we’d like to do MORE of this custom collaboration.

The Blog Post is titled: My Top 3 Myths About Purchasing Custom

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

xo Ann