Monday Matters: Dusting Out The Cob Webs

Monday Matters: Dusting Out The Cob Webs

So it’s Monday. Yesterday was really lovely.

Quiet. Peaceful.

And now it’s back to work!

We are doing some Spring Cleaning

As I have been putting this Webinar together

(it’s partially live)

One of the things that I really struggled with is the computer!

So this Spring Cleaning is all about getting files in order, emptying mail boxes & putting us back in line on line!

At least it’s better than this!

What about you?

Do you struggle with this like I do?

There is a part of me = out of sight, out of mind…

Since the screen saver is cute I assume the rest of the files are in order

I have pugs so can’t resist a screensaver that reminds me…problem is that cute face HIDES my folder mess on the other side!!

ummm…let me just say NOT!

So tech or no tech, am off to delete, re-sort, dump, clean & virus sweep!

Happy Monday!

Let me know if you are up to the same or if you have any tips!

I am all ears!!!

Monday matters & so do you!

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

xo Ann


PS: Our Webinar is up! If you watch it and want to join us for the 8 week seminar, just click the pay pal button. We are trying to put together a coaching package or two, but those links aren’t quite live. Check it out HERE. You need to insert your email to watch. I am quite picky about sending emails so no worries – I will not inundate you! Just ask our subscribers…I think we send one about every 10 days ;)…

Wednesday Style Points: My Current Obsession With Tufting In Home Decor

Wednesday Style Points: My Current Obsession With Tufting in Home Decor

Tufting is one of those things I absolutely love

This image is from 2009 but I absolutely love it still.

Especially in unusual places

I honestly love the austerity of this room. I do tend towards the traditional but sometimes a simple space infused with drama sings to me!

Upholstered walls, banquettes, headboards of course…even tile

Tufted tile. Love this! Image linked.

Style Points. What is your current obsession?

I am kind of wishing we had a project to place these doors via Turbo Squid (image linked). Are they completely over the top? Yes! Could they be perfect somewhere? Of course!!

Is it Pantone’s Color of the Year?

Some gorgeous fabric?

Let me know! We are having fun comparing our current obsess in the Studio.

I vote tufting this week….what say you?!

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

xo Ann


PS: Thank you for your continued support!! That’s it – just THANK YOU!! We love our readers!!!!

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.”™

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.

Monday Matters: Making the Most of Gifts Given, My Mastermind Journey with Tobi Fairley

Monday Matters: Making the Most of Gifts Given, My Mastermind Journey with Tobi Fairley

As many of you know our Monday Matters Posts are all about getting ready for the week

Every Monday = Reset. This Monday? Reset for 2013!

Today is the start of a new day, a new week & tomorrow a New Year.

We have HOPE

Hope to build our Custom Lives & Homes a little better than yesterday for ourselves and those we love

Take a minute or 13 😉 and watch this Video to learn a little bit more about my journey in the business end of Interior Design.

I have been at this a long time. I am a Designer, not a business whiz. I can see an entire Estate in 3-d down to the detail of the custom trim & lining in one specific room in my head before it’s built – when it is a pile of dirt.

I cannot create a spreadsheet. I cannot find the receipt.

Providential Grace has always provided people to create the spreadsheets + find my receipts, but…….

After 20+ years “behind the gate” with Couture Chateau (read here for my vision), I shared my soul’s vision with someone I could trust so that we could grow, so that we could make enough money to share our soul’s vision with the world outside those gates.

I am grateful for this group & the risks “I”, as Ann McDonald (read here for my history) & “We”, as Couture Chateau have taken as a part of it.

Tobi, understands the world I live + work in. She articulates in her interview that world.

You will find me at about 9:18

If you want to join us next year, tell Tobi you heard it from Ann McDonald, Founder of Couture Chateau. That “custom life” lady….

I would be grateful to know this little blog with a big heart made a difference…that someone out there was reading & ready to take the same risks…

I HOPE that 2013 is a year you really live. A custom life. That you engage your soul’s calling and dwell with passion and intent to bless yourself + those around you.

I value you

I value what you do and who you are

Monday Matters: a new day + a new week + new year = hope.

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

xo Ann

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

Thursday Spotlight: Easy Holiday Decor Tip from Leslie Hassler of Luxury for the Home

Thursday Spotlight: Easy Holiday Decor Tip from Leslie Hassler of Luxury for the Home

Simple, 3 minute very casual video tip from Leslie in Dallas. Why do we like it?

Because YOU can customize your table with items from your yard or friendly neighbors!

Have a great day – this is now added to our Holiday Helps Page…


Easy & Fast (Frugal) Table Setting.

Merry Christmas.

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

xo Ann & The CC Team

Wednesday Style Points: Lamorinda Weekly Guest Article

Wednesday Style Points: Lamorinda Weekly Guest Article

Quoting my favorite people is always fun.

Check out this article in our local paper…

From Inexpensive to Extravagant Holiday Decor

Detail of Holiday Tree with Custom Ornaments

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

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 🙂

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.”™

xo Ann