Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Plans?

New Year's Eve and I have a love-hate relationship.  Some of my best memories were made on NYE- like ringing in 2009 in Aruba, 2010 in the middle of Times Square, and 2011 in Las Vegas. Other years, the night was a lackluster experience and I barely made it to the strike of midnight.  This year, I plan to go out with friends here in Houston and even bought a new dress for the event in hopes of making it special.  I also curated a splurge outfit and a save outfit, just in case you need some last minute ideas:

Splurge: J Crew Lattice Necklace $228/Alice+Olivia Red Peplum Dress $377.19/3.1 Phillip Lim Handbag $750/L.A.M.B. Oxley Pump $295
Save:  The Rebecca Clutch $59/Dorthy Perkins Gold Sequin Shift Dress $35/Mod Cloth Break Out the Baubly Necklace $17.99/Nine West Nude Pumps $44.99

What are your plans for the evening?  Are you doing it up big or keeping it low key?
Wishing you a happy 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Grand {Iron} Entrance

 Happy post-Christmas sugar coma friends.  I hope you enjoyed your holiday & ate as much peppermint ice cream as me!  Now let's get back to interiors talk...

The latest step in my parent's new build is choosing the staircase materials.  The staircase will be in the foyer near the front door, and winds up to the second floor.  We have decided on travertine marble for both the stair and the riser, with an iron railing.  Their second floor is an open floor plan with a bridge across the middle of the house open to below.  That means there will be a great deal of iron railing exposed in the home- and I want the design of the iron to enhance the architectural details of the house- not distract from it.  That's why I am leaning towards a clean, simple iron look, like these:

However, a chic pattern or detail, done tastefully, would add visual interest.  Plus, with the amount of exposed iron, keeping the pattern straight like the examples above throughout the house may become redundant and stale.   I love the detail in these staircase railings:

Just the right amount of design without becoming too ornate or ostentatious. 

Which look do you prefer?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you!  I hope you are at peace and enjoying the holiday with your family and friends.

I thought I would take the symbolism of today to reflect with you. This year has been turbulent. In addition to any personal hardships you might have had to face, as a nation we faced a presidential election here in America that revealed just how polarized and angry our nation is.  Every day when I logged in to Facebook and Twitter, I saw people fearful, upset, and jaded (myself included). Combine that with the recent Newton tragedy, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Isaac.... and if you aren't an optimist it can be hard to find any good among the sadness.  I will openly admit that my own faith struggled a great deal to comprehend the madness of it all.  I am not the person I once was- with age comes maturity and a more realistic point of view.

But some things haven't changed. I am still most at peace when I tune out the voices of the world, long enough to hear the still, small voice directed at me.  At my core, I will probably always be an optimist, it's in my DNA.  Both of my parents are optimists who see the good in everything and have taught me to take the lesson from hardship and leave everything else.  I have been surprised to learn there is an incredible amount of freedom in facing one's biggest fears, and walking away whole.

So I've decided to continue on and keep my focus on all that is beautiful about life.  I hope you will make an effort to do so, too.  Because even if the media doesn't find it interesting enough to highlight, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  You dig?

And in case you need a little help doing so, start by reading this.

Or watching this.  :)

Merry Christmas, friends!  Sending light and love your way.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The View Through My Lens: 14

Happy Christmas Eve!  I cannot believe Christmas is here.  I know I'm not alone in feeling that this year has FLOWN by.  It's crazy what can happen in 365 days.  I left my job, went back to school, worked as an assistant to an interior designer, and now have slowly started my own design studio.  If you had told me where I would be a year ago, I wouldn't have believed it.  But I'm here and so happy for the surprises and twists this year has brought. 
So what have I been up to lately?

A few Farrow & Ball paint samples have arrived, and I can't wait to test them out in my parent's master bath.   Remember when I told you here the latest on the bathroom design?  Down Pipe is my current color of choice for the walls, but I wanted to test it out because it I have been told it has turquoise undertones.  It also seems I am always on the hunt for furniture and lighting... not that I'm complaining!  
I took home those amethyst bookends and Assouline's Gypset Travel from Kuhl-Linscomb when I was supposed to be shopping for others.  Oops....

A little break from school + Christmas holiday means time to relax, read, drink, and be merry.  And, time to visit new fabulous boutiques in Houston.  Biscuit Home, the creation of Bailey McCarthy of Peppermint Bliss, was at the top of my list:

 Delicious home goods and bedding.  The fun color and patterns permeate the store and just make you happy.  Go check it out if you live in the area!

Well, loves, that's all for today. Wishing you a wonderful holiday with your loved ones.  Enjoy the moment!  It goes by so quickly. 

PS- Did you know you can send a call from Santa to a friend, courtesy of Google?  It's completely free, and you get to choose from different responses based on the person you are sending the call to.  I sent one to about 10 people yesterday- it's so fun!  



Friday, December 21, 2012

Gallery Wall Reveal + Styling Tips

A gallery wall.  Who doesn't love the intrigue of it?  When done right, it's a perfect balance of imperfection.  I have a gallery wall in my bedroom opposite the bedroom door.  When you walk in, it's the first thing your eye is drawn to.  Lately, I have been adding more touches of pink to my home (I live as a bachelorette, after all!) and the hue has made it's way to my gallery wall:

Artwork (from top left to right) by artist: Ileana Hunter, Marilyn Monroe Print, Kerry Steele

Over the past few years of living on my own, I've put together a number of gallery walls both successfully and unsuccessfully.  I've learned a few things along the way that I thought I'd share with you.

Gallery Wall Tips:

1.)  Before you start hanging pieces, decide on a layout.  I like to play with ideas by laying all my pictures on the floor and moving them around until I am satisfied with the look.

2.) Don't try to make things too perfect.  That takes away from the entire gallery idea.  I like to mix frame colors and purposely misalign the heights to give it an unexpected charm.

3.) If possible, add dimension by mixing in 3D decor items with your framed pictures/artwork.  In this Kate Spade store, incorporating boxing gloves in with the paintings and prints creates unexpected visual interest:

Happy Friday!  This weekend flew by for me.  Are you excited it's almost Christmas?
I hope you have a lovely weekend & get all your shopping done!
XO, Sam

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Design Diaries: Joni Webb of Cote de Texas

Happy Wednesday!  I am back today with the 2nd installment of "The Design Diaries."
 Today I have the lovely Joni Webb of the popular interior design blog, Cote de Texas.  Joni is a fellow Houstonian that designs gorgeous antique-filled interiors with a decidedly French flair.  Her work has been featured in such popular publications as HGTV, The Examiner, Houston House & Home, Better Homes & Gardens, and much more.  Needless to say, her work is delicious:

Interview with Joni:

What are 5 words to describe your style?

Casual, comfortable, contrast, patina, texture 

How would you define your aesthetic?

My aesthetic is pretty simple- slipcovers, seagrass, linens, velvets, and taffetas, antiques, zebra prints, baskets, urns, dark and light woods, a touch of gilt, books, checks & stripes, mirrors, blue & white porcelains, and creamware & ironstone.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I work at home.  I usually do research for the blog for most of the day on in to the night.  I don't take on that many design jobs anymore because the blog keeps me so busy.  I stay up 
all night, so I sleep in late.  I usually don't make any plans until after lunch!

How did you decide you wanted to be an interior designer?

I don't think I decided that - I knew since I was about 7 or 8.   Of course I started out in the field after college and discovered I was too shy to be a designer and worked for my father for years and years as a secretary!!!  Finally, in my early 40s, a friend hired me to do her daughter's room and from that my business grew and grew.  I still do design work for her.  We are working on her bedroom right now.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Installations, picking out fabrics, designing the floorplan, and buying the accessories.

What is the best piece of advice you have gotten regarding your career?

Be confident.  I am sorely lacking in confidence and am very insecure.  It helps when I get positive feedback about my work.

Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?

Try to find clients who like your personal style or aesthetic.  Working for clients who don't can be tiring and uninspiring.  I used to take any jobs- but when I couldn't design the way I wanted to, I resented them and the work.  It's just not fun putting together a room that you personally don't like or wouldn't want to live in.  With my blog so many people can see my aesthetic- if they like it, fine.  If not, call someone else.  It's so much better that way!

What are 3 items currently on your "bucket list"?

I would love to get a beach house, for sure.  Maybe even move to the beach!  And I would love to start over in a new house that reflects who I am today, rather than who I was when I moved here 20 years ago!  And - be a grandmother.

What is the most rewarding part of your job and the least glamorous?

The most rewarding part is after an installation and the client walks in and goes crazy. I love that part! Crazy- with happiness.  I've had a client go crazy with anger- twice actually! OMG the stories.  But usually that's the best part.  The worst? Ordering and billing. Horrible! 
How do you balance your home life with your work life?

Well it's just my husband and I now that my daughter is in college and my husband just let's me be.   He doesn't demand anything of me. Not dinner, not a made up bed- nothing!   I am so lucky that he  respects me and gives me the independence that I crave.  He's not in to my work at all, or my blog- so I'm pretty much on my own. But after a good installation, I may show him the pictures and he says, "Nice!" So between him and my housekeeper, everything is balanced in my life. 

A big thank you to Joni for taking the time to answer the interview questions!  Her answers both inspired me and made me laugh.  I imagine she has quite a few good stories of her experiences in design!  Her advice for aspiring designers really resonated with me.  Finding a way to enjoy the process and please your client is what it's all about!  
See more of Joni's gorgeous work here.

{all images via Joni}

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gift Ideas To Buy That Will Arrive By 12/25!

If you're anything like me, you haven't found gifts for half your Christmas list, and the clock is ticking. The pressure is setting in.  We only have 7 days left!  Despite the tight timeline, I really don't want to fight the crowds in the stores.  It gives me a headache even thinking about it.  I went by the Houston Galleria yesterday, thinking it couldn't be that bad on a Monday, but I was worn out after only an hour.  So now I have left myself with one option- online shopping!  Thankfully, many stores are offering free (or discounted) speedy shipping to get gifts to you by 12/24.  Here are a few of my favorites:

For the ladies: 
1.) Tinley Road Kiki Purse $78 (Order by Wed at Midnight for Free Shipping Guaranteed to Arrive by 12/24)
2.) Rhinestone Fringe Necklace $40 (Order by Wed at Midnight for Free Shipping Guaranteed to Arrive by 12/24)
3.) Bali Offering Boxes $68.60 (Order by Wed at 7 pm CST for Free 3-Day Shipping)
4.) Tommy Hilfiger Leopard Smoking Slippers $89 (2 Day Shipping Guarantees Item by 12/24)
5.) Stella & Dot Petra Beaded Bracelet $98 (Order by Wed with 2-Day Delivery to Guarantee Arrival by 12/24)
6.) Juicy Faux Fur Scarf $88 (Order by Wed at Midnight for Free Shipping Guaranteed to Arrive by 12/24)

For the gentlemen:
1.) Crown Royal Whisky $30 (Order by Wed at 3 pm EST for Free Shipping)
2.) Tsovet Men's Watch $360 (Order by Wed at 7 pm for Free 3-Day Shipping)
3.) Tom Ford Noir Fragrance $90 (Use code RUSHNM and select Promotional Shipping to get free 2-Day Shipping through tonight at 10 pm CST)
4.) Poker Gift Set $250 (Order by Wed at 7 pm CST for Free 3-Day Shipping) 
5.) Shure SE215-K Live Headphones $100 (Order by Wed at 3 pm EST for Free Shipping)
6.)  The Man Can Grooming Kit $48 (Order by Wed for 2-Day Delivery by selecting "Fastest Delivery")

Also,  Gaby of Savvy Home Blog allowed me to share some of my holiday traditions and wish list in her "Joy of Giving" post series.  I hope you will check it out.  Here's a little sneak peek:

Happy Tuesday, friends!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Bathroom Updates

Thank you to all the well wishes last week while I was completing finals.  As of this past Saturday at 12 pm, I have another 15 interior design hours under my belt!  It feels good to be done and to have a little 3 week break for the holidays.  With a break comes the time to refocus on a few residential interior projects.  First off, my parent's new home is coming along nicely!  We are about to start pulling together the paint color palette.  For the master bathroom, we WERE going to wallpaper the walls in Anya Larkin's Shagreen:

But after changing course and deciding to go with mirrored cabinetry and princess white quartzite countertops...

And a large freestanding silver tub...

I felt using the pearl Anya Larkin paper would be too much white.  Combining white countertops with white cabinetry and white tile, the room will need some contrast.
I am thinking of going with a cool neutral paint color for the walls.  Right now I love Farrow and Ball's Down Pipe:

We are also needing to select sconces to line the vanities.  I love Circa's Large Ring Wall Sconce:

And the more simple Dean Single-Arm Sconce:

What do you think of my current choices?  Do you like the Farrow & Ball paint color, or would you choose something different?  I'd love your input!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lulu and Georgia Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Lulu & Georgia Audrey Lamp giveaway last week!  I was so thrilled to partner with them to offer such a chic item:

Entry #79 is our lucky winner- Ryann!  Congratulations, Ryann!  If you didn't win today, stay tuned for a few more upcoming giveaways that I think you will love.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lulu & Georgia Giveaway: The Audrey Lamp

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope you had a fun weekend.  I stayed in for most of it to work on school projects for finals this week, but got to spend lots of quality time at home with my guy.  Not a bad trade off!  Today I am starting off the week with a sweet giveaway, courtesy of Lulu & Georgia.  You may remember my post here about their launch at the beginning of October.  They are a home decor site full of pretty textiles, rugs, lighting and accessories:

 Today they are offering one lucky reader an Audrey table lamp in slate, valued at $233.70!

  They kindly sent me one to style for you, and I now have a favorite bedside table lamp:

Delicious, no?

G I V E A W A Y  D E T A I L S :
To enter to win the Audrey lamp,  leave a comment on this post letting me know that you've followed Lulu & Georgia on Facebook and what your favorite item is from their collection.  For extra entries, be a follower of The Peak of Tres Chic blog, follow @luluandgeorgia on Twitter, follow @peakoftreschic on Twitter, tweet about the giveaway and link up to @peakoftreschic and @luluandgeorgia, and follow The Peak of Tres Chic on Facebook.  That's a total of 6 entries per person available!
Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Also, please include your email address in each entry. The giveaway will close at midnight this Friday, December 14th, 2012.  Good luck & and have a wonderful day!
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