Friday, June 30, 2017

Thank You

Aiden Gray, Randal Weeks, and Joni Webb of Cote De Texas

A few months ago Joni Webb, of Cote de Texas, wrote a post about the owners of Aiden Gray, Randal and Sally Weeks.  The Weeks purchased a 1929 Tudor Home in High Point with the intent of using it as a vacation home, as well as for trips to High Point markets.  After making the purchase the Randal Weeks set out to completely restore the property. The result is absolutely stunning.   You may read about the transformation of the home here on Cote de Texas blog.

Photo credit; Joni Webb, Cote de Texas, Weeks 1929 Tudor

Aiden Gray is a home furnishings company specializing in; European inspired furniture, accessories, lighting, garden d├ęcor, also antique reproduction pieces.  Aiden Gray launched a new more contemporary lighting line, with many of the new fixtures being showcased in the High Point home.  Joni Webb, of Cote de Texas hosted a contest with Aiden Gray. You may read about the contest by going here to the Cote de Texas contest post.   The concept was that as a Cote de Texas reader, we were invited to visit the Aiden Gray online catalog, then choose a lighting fixture we would love to own.  You may visit the showroom by going here .

The idea behind the contests was for contestants to chose a room in their home, then find the perfect Aiden Gray lighting fixture to accent the space.  Rules requested that we take a photograph of the space, then pair the fixture of our choosing with the photograph; create a PDF, or jpeg, then submit our submission to an  Instagram  board; #Agwithanedge, for judging.   If you have an Instagram account, please take a look at the entries, there are many beautiful spaces.   Below is my contest submission:

At the time of the contest I had been working upon our foyer.  It is a small space, where I've attempted to create a sitting area within a 7' X 13' footprint.  Original the side porch, the foyer was taken in we suspect in the 1940's, it features exterior lap board, bead board, along with an original porch post. The space is clad with large paned French windows. There's also an odd niche where a window once stood (currently under another transformation). The foyer is a work in progress. We often entertain friends in the foyer, we share a glass of wine, along with a bit of tasty fare, while enjoying lively conversation. 

Mr. GDC and I some months earlier, created a chandelier from a vintage flea market basket, combined with a home improvement store petite chandelier, along with a box of crystal prisms.  The end result was a rustic, refined unique creation. 

I had been searching for a table lamp to add to the space.  I use a wooden pedestal table between a pair of vintage French arm chairs in the space.  The table is sometimes skirted, sometimes not, the tablescape is ever changing as well. The opportunity to win an Aiden Gray table lamp made my heart sing!  Eager, excitedly I perused the new lighting line by Aiden Gray. A departure from the elegant, classic European influence of previous lines, the new line definitely possessed an "edge".   There were so many beautiful, unique fixtures; chandeliers, sconces, floor, also table lamps.

One table lamp caught my eye, Dinard L616.  The light is a metal cylinder of sorts, with similar rectangular design motif to the antique basket we used in making the "chandelier".  The problem, it is only 28" tall.  I felt I could place a riser beneath it; a capital, antique box, something that would bring the lamp up a bit taller. It's clean lines, contemporary edge would make a statement in our cottage interior, dressed in French.   I made my submission, then crossed my fingers!

Interior Designer, Joni Webb

Joni Webb, who's blog I have followed some ten years, has been of great inspiration to me.  An Interior Designer, her projects, as well as classic aesthetic appeals to me.  Her style is French, ever changing, while influenced by trends, she remains true to the collected, classic French aesthetic.  Cote de Texas is a beautifully written collection of her work, home features, designer features, also practical design lessons. For me, she's the equivalent to a "Rock Star".  I often grab a cup of coffee, settle into my grey velvet chair, prop up my feet, in preparation to wander over to her blog and be swept away. 

Yesterday was one of those mornings - as I began to read her blog my heart raced, it was the Aiden Gray contest winner announcement.  She told me not to peek, couldn't help it!  I peeked! Scrolled to the bottom of the page, scrolling upward ever so slowly, admiring contestant submission after contestant submission, my heart began to sink. I thought I hadn't won. Heavy sigh. Then as I made my way upward toward the top, "#5 Andi Cox we agree with you!"  I'm sorry what? I WON!  I won not only one Aiden Gray lamp, a pair!!  I jumped up off my chair, nearly dropping my laptop balanced upon my lap, spilt my coffee, screaming, hands in the air, happy dance!!!!  Thrilled, is an understatement -  I haven't won anything since I was a small girl, back in Fort Worth, and scored a huge stuffed pink elephant from a local grocer raffle.  I couldn't believe my luck.  I brought in Jr., read this, did I win?  He laughed, "Yes Mom, you won, told you the photos were ok."  I fretted over my submission. I took a ridiculous number of photographs, trying to capture my vision. Bored Jr. to his wits end, forcing him to review each photograph with me.  Could it be that Aiden Gray was able to see my vision?  Seriously?  I won? Me?

I can hardly wait for the arrival of the Aiden Gray lamp.  This little corner of Sybi's (our cottage) foyer will be made all the more special by the addition of a stunning Aiden Gray lamp, more of a work of art than a fixture.  My heartfelt appreciation to Aiden Gray, Randal Weeks, also Joni Webb.  I'll post again when my treasure arrives.  Until then - I'll keep smiling.

Wishing you all the best -


Friday, June 9, 2017

Persian Infatuation - Our "new" Dining Room Rug

Source: Referral Rug Service

I searched while saving for months, with hope of discoverring the "right" rug.  Is there truly a "right" rug?  Rugs are tricky; adding a contemporary rug to a traditional space provides edge, excitement, flare; tin he dinging room below Mark D. Sikes uses a leopard print rug as a base to his mirrored clad California dining room, paired with an antique chandelier, leather dining chairs, and a casual blue and cream striped table cloth, the room has an interesting pairing of texture, patterns, also surfaces (leather, shine of mirror and crystal, bronze frame of the chandelier, natural element of the bamboo shades, as well as the leopard print, also the gardens outdoors, repetition of blue and white in the porcelain and the cloth).  This room definitely has an edge. Brilliantly executed. I adore Mark D. Sikes, can you tell?

Source; Architectural Digest

Using a natural fiber rug provides texture; monochromatic rooms depend upon texture, there isn't a rug with more texture than a jute or seagrass woven rug.  Below Tara Shaw pairs a woven sea grass rug, layered with a cream cow hide in a neutral dining room. The result is a combination of textures, as well as shape; the woven rug in typical rectangle defines the parameter of the dining space, then serves as a backdrop to the organic outline of the soft, velvet like hide.  The antique burlwood table provides a bit of color, also texture while the, metallic ceiling finish, antique chandelier, and antique mirrors give a  reflective shining surface. Antique French chairs dressed in linen skirting edged in satin, again give a combination of natural element, texture, also shine. At center stage upon the table a simple concrete urn provides a classic shape with a rustic feel. The linen drapes hung from iron rods tie to the chandelier frame, as well as the antique candelabras upon the table, once again adding a natural, rustic elements. All of these pieces work together to make a neutral room have interest. There is nothing boring about this well thought out, layered, neutral space. Again, perfection. Tara Shaw is the essence of French design.

Photo Source; Tara Shaw

Many  designers use the rug as their first design element for a space; color pallet, coordinating fabrics, creating a room around the rug.  Below David Easton pulls the color pallet from the rug; the green background in the floral wallpaper, chair cushion fabric, finish upon the wooden chandelier, also serving consoles.  The rug's lattice pattern creates a beautiful base to the garden theme of the room. David Easton, a masterful designer.

Photo Source; David Easton Architectural Digest

Needless to say, a rug is an enormous choice, with that choice comes a great deal of pressure. Rugs are expensive.  When it came to choosing a rug, I had to make a decision upon what I wanted the rug to do for the space; color, texture, pattern.  Should I chose new with rich color, maybe a contemporary design element, or antique with a faded worn patina?  French style design can be at times a bit boring.  Layering is key to a French room, the style itself is known for natural elements, the combination of slick porcelain against rustic, peeling paint upon a antique console table, linen paired with velvet.

Since the rug did not come first our room already had many elements to consider.  The space is defined by cabinetry topped with Doric columns, cabinetry I hope to one day remove. A massive 8 foot square French paned window takes center stage upon the front wall, framing the outdoors, while pulling nature inside. Original pocket doors create the opening to Mr. GDC's office. The natural finished pine floors provide another element, along with a bit of pumpkin color. The window is off centered, there is a step down that removes a few inches from one side, centering the rug would be a challenge. The rug had to be just the right size; wide enough to be able to pull the chairs out from around table without catching the back legs upon the rug edge, long enough to center in the room, yet not need to be cut around the step.

In addition to the architectural elements to the space there are the design choices we made. An 1880's antique oval French table, with cabriole legs, burlwood inlay, also an adorned legs, and scalloped apron-

Mid-Century French chairs, covered in a combination of damask, harlequin, finally solid suede cloth. The frames finished in a grey wash, with dark stained details, then waxed for a dull finish.

Antique French tapestry remnants, once a single piece. I separated the tapestry in the center, where it was torn 1/3 down, to create two narrow pieces.  Hung by satin ribbon from the picture railing near the top of the room, on either side of the large French window they add  texture, color, also patina.

A replica Santos sits upon my Grandmother's antique, flecked silver serving tray, paired with simple clay pots filled with plants, to bring the outdoors in. 

Behind her; 1930's brass alter candlesticks, Mr. GDC wired into lamps, they are 48" tall.  The finish on the candlesticks were rough, I washed them in pewter metallic paint, then rubbed them to reveal a bit of the original brass.  Currently they are topped with pleated silk shades. A console table with cabriole legs, features a shell medallion, finished in dark expresso (for now, rethinking that finish), I use the table for serving during dinner parties.  

A blue and white porcelain ginger jar gifted to us on our wedding day sits atop the console table. Behind the jar a sunburst mirror I raised with a piece of all thread, then attached it to a block of Carrera marble - A little DIY project that reflects light.

1860's Empire French antique cabinets; detailed with bits of bronze dorje, fluted legs, marquetry, then topped with marble insets  rest below the tapestry remnants. The pair provide much needed storage, as well as additional serving surface.

Finally a "big box" recent simple iron chandelier, the previous home owner drenched in old crystal prisms.  He wired each string of beads, with various designed tear drops.  I added the shades to harness the light, directing it downward toward the dining table top.  Mounted to the ceiling with a faux ceiling medallion. The chandelier is an large element in the space.

I began perusing estate sales, auctions, online, also in person. My heart decided on an antique Persian, a medallion pattern to reflect the oval table.  While the rug was affordable, it was still expensive.  I tend to be frugal. Did I write frugal? Perhaps squeaky, would be a better word.  I don't easily spend money. I fret. The advertisement photo below shows the pattern well; the center medallion, the peachy beige field.   I purchased the rug from an online estate auction. Fought for it actually,  bidding, bidding, then finally won.  The purchase included a 30 day return option, a safety net of sorts.


I waited with great anticipation for arrival day, tracking the rug's path as it made it's way from Charlotte NC, to the Texas Gulf Coast.  With stealth like talent, the delivery person deposited the rug upon our porch, without alerting me.  When I checked, there it was, the somewhat surprising small package.  With childlike excitement of Christmas morning,  I drug it into the foyer, then carefully began to unwrap my "precious"... 

I interrupted Mr. GDC's workday, to help move the furniture out of the way, then we rolled the rug out. Deflated I slowly collapsed to the step between the foyer and dining room. I sat, disappointed, staring, chin in had, elbow balanced upon my knee - pouting.  I saved for months. My heart sank. I felt I should have waited.  How could I have spent so much money on this rug? Heavy sigh, heavy heart, what to do?  In a confident voice Mr. GDC said "I like it", then returned to work.  Jr. wandered in, accessing the rug as he walked about; "It came! It's awesome Mom, really old, I like the dogs in the corners. If you decide you don't want it, can I have it for my living room?" I glanced over to him, "meh". 

Pile side up

It wasn't love at first sight - the sight wasn't the issue, it was pretty, it worked well, the pattern, the muted colors, the patina, the size were all perfect.  I felt an antique was the right choice, verses a new perfect rug, rich with color, I felt would have looked out of place. However, this rug didn't feel like a "good" investment.

Corner dog detail, see him in the little medallion looking backward?

With the enlistment of Jr., we flipped the rug over with the backside up.  I'm known for preferring the backside of rugs.  If you have a real wool, hand knotted rug, the back is as pretty as the front, although more textured, with a tapestry appeal.  The backside is actually in more favorable condition, because it hasn't been walked upon!  Yes, I know, counseling. Honestly, I prefer the backside.

Carpet backside - You've gotta admit, backside is pretty!

Undeniably with each day I couldn't help but notice the old, tattered, worn Persian somehow fit our Texas Gulf Coast "Sybi":  the collection of French furniture, the recent chandelier, the 1930's alter candlesticks wired into lamps, the tapestry remnants,  even our Santos seemed content. The morning light streaming across the Persian highlights the hand knotted pattern, the size is perfect for our quirky, off center,  petite space;  while the colors soft, yet somehow rich with depth provide pattern, as well as texture. 

View from the foyer

Another view from the foyer showing the console table.

View looking across the dining room toward the foyer.

The carved table details paired with the pattern in the rug.

View from Mr. GDC's home office.

Multi fabrics worn by the chairs, paired with the rug.

I've driven myself, my family, and a close friend a bit crackers with the rug search.  Though I still have doubt in my investment, I recall my Grandfather often said "things are worth what your willing to pay for them".  I believe the antique, worn, threadbare, muted, faded, Persian is a nice addition for our Sybi.  After all, it's all about Sybi, isn't it? 

Next, maybe removal of those recently installed, inherited from the past owner, ill placed, unmatched cabinets.  The cabinets don't reflect our cottage's Victorian heritage. The cabinet style are more craftsman, while the columns are Greek. They confuse me. They are purely decorative, not structural.  I'm thinking of either leaving the space open or install a simple post on either side. Heavy sigh - someday. 

Until next time, wishing you all the best -

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Honey Glazed Roast Pork Loin

by Chef Jean-Francois Guillouet-Huard


1 lb. pork loin roast
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 - 4 Sprigs Thyme
2 - 4 Sprigs Rosemary
2 T Honey
4 T Butter
1 Vidalia or Other Variety Sweet Onion
2/3 Cup Dry Apple Cider (I used 4 oz apple juice, along with 2 oz dry white wine)
4 - 6 Quartered Apples (Fuji, Gala, Empire)




Heat Oven to 350 Degrees

Place pork in large roasting pan, then season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle honey over the top of the pork.
Arrange the thyme, also rosemary over the top of the pork.
Add pats of butter over the top of the thyme, and rosemary herbs.
Pour the cider over the top.

Bake at 350 degree for 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted reaches 120 degrees.

Wash, then quarter the apples.
Remove roast from over.
Arrange apples around the pork roast.

Return the roast to the oven for an additional 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted reaches 160 degrees.

I made a beurre manie, to thicken the drippings in the roasting pan, to be used as a sauce with the roast.  A pleasantly simple recipe, with little preparation, or fuss, that provides a moist savory roast rich with rosemary, thyme flavor.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from Chef.  I paired our pork roast with something I call spicy grits, cooked in chicken stock, with corn, then sprinkled with Tony's Creole Seasoning.  I know, we'll call it "Southern French"!

Until next time, wishing you all the best  -

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Random Cottage Photos

Today I'm offering random photos of our cottage, Sybi  -


Notice Sybi is turning white...

Hoping you enjoyed this offering of random photos taken about our cottage, also maybe you found a little something to inspire you.  Wishing you a beautiful weekend -