Friday, December 14, 2018

Cottage Living Room Concept - Faudree Influence

I have been wandering about the internet from fabric site to fabric site shopping.  I have what I refer to as DADD; Design Attention Deficit Disorder. Squirrel!  I find a fabric, fall smitten, design a room around that fabric, while wandering about looking for a coordinating fabric - I fall smitten with a fabric...repeat.  Before I know it I have pages of concepts.  I've travelled so far down the proverbial rabbit hole I'm catching myself designing concepts in colors I could never live with - Help! I decided to take a look back at someone who greatly influence me. 

Growing up in Fort Worth while being infatuated with interior design I fell smitten to a specific Interior Designer from Tulsa, Charles Faudree.  During the mid 1980's he was the go to designer of the DFW area.  Soon, he became an award wining master of interiors whose influence reached worldwide.  This girl from Fort Worth was forever inspired with the soft spoken master of design.   Faudree had a comfortable style; mixing fabrics including checks and toile paired with English, also French antiques, a blend of rustic with refined, then topped by layers of found objects.  I have each book he wrote, every magazine he appeared in and often find myself with my nose deeply within their pages, analyzing every detail. Young and in design school at the time, his aesthetic was often recognizable in my projects. I came to adore all things French, learned to mix textures, patterns, rustic with refined, dreamed of following within his footprints. Isn't it interesting how a person you've never met can have such an impact upon you?   He's long since passed, yet his legacy of work continues to influence people today.  If you haven't met him, please allow me to introduce you through this Traditional Home Magazine Christmas layout of his cabin, then located just outside Tulsa, it remains my favorite of his many homes - 

Charles Faudree with his companion, Nicholas  Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine

Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine 

The upper walls are dressed in Pierre Frey Petite Parc a gorgeous cotton, linen blend toile featuring flowers and birds.  He paired the wall covering with a stripe on the French side chairs, a large check on the French armchairs flanking the fireplace then added another linear pattern in the drapes.  A hint of gold in the drapery rings, then again upon the candelier suspended above a rustic iron based table filled with books, florals and found objects creates the Faudree magic.  The ceilings beams are one of my favorite details in this space; a mix of natural and painted rather than one or the other creates more interest upon the ceiling. 

Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine 

In the main living space the cathedral ceiling and wood floors are again finished in a wash of white.  Fabric choices are continued in this space to create continuity.  This is the first time I saw a seagrass rug, the texture is beautiful and speaks to the rustic chippy finish upon many of the French antiques.  I adored the Dutch door and longed for my own one day.  I studied his furniture plan; he created small pockets of furniture a game space, alongside the windows two chairs paired with a small table is the perfect place for a cup of coffee and moment of reflection, the center conversation area surrounds the fireplace, while the dining area includes a bench alongside the dining table. He punctuated the space with a large antique heirloom quality French tapestry. I'd never seen a tapestry paired with chippy furniture, cotton/linen fabrics and seagrass before, for me it was sure perfection. It appears as though Nicholas agrees.   If you'd like to read more about Charles Faudree and his cabin click here

The fireplace wall of the conversation area.  Photo Credit Traditional Home Magazine. 

When Mr. GDC and I stepped into the cottage the little voice in my head screamed "This is it, your Charles Faudree house!".  (I hope everyone else has a little voice in their head and I'm not the only one.)  Within those first few steps, I fell as smitten with this cottage as I had years ago with Charles Faudree, I knew this was my opportunity to attempt a channeling of his aesthetic into our own cottage. Instantly I said "Full price, whatever the owner wants!", our elated Realtor broke into giggles, she knew she had found me a rare find, a house that spoke to my heart.  So much for artful negotiation! 

Now that we are here, I've had my nose poised once again in my collection of frayed and worn Charles Faudree books.  Timidly, I've put together four concept pages under his influence, striving to channel just a glint of his brilliance while remaining true to our family style. 

On a budget, I plan to keep most of our furniture, refinishing or recovering as needed. I long for a space that has texture, interest, a collected feel and of course speaks French - similar to those magical Faudree spaces. 

No 1: Neutral color scheme grounded with black.  I chose two toile, a damask and traditional floral to combine with a few more modern geometric fabric patterns.  This scheme is along the thought of the new modern traditional.  The black providing a more contemporary, modern edge, while the toiles and check define the room as French. I could easily add a pair of black/white modern paintings to juxtapose the antique tapestry fragments. 

No 2: The choices here create a shaded color scheme; brick and wine fabrics paired with taupe to bring in our main upholstered pieces.  These fabrics are mostly traditional with just a hint of modern in the circle patterned fabrics.  I repeated the circle idea in the drapery border, the dot velvet pillow, the taupe geometric and the lower right corner circle brick fabric. This selection is a return to color.  

No. 3: The choices here are somewhat monochromatic with shades of navy paired with taupe.  All fabrics in this collection are traditional with two having a slight chinoiserie feel.  The toile, chinoiserie, also check fabrics speak French in the scheme. 

No 4: This concept is most neutral with shades of grey, taupe and camel.  Here I chose a selection of traditional, geometric, modern, and casual patterns.  This scheme relies upon pattern and texture to create interest.  This space would be an eclectic, quiet, layered room, with art becoming the focal point.  The toile, damask and traditional floral create an underlying French feel. 

What do you think?  Do any of these concept pages appeal to you?  If you'd be so kind as to leave me a comment, I would greatly appreciate it.  I'm curious to learn your thoughts.  I'll be pondering in hope of coming to a decision.  I like each concept for different reasons. Any of the four would work well for the living room.  Perhaps since I haven't an obvious choice, the search should continue.  Honestly, I'd like to move forward rather than - squirrel! I am hopelessly fabric fickle.   

Until next time, wishing you all the best - 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Exterior Christmas Cheer 

We are so busy this Christmas season; unpacking, organizing, painting.  We opted for a little light exterior Christmas d├ęcor this year.  We draped the double front doors with lit faux greenery garland, then added two wreaths suspended from pretty grey metallic ribbon. 

There are brackets on the door canopy support post, I added a couple of oversized acorns, greenery, also a bow.  Honestly, I was uncertain about those brackets, my aunt used to say "Put a bow on it", so I did. Upon the porch I added a pair of clay pots and poinsettia on either side of the double doors.

At night the new wall sconces shine down upon the poinsettia, spotlighting them. 

The front of the house has different sized and style windows.  I chose to hang faux greenery wreaths suspended from the grey metallic ribbon at the center of each window to create a little continuity.  The ribbon is stapled to the top of the window frame, leaving about 6" of ribbon tails to dangle from the frame.  

The final touch of Christmas cheer is on the gate.  I repeated another wreath; decorated with a large acorn, a few neutral poinsettia and a hint of greenery, then finished off with a large bow. 

This year, we've a little Christmas cheer.   

Until next time, wishing you a happy holiday season!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Oh Christmas Tree! - Steps to creating the floral designer look

We have a petite tree; six feet tall and "skinny".  Since the tree is petite, through the years it's been placed in pots, baskets, then last  year inside the cargo trunk in an effort to give it more height and presence.  It is a simple tree and every year I consider purchasing a new one.  For me I use it as a beginning, somewhat like a frame, then fill it out with stems of mixed greenery.  I'm the daughter of a retired floral designer.  The designer style tree looks complicated, here's a secret, it isn't.  Follow these steps to obtain the designer tree look - 

Step one: Frame

Set the tree up.  Most people leave their trees in the traditional cone shape.  If you love a cone, then stop there.  Me, I'm a quirky soul, I love a noble fir because the architecture of a noble fir allows for layers of ornaments. The tall spaces between the branch tiers are perfect for large ornaments.   I take the tree frame and twist the branches together to form tiers similar to a noble fir.

The method I use is to divide the branches into sections, by taking the branches next to one another, pulling them tightly in one direction, then twist them together to hold them in place.  I usually combine two to three branches to make a section. I flatten the branches out creating layers much like a noble fir.  Once the tree is set up layer a tree skirt around the bottom to hide the stand.  I usually have our tree in a pot, box or basket so I use Spanish Moss to camouflage the tree base from view.

Step two: Lights

I average 150 lights per linear foot.  I realize it seems like an over abundance of lights, for that designer look you need a evenly and fully lit tree.  I've found through the years that 150 is the magic number I seem to use.  Make certain when stringing lights together that you follow the manufacturers instruction on how many strings of lights are suggested to plug in end to end. Exceeding that number can cause blown fuses, or a possible fire.

When applying lights rather than circle the tree applying the lights to the exterior only, I apply lights to each branch, tucking them from the center of the tree pole outward to the end of the branch, then back to the tree pole and repeat.  This method creates a well, evenly lit tree and gives depth to the shape of the tree since the center is lit as well as the exterior.

Where plugs are plugged in to one another I wrap a branch around the joined plugs in an effort to camouflage the connection.

Step Three:  Greenery 

 I use a combination of pine, silvered cedar, and a frosted, silvered, pinecone dotted greenery.  Keep in mind when choosing greenery to chose something that will not blend in to the branches of your tree; a different shade of green, different leaf, something with berries, something flocked or glittered are the perfect choices. 

Consider using 6 stems per foot as a guide.  You'll use more at the bottom, less at the top due to the cone shape.  I begin at the bottom of the tree and work my way upward; taking each stem of greenery and applying to the branches tucking the stems inside the branches to hide them.

I stagger the stems of greenery between the layers of branches which prevents the tree from having too many of the same type greenery together, giving the tree a more natural look. The layers of greenery hide the light wires. 

When reaching the top of the tree I tuck the branches around the top creating a "crown" effect.  At first I layered the long branches of cedar, then came back and added three pine stems along with three sticks featuring faux ice crystals for a hint of natural woodsy style. 


Step Four:  Ornaments - the fun stuff 

Mr. GDC and Jr. are the ornamentation crew.  Each year after the lights, greenery and top is completed, I make myself a cup of tea and perch myself, along with our pup upon a the settee to watch the ornamentation crew work.  This has been our family tradition for years.  The first several years we had only unbreakable ornaments, Jr.'s favorite things was to toss them at the tree and see how many would stick. Boys.  He's grown up, now we have a beautiful collection of mercury, also hand blown ornaments with the original mix of unbreakable ones; a bit of old, of new, our family tradition.  

Maybe next year we'll go wild and add some color to our tree decorations?  Maybe we'll jump and buy a new tree?  For now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Must buy a plant for this basket! It's on the very long "to do" list! 

Happy Decking the Halls!  No matter how you chose to decorate your tree, they are all beautiful! Until next time, wishing you all the best - 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting by Sarah Patterson Scott 

Link to recipe as featured on Bon Appetit website here .

I happened upon this recipe a bit over a year ago, living on Galveston Island.  While Galveston Island is a beautiful, vibrant place to live, fall is - well, uneventful.  A few palm fronds fall, the temperature refuses to dip past 68, Ooo chilly.  Longing for a brisk breeze and falling leaves, I went to one of my favorite recipe websites, Bon Appetit and happened upon Sarah Patterson Scott's pumpkin cake recipe.  It fulfilled my; "I miss fall!" hissy fit with a moist cake, rich in pumpkin and laced with the spices of fall.   If you are need of a dessert to serve at your Thanksgiving table, or like me, just in need of a "fall fix", this cake is it.  One of my favorite cake recipes.  


3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 
1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin 
1 and 1/2 cups sugar 
1 and 1/4 cups vegetable oil 
4 large eggs 
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel 

1 pound box powdered sugar 
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 


Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter and flower two 9 inch cake pans, tapping out any excess flour.  Whisk first nine ingredients in large bowl. Using and electric mixer, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil in another large bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate between additions.  Mix in orange peel.  Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend.  Divide batter between prepared pans. 

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, approximately 33 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert onto rack, then turn top side up and cool completely.  (Depending upon your oven strength the time is a suggestion. My oven in Galveston was something else! I only cooked the cakes 25 minutes. Consider checking them around 25 minutes to see if they are ready.)

Sprinkle 1/2 cup powdered sugar over the bottom of a small nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts (do not stir).  Continue cooking until sugar turns deep amber stirring occasionally, about two minutes.  Carefully stir in 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously).   Stir until caramel bits dissolve.  Stir in remaining  tablespoon of cream.  Allow caramel to cool to room temperature. 

A word of warning here - allow me to say "bubble vigorously" is an understatement.  I brought my whipping cream to room temperature in an effort to prevent the violent reaction of cold cream and caramelized sugar.  Be very, very careful. When caramelized sugar pops, it sticks to you, and it will burn. Anyone who has ever made homemade caramel knows it is a trick.  But the violent reaction, results in the yummiest of caramel icings.  Please be mindful. I tend to wear my kitchen gloves when making caramel. 

Using long serrated knife, trim rounded tops from cakes. Place 1 cake layer on cake plate, cut side up.  Spread 3/4 cup frosting over the layer. Placed second cake layer, cut side down, atop frosting.  Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, creating smooth surface. Sprinkle candied orange peel over top of cake for garnish.  

Well worth the effort for a bit of fall, pumpkin, spice goodness.  Enjoy! 

Until next time, wishing you all the best - 


Friday, November 16, 2018

A White Clad Living Area

Tomorrow will mark four weeks since our furniture arrived at our "next victim", as I come to call it.  I've been unpacking, painting, unpacking...repeat.  Most of the boxes are unpacked, broken down and delivered to the recycling center.  The garage is fairly clear, enough for one vehicle to park inside.  We feel somewhat triumphant!  

The main living area is slowly being painted white, the UT burnt orange is growing smaller and smaller, only gracing one wall presently.  Each wood paneled wall is taking a bit of putty, sanding, also three coats of white enamel.  I chose enamel in a satin finish in an effort to bounce some of the light around the room, hoping to even out the northern blue light against the glowing east and western light.  The space feels much larger, brighter, yet, a bit bland.  Our furniture suddenly turned brown! Our antique Persian rug I spent months finding seems a little - meh. Heavy sigh.  I think finishing the space out will take some major texture and pattern with a subtle casting of color to create interest. Sounds good, right? 

I thought this morning as I begin to spend the next few days painting what is left of the room, I would share a few photos with you.  I've unpacked a sparse number of treasures, those things I worried for when they began their journey here; the Santos, the antique French tapestry remnants, an odd sunburst mirror hand designed by a metal artisan in Austin and a concrete covered deer who throughout the years tends to recline upon the dining table.  It's a good place to keep an eye on things. Here we go - 

 What do you think?  White! It's a little snow blinding, isn't it?  I realize "white" is trending, I'm honestly not a trending sort of girl. For this space, white, at least for the moment, seamed the answer. The front doors are in the upper right corner.  I've temporarily have the vintage French dresser resting in front of a window, the scales a little off, think it will be relocating soon.  The daybed is centered under the front window.  A conversation area is snuggled in front of the fireplace. 

Our brown furniture, brown antique armoire where the TV is playing hid 'n seek, our brown English lamp table and vintage French coffee table turned ottoman. I pinned the French tapestry remnants to the doors of the armoire, trying to cover some of the brown! I don't know, maybe? There may be some painted furniture in our future. We won't discuss the recliner. Still cant' figure out how that eyes.  Speaking of blue eyes, we've placed Mr. GDC's home office in what was the dining space, upper center of the photo you can spy the corner of his desk with his lamp resting upon it.   

I am a little happy with this, one of small occasional tables that travels about the room tucked perfectly beneath the English lamp table.  Playing, I placed one of the sunburst mirrors beneath the Aiden Gray lamps in an effort to spread a little light.  Then I positioned the vintage floor mirror against the wall behind the lamp, so that when the lamp is on the light reflects. I'm becoming like a bird searching for light, ooo, shiny object. 

The daybed fits nicely under the front window.  It offers a lovely little corner to curl up in. I may take a que from it, arriving to us "naked", I left it because I loved the natural wood grain. Maybe rather than paint some of our other pieces, I need to start stripping... can you hear the burlesque music? 

Mr. GDC's home office.  I'm thinking a broody color in here; green, grey, or something else.  His office looks out upon the rose garden, which needs pruning, lots of pruning.  Honestly, I think this would make the most wonderful kitchen!  Maybe a someday scheme. 

Looking toward the back of the space, there's that UT burnt orange.  

I'm still not wildly happy about the built-ins.  If you will, allow me to caution you, built-ins were all the rage in the 90's, which is when I suspect these were installed.  While they can be useful, they are incredibly restrictive.  Once in place you are stuck with what you've built, there's little you can do with them.  I'm considering a few options; removing all of them, removing only the center section then adding door to the built-ins on either side.  The doors could be French paned with sheered fabric, or flat allow an application of a wallpaper mural. A definite someday scheme is to replace the center window with double metal French doors allowing access to the yard. 

I'm pondering the fireplace, it feels a bit 1990's as well.  It also feels a bit New England to me.  I discovered one interesting thing, the brick surround is stained, hiding beneath is terracotta Corsicana brick. 

I'm thinking of attempting to remove the finish, revealing the terracotta brick. I think it interesting a previous owner stained the terracotta brick, then painted the walls essentially - terracotta. I'm thinking color!  I'm also not a huge fan of the fireplace mantle.  This room was added in 1950, the house originally built in 1939.  A mantle from that ear would have had a bit of carving, some legs, a little decorative detailing. Uncertain what to do with this. 


Opposite the fireplace I positioned the antique armoire with hidden television to balance the room.  Did you notice the brown line on the wall? 

Well, there is a chair railing trim along this one wall only. This wall is the original exterior wall to the cottage.  I thought, why is there a railing along one wall?  It bugs me, really bugs me, three walls no chair rail, one wall rail. 

I pried it off, thinking it was surface mounted upon the wall, it wasn't.  This is what happens when I'm left unsupervised.  Since I had a peeking place, I dug about trying to figure out if the original brick exterior wall from 1939 might be standing there - can't tell, I found a board.  Wouldn't it pretty to have a brick wall here and the natural brick around the fireplace?  hmmm. 

View from the Keeping Room.  Currently I have antique Galveston cargo trunk gifted to us by our friends, Hank and Carol, at the back of the settee.  I think it might fit better under the window near the front door, also be more visible. 

View from the back of the space looking toward the front doors. The ceiling I believe as well is most likely 1990's.  This one of two ceilings in the house that are drywall, all others are wood.  I wanted to investigate, this time supervised.  We removed the edging around one of the recessed lights, peeking around the edge with the help of a light we discovered a wooden ceiling about a foot above the ceiling.  I'm too excited!  The ceiling will be coming out after the new year! We are uncertain what is there, whatever it is, it will be original, historic and build some character to this very white space - 

Yesterday we had some visitors... 

Grey dove!  I'm so excited!  I feel home....

Until next time, wishing you all the best -