Beauty: Great Design by Cote de Texas

Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve been interested in interior design. I remember I had an older cousin who would bring me design magazines when I was just 7 years old, so I suppose my family was aware of my leanings even when I was that small. I can’t explain where it comes from, this love of design, it is just there and I suppose it always has been and always will be. When I was eight, my parents bought a lot and built a custom home on it. I was actively involved in the process and even got to help design my bedroom: I picked a lilac colored sink for my bathroom and a lilac accent wall for behind the beds. Back then, the most fun I could have was going to a furniture store with my mom. That was nirvana!

At that young age, I thought I wanted to be an architect and I endlessly drew floor plans of my dream home. I had seen a house in a magazine that a DuPont built somewhere in Delaware. It had a long center hall from which all the rooms flowed off of. That home captured my imagination for years and many of my drawings were variations on that scheme. Today, I still love center halls, though I’m not lucky enough to live with one. And today, my dream home is not so easily defined. I like too many different styles of architecture to be pinned down to just one. There’s the perfect French chateau where all the rooms are enfilade. Then there’s the Spanish mission style home with white stucco walls and black iron lighting fixtures. There’s the charming Cape Cod, with its shingled roof and dormer windows. And, the Texas Hill Country home with limestone walls and tin roof is a favorite. Or there’s the rambling English country home, with centuries of additions tacked on. How could one possibly pick a favorite?

Picking a favorite style of furniture is much easier. If it’s French and old, I’m in love. Well, I say that, but then I think of gorgeous antique Swedish furniture, all gray and splintered. And I adore the heavily carved Spanish furniture of old. The odd piece of oriental chinoiserie can turn a bland room into something special. And, there’s nothing cozier than a room filled with English furniture; its upholstered furniture covered in slips. I suppose what I really love is just great design.

I find it uncomfortable to be seated in an ugly room! It makes me nervous, my mind redesigns, remodels, edits. But, put me in a room that is truly beautiful and oh, what pleasure! Nothing surpasses that moment for me. My eye darts from place to place. It’s a rush of a feeling to be in a place that I find beautiful, I feel exhilarated and curious at the same time. Who designed this? Did the owner have help? Where do they shop? When was this purchased? Is this antique or reproduction? Whose fabric is this? Is this from France or Sweden? Gosh, I never knew that they had such great taste! I’m filled with interest and a certain feeling of desire: I want this! I want to live here!

What makes a room beautiful to me? First, there has to be a thought out placement of furniture. The chairs have to speak to the sofa. There has to be a balance to the room, one side shouldn’t be too heavily weighted without something attracting the eye on the other side. The paint should be fresh and clean, fingerprints should be washed off around the light switches and door handles. There shouldn’t be too much overhead lighting, if any at all. Rooms lit with lamps are so much more atmospheric and soothing. Sconces should be on, at all times – they add just that touch of romance. The floor covering should relate to the main seating group – there should be an area rug underneath if the floors are wood or tiled. And a seagrass rug is always a good choice, especially in more formal spaces. Fabrics should be natural, either cotton, linen or silk. The art work should be hung approximately at eye level and shouldn’t float above the sofa, it should relate to the space between the two. Mirrors are a great substitute for art work and the older the reflecting glass, the better. Shelves should be neat and balanced, not overly cluttered with endless picture frames and nick-naks. Drapes add so much beauty to a room, they should always be considered in a design. A simple vase of flowers is always nice, just as is a lit candle. The room should be casual enough to be inviting. Added together, these elements make a room beautiful, regardless of the style.

When I work with a client, sometimes it’s hard to not impose my personal likes on the design. I try to please the customer but many who hire me really don’t have a favorite style. My favorite clients are ones who know good design and just need me to help them facilitate the process. These are the dream jobs, what fun it is to shop together when you share a love of beauty! Recently, I had the pleasure to work with one such client. We both love antiques and we both love French furniture. As the installation was almost completed, the two of us were so happy! The room came together perfectly, exactly like we envisioned. I said, it’s so beautiful, I could cry. And I meant just that – it pleased my eye, the prettiness of the room, the color of the walls, the texture of the linen, the richness of the chintz, the smell of the new seagrass, the glint of the antique mirror, the curve of the chair legs, the glaze of the porcelain – it all worked together and its beauty made me want to cry.

A dining room in Belgium: gorgeous chandelier, marble floors, french chairs.

A bedroom in blue and white checks done by Kathryn Ireland of California.

One of my favorite dining rooms ever: Pam Pierce designs for a family in Houston. The skirt on the table is luscious.

Again, in Belgium. An open powder room in an entry. Strangely beautiful.

A living room by Michael Smith of California: I love the double sided drapes and the banquettes with the silk stripe.

Again by Pam Pierce: a little girl’s room in Houston. Gorgeous bedspreads and beautiful chandelier.

In Europe, a dining room inside the kitchen. The stove looks like a jewelry box in this beautiful room.

Joni is an interior designer on the Texas Coast. Find Joni at her beautiful blog Cote de Texas.
The top photo is Joni’s entry table! She has an amazing home! She more of it on her blog!

If you enjoy interior design, check out the Decorating Trends for 2011!

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Comments

  1. Melissa – thank you so much for giving me a chance to express what design means to me and what inspires me. You’ve been such an asset to the design blogosphere – you reached out to the readers and truly made your blog a place to gather around and share ideas and thoughts. You are an inspiration to us all.

    Thank you again for inviting me!

    Joni Webb
    http://www.cotedeTexas.blogspot.com

  2. kari & kijsa says:

    Joni always has such a beautiful and inspiring blog! The photography…the design…so truly talented!! (and of course, as Texas gals, we are a little biased too!!!)
    Thanks for sharing more about her!

    blessings,
    kari & kijsa

  3. I’m so sorry I haven’t had the time to visit your blog for some days. You’re always showing so many lovely things. And the interiors in this post is no exception from that.
    Hope you have a great week.
    Love Elzie

  4. Love your new post. Great chandeliers!

    kayellen.typepad.com

  5. Hi,
    Wow this is just great. For a moment I thought that these are pictures from one home. Can you imagine living in such a house?! Thanks for sharing.
    Love Suzy

  6. Interior designing is very popular nowadays as more and more people are opting for it to have their homes decorated beautifully. The pics are lovely and the house looks great.

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this guest post, Melissa and Joni! The rooms Joni chose were beautiful and it was great to learn more about her. Thank you both!

  8. Dear Melissa, we recently returned home from vacation and have just caught up with all your amazing posts, the inspirational guests and their wonderful ideas for beautiful living. Now we have all the links saved that we can come back to anytime thanks to you! Thank you so much. You are an inspirational lady and we hope YOU have some rest and a beautiful Valentines day :) Jenn and jacqui xo

  9. Jodi is and inspiration. I like her style, and enjoyed reading her thoughts about her life and design.
    Patricia Gray originally introduced me to her.
    Thank you Melissa for featuring Jodi.

  10. Melissa, that’s such a great post! Joni is one of my favorite bloggers and reading the post was almost hearing her talk! :-)

  11. Great post! Very inspiring.

  12. What a great way to end a really wonderful week of inspiration.
    Thank you so much Melissa. Joni’s piece, like the other ladies entries were informative, light hearted and beautiful.
    Blessings,
    ~j~

  13. goodness…i miss a few days and i am so behind on your posts!
    all so beautiful of course.
    the nature pictures themselves are so pretty.

    thank you for always finding something lovely for me to look at.
    -meg

  14. I read so much here and it always influences me! Your blog is really just super…I love tuning in.

  15. Great post, Melissa. Joni is such a wonderful inspiration for me!

    Pat

  16. My taste, exactly! I love white and elegance. It is simplicity and beauty all in one.
    I know someone getting married soon and the beautiful gowns I’ve seen are the ones that are full and dreamy….not too many ruffles or lace.
    Thanks for sharing.

  17. Joni,

    Lovely post with lots of great information! You are obviously doing what you were sent here to do!

    Melissa,

    I adore you, as always, my friend! You have such an eye for talent, and have chosen such inspirational guest-bloggers to share with us. YOU are such a wonderful cheerleader, but instead of cheering for us from the sidelines, you come right up, grab us by the hands, and bring us all right into the game!

    Have a happy day. I will be emailing you soon to catch up.

    Hugs and love,
    Debbie

  18. Penny, Mosaic Artist says:

    I have been following Joni for a few months now! She is amazing. Thanks for the inspired post Melissa!
    Penny

  19. Joni is a wonderful asset to the design blogging world herself! Thanks for featuring her- She is just lovely!

  20. Melissa and Joni,
    What a team. You are both women of great taste, amazing design sense and inspirational to us all! You two are what design blogging is all about-and you do it with so much style and heart.
    Thanks for all you contribute.
    Julie

  21. Melissa and Joni..some simply stunning rooms and a fascinating post! I love all the Belgian. You two girls both have exquisite taste and I can learn at your feet!!

    ..xo Terri

  22. Sweet Cottage Dreams says:

    Melissa, you did it again. You are always sharing other’s blogs with us and their amazing design talent. So inspiring and beautiful!!! Makes me want to strip my house out and start fresh. Better yet, get a new house, hire a professional and go to town!!!

    Hugs to you and Mr. Winston!

    xo
    Becky

  23. ohhh, such a lovely pictures…i would love to have a home like that!!

    Hugs Millan ,Sweden

  24. I love the dining room in the kitchen. This is proof that eat in kitchens can be elegant! Love it!

  25. Such gorgeous photos… lovely blog… thanks once again for sharing such beautiful places of inspiration..

    HUGS

    JO

  26. Wonderful photos and I loved the dining table in the gorgeous kitchen. Linda

  27. parisparfait says:

    You have a great eye! Thanks for sharing some beauty with us.

  28. It’s been so fun to get to know Joni (and you, Melissa) this last year. I’ve enjoyed seeing Joni’s house featured on blog when it was written up. She has a beautiful home that many of us would love to emulate. Thanks for sharing. You are delightful ladies & I’m happy to have met you both.

    xo,
    Rhoda

  29. oh ! that kitchen is divine!!!!! let’s all just move to Europe and spend the afternoons in beautiful villa’s like these!

    hi melissa!!! thank you for always visiting me and for being the best BBFF, {blogger best friend forever!!}}…that would actually make you the best “BBBFF” BEST blogger best friend forever!

    i have not forgotten about my ‘little gift’ that i want to send you…i can’t wait to send it, but i am trapped in this ‘shoe’ and i do not know what to do…hehehe…{get it? i am feeling like the old woman in the shoe, i have just so many children, i don’t know what to do!!!…{{nor can i get to the post office without dragging them all along! which i have learned, quite the hard way NOT to ever do again!!!}} so i promise, i will get it off ti you sooooon!}

    hugs my BBBFF!!
    shelbi

  30. It’s always interesting and enlightening to read a thoughtful response to a great question. I learned things from Joni that I had never considered.

    (I’ve been having trouble posting here both yesterday and today so I’m keeping my fingers crossed…)

  31. I love your style and all of the pictures!! Thanks Melissa for bringing her to your readers!

  32. hi everbody: I just had to come and read all the comments and say thank you to everyone who left one!!! I know how much effort it is to leave them and Melissa and I were talking about comments the other night – and we both feel such an gratitude to all of y’all who bother to leave them – we probably don’t say thanks enough, but truly we appreciate the comments more than you know (unless you have a blog and then YOU know!!). I’m glad you enjoyed reading my winded story – i know it’s too long, but I couldn’t stop myself talking about my favorite subject. Melissa: thanks again for hosting me, it’s meant the world to me. Love the new picture, btw!
    Joni

  33. Oh, I could live happily in any one of those rooms! Romantic decor can be lots of different styles to me. Now if I could just get all the toys picked up, the socks matched, the dishes off the counter and that silly puppy to tinkle OUTside! =) Blessings… Polly

  34. Your blog truly does inspire me. Please drop by my porch for a little gift from me on Feb. 12. Have a wonderful day. Love,Rachel

  35. Well, I just love both of your blogs Melissa and Joni, as you probably know by now. Very nice post Joni! And Melissa, you are, as ever, such a gracious hostess! It makes me feel good to be here. :)

  36. I loved this post; I feel as if I learned so much more about one of my favorite bloggers! I am right there with you on the French and Swedish style, the ‘layered European look’ as I have heard it called.

  37. Wonderful post about JONI !!! Great to know more about her

  38. Dear Melissa,
    Thanks so much for this wonderful week of posts. So inspiring! I love to visit Joni’s blog, and it has been a great treat to read her thoughts here. She is an amazing and talented woman!
    xoxo,
    Mary

  39. A belated wow. This was a wonderful interview, and the pictures are pure inspiration. I love, love, love that tablecloth. Such beautiful ideas. Thank you to Joni and Melissa. Susan

  40. Joni, Excellent post. Fab! I can relate so much to sketching houses when I was little. We went for long family drives back and forth between Ottawa & Toronto and I’d draw homes of my dreams. Weird little girls….

  41. Melissa:

    I’ve come to this post twice now and have to say I absolutely love the pix…the bedrooms are so perfect and leave much to aspire to….Happy Valentines Day !!!……..Fay

  42. I agree with you that Joni has a beautiful Blog. Grreat Post!

  43. Beautiful photos. all so restful and calm. Are you Librian? I used to draw books of floor plans when I was a little girl also!!!! Still love looking at floor plans!!!! Rachael:)

  44. Rachel – I just saw your question – no, I’m a scorpio – all the wall! total water sign, love the beach, love to dig around and figure things out. thanks for the kind words, too!!

    Joni

  45. sp. correction – all the *way*

  46. BRUCE VAN DER BANK says:

    Hi Joni,
    I hope you and your family are all well. My wife is always coaxing me to leave a comment and I always say ‘but it’s only ever woman that comment’. A typical male mindset.

    Joni, I have just read your blog of your entry into design and relate completely. My passion is beyond intense but not easy to share as a male. My wife is extremely supportive and just as excited when we look at your blog each day.

    What impresses me most is your total honesty and sincerety when you write of your early married life and budget for decorating and the photos you provide for all to share. I thought the ‘cowtown’ striped couch and cane chair etc etc to be exceptionally beautiful, tasteful and welcoming. You are always giving others a mention and praising them which is a unique and special quality in this day and age.

    I dont mean to come across as soppy , but having worked in the design industry there is often jealousy and a lot of them would not expose their homes and share tips and divulge certain sources as you continually do to help both your readers and your sources.

    We are all very fortunate to enjoy your blogs and appreciate the passion, effort and time you unselfishly share.

    Regards,
    Bruce (London)

  47. Its a great post and useful also because today everybody want to buy shopping goods online.
    Thanks for such an helpful post.

  48. yall are both such class acts–love you both and what you do!

    Holly

  49. Jean Rayhill says:

    Hi Joni,

    Just digging around on the web and have come across your site quite by accident – looking for decorative plates for my living area. Thank you for sharing such talent and beauty with all of us.

    Jealous in Houston

  50. Thank you,
    What an inspiration,for me to be able to be transferred into such
    beautiful places , dreamy. I Love them all.

    Grateful
    Charmaine
    Boca Raton, FL

  51. What a complete delight to read, especially because it could have been me writing those sentiments w/ a few detail changes……i.e., starting @ a young age, etc. And, once again, you’ve nailed it, Joni: “We are NOT fickle, we can’t help but LOVE all style types when they are beautiful, n’est-ce pas?!!

    First time I’ve stopped to comment; I am a long time admirer of your blog, however! IT sends me into raptures!!! (Just caught your post on Paris apartments to rent!)

    sign me “No-longer a Cote de Texas blog STALKER, but always a FAN!”

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