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house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com


SEPTEMBER 2013

CONTENTS 16

46

52 features

43 8 12 14 16 22 43 62 63 6

62

Editor’s Note Spotlight: Drake Homes

46 52 27

In the Kitchen . . . Having fun with three local restaurateurs

Galleria Glamour Highrise living combines entertainment with work

The Texas Home & Garden Show: Guide to annual show at Reliant Center, September 21-22. And all about MainStreet America.

Calendar Tastemaker: Charlotte Nail Before & After: An Affordable Custom Look Project: Sprucing Up Your Guest Room The Hort Whisperer: Palm Picks Pet of the Month: Duncan house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

ON THE COVER Drake Homes, a family-owned business, builds to meet owners’ needs and for lasting value. New homes at Graustark are open for public touring. P h o t og r a p h y b y B e n H i l l ) (P


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EDITOR’S NOTE Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected sources.

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This one is from the greatgrandson of Michele De George who built The Auditorium Hotel in 1926, which later re-opened as The Lancaster. Standing recently with Charles M. Lusk III in one of the newly renovated guest suites at his family-owned hotel (upper right), camauba wax became the topic of discussion. When applying camauba wax to un-lacquered brass, explains the hotel president, it allows the bath fixtures to acquire a living patina. In other words, the brass continually changes and eventually acquires a lustrous antiqued look. So no more high polishes from the staff that once might have feverishly tried to make it spotless, void of tarnish. The au naturele trend continues. . . . So if you haven’t visited in a while, stop in at The Lancaster’s Bistro for a drink or dinner – across the street from The Alley. The hotel’s $10 million facelift included the lobby, meeting spaces and guest rooms. The Lancaster, I might note, is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark, and the only hotel in Houston listed among the prestigious Historic Hotels of America. Speaking of family, we’re featuring three young restaurateurs PUBLISHER ........................Mike Harrison, Ph.D. ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER ........Susie Reisenbigler EDITOR ..............................................Susan Fox CONTRIBUTING WRITERS................Anne Breux, ....Debi Bryant, Marsha Canright, Joetta Moulden CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS ..............Miro Dvorscak, Ben Hill, Mark Johnson ......................................................Janet Lenzen ART DIRECTOR ............................Robert Coplin CREATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR......Tim Beeson SR. ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE ........Frances Dowling ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES ....................................

MAKING A SPLASH WITH INTEGRITY CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION l ASK ABOUT THE NEW ULTRAVIOLET POOL SYSTEMS

B E R RY P O O L S l 7 1 3 . 8 2 4 . 8 1 8 2 l B E R RY P O O L S . C O M 8

house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

..............................Rita Bush, Susan Mahmood PRINTING ........................................RR Donnelly

this month on page 46. They say they often “experiment” with recipes in this Montrose familyfilled kitchen before introducing them to their patrons at Community Bar, Bowl Café and the Absinthe Brasserie. Jackie Racine-Rager and husband Ralph Rager, with sister Karen Racine, remind us that laughter is the best accessory to any home. To get the party started at your own place, they’re sharing two drink recipes. Cheers! Have a great month! Susan (and Sam) HOUSTON

Blue Thumb Inc., dba Houston House & Home ("HH&H"), is a news magazine with emphasis on interior design and remodeling. HH&H does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does HH&H or its staff assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial content appear in any publication. HH&H has not independently tested any services or products advertised herein and has not verified claims made by its advertisers regarding those services or products. HH&H makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims regarding those services or products or claims made by advertisers. Readers are advised to consult with the advertiser and/or other home repair and renovation professionals regarding the suitability of an advertiser's products. No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the Publisher. Copyright 2013, all rights reserved. HH&H is distributed at most Houston area Krober and HEB stores.

P.O. Box 701038 Houston, Texas 77270-1038 (713) 523-6523 info@houseandhomeonline.com


LYNDON WEST INTERIOR DESIGN Charlotte McFadin ASID, RID

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SPOTLIGHT

Drake Homes Inc. specializes in high-end communities prized for their luxury amenities, well-designed landscaping and convenient locations. Shown above: Ashland Square in the Houston Heights.

Chefs in the family appreciate the traffic triangle among the stove, sink and refrigeration in the kitchen. Drake Homes also build in plenty of counter space and storage.

Drake Homes Designs and Builds For the Homeowner BY DEBI BRYANT

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nthusiastic, energetic, efficient: These words describe both the people and work philosophy of Drake Homes Inc., the Houston area homebuilder, specializing in affordable and conveniently located homes. The enthusiasm of this company displays itself in the belief that they build homes as if they were building their own. Because a family owns and operates the company, it is a way of life. Impromptu meetings occur around the dinner table, on vacations, any time a good idea arrives. As a small company, Drake Homes gives each project this kind of time and attention because its people enjoy their work. The entire roster of employees, sub-contractors and vendors match the ideals and philosophy established by the principals, president Horacio Martinez Jr., senior vice-president Jose Castillo and vice-president Roberto Castillo. Many of the sub-contractors and vendors started with Drake Homes at its inception, which illustrates another working principle of the company—to create loyalty, you have to be loyal. Over the years, several employees, including top management, began their careers by sweeping out finished homes and stacking materials. This bottomto-top approach gives team members a vested interest in the success of the company and the happiness of the clients. The company also brings an internally generated energy to each house and development. Drake’s approach to customer service best shows this quality where going the extra mile is the standard, not the exception. The company family extends to its customers. They are there for the homeowners well after warranties expire. This is what energizes them and the company as a whole. For example, they had just finished the first home using a new floor plan. While doing a walk-through, several team members arrived on the third floor landing with the general consensus that the space “felt tight.” They stood

12 house& home | September 2013 | www.house and home online. com

there, discussed what could be done to correct the issue and came up with the solution—to reconfigure an overly large utility room and to relocate the hallway door of a bedroom. “Drake Homes went above and beyond to accommodate all of our requests,” says homeowner Fred Lagrasta. “They are perfectionists. They didn’t cut corners and always take my calls.” Quality construction reveals the efficiency of a Drake home. As a standard practice, they use 5/8-inch drywall to achieve three benefits: The thicker drywall helps keep wood frames from warping in our humid climate; it acts as additional insulation, and it serves as a sound barrier. They also install high-grade insulation. In other words, they don’t cut corners. How do these qualities benefit buyers? The Villas at Graustark, the latest Drake Homes development in Montrose, demonstrates the impressive package that typical buyers get with Drake Homes. High-end, high efficiency-rated appliances, 10-foot ceiling, soaring ceilings, custom wrought iron details, wooden floors throughout, granite countertops throughout, luxurious trim and upscale landscaping. Floor plans exhibit a design-conscious sensibility; that is, furniture looks good in the space and each room possesses the X-factor of livability. Drake Homes also chose to put only nine units on the property, instead of the 11 it could have built, because they wanted to give homeowners a back yard large enought for a water feature or a summer kitchen. It is this consistent efficiency found at Drake Homes Inc. that allows the company to build homes DRAKE HOMES, INC. that last and appreciate in value. “At Drake Homes. we are not just www.drakehomesinc.com selling to the immediate buyer but 281.451.9386 to the second and third homeowner as well,” says Martinez.


ABOVE: The Villas at Graustark in the heart of Montrose, is walking distance to some of Houston’s best restaurants. BELOW LEFT: Decorative lighting fixtures, ornamental iron detail and architectural features add panache to this Villas at Graustark interior. BELOW RIGHT: Open floor plans display equal parts functionality and luxury.

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SEPTEMBER 2013

A R T S

E V E N T S

CALENDAR The Houston Antique Dealer’s Association (HADA) hosts a threeday show at the George R. Brown Convention Center beginning September 20.

M A R K E T S

W O R K S H O P S

BELOW: Austin artist Stephanie Reid presents her daydreams of Asia in an exhibit at the Jung Center, September 4-28.

Bissonnet. Event is free for Rice Design Alliance (RDA) members and $25 for nonmembers. Seating for the lecture is limited. Info: 713-348-5583 or www.ricedesignalliance.org

Shows, Gardens & Tours

Walking Tour Preservation Houston hosts on Sunday, September 8, a walking tour of Allen’s Landing at 6 p.m. Docents guide the walk of what is often called “Houston’s Plymouth Rock” -- the original site of the Port of Houston in 1840 and the center of trade in the city for many years. Attendees learn about nearby buildings and how the area is evolving. No reservations needed. Cost is $10 per person; $7 for members. Info: www.preservationhouston.org

Gallery Shows Hidden Pieces,” an exhibit by Austin The Jung Center presents “H artist Stephanie Reid. She uses photomontage to present her daydreams of Asia. Design, woodblock, printing and bamboo brush painting heavily influence this body of work. September 4-28 at The Jung Gallery, 5200 Montrose Blvd. Info: 713-524-8253 or www.junghouston.org The historic Red & White Gallery, circa 1835, on the square in Fayetteville, Texas, is also now a newly refurbished inn. Watercolor artist Mar y Quiros, from Laredo, shows her work there on Saturday, September 7. Info: 713-818-9766 or www.redandwhitegallery.com

Rice Design Alliance Interboro architect Georgeen Theodore is the recipient of The Rice Design Alliance Prize, an award recognizing exceptionally gifted architects in the early phases or their career. Theodore will be honored at a lecture and wine reception on Tuesday, September 10, at 6 p.m., at Brown Auditorium at The Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 14 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

MetroCooking Houston hosts S o u r t h e r n Cook Paula Deen, Extreme Chef Terr y F rench, “Grill” Sergeant Brad Tu rner, Chefletes Dan Pastorini and Earl Campbell – and other culinary greats during the weekend show scheduled for September 14-15. In addition to the celebrity cooking theater, workshops will be taught by industry experts, sharing specialty foods and entertaining ideas. At the Reliant Center. Tickets required. Info: www.metrocookinghouston.com Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens hosts a fall market and festival on September 28-29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participating vendors sell arts & crafts, hand-made jewelry, wind chimes, plants, nature photograph, local honey, ceramics and more. Info: 281443-8731 or www.themercersociety.org T h e H o u s t o n A n t i q u e D e a l e r s A s s o c i a t i o n ’s ( H A D A ) 2 0 1 3 Fall Show begins September 20 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Hall A. Three-day admission is $10. HADA hosts two shows each year with exhibitors from around the country. Info: www.hadaantiques.com The 18th annual Texas Home & Garden Show takes place at Houston Reliant Center, September 21-22. Explore a wide range of new home and garden products – from windows and doors, to


EDITOR’S NOTE: Please send all calendar items to sfox@houseandhomeonline.com by second Fridays for the following month’s issue.

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ceilings and floors. Additional attractions: home décor, remodeling, green living, landscaping, pools & spas, kitchens & baths, storm preparedness. Adults: $10. Seniors: $9. Children under 14: free. Info: See special section on page 27, www.texashomeandgarden.com MainStreet America presents “Living Green on MainStreet” on September 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Event is free with park admission. Complimentary parking. Also, awaken your inner chef and sign up for a cooking class, held on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays of each month. For a listing of classes, visit www.MCCooking.com or call 713-825-4470. Additional info: www.mainstreetamerica.com

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Coming Up T h e U r b a n M a r k e t H o u s t o n A n t i q u e s S h o w: October 26-27. At The Bayou City Event Center. www.the urbanmarkethouston.com Five custom homebuilders take part in the Bellaire New Home Showcase during two weekends next month: October 19-20 and October 26-27. Tickets are $10. Proceeds will help benefit Evelyn’s Park Conservancy Park at 4400 Bellaire Blvd. Info: www.bellaireshowcase.com

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TASTEMAKER

CHARLOTTE NAIL

Charlotte Nail Antiques will be among the many nationwide shops participating in the annual fall Houston Antique Dealer Association’s (HADA) show from September 20-22 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Hall A. You can find the gracious Houston native milling about her 10,000-square-foot shop nestled in a far corner of A carved giltwood chinoisserie style mirror; three dimensional aspects with Asian influences.

Looking Glasses An interview with Charlotte Why the attraction to mirrors? I particularly like to feature mirrors in the gallery because they are an important aspect of any interior. They expand the space and add sparkle and light. I have always liked to have a large variety of mirrors because they are needed in many spaces for every home, such as entryways, dining rooms, powder rooms and vanity areas. I have a large variety of sizes, finishes and types for both formal and informal areas. When purchasing mirrors to sell, what do you look for? I hand pick all the mirrors in my shop. I look for beautiful design first and foremost, in addition to construction and condition. I really love to find the really old mirrors with mercury (some might call it Diamond dust). I love old and original gold gilding with a bit of the red under glow showing through. This is the gentle and original wear that I feel is appropriate for 19th century mirrors. I buy from France and many other sources. 16 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

the Design Center located off Old Katy Road. Stocked with furniture and accessories, her mirrors dazzle.

What should buyers consider when buying antique mirrors? When buying antique mirrors look for the following: Good age and condition Beautiful proportion and design Repairs – Have there been repairs and have they been restored well? What types of mirrors do hang in your shop? The gallery has many types of mirrors: giltwood, dark walnut, trumeaus (mirrors with a painting mounted above), Venetian (all glass that are hand etched) made in Murano, parcel-gilt (partial gilt and partially painted), mirrors that are mounted in bronze metal, and such finishes as giltwood ( gilded in gold leaf), wood and painted. Why do you prefer antique mirrors? Many reproductions are made of a resin or plastic material. Some are made of wood but the finishing is very fake compared to antique original finishes. Antiques are handcrafted and made of real wood with construction that is superior to recently made pieces. What mirror hangs in your shop that is extra special? I have a very special mirror now that came from an old French Chateau. I acquired it on a


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trip to Paris. It is Louis XV in style and has a planter at the bottom. It is 11-feet. It has the original gold gilt finish and a beautiful carving. Do you have a favorite style or preferred era, when it comes to mirrors? I have a hard time describing any one mirror as my favorite because it depends on the “look” and the project. I really like a wide variety of mirrors. I personally prefer a gold gilt French mirror – 19th century with a cartouche at the top. I like Louis XV and XVI styles the best. These styles are elegant and have great proportion and add a sense of glamour and permanence to interiors. How did you get your start in antiques? I have been in the business more than 30 years – and a HADA member for over 20 years. I got started in the business soon after college. My major was in marketing and interior design. I worked part time at first but it soon evolved into a full time venture. Marketing helped me understand the business aspect of my gallery and the ability to buy and present products for my clientele. The interior design classes helped with proportion, color, scale and the overall understanding of the beauty of furniture, chandeliers, art and mirrors. Advice for antique buyers? I suggest that young families buy good antiques and art that they will treasure, and that they will one day pass on to their children.

Getting Personal ABOVE LEFT: French, 19th c, hand carved. LEFT: Louis XV crown, shell carving at crown. RIGHT: Hand-painted floral, Venice, 19th c. BELOW LEFT: Hand-carved French, dark walnut.

Do you have family? I am happily married for over 40 years to someone that does not understand my obsession with antiques. He is resigned to the fact every day that I antique he is free to go play golf. So it is fair to say that he doesn’t antique and I do not golf. In this case I guess opposites attract! I have two lovely daughters who decided the antique business is great, but they chose their own careers – as a counselor and working for nonprofit organizations. What do you do outside of work? I love to visit the hill country. We have a home there in a bird preserve with a great view of Lake Travis. I love to visit family and relax. What are you reading? I love to read fiction and of course design books. Charlotte Moss’s book A Flair For Living was a gift from a friend that I have truly enjoyed. What can you not live without? My sweet family and good friends: they make life special. The next favorite is art, especially antique art. It is the one special thing that endures and spans centuries. It is special in any interior. Charlotte Nail Antiques www.cninteriors.com

18 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

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BEFORE & AFTER

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A FRESH LOOK Small Investments Turn Into Big Changes BY JOETTA MOULDEN • PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANET LENZEN

Martha Justice contacted me because she did not like her breakfast room and had been following my articles in Houston House & Home. “Bill and I have a traditional home that has a New Orleans Country French style, and I wanted it to have a more formal yet comfortable appearance,” she says. “I needed to have some ideas of how to tie the breakfast room into the kitchen, which had been previously remodeled with black granite. I felt like the black conveyed a more formal appearance, and I also needed more space for our seven male grandchildren – not to mention girl/boy twins on the way.” Because she liked the paint colors (Sherwin-Williams Amish Yellow SW 1372 on the walls, and Pure White SW 7005 for the cabinets and

AFTER: New, gilded black/brown furniture from Macy’s tied into the remodeled kitchen and the existing New Orleans Country French style of the house. The desk’s brick wall is painted Zurich White SW 7626. This more tan color was chosen to flow with the tumbled marble behind the counters and to relieve the appearance of too much white. A green chair from another room was moved under the desk. A set of Johnson Brothers (traditional “ Friendly Village”) dishes was pulled out of storage to fill the shelving over the desk. The cleared desk conveniently serves as an area for Martha's computer and where she can write her new cookbook, Easy Breezy Coastal Cooking. BEFORE: The cottage-style table, chairs and hutch did not fit with the black and white kitchen and the built-in desk, cluttered with family pictures, lacked a chair.

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TRADE SECRETS •DO GATHER PHOTOS FROM MAGAZINES AND BOOKS of remodeling projects you find appealing. They are a handy short cut to show your design professional the exact look you want.

BEFORE AFTER: The table, chairs and hutch were replaced with Macy’s pieces. Walls and trim are the same colors as before: Sherwin Williams Amish Yellow SW 1372, and cabinets and trim are Pure White SW 7005. BEFORE: The room was decorated with a mix of cottage-style antique oak furniture that did not work with the remodeled black and white kitchen.

•HIRE A DECORATOR to look objectively at your spaces and make suggestions that will help you redecorate on your budget. •SOMETIMES THE MOST EFFECTIVE STRATEGY is to first rethink what’s already paid for.

trim area), I did not recommend repainting but rather changing her furniture instead. What I suggested was keeping the table, and either buying new black chairs or finding a used set of chairs and painting them black to create a more comfortable, mismatched look to the room. TIP: Always consider flow when decorating a room, whether with color or style, or both. As it turned out, the couple found a wonderful mixed set of black wood furniture at Macy’s that had a large matching buffet that was perfect for storing dishes and was less expensive than buying a new buffet and painting a new set of chairs; it was perfect. The set not only had the correct color seats but the fabric coordinated with the style and color of their already-owned, pre-made Country Curtains valances. Near the table where the mirror hung, the owners’ forest/river painting was successfully substituted. TIP: Sometime you can luck out with store-bought furnishings and they end up looking custom. “Professional help is always a plus as a decorator can take a fresh look around and see immediate improvement possibilities,” says Martha. “We liked your ideas right away and understood where you were going with your thoughts. Small investments and moving things around make for big changes,” she explains. She recalls the first party she had in her home after the changes. “ It was during Christmas, and several guests commented about the black furniture, believing it to be more upscale than it actually was. This was one time a matching set really worked!” she says.

Joetta Moulden offers home makeovers using your own home furnishings to create the home you’ve always dreamed of. Joetta believes your pieces collected through the years reflect your personality and can be artfully arranged. Her ability to focus on your personal style and not let her own preferences influence the design of your home makes her unique. See more makeovers on her Web site at www.shelterstyle.com, e-mail her at joetta@shelterstyle.com or call 713-461-2063. If an initial appointment or referral is booked by September 30, a 10 percent first meeting discount will be given. Shelterstyle.com holds a "Pages of Happiness" rating and, for the fifth consecutive year, a “Super Service Award” presented to 5 percent of companies that achieve and maintain a superior rating on Angie’s List. 24 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com


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TED will provide the product’s name, communicate features ainStreet America is a year-round showcase of homes where people will be inspired, informed and empow- and benefits and even create a virtual shopping wish list for ered to build or remodel their home. Positioned as a future reference. While at MainStreet America, guests can also access a comtruly innovative concept in shopping for new homes and related services, MainStreet America is the only venue of its kind in plete list of home-related businesses — all under one roof. Companies such as Design Tech Homes, MSA Remodeling, the country with dining, retail, entertainment and educational Criterion Mortgage, MainStreet Land & Home and Origins opportunities added to the array of activities. Architects are all located within the Park. MainStreet America features 12 fully-furnished demonstraMainStreet America is a must see shopping and educational tion homes that are open 7 days a week. These custom showdestination that is quickly becoming a major consumer case homes represent a variety of home designs and architecresource as it helps people move their building and remodeling ture. In addition, each home displays the latest in home furprojects from inspiration to reality. nishings and accessories which can all be purchased on site from MainStreet Furniture & Accessories. MainStreet America is conveniently located on Guests at MainStreet America can obtain I-45 between downtown Houston and The instant information on the home products Woodlands at 18750 I-45 in Spring, TX and services on display in each showcase MAINSTREET AMERICA 77373. For more information, call 281-825home through the use of a specially www.MainStreetAmerica.com 4429 or go to www.mainstreetamerica.com designed hand-held device called TED. 281.825.4429

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PROJECT

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A lamp -- such as the “Abacus� from West Elm pictured here -brightens up the night table, along with fresh flowers.

Take a tip or two from Interior Designer Julie Dodson who had her walls stenciled.

GIVE YOUR GUEST ROOM A MAKEOVER With Tips From Designers November and December are peak times for holiday visitors. Why not spare yourself the stress of last minute preparations by taking time this month to spruce up the guest room in advance?

Designing a comfortable, updated bedroom does not have to be expensive, and it can be fun. Keep the design simple, the space clutter-free, and make comfort your mantra.

Decorative Painter Patty Hoffman gave this guest room a glamourous touch -on the walls and with the mirrored night stand.

A beautiful antique bed frame, luscious bedding and a cool light shade on the walls beckon guests. 43


4. Provide a bedside table and reading lamp. Good lighting is almost as essential as a good pillow. Try a West Elm side tables with a wood finish at $199 each. For a reading lamp, there are lots of choices under $100 at World Market. 5. Storage. You do not need a lot of storage because no one is living here full time, but be sure there is a place for your guest’s belongings -- like a chest of drawers, or a rack or bench for their suitcase. Another essential is a small waste basket. 6. Paint. There’s no better way to spruce up a room quickly than a fresh coat of paint. Choose a color palette with calming neutrals, warm grays or soothing blues. Hoffman suggests layered glazing for a special finish. Interior Designer Deborah Rivera adds interest to this guest room with textural throw pillows, which can be easily changed out.

To begin, spend the night in your own guest room. Designers say this is an eye-opening way to learn firsthand how the room measures up in comfort and convenience. Consider the following “musts” and “pluses” to make your guest room fresh, functional and relaxing, courtesy of Houston interior designers Carla Aston and Deborah Rivera, and decorative painter/designer Patty Hoffman.

MUSTS 1. It’s all about the bed. Every guest room should start with a decent bed. This is not the place for your lumpy, old mattress. Invest in a firm, quality queen-size mattress and your guests will sleep soundly. Aston said she prefers upholstered headboards in guest rooms to provide extra comfort and style. 2. Dress the bed in crisp, white cotton linens because they feel clean and fresh. Try a linen duvet with matching shams, and if you need more color, dress it up with some decorative pillows. 3. Include a comfortable chair with a cozy throw. A sitting area is nice, if possible, otherwise a lounge chair will do.

Resources For a step-by-step guide on building a guest room on a budget from interior designer Carla Aston:’s http://carlaaston.com/designed/design-by-carla-furnished-by-you-guestbedroom Photos of stylish guest quar ters: Ultimate Designs by Deborah Rivera at www.ultimatedesignsDR.com Patty Hoffman’s most recent guestroom: http://ar tisticpaintsolutions.com/galler y/details.php?image_id=967 Julie Dodson, interior designer: www.dodsonanddaughter.com Houston Automated Shade & Drapery 281-252-0818 www.automatedshade.com 44 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

7. Hang window treatments for privacy and if possible, include blackout curtains. A cool, dark room is the best setting for a good night’s sleep. J.C. Pennys, IKEA and Houston Automated Shade & Drapery all stock blackout curtains/blinds. Simple luxuries make all the difference when it comes to hosting overnight guests, Rivera says. Only you can think of the perfect extras for the particular visitor — like a preferred food or a favorite magazine.

PLUSES 1. Emulate a high-end hotel. Consider the items they might provide to make a guest comfortable. Arrange a basket of travel-size toiletries with high quality soaps, shampoo, conditioner, and lotions, along with a toothbrush, tissues, ibuprofen or Tylenol. Other handy additions: a small pad with a pen and a local guidebook or map. In Houston, a ceiling fan keeps the air moving, and a small tube of sun block may be a skin saver. 2. Present a set of fresh-fluffy towels to each guest and a keep a tray of soothing — lscented candles in the bathroom. Splurge on a few comfy pillows. Your guests will be delighted by the efforts you have made to make them feel welcome and comfortable in your home.” 3. Extras: Provide an extra pillow, extra hangers, an extra blanket, and a nightlight for extra safety. 4. A large mirror and a blow dryer are always welcome additions. 5. Provide a power strip, extension cord, or charging station to recharge phones, tablets, and laptops. Remember to write down the password for the wireless. 6. Refreshments: Stock a snack basket with some homemade treats and bottled water. 7. Fresh flowers. Add a small fresh floral arrangement in the guest room on the day your visitors arrive. Ready to shop for your updated guest room? Designers recommend Industry Partner Showrooms, and also shopping online or at local retail stores such as Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, High Fashion Home, West Elm, and Crate and Barrel.


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45


ABOVE: Fresh fruits sit pretty, waiting for a turn in a special drink or food.

In The Kitchen With... OWNERS OF ABSINTHE BRASSERIE, COMMUNITY BAR AND BOWL CAFÉ KEEP THE PARTY GOING AT HOME BY SUSAN FOX

“Dad was hoping we’d go into another business,” Jackie Racine-Rager says jokingly, referring to the restaurant and entertainment businesses that have her husband Ralph Rager, sister Karen Racine, and her going strong. But evidently when it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood. Racine-Rager and her husband met up in Karen’s updated 1940s kitchen recently to cook, chat and laugh. It is a typical and common scenario. The threesome does everything together – from entertaining, to operating three restaurants and bars, to traveling to new restaurant openings in other cities for quick critiques and fun. Jackie, 41 and Karen, 40, first-generation Americans, say their father, Juan Racine, came to the U.S. and began working at Brennan’s, later Tony’s and now Café Annie. 46 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

LEFT: Family, as with this one, is the best home accessory. Ralph Rager cuddles up to son Shea. And sisters Karen Racine and Jackie RacineRager clink glasses with Lucia Rager snuggling up in the middle. BELOW: Ralph Rager admits to enjoying testing out new recipes with family and friends before introducing them to Bowl Café customers.


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Drink Recipes from Absinthe Brasserie and Community Bar Moscow Mule HOUSE MADE GINGER BEER: 2 oz. ginger juice 4 oz. fresh lime/lemon juice 6 oz. simple syrup 20 oz. water Carbonate in a soda siphon In a copper cup, add ice, 1 1/2 oz. of vodka and fill the rest with ginger beer. *If you’re not into making it, ginger beer also can be purchased.

Inferno 1 1/2 oz. Absinthe 1/2 oz. simple syrup 1/2 a fresh lime muddled with mint sprigs Shake in martini shaker Serve over ice

LEFT: Karen Racine, Ralph Rager and Jackie Racine Rager all take their spot at Karen’s counter at her home in Montrose. BELOW: Preparations for ginger beer and the Inferno are under way . . . .

“We grew up in the business,” says Racine-Rager. Yet, they hadn’t planned on creating the small empire they now own. They each once had different dreams: Racine-Rager got a degree in radio and TV and worked in that field for a while; Racine has a degree in art history, and Rager’s is in speech communication. It was in college the sisters met Rager, now 46. They all began bartending together, and then Jackie married Ralph in 2002. And shortly, thereafter, they started loving the idea of opening up their own business.

48 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com


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49


Karen Racine at the stove. Colorful antique soda siphons line the top shelf. The bottles come from San Teimo, Buenos Aires, where they were delivered to homes every morning. The Racine family came from Argentina. The white cabinetry is original to the 1940s home.

The Absinthe Brasserie on Richmond was their first joint venture together. They opened it in what was once an old dry cleaner’s shop 10 years ago. Then Rager wanted to open up a healthier food option, so Bowl Cafe was formed next door. And . . . then . . . Racine bought Community Bar on Smith Street in Midtown. It is known for steak night and homemade ginger beer – and Moscow Mules. While they enjoy the businesses, they love family and home more. Racine and the Ragers live around the corner from one another. And mom and dad are close, too. 50 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

Racine lives in a cute Montrose brick house, where they all feel at home. “Ralph and I always cook together, whether it’s here or at their house. We have a huge family and alternate homes,” says Racine. “When I moved in, one of my uncles knocked down some walls in the kitchen,” says Racine. It is now far bigger than the original — and appliance locations changed. Reminders of Buenos Aires, Argentina – where the family is originally from – reside at the top of the stove alcove in the kitchen. They also keep in touch by visiting Argentina regularly.


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GALLERIA GLAMOUR

52 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com


BY SUSAN FOX • PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIRO DVORSCAK

CUSTOMIZATION

AND A RICHLY VIBRANT COLOR PALETTE SET THE TONE

“ I f I c a l l e d a n d s a i d I ’ m g o i n g t o p a i n t y o u r w a l l s c h a rcoal gray and you have ebony floors, what would you say?” I n t e r i o r D e s i g n e r B r i a n M i l b u r n p o s e d t h e rh e t o r i c a l q u e s tion to drive home a point, in addition to describing the challenges of accomplishing a complete luxurious build-out of a high-rise condo in 60 days.

53


ABOVE: The owners, says Milburn, are not typical “dining room” people. Instead, they wanted a space that worked for both entertainment and work purposes. The gray color on the wall was added laterto the oxblood and cream palette to heighten the drama of the room.

54 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

First, his remark underscores the worth of interior designers. In this case, the owners of the high-rise residence are return clients of Milburn’s, and their trust already had been earned and established. He didn’t have to draw them a picture. They confidently placed the entire project in his hands. But, as soon as he walked through the 3,000-squarefoot unfinished space, Milburn could see in his mind’s eye


what needed to happen in order to make them both happy and comfortable. All he shared with his client was that he would be working with a palette of ivories, golds and oxblood. With the challenge of a very customized job consuming his dreams, it was no surprise when he awoke with the thought of how and where to add the charcoal gray to the color scheme. By tempering the deep gray with a champagne metallic

paint on the baseboards and trim – and by layering in other light and oxblood colors, it all works simultaneously to enrich the space. A layperson might have played a safer hand. An experienced interior designer like Milburn, on the other hand, not only gets paid to push the envelope but also makes it work in spades. The oxblood unexpectedly proved to be a more temperamental color, thanks to the flood of sunlight pouring in through the windows. It read on the test stick to be 55


true to the expectation but turned a “rusty brown” color on the walls. Milburn says it took four or five trips to the paint store to make that hue work in the space. On the phone in his New York office, Milburn muses that when he got the call to come to Houston to work on the couple’s work residence, his directive was to have it done in 30 days. And, he accomplished that. Despite their eagerness to move in, they wanted Milburn to turn it from nice into beautiful and luxurious. ABOVE: The crystal beaded wallcovering in the foyer adds shimmer.. LEFT: Beautiful walnut woodwork cut on the bias in master bath.

56 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com


The contemporary galley kitchen with Miele fixtures and cararra marble on the countertops was designed for easy access by caterers.

The woodwork is clear walnut in a herringbone weave. 57


.The inspiration for the guest room, which features a more demure color palette, is the memory of beautiful Paris and its gardens.

They gave Milburn another 30 days, which he needed to handle orders and other customizations, while the couple continued their temporary stay in a hotel. “Initially, it had seemed a bit more bare than their previous and current residences,” he says . . . and it was, partially because of their two-fold design objective for the condo. The couple wanted it to function as a work space as much as a home-away-from-home. Milburn hired a local wood worker – Gabriel Garcia – to do the extraordinary woodwork: Clear walnut done in a herringbone weave, as seen on the walls and arched doorways. Milburn had sconces mounted on silk-upholstered panels, and he hung high dramatic draperies that could easily close to allow one of the light-filled spaces to become a cozy and intimate media room. He created a dining room that also serves as a full-service conference room. And as a pièce de résistance, he hung a crystal-beaded wall covering in the foyer and chose a rich peacock wall paper pattern from Cole and Son in the powder room. He went to Donghia and Kravet for fabric choices.

58 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com

Milburn keeps it rich, dramatic and luxurious throughout most of the 19th-floor condo – except for the guest bedroom. Here in the bedroom, he says, the desire was to go calmer, using soft fern greens, Parisinspired furnishings and pearl finishes. “I wanted to juxtaBRIAN MILBURN Milburn Group Interior Design pose this room with www.milburngroup.com the rest of the condo. 866-620-9414 I wanted it to feel like you just entered HIGH FASHION HOME (DR chairs) a Paris garden,” he www.highfashionhome.com 3100 Travis says. 888-685-3838 In the end, Milburn says he JONATHAN ADLER (DR light fixture) accomplished a luxuwww.jonathanadler.com rious result in a trun2800 Kirby cated time period. 713.677.0792 It’s a place to live, work and entertain.

Resources


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60 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com


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X Butyagrus nabonnandii

BY DARRIN DULING

and who use protective blankets and heaters during sub-freezing nights (yes, people do get up to do such things). Our hardy palm list mostly contains fan palms, and my uncommon favorites include the fluttery ribbon palm (Livistona decipiens), shark’s tooth palm (Livistona saribus) that is wickedly spiny but architecturally amazing, and the jade empress palm (Rhapis multifida), a much more elegant and well-behaved alternative to the closely related lady palm (Rhapis excelsa). Note: these ARE available – ask your nursery to find them for you. Looking beyond commonly seen date palms (Phoenix spp.), hardy feather palm varieties are few. Best bets for success are with pindo palm (Butia capitata) and hybrid mule palm (X Butyagrus nabonnandii), both of which can survive near-zero temperatures in sheltered spots. Pindo is blue-green in color with stiff fronds and a fairly stout trunk while the mule palm is more graceful, reminiscent of a coconut palm, and a lot less hazardous . . . . A little trivia: More than 150 recorded deaths occur annually from falling coconuts worldwide; 15 times more dangerous than a shark attack.

Keep on Growing!

Butia capitata

Sabal x brazoriensis

Darrin Duling, Director of Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, is a botanical horticulturist, environmentalist and landscape designer. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Plant Taxonomy from the University of Reading in England, as well as the Royal Horticultural Society Certificate of Training and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Diploma of Horticulture. Duling has managed major gardens in Thailand, New York and Florida. For information on Mercer Arboretum, visit www.hcp4.net/mercer. 62 house& home | September 2013 | www.houseandhomeonline. com


PET OF THE MONTH MÍRAME A LOS OJOS... SABES QUE ME QUIERES Hola! I’m Duncan. I’ve got tons of personality, what with being a Chihuahua/ Min Pin cross (a.k.a.: Chipin). My Min Pin side is known as the “King of Toys.” That’s a pretty accurate description because I’m playful, friendly and supercool. I’m also feisty, affectionate, self confident, bold, brave and cuddly. I know, I know. My handkerchief makes me look like I’m at Red Lobster cracking open seafood. I just wanted to dress up for our introduction. I’d make a great purse dog for a lady or an awesome lap dog for the gents. Come check me out and adopt me today. The Houston SPCA is open 7 days a week. – by Robert Coplin ID# 227034 HOUSTON SPCA 900 Portway Drive, Houston 77024, 713.869.SPCA (7722) Open daily, www.houstonspca.org

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0913 houhousehome vir