Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Small Spaces: Organizing & Decorating Tips

Living in a small space poses many challenges from an interior design perspective. Too much furniture and your home feels small and cluttered. Too little and you lack the functionality you need for day-to-day living.
From furniture placement to controlling clutter, maximizing what you have is a must if you want to get more from less space. Here are some tried and true tips for maximizing your small abode.
Divide and Conquer -- Instead of breaking up your floor plan into individual rooms, consider an open layout that uses strategically placed furniture to divide the space.
Go for Light and Bright -- Use lighting to create a sense of spaciousness. Start by allowing in as much natural light as possible, keeping window coverings to a minimum and using bright paint colors.
Supplement with Lighting -- Augment natural light with sufficient general, ambient and task lighting. Your lighting design should take into account the different ways you use the space.
Get (and Stay) Organized -- When designing your small space, think about storage in every room. Consider adding built-in bookcases, cupboards or cabinets, and using furniture with built-in storage.
Think Versatility and Flexibility -- Keep multiple uses in mind when considering your design needs. Search for furniture that can do double duty, like a coffee table that converts to a dining table or a dresser that serves as a nightstand.

Houston Shopping Tips -- For your organizational needs, stock up at IKEA and The Container Store. Shop the massive showroom at High Fashion Home for everything from furniture to fabrics. Hunt for ornamental pieces to set off your space at Adkins Architectural Antiques & Treasures. For custom design furniture that's eco-friendly, visit New Living.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Galveston Discoveries

Welcome to my Why I Love Houston Series, where I share my favorite Houston experiences and excursions. My goal is to make my hometown of Houston more accessible to the ever-changing mix of folks adopting our amazing city as their home base and reminding natives of the hidden gems throughout H-town. 

Why I Love Houston...because of  its proximity to a beach getaway in less than an hour. 

On my recent visit to Galveston, I was able to combine work and fun while preparing for an upcoming listing on Tiki Island. Downtown Galveston is home to the Strand Historic District. I like to admire the grand architecture of the surrounding neighborhood and the vintage charm of the boutiques and shops. I recommend cooling off with an old-fashioned sundae or banana split at the Star Drug Store. On Pier 22 you can tour the Tall Ship ELISSA and board the Seagull II at the Texas Seaport Museum for a one-hour harbor cruise. Families love to visit Moody Gardens and the Pleasure Pier for hours of summer entertainment from roller coasters to water slides.

Galveston is a great art destination too. I like exploring the artwork at the Design Works Gallery and Affaire d'Art. Be sure to mark your calendar for the next Galveston ArtWalk, organized by the Galveston Art Center on Saturday August 22 from 6-9 pm where cafes, shops and galleries open their doors with exhibits featuring original works of art.

My family indulged in a summer seafood feast at Miller's Seawall Grill, which you can read all about in my review.  Don't overlook the simple pleasure of strolling the seawall. I love to watch the sunset with my husband Nick and son Jean-Luc after dining at one of my favorite restaurants like Gaido's, which has been serving beach-goers since 1911.  

I hope you're inspired to get in the car and make your own quick getaway to Galveston!

Happy Summer Adventures,


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Best bet for beachfront dining in Galveston

I was down in Galveston yesterday with my family working on an upcoming listing and had the BEST flounder with crab stuffing of my life at MILLER'S SEAWALL GRILL at an amazing booth overlooking the beach.  Miller's Seawall Grill is a great day trip destination if you're craving fresh, affordable seafood and old-fashioned home cooking (pot roast, entree-size Mac & Cheese, and fresh veggies galore are other menu highlights), as it's very close to the intersection of the Seawall and the main drag.  So no excuses!  Make at least one pilgrimage to the beach this summer, put your toes in the sand, collect some seashells, then watch the sunset while dining on incredible food in an old world atmosphere at Miller's Seawall Grill - and be back home in an hour (or so) to sleep in your own bed!  As my son says: "Yay!  Yay!  Summer Days!  Summer Days!"

Monday, July 13, 2015

Home Entertaining: Fun Summer Party Ideas

Celebrate the Season with These Party Ideas

There's just something about the starry nights and fresh air that make summer the perfect time for parties. From a friendly neighborhood gathering to an afternoon pool party, here are five themed ideas to get you started.

Movie Under the Stars -- Turn your backyard into an outdoor movie theater. All you need for an evening filled with your favorite Hollywood stars is an inflatable screen and projector, a cozy area for seating or sleeping bags and, of course, popcorn. (Try one of these 50 flavored recipes.) Hold your own film festival of movies made in Houston and enjoy recognizing the local landmarks.

Boyhood: directed by Houston-born director Richard Linklater features Minute Maid Park and the Astros winning!

​Rushmore: directed by Houston native Wes Anderson puts the Heights neighborhood in the spotlight with shots of Doug’s Barber Shop on 11th St. where guys can still get a haircut for a nice price.

Terms of Endearment​: based on the novel by Texan author Larry McMurtry, has many tearjerker scenes set in River Oaks along with a boozy lunch at Brennan’s Restaurant in Midtown.
Neighborhood Block Party -- Host a summertime gathering on your street, inviting the neighbors to bring chairs and potluck dishes to share. Arrange games for the kids and invite your local fire or police department. And while you're planning, don't forget to apply for a permit to set up roadblocks.

Elegant Garden Party -- Invite your friends over for a traditional garden party. While the setting is casual, a garden party is anything but. Give your gathering an air of sophistication with crisp white linens and extravagant centerpieces, and serve your guests an assortment of appetizers and finger foods. Find your closest Houston farmer’s market for fresh local produce and prepared foods.

Old-Fashioned Campout -- Experience the great outdoors in your own backyard by setting up camp. Sleeping bags, a tent, lawn chairs and a backyard fire pit create the perfect setting for telling ghost stories and enjoying late-night marshmallow roasts. Don’t forget to hit your favorite local garden center for citronella candles!

Backyard Pool Party -- Make a splash with your next pool party by designing games, food and decorations around a theme. Adults can socialize while kids enjoy swimming pool games like sponge tag or noodle jousting.  Cool off with these refreshing watermelon adult beverages poolside.  Let the little ones enjoy making their own Kiddie Cocktails