Saturday, 19 February 2011


VERANDA - Winter 1999


The color of a Houston residence
was chosen to complement its limestone accents.

Minimal furnishings allow ornate railing and chandelier to shine.
Lily the dog poses near an architectural fragment from New York.


The jeweled tiara sitting on a side chair in the living room is not a prop.
Neither is the small chandelier orb resting on a tea table.
They were not placed by a magazine editor for a photo shoot.
They are a part of the homeowners life.  

"They are my jewelry," she says.  

Chairs slip-covered in Scalamandré velvet

The French antique bust, reflected in Venetian mirror,
is flanked by a pair of 1940s Parisian crystal and wrought-iron sconces.

When she and her husband relocated to the area of Houston, Texas, she brought
more jewels: sparkling chandeliers that had hung in their Manhattan apartment.

To help her find additional gems for their new house, 
she contacted interior designer Babs Watkins 
who had an immediate rapport with her new client.

Good craftsmanship was essential to the owners.
"All the workers took interest in doing their best,
being their most creative for us," says the wife.

 Color was integral to the design scheme.

There's a continuity of color - quiet grays and pewter,
which work well with the metallic effect on the stair rail created by Jay Iarussi,
 the artist who painted the modulated walls throughout the house.
From there lighter shell colors - pale warm tones were chosen.

Louis XVI.-style settee,  French 18th-century corner screen

The delicate coloring of the fabric on this French coiffeuse so enchanted the homeowner 
she decided not to have the chair recovered.

Italian 18th-century silver leaf altar candle stand juxtaposed with English bowl.

A fine linen cloth soften the metal dining table
and the Murano glass chandelier adds grace.

Sunlight is welcomed through uncurtained windows throughout the house.


"For twenty years we lived in rather dark New York apartments,"  says the homeowner,
who was originally from Louisiana.  "When we moved to Texas, we wanted a house,
and the most important requirement for us was the quality of light.
We love the windows in this house.  They're the kind my husband grew up with in San Antonio.
Some people suggested we get rid of them, get newer windows,
but fortunately our contractor was able to restore them to working order."


19th-century Italian tole bed makes the need for artwork redundant.

Delicacy of Napoleon III. lacquer and gilt chairs contrasts with larger pieces.


Some minimalism is continued in the great room where
limestone floors deliberately left bare

In the great room the layering effect of color makes it appear natural and believable,
especially with the garden view.  Even these blues and greens are warm and intimate,
because of sunlight streaming through the uncurtained windows.

The muted tones make it possible to bring furnishings from one room to another
in smooth transition, especially when entertaining.

"Even in our traditionally furnished Fifth Avenue apartment 
I liked the playfulness of moving things about."

Beneath a 1940s French wrought-iron and crystal chandelier,
Louis XVI-style chairs surround the metal table.
The late 18th French trumeau rests on a genuine Louis XVI. chest.


Because the rooms are sparsely furnished, each item becomes important.
There is little art hanging on the artfully painted walls.
Chandeliers and jeweled tiaras are allowed to reflect their glory.  They become art.

Italian Torchére  and  Swedish 18th-century chair

Painted wall by Jay Iarussi
"He's like Eldon, the painter on Murphy Brown," says Watkins.


The French worktable with white marble top is an ideal island in a busy kitchen.


Beaux Arts chandelier presides over the breakfast area.

"One of the reason we have several dining tables," says the homeowner,
"is because we follow the sun.  We eat wherever the light mirrors our mood."


An interior - authentic and timeless.


 19th Burmese Tazza

Years ago an American client showed me this magazine of  VERANDA.  She saw a few pieces I had in stock, could hardly believe that they were nearly identical with some shown in the article, and was very happy to buy them.  We both agreed that this house is beautifully interiored, and she gave me the magazine to keep.

Pair of 1940s metal sconces, Italian


Bon week-end


  1. Well, I could honestly move right in!


  2. Schönheit in every corner!

    *Several dining tables* das ist Luxus pur.

    Wir haben zwei Terrassen, was ich auch als großen Luxus empfinde. Ja überhaupt ein eigenes Haus mit Garten!

    So I'm content.
    Wish you a nice dimanche!

  3. This is lovely! Thank you for taking the time to post it for us!


  4. WOW!
    loved those ideas!
    happy sunday!

  5. Beautiful. Thank you. Would love a book of Babs Watkins interiors.

  6. I’m in love with that home and could move in and be perfectly comfortable. Veranda features some amazing homes. You have pieces like those in that article? OMG Karin show us some pictures please! Babs Watkins is one of my favorite designers.

  7. One of my all time favorites, and I could move right in. I've studied these rooms for years.

  8. This is one of my favorite houses and is my inspiration. I have this Winter 1999 Veranda issue at home and look at it all of the time! Thank you for posting it.

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