Friday, April 3, 2015

India Hicks Island Style

With so much of the country having a long hard winter lasting into spring, I almost feel guilty about the warm weather in New Orleans. This is the perfect time of year when soft breezes from the gulf blow across the city fragrant with spring blossoms. It feels expansive and beach like, especially in the balmy early mornings.

Sipping coffee on my patio, I pour over the book "India Hicks Island Style". India Hicks with all her royal connections and accomplishments comes off as one of us. And by us I mean those who love to decorate and entertain and take pictures and love their life (and friends and family) and share the fruits of their labor.

There are so many lovely vignettes in the book. India and husband David have a myriad of interesting collections that are lovingly displayed throughout their Caribbean home. The party decor she creates for at home gatherings is fun and creative, and I think very inspirational (steal the look!) and something we could attempt.

This book reads like a visual family album. I keep going back to it, finding so many pieces of happiness. The press release says, "India Hicks Island Style offers a wondrous blend of her design philosophy and practical advice. Witty, inspirational, and beautifully photographed, this book will enchant and transport readers...". I agree! Add it to your summer reading list, or bring it as the perfect hostess gift.

India Hicks: Island Style by India Hicks, Rizzoli New York, 2015
Photography by one of my favorites, Miguel Flores Vianna (photos courtesy of Rizzoli)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Preservation Resource Center 2015 Shotgun House Tour

PRC 2015 Shotgun House Tour - 2 days - Saturday March 28 and Sunday March 29
You know Spring has arrived in New Orleans when the annual PRC Shotgun House Tour takes place. This year it's back in my neighborhood, The Irish Channel. The weather is going to be perfect and all the homes are unique and will give you plenty of great ideas about renovating and decorating. The tour benefits the Education Department at the PRC. Buy your tickets HERE or the day of the tour at Nadeau Funiture for the Soul on the corner of Magazine and Washington, the tour headquarters.

You can see a Sneak Peek of the PRC 2015 Shotgun House Tour in a nice video clip at WGNO.

Here is my sneak peek in photos (photos by Sara Essex Bradley). Please come and support the PRC, and come and see me too. My home is on the tour for the second time. The first time was several years ago, and some things remain the same, but so much has changed too.

You can read more about all the houses and homeowners in Preservation in Print magazine

The article starts on page 20

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jacques Dehornois

It's funny what and who influences you and leaves a life long impression. It was sometime in the 1980s when I was a girl flitting about town. A lovely friend named Carl George rang me up (yes we actually talked on telephones then) and asked if I wanted to take a jaunt to Brooklyn Heights to visit a friend of his. I always called Carl the man with two first names. He was a highly creative type without any visible means of looking so posh.

My love for the antique settee is a direct result of seeing this one in the apartment of Jacques Dehornois - ditto for striped flat weave rugs, and columns used as interior decoration

We arrived at the apartment of Jacques, a slim man with a sweet smile. He made me feel at ease. It was a large apartment decorated like nothing I had ever seen. After introductions, Carl and Jacques started looking at some drawings on a big table, and my eyes were left alone to wander a most incredible room. In fact it was the most beautiful and incredible apartment I had ever seen, and even after so many years of seeing so many incredible spaces, this one is still in a class by itself.

Carl George told me Jacques was a stylist and a decorator - This is a case study in great styling - I spy a Cy Twombley on the edge of the shot - genius

About an hour later, Carl and I subwayed back to Manhattan. I asked about Jacques, and Carl said he was a great friend, a major talent, and a great stylist and decorator. Mind you, this was before I started styling, and something about that word caught my fancy. Like all great ones Jacques was very humble in his demeanor. You would never know he was working with Anna Wintour an up and coming editor  and writer on homes and decorating, and fashion at New York Magazine. She wasn't Anna Wintour yet.

This daybed, and the striped sheets, especially the one hung on the wall made quite an impression on me - I have used fabric like this so many times like this thanks to seeing it in the apartment of Jacques Dehornois - and the gallery wall has inspired countless gallery walls of my own

I never forgot the mix of antique and modern and vintage things in Jacques apartment. He was so ahead of his time as a decorator. I had never seen an architectural fragment, a column just stuck in the middle of things just for the beauty of it. So many things I saw that day are things I still love and use in my work today.

A perfectly styled and decorated room by Jacques Dehornois - thank you for mentoring me, even if you didn't know you were doing so

The man with two first names moved to Los Angeles, and works as successful arbiter of style.
Jacques passed away five years ago. 
Anna Wintour became a fashion icon. She said that Jacques Dehornois was the best decorator she ever met. I agree.

These photos have been around for awhile, published in House and Garden with photos by Francois Halard.

Get the look...

Blue settee

Draper Sheets

Striped rug

Cy Twombley print

Architectural birdouse - maybe paint it black

Antique column - and check your local salvage stores

Vintage daybed

Round table

Vintage nude painting(s)

Desk lamp

Red coral

Jacques stacked books on two white antique chairs, but if you can't find something as fabulous I would use a pair of these vintage acrylic chairs

Carved wood console table

Carved wood console table


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bathroom And Kitchen Project

Just wanted to share a bathroom and kitchen project I did. It was featured in the Winter 2015 issue of New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles (photography by Jeff Johnson). The bathroom involved combining two smaller bathrooms that shared a wall, and access to a smallish walk in closet. Two bedrooms that had access to the two bathrooms were swapped. The bedroom that was the master was too small, so it was turned into a dressing room, and the secondary larger bedroom was turned into the master. The existing smallish walk-in closet was turned into a connecting hallway. It was a complete demo and rebuild.

A new large walk-in shower with his and hers sides was added, along with a jetted freestanding tub.  Kathy Kuo agate sconces over the tub are so luxe. Hans Grohe fixtures were uses including the tub filler that looks like a little table - the water flows out in a sheet into the tub. Bathroom by Valorie Hart Designs.

Three tile choices were used - the porcelain wall tile in the shower was cost effective and mimics marble beautifully. The splurge was the metallic floor tile. A barn door was used instead of pocket doors. It leads to the connecting hallway that was once the walk-in closet. There was enough marble left over from vanity counter tops to add a shower seat, and a top to the pony wall separating the toilet from the tub and shower area. Bathroom by Valorie Hart Designs.

The third tile choice is the glass tile installed all the way up to the ceiling over each of the two vanities. I chose to separate the his and hers vanities. The vanities were custom built, and have a gray lacquer finish. The counter tops are marble. The fixtures are Restoration Hardware, and the sinks are Nameeks. The wall with the mirror (from IKEA) once had a door to the secondary bedroom, that I had it closed in. The glass discs are from Mitchell Gold-Bob Williams.The wall color is Benjamin Moore Coastal Fog.  Bathroom by Valorie Hart Designs.

The open kitchen features builders grade finishes that I updated. Both of these projects were done over a year ago, and were challenging. I learned a lot by doing them, and have since completed several kitchen and bath projects fearlessly. Reach out to me if you need help with your kitchen or bath, or any part of your home.

Custom Roman shade is Robert Allen for Dwell Studio fabric. Kitchen decor by Valorie Hart Designs.

A new back splash of metal penny tiles was added. Kitchen decor by Valorie Hart Designs.

Kitchen decor by Valorie Hart Designs.

Kitchen decor by Valorie Hart Designs.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

For Rent

It's coming up to a year since my beloved Alberto passed away. What a year! About six months ago I started to create a separate space in my house for my sister to move into. This won't happen for awhile, so I listed it on Airbnb. Now's your chance to stay in Casa Visual Vamp.

Go to the Airbnb link

The space is filled with art, and books, and my furnishings, and all the decorator touches you will love. It is completely furnished, and of course you can say hello to me.