09/20/11 11:21am

Glasstire correspondent Beth Secor tries to get a handle on the first-ever Houston Fine Art Fair, held over the weekend at the George R. Brown Convention Center: “One of the oddest places I visited on Friday was LewAllen Galleries of New Mexico, where strangely enough, its booth was manned by a chair, which seemed to be selling other kinds of chairs to what I assume was a clientele consisting solely of tables. I was too intimidated to clear up what may have been a complete misunderstanding of the situation, having once been severely berated by an Eames Chaise Lounge, after accidentally referring to its Ottoman as a Suleiman Turk.”

More than 10,000 visitors and sales in the millions (one gallery sold 2 pieces for a total of $1.7 million, according to one report) mean the event will return next year.

Photos: Bill Davenport and Kelly Klaasmeyer (soup)

07/29/11 5:00pm

When he isn’t busy rebuilding the entire block of Colquitt between Greenbriar and Morningside, Houston architect Scott Ballard puts his mind to work solving difficult domestic problems. F’rinstance: how to enjoy indoor sports in the comfort of your home more . . . oh, unobtrusively? Ballard’s wife “wasn’t thrilled” about the ping-pong table he and his kids parked in the family’s living room a couple years ago, he tells the Chronicle‘s Ken Hoffman. A few sketches, hired guns, and failed prototypes later, and — presto! Ballard came up with the solution: The Ping Pong Coffee Table. And it’s for sale!


06/15/11 6:16pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSE POOR OR FURNITURE POOR “Roche Bobois designs are a still a little too blobby (i.e., French) for my taste, but it makes [more] sense to me to buy a $400k mid century mod and fill it with nice Bobois furniture than to buy a $800k faux Tuscan Villa and fill it with Pottery Barn.” [Patrick, commenting on Internum Takes Over Where Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Took Off]

04/06/11 2:12pm

HARTS GOING, GOING, GOING . . . TO PRISON Auctioneers and swindlers Jerry and Wynonne Hart will begin serving their 14-year prison sentences “within days,” after an appeals court reversed a decision that would have given the former owners of the Hart Galleries on South Voss a new trial. The Harts pled guilty to “misapplication of fiduciary property” 2 years ago, in return for prosecutors dropping theft and money-laundering charges against them. Prosecutors claim the Harts sold customers’ goods at auction but regularly underpaid or otherwise finagled their way out of distributing the proceeds. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Hart Galleries

09/16/10 1:43pm

One of the most regal furniture store larks in southwest Houston: this 9-ft.-high plush red, gold-trim throne outside Queens Furniture (selling the “Antiques of Tomorrow”) at 7426 Harwin. Asking price: about $3,000. Just part of its pedigree: It’s been taken out to the store’s grassy streetside front yard every dry day for about 10 years (though the store moved a few blocks to its current location about a year ago, so it’s had a slight change of scenery). Also, claims a store rep: the sit piece has starred in some of the ceremonies at the PGA’s Shell Houston Open in the Woodlands. Inside Queens Furniture: an entire set of gold 6-ft.-tall versions with accompanying table, for north of $6,000.

Photo: Aaron Carpenter

09/13/10 8:58am

The Ligne Roset showroom in Houston and the design boutique on West 2nd St. in Austin have both ceased operations, according to a recording left on both stores’ answering machines — and a tip from a Swamplot reader. Houston’s Ligne Roset moved from a Rice-Village-area strip center on Kirby to 1992 West Gray in the River Oaks Shopping Center last February. (That move surprised customers who had been looking forward to the completion of grander plans: Owner Bruce Wolfe had previously announced the modern French furniture store would anchor a 12,000-sq.-ft. “Design Source” retail center in West Ave, where he would also operate 4 additional showrooms featuring sleek modern lines.) The recording refers customers with pending orders to Roset USA. The closest Ligne Roset showroom now: Dallas.

Photo: Swamplot Inbox

08/26/10 2:48pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: STAGING IS FOR WUSSES “yeah, we are fun people to know. this was my mom’s amazing project, so much fun to see it take shape. if you’d seen it BEFORE the makeover, THAT was tacky. what do you expect us to do, waste money redoing the whole house just to sell it? i’ve lived there my whole life, love it to death. cream colors? BORING!” [prudoodle, commenting on Magenta Is the New Fuschia: A River Oaks Home That Glows Inside]

08/04/10 6:43pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE’S MY FLORENCE NIGHTGOWN? “That closet – omg! – I could live in just that space! But the trouble with such thematic interiors is that your furnishings have to coordinate with it. Certainly none of your prized artwork could ever hang in there. You’ll probably feel your wardrobe isn’t quite right for the house. And your dumb dog doesn’t quite fit in either. (The cat under the pool table looks nervous.) It’s just too much stress to match your surroundings.” [movocelot, commenting on Huckleberry Tuscan: Unloading the New Farmhouse in Town]

06/30/10 4:13pm

This string of antique-store buildings on West Alabama just east of Shepherd has been on the market since last fall. Swamplot noted the Brian Stringer Antiques 40-percent-off going-out-of-business sale in December, but the 25-percent-off sale on the buildings began only last month, after a second price reduction. The bungalow, showroom, and 2-story warehouse on the 14,004-sq.-ft. lot are now priced at $1,099,000. The listing notes the store and its inventory are also for sale “for additional consideration.”

“Everyone in Houston knows the shopping ritual here,” explained ritual antique shopper Joni Webb last year. “You go [through] the main showroom first, work your way to the back storeroom, stop at the side showroom, then exit through the metal garage door to go outside where you then enter the little French house through its side door.”


04/14/10 10:59am

Ah, there’s no rest for a hardworking interior designer, even on vacation:

Each summer I go through a little drill when we arrive at our rental:   I walk through the unit and hide all the pillows, accessories, paintings, fake plants, area rugs and assorted clutter in the guest closet.  I can’t do anything about the paint job, so I just pretend it’s not there. Over the years I have accumulated an assortment of ready made slipcovers for the rentals, along with throw pillows, drop cloths, and Indian bedspreads which make great cover ups for nasty condo furniture. The picture above is off the rental web site – isn’t that couch a beauty?

And presto! What’s the scene after Joni Webb’s little annual adventure in summer rental redecorating?


03/30/10 1:50pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: FAVORED HOME FURNISHINGS OF THE FEDERAL WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM “I do not think Gallery Furniture was the provider of the furniture. If you look closer to the [Dining] Room furniture, it has distinct attributes with the American Drew Jessica McClintock collection. I tried figuring out the other pieces in the other rooms and it appears the white wash part of the Jessica McClintock but cannot be for certain. If that is the case then it must be a pre-closing Finger Furniture store sale.” [sigma, commenting on The Memorial Drive Mansion Swamplot Knows Absolutely Nothing About]

03/16/10 11:15am

THE OLD REDS OF WEST UNIVERSITY A little seagrass, a few new slipcovers, a plate on the wall — Joni Webb brings a house on Albans Rd. up to date: The dining room was formerly painted a deep red – typical of most West U homes decorated in the 90s. We repainted the upper half a deeper aqua found in the family room, leaving the wainscot painted white. The owner waited to use her table, chairs and buffet – which were a dated dark reddish brown stained wood. We had these pieces painted a distressed gray to be more in keeping with the lighter wall color.” [Cote de Texas]

03/15/10 2:25pm

THE LINGERING SOUNDS OF SELLING BY THE FREEWAY Almost a week after the daylong feeder road-side furniture sale they held on the abandoned grounds of the former Landmark Chevrolet next to I-45 North near the West Gulfbank exit, wacdesignstudio designers and guerrilla marketers Scott Cartwright and Jenny Lynn Weitz-Amaré Cartwright were still feeling the effects: “We were there for nine hours, thankfully it was cloudy… but the sound pollution really affected one of us to the point that even today our head and bodies still hurt… can you imagine how hard of a job road workers have when building or fixing the streets?” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot]